Farmer livelihoods in the humid forest and moist savannah zones of Cameroon uri icon

abstract

  • Tree-crop or forest-based farming systems in the humid forest and savannah areas of Cameroon were, until recently, highly dependent on cocoa and coffee. This made farmers extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in world market prices. Consequently, farmers turned their attention to food cropping, thereby opening up new forest land where possible and shortening fallow periods elsewhere. This inev itably led to soil fertility problems, whereas rural households were still suffering from seasona lity effects and cash shortages, due to the low added value of food crops. To address thes e two problems, poverty reduction strategies must thus focus on: (1) raising agricultural and natural resource productivity through the generation and dissemination of improved technolog ies and, (2) diversifying income sources in order to reduce dependency on few crops that are prone to price fluctuations and to smoothen seasonal fluctuations in income and consumption. However, the Central African region in general and southern Cameroon in pa rticular, faces some major weaknesses that impede or, at least slow down research and development efforts. These include a weak human capital base, degradation of the natural resource base, insufficient and poorly maintained rural infrastructure and inappropriate pro-poor policies and institutions

publication date

  • 2007