Land as a Pre-Condition to Access the National Maize Support Program in Cameroon

A study of Exclusion in the North West Region

Master's Thesis, 2009

66 Pages, Grade: 85.0%





List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Acronyms


Relevance to Development Studies


Chapter 1 Research Context and Setting
1.1 General Introduction
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Conceptual/Analytical Framework
1.3.1 Social Exclusion
1.3.2 Land Tenure Institutions, Asset Ownership and Processes of Group Formation
1.4 Methodology of the Research
1.4.1. Choice and location of the research site
1.4.2 Procedure for selecting groups (cases) and informants
1.4.3 Techniques of data collection
1.4.4 Secondary Sources
1.5 Field Difficulties and Limitations of the Study

Chapter 2 NSPMS: Rationale, Assumptions and Grant Conditions
2.1 Rationale of NSPMS
2.2 Conditions for access to maize grants
2.2.1 Show proof of land or permanent access to land.
2.2.2 Be a Farming Group
2.3 Situation of Grants disbursed to farmers in 2008

Chapter 3 The African Land Tenure Question and Access to Land in Tubah
3.1 A brief review of the land question in Africa
3.2 Cameroon as an example: A brief historical overview
3.2.1 Genesis of a dual but distinctively blurred land tenure system
3.3 The land tenure question and issues of access in Tubah.
3.3.1 Three cases of discrimination from access to land in Tubah
3.3.2 The land market in Tubah

Chapter 4 Confronting NSPMS Assumptions with the Land Question in Tubah
4.1 Exclusion involved in NSPMS’s assumptions about farmers’ access to land
4.1.1 Land tenure institutions as a vehicle of social exclusion
4.1.2. Processes of group formation as a mechanism of social exclusion
4.2 Which groups and categories of farmers showed higher tendencies of being excluded?
4.2.1 The disadvantaged and deprived
4.2.2. The discriminated

Chapter 5 Conclusion and Policy Implications
5.1 Conclusion
5.2 Policy Implications




This paper is dedicated to all African women who have been rendered landless by cultural discrimination.


The completion of this paper would not have been possible without the varying contributions of my sponsors, supervisors, discussants, lecturers and informants. In this respect, I am indebted to them and wish to hereby appreciate their support.

Firstly, my profound gratitude goes to my supervisor Prof. Dr Marc Wuyts who took time to direct this research work. I am indeed grateful that amidst his busy schedule, he sacrificed time for me, patiently reading through the drafts both at the design and report stages. Furthermore, I heartily thank Dr. Max Spoor whose keen and critical corrections broaden my perspective on looking at the question of land tenure and social exclusion.

I also thank Dr. John Cameron for the insistence on listening to silences during focus group discussions. This so much helped me during data collection where farmers expressed bitterness against the National Support Program to the Maize Sub-Sector (NSPMS) by being silent.

Furthermore, I appreciate all my distinguished respondents who kept me informed of field realities and, without whose collaborations, the realization of this work would be impossible. Finally, I thank my sponsors, the Women Leadership Scholarship without whose financial assistance, this research would have remained a dream.

List of Tables

Table 1: Population distribution of Tubah according to the Population Census

Table 2: Total number of micro- projects received from FG in Tubah between (2006-2008)

Table 3: Forms of land conflicts in Tubah

Table 4: Major ways of access to land in Tubah

List of Figures

Figure 1: A Venn diagram illustrating intersection of group membership within groups.

Figure 2: A Venn diagram illustrating access to eligibility for the NSPMS grant scheme

List of Acronyms

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


This paper explores the question of how the land tenure system in the North West Region of Cameroon affects rural farmers’ access to the National Support Program to the Maize Sub-Sector (NSPMS) in Cameroon. It does this by confronting NSPMS’s assumptions about farmers’ access to land with, the land tenure question existing in the Region. The paper uses an analytical framework which links land tenure institutions, processes of group formation and social exclusion to challenge these assumptions. Principally, NSPMS assumes that, access to land is not a problem for all farmers if they organize themselves into Farming Groups (FG). This paper questions this assumption and treats it as being highly problematic and exclusionary for a program which aims at reducing rural poverty.

Rather, this paper argues that, following the nature of the African land question, traditional chiefs do not mainly administer land for the benefit of their subjects in an era of increased land commoditization. Traditional land administration in this era is highly knitted into economic and social relations of power and status which thus suggest high risks of discrimination and exclusion. As such, the paper seeks to add to the knowledge of how mechanisms of social exclusion could be rooted in land tenure institutions but go unnoticed and, continue to further nurture other forms of disadvantage, inequality, exclusion and great vulnerability to acute poverty. This paper locates itself within Shivji’s (2008) line of argument which points to the fact that, beyond the agrarian question in Africa is a land question.

