Now with the pepper farming, I can raise enough money to feed my family and send my kids to school,” says Kombe. In Southwest and Littoral regions of Cameroon, agriculture officials say, many farmers are increasingly switching to the more profitable, climate-friendly Penja pepper as a solution to poor harvests and paltry incomes from coffee and cocoa. “The farmers now prefer to concentrate their efforts on
Penja Pepper that thrives well in the region,” says Amos Ngolle, agriculture technician at the divisional delegation of agriculture in the Moungo division. Grown on the flanks of the Kupemuanenguba Mountain, the Penja pepper has since gained national and international fame after the Penja Pepper Farmers Association (PPFA), with support from French Development Agency, sought and obtained in 2013 the certification of their product from the African Intellectually Property Organisation.
Farmers of the association say the certification has significantly transformed their lives and the economy of the region, attracting other farmers whose cash crops are affected by extreme weather.
The farmers sell the pepper locally and in neighbouring countries, and 40 percent is exported to European markets, according to Cameroon’s Ministry of Trade. The Penja pepper is one of the only three African commodities, which include Oku honey and Ziama Macenta coffee from Guinea, to be given such a label, prohibiting the product’s name from being used by producers outside of its original region.