Gabon Sets Up Fund to Purchase Yearly Cocoa, Coffee Harvests

Gabon set up a fund to purchase cocoa and coffee beans harvested in the central African nation, a move meant to boost the agriculture sector and guarantee an income for at least 3,000 farmers.

The state-run Stabilization Fund, known as Caistab, has made 200 million CFA francs ($334,000) available to buy the yearly harvests, l’Union newspaper reported on its website Thursday, citing the director of the fund, Ismael Ondias Souna.

“It’s of strategic importance to the revival of the two industries that each Gabonese cocoa and coffee farmer has the guarantee that his crops are purchased as quickly as possible, every year,” Souna was cited as saying.

There are about 3,000 cocoa farmers in the country, according to the Libreville-based paper. President Ali Bongo, who will seek a second term in elections next month, has pledged to expand agriculture to compensate for a drop in income from oil, the country’s main export. Bongo said he wants to boost agriculture output to as much as 20 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, from about 5 percent at present.

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