The findings of this research suggest disparities between; expectations of NSPMS in their grant making assumptions and, field realities experienced by small scale maize farmers. Instead, there was group polarization. FG’s which had land were all made of people of similar social status in terms of their privileged position to access land while, landless groups were mostly made of socio-culturally discriminated categories of farmers. In this regard, there was no mixed group (both landless farmers and landlords) which had received grants. Only the polarized landed groups made of landlords had received grants.

Ensuing from this divide therefore, this paper concludes by questioning the adoption of FG as a strategy to include majority of landless maize farmers by NSPMS. Rather, this paper is of the stance that, with the current land tenure question and, NSPMS grants conditions, there seem to be the gradual emergence of a classed rural society made up of landlords and the landless.

This is because, the blurred mix of customary and statutory tenures provides for lobbying and ‘land grabbing’ by the elite and, NSPMS through its grant making scheme is rather reinforcing the class situation by adding other forms of capital to the landlords while the landless are progressively being excluded from such capital accumulating programs.

Relevance to Development Studies

Poverty and its eradication is one of the core concerns of development studies and literature on the subject tends to conceptualize rural poverty mainly as a lack of resources. Thus, efforts towards its reduction have often been to give the poor these resources. However, even when these resources are distributed, the poor continue to find it hard to access them. By analyzing how inequalities imbedded in social institutions tend to deprive and exclude the poor from accessing resources distributed by NSPMS, this research seeks to, contribute to the re-conceptualization of rural poverty as a socio-political process imbedded in societal institutions.


[Land question, discrimination, access, social exclusion, resources, rural poverty reduction, national food security]

Chapter 1 Research Context and Setting

1.1 General Introduction

In recent years, while the conceptualization of rural poverty is often considered to be a lack of resources by the poor, literature on the African land tenure question has often presented the continent as one with abundant land and not experiencing a land tenure question like other societies in Asia and Latin America. With this conceptualization and, basing on such a projection of the continent, most governments tend to design and implement rural poverty reduction programs on the grounds that, access to land is not a major obstacle for the poor in Africa. This paper seeks to analyze the exclusion involved in such assumptions with a focus on NSPMS, a national rural poverty reduction program in Cameroon which aims at supporting farmers by giving them other productive resources.

Under this support program, it is considered that, access to land is not a major problem for rural farmers. Rather, rural farmers are seen as not organized enough to access land because; a FG can always access land if it wants. Thus, farmers’ problem is not lack of access to land but, a lack of organization. From this perspective therefore, NSPMS through their grant conditions emphasize that, all farmers whether landed or landless should form FG because as a FG, access to land is not a problem. In which case, all farmers both landlords and the landless can access these grants to improve their livelihood. However, like Peters (2004) indicates, literature on the land struggle in African countries suggests a land question expressed as a land tenure question which this paper will use to confront and challenge NSPMS’s assumptions such as to expose the exclusionary processes involved in these assumptions.

To do this, the paper is structured in five chapters. Chapter one presents the research context, exploring aspects like the research problem, objective and questions, analytical framework, methodology and limitations of the study.

Chapter two presents NSPMS, its rationale, grant conditions as well as a critical review of its assumptions about: farmers’ access to land and their ability to freely form or join FG. Chapter three reviews the African land question as a land tenure question using Cameroon as an example. This chapter also examines access to land in Tubah by critically discussing it’s land tenure question . Chapter four confronts NSPMS assumptions with the land question in Tubah such as to analyze exclusion by questioning who has the land, who belongs to farming groups, who gets the grants and who is excluded. This chapter points to exclusionary processes involved between access to land, belonging to farming group, being eligible to apply for the grants and finally, obtaining the grants. It also gives a glance at other exclusionary processes involved in the process. Finally, Chapter five presents an analytical conclusion with a guess on policy implications.

1.2 Problem Statement

The fight against poverty is an issue of global concern and, poverty reduction strategies range from local community based to, national and international approaches. In Cameroon, a ‘sectoral’ approach is adopted in strategizing poverty reduction (PRSP, 2003). This approach has been common place since Cameroon’s admission as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) in 2000. In this approach, the agricultural sector is said to be of prime importance to the Cameroonian economy (Fondjong, 2004: 1) since it employs 59% of the active population. However, 85% of the poor in Cameroon live in rural areas and derive their livelihoods from agriculture (DSDSR, 2003:2-3).As such the government identified the rural agricultural sector as a key sector in reducing rural poverty (PRSP, 2003).

In the sector’s strategy, it is stipulated that, the government should stay out of all direct production activities while supporting ‘private operators to foster production, secure population revenue and food security by modernizing production equipments through medium and long term financing among others’ (PRSP,2003:xiii). With this in focus, NSPMS1 considered to be the priority program for the development of the rural sector was launched in October 2004. NSPMS seeks to develop group production activities by providing financial, technical and material inputs alongside commercialization channels and negotiations such as to increase production and maximize all opportunities in the sector while increasing farmers’ revenues (NEPAD, 2004).

