Agriculture and Rural Development in Cameroon: Empowerment of rural communities followed by a case analysis in the Mbere division – Cameroon:A field study conducted by Napi Wouapi, March-April 2006

Wouapi Napi, Gabriel Ilegbemi & Michael Kofi

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt

Abstrakt

Until the economic recession in the mid 1980s, Cameroon had relatively long sustained period of economic growth and agriculture was one of the main contributor of this growth due to the states subsidies to the farmers in terms of agriculture inputs, equipments, transfer of technology and finances. However, due to the fall in prices of raw materials in the world market, Cameroon went into economic crisis and the government withdrew its subsidies to the farmers and other priority sectors vital to the economy. With this development, farmers and especially the smallholders among them, who constitute of about 70% of the total population, were greatly affected. When the state has failed to meet society’s increasingly complex needs, organizations of civic society and voluntary unions then moved towards initiatives that were earlier in the hands of the state. However, some recent scientific journals and reviews pointed out the general weakness of developmental aid mechanism as a whole in systematically identifying and documenting their strong effect or impression in the struggle against poverty, injustice and marginalisation of vulnerable groups. The question then becomes: What can be the effective way to empower the farmers (in our case the smallholder farmers, the so-called poorest among the poor in the rural zones), to get them better organised so that they will be able to experience a sustainable livelihoods? The method used here consisted into two steps. First, to be able to build up the theory, we have been reviewing documents and relevant literatures concerning the concept of empowerment. The next step has consisted to conduct interview -through a case study related to a locality in Cameroon- with the target groups themselves and other key informants. The fieldwork was then based on participant observation by being immersed in the natural settings of the smallholder farmers in the Mbere division in Cameroon. Lastly, the most important conclusions we have drawn is that smallholder farmers in the Mbere actually operate in an environment which is not conducive. The lack of public goods, the limited access to information, equipment and adequate trainings are amongst other exogenous factors, their main barriers towards empowerment. To these external factors may be added their weakness and even reticence to constitute strong initiative groups made up of members who actually share the same interests, pursue a common goal and who are all participants in the decision making process.

UddannelserDansk, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
SprogEngelsk
Udgivelsesdato22 jun. 2006
VejledereErling Jelsøe

Emneord

  • Empowerment, Common Initiative Groups, self-confidence, material resources, productivity,
  • dynamic rural communities, poverty, Structural adjustment programmes, Economic recession