Cocoa is Cameroon’s top non-oil export commodity and many farmers especially in the Southwest Region depend on it for their survival. However, the region experiences low production and poverty principally because of financial exclusion. Thus, this study mainly examines the implication of financial inclusion for agricultural production among cocoa producers in the Southwest region of Cameroon. Using semi-structured questionnaires, a stratified multistage sampling technique is used to survey 380 cocoa producers. First, through the Cobb-Douglas production function, we show a significant positive association between financial inclusion and cocoa production by 26%. Also, through treatment effect and propensity score matching, financially included producers realized a significant increase in farm income than their excluded counterparts on account of the three main dimensions of financial inclusion: access (421,804 FCFA), use (803,081 FCFA) and quality (550,678 FCFA). Moreover, unsuitable pricing, inadequate credit, socio-political instability, and inadequate farmland accounted for 70.2% of the problems cocoa producers faced. Hence, a top policy recommendation for sustainability in the cocoa sector warrants that more formal financial institutions are established with an emphasis on the use and quality dimension.
Keywords: Financial inclusion, implications, cocoa producers, sustainability, formal financial institutions, Cameroon