The development of group production is based on the assumption that, when organized as a group, farmers can mutually reinforce each other and, landless farmers can benefit access to land which otherwise will be impossible (Kengné, 2003). In this way, group production is one of the most effective ways of reaching out to majority if not, all farmers in a community (ibid.)

From this perspective, NSPMS on the one hand supports rural maize farmers on the conditions that, they are legally registered as farming groups, have an account with a Credit Union or a Bank2, show proof of land ownership or permanent access and, apply for the grants. These conditions hold whereas, on the other hand, Cameroon as demonstrated by Fisiy (1992) is one of those African countries where the distinction between statutory and customary land tenure is blurred providing formal legal recognition of customary rights and IFAD (2008:Homepage) further emphasis concerning land tenure that ‘unclear or conflicting systems (e.g. customary versus statutory land rights) often culminate in the loss of land rights for the poorest and most vulnerable’.

Furthermore, while this dual land tenure system remains so far untouched, the countryside has witnessed an increase in the number of national and international organizations3 which assist farmers based on their organization as FG. Yet, as (Mengue, 2004) indicates, poverty in Cameroon continues to be mainly rural and, between 2001 and 2007, rural poverty has even increased from 52.1% to 55.0% with around 60% of peasants and cattle farmers in rural areas being poor (NIS, 2008). Also, further warnings are being made that, ‘if the trend of maize production is not reversed within the shortest time possible, the country will witness a maize deficit of some 330.000 tons by the year 20124 ’(Afrique Avenir, homepage).

In this respect, the objective of this paper is to analyze how, in an attempt to include majority of maize farmers in its grant scheme, NSPMS has rather made exclusionary assumptions about access to land for these farmers. As such, given that NSPMS emphases proof of group land as an indispensable condition for access to grants, this paper focuses on the question: how does the land tenure system existing in the Northwest Region of Cameroon affect access to grants for maize production by rural farmers? In other words, how does the land tenure system affect who gets what and, who is left out? To systematically research this question, the following sub-questions were posed:

1. What modalities does NSPMS assume about access to group land in their grant making scheme and why?
2. Does the land tenure system in the North West Region provide access to land for all groups without discrimination?
3. Do farmers freely form or join farming groups without constraints?
4. Which groups have received grants, which ones are excluded and why?
5. Do all groups which have access to land receive grants? If not why?

Given the objective of this paper and the central question guiding the research, it is important to mention the perspective from which the question will be explored and analyzed. In this regards, some concepts relating the question have been employed and interlinked to serve in the analysis of field findings. These will be the subject of the next paragraphs.

1.3 Conceptual/Analytical Framework

1.3.1 Social Exclusion

The concept of social exclusion which evolved from the Western world (Saith, 2001) has gradually gained grounds in present day development literature. It approaches poverty analysis more from a social perspective than an individualistic one (Wuyts, 2004:14). It is defined by the EU to be, ‘the process through which individuals or groups are wholly or partially excluded from full participation in the society in which they live’ (Kabeer, 2005:1). However, this definition may not be exactly transferred as an operational definition for analysis (Kabeer, 2000) in a developing country like Cameroon which presents a rather different social and structural situation.

In the context of this paper therefore, social exclusion would be employed as being, the social dynamics of how disadvantage works to exclude the poor from access to resources which might in turn lead to further disadvantages and exclusions (Wuyts, 2004). It would therefore be incomplete to reduce social exclusion to the ‘Idiosyncratic preferences or aberrational behavior on the part of some individuals toward others’ (Kabeer, 2005: 4).

Rather, the concept of social exclusion as applied in this paper exceeds the later and includes ‘an institutionalized form of inequality, the failure of a society to extend to all sections of its population the economic resources and social recognition which they need in order to participate fully in the collective life of the community’ (ibid.). Analyzing farmers exclusion from access to NSPMS grants in this paper therefore entails looking at how land tenure institutional rules, processes of resource distribution by NSPMS or traditional chiefs(in the case of land) and, social relationships among: landed and landless farmers, landless farmers and chiefs, tend to determine access to and, recognition within NSPMS grant making scheme.

This concept is chosen for an analytical framework for this study because, ‘it emphasizes multiple and reinforcing aspects of deprivation, process and relational issues, and the role of institutions’ (Conway, 2002:1). Furthermore, it focuses on ‘quite two distinct understandings of disadvantage: one relating to lack of resources “what people have” and, the other identity-based discrimination, “who they are” [in social relations] thereby, offering a perspective which draws attention to the overlap between these different experiences of disadvantage’ (Kabeer, 2005:3). This concept is therefore relevant in analyzing access to NSPMS grants under a land tenure question which presents both institutional and relational dimensions.

