Penja pepper is Cameroon’s pride and one Africa’s highly successful geographically protected crops. The region’s very particular micro climate makes the flavor of penja pepper very distinct.
After receiving the certification from the African Intellectual Property Organisation, its production has tremendously increased in three years period.
Michel Gonomy of the African Intellectual Property Organisation stated during an interview with Suzanne Vanhooymissen of BBC that today, there is no doubt that penja pepper is popular around the world. The product has an export market mostly in all Europe. He thinks that the value of penja peppers can be a big factor for the development of the organization’s member states and eventually, the entire Africa.
With the label, adherence to strict guidelines is expected from the farmers to maintain the highest standards.
Secretary of Penja Pepper Farmers Association, Emmanuel Nzenowo mentioned the guiding rules that include: “Firstly, the farms need to be situated within the parameters set up by the association. Secondly, the farmers have to accept the association’s rules of conduct on how to produce penja peppers. Thirdly, the farmers must accept inspection by the PPFA. Some farmers are not in conformity, but it’s the inspection that assures the quality.
There were only about 20 farmers around the area farming penja peppers before the geographical certification was received. Today, there are more than 200 farmers that are into penja peppers.
Production of penja peppers has improved the lives of many penja small towns and neighboring villages and due to the geographical element, it is likely that the benefits will stay localized.
A penja pepper farmer, Rene Claude Metomo is thankful for the certification which enables him to survive and live from farming. Before, farming was uncertain, but with the certification, he has very high hopes that through their production, they can develop further their neighboring village.
Even if the prices are tripling, the battle against imitation penja peppers on the market has begun. There is a need to put in place judicial enforcement and external controls in order to ensure the development of penja peppers in Cameroon could be maintained.