Over the years, cocoa production in Cameroon has served as a source of employment for many smallholder farmers. However, aging trees amongst other factors is a limiting factor in the productivity of cocoa. The study compared the economic performances of different crop ages of smallholder cocoa production using primary data obtained by means of semi-structured questionnaires. Multi-stage random sampling was adopted to select 120 farmers. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and budgetary analysis approaches. The results revealed that cocoa production is male-dominated (89.2%) with limited land ownership (37.5%) and access to extension service (8.3%). It was established that cocoa production was profitable with pooled Net Farm Income (NFI) of 79 485 FCFA/ha and a Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) of 1.41. Comparing profitability of three different crop-age ranges: < 10, 10 - 30 and > 30, the crop aged group 10 - 30 years outperformed the others on all profitability ratios. Thus, it is recommended that for the sustainability of the cocoa sector, farmers should start considering the rehabilitation of their farms only after 30 years.
Key words: Profitability, gross margin analysis, cocoa, crop-age performance, Cameroon
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