By Fred Vubem Toh
The information was made public during a workshop for the restitution results of a study on how to improve on the quality of the product.
Penja Pepper commonly referred to as 'poivre de Penja' is reportedly the most coveted in the world as confirmed by renowned cooks who have tasted it during international food festivals.
This information was rendered public by the executive director of the geographical indication of Penja Pepper, Emmanuel Nzenowo during a workshop at the conference hall of the Chamber of Commerce in Douala for the restitution of results of a study on how to improve the sanitary and phytosanitary quality of the product.
The project is aimed at establishing Penja Pepper as a trademark recognised internationally depending on the geographic indication. The geographical indication delimits the areas where the pepper can be cultivated and referred to as 'Penja pepper' which for now is not limited to Penja alone but extended to areas like Mbanga, Loum and Tombel.
The delimitation took into consideration ecological factors such as soil, altitude, temperature, humidity and rainfall. The study conducted with financial and technical assistance from chamber of commerce and a Canadian expert, Bertrand Yvon, also spells out the sanitary conditions to be observed in planting, harvesting and processing the pepper so as to meet up with European norms.
The study also defines the various internal and external control mechanisms to make sure the quality of the product is maintained and that the label or logo protected at the level of OAPI is not falsified. "We face competition with pepper coming from other countries and we do not want our product to be confused with others.
So Penja pepper that respect all the norms of production and processing will be stamped with the logo that cannot be falsified", said Emmanuel Nzenowo.
Present at the workshop were all the partners that took part in the project namely; OAPI, MINEPAT, MINADER, MINSANTE, Customs department as well as the national agency for the promotion of investment. It is worthy to note that four kinds of pepper are produced in Penja; white, red, green and black.
Though pepper has been cultivated in Penja for more than fifty years, it was only in 2008 that it attained international recognition after it had retained from protection by OAPI together with Oku honey.
The project is a pacesetter in the valorisation of African products depending on the concept of geographic indication.