From an institutional point of view, land tenure consists of, ‘land rights and the institutions that determine, administer, regulate and enforce those rights’ (Moyo, 2003: 18). As an institution therefore, land tenure sets rules that regulate issues access, use and control of land. In other words, land tenure systems ‘determines who can use what resources for how long and under what conditions’ (ibid.). In this respect, since land is an asset upon /or with which a livelihood is constructed, tenure institutions by defining who can use what resources, for how long and, under what conditions, put limitations on the choice scope of livelihood strategies available to individuals in society (North 1990) in (Baye, 2008). These limitations ‘wholly or partially exclude groups or individuals from full participation in the society in which they live through the process of social exclusion’ (Eufoundation, 1995) in (Laderchi et al., 2003: 258). As such, land tenure which concerns the social relationships in the control and allocation of land can be a tool for discrimination and exclusion since tenure relations are intertwined and related to other institutions and social structures which tend to impose management institutions and rules for access to other resources.

In this regard, employing the concept of social exclusion for analysis in this research further enables us to ‘connect notions such as poverty, deprivation, lack of access to assets, goods and services [while allowing for,] a better under- standing of poverty as a process that involves multiple agents as well as institu- tions’ (skalli, 2003:75). Thus, ‘the analysis of social exclusion lends itself to the study of structural characteristics of a society and the situation of groups that can generate and characterise exclusion’ (Laderchi et al., 2003:260).

In my analysis, I consider social exclusion as a socio-dynamic process embed- ded into societal institutions and structures and, enhanced by the type of social relations which exist between people particularly, relations between different groups and categories. This then enables me to identify the social processes linking lack of access to land, being deprived from access to FG and, being excluded from access to NSPMS which, may further lead to other disadvan- tages and vulnerability to acute poverty.

1.3.2 Land Tenure Institutions, Asset Ownership and Processes of Group Formation

Generally, access to one resource determines access to the other. Tenure insti- tutions which limit people’s access to land tend to precondition their exclusion from livelihood strategies which require land. Social exclusion thus becomes the result of a series of exclusions and, at the same time is ‘a dynamic proc- ess, best described as descending levels: where some disadvantages lead to some exclusion which in turn leads to more disadvantage and more exclusion and ends up with persistent multiple (deprivation) ’(Laderchi et al., 2003:258).

Furthermore, as the literature on group formation suggest, the very process of group formation can be exclusionary (Thorp et al.,2005). Generally, groups are either open or closed. While open groups like political parties and social movements achieve their objectives by expanding their membership and being largely inclusive, closed groups like professional associations (FG) rather achieve their objectives by restricting group membership on the basis of some agreed rules and institutions (Kabeer, 2005). The agencies and actions of some category of people within a given society therefore exclude others and these dynamics tend to impact on the present and future prospects of victims. This approach to social exclusion therefore provides an ‘integrated and dynamic analytical perspective which reveals the processes, agency, and multidimensionality of disadvantage’ (CERED, 1997 in Skalli, 2003:75).

However, although the analysis of social exclusion opens up for exposure of the social processes and dynamics that make certain groups or categories of people disadvantaged and deprived from accessing certain resources to im- prove their livelihood, the approach presents a few analytical limitations. This approach might not adequately furnish us with tools to exactly measure the number of people excluded from accessing NSPMS grants because, it deals more with social relationships and inequalities between groups than with, indi- vidual characteristics of poverty and lack of access to resources (Wuyts, 2004). Nonetheless, this approach seemed most appropriate for this study because the paper sought to understand social processes that prevented some groups or categories of farmers from accessing NSPMS grants. Having said this, it is im- portant to elaborate on the methodology of this research.

1.4 Methodology of the Research

This research collected data from both primary and secondary sources using mostly, qualitative techniques. For primary data collection, the research site was Tubah Sub-Division in the North West Region of Cameroon. In the paragraphs that follow, a brief justification for the choice and, location of the research site, procedures and reasons for selecting cases as well as, the research techniques are elaborated upon.

1.4.1. Choice and location of the research site

The field work of this research took place in the months of July and August 2009 in Tubah Sub-Division of the North West Region of Cameroon. Firstly, the North West Region was chosen from among eight maize producing regions in Cameroon because, during the years, (1974-1985) when land registration and titling was common place5, majority of land certificates in the country were obtained for pieces of land located in this region. A total of 1,502 land certificates were issued by 1985 but of this number, mainly two groups of people (State Elites and Business men who could access the information, importance, and procedures of titling) owned 82.8 %( 1244 of 1502) of the titles while, farmers accounted for 4.9 % with a total of 74 titles and, other categories 13.3 % (Fisiy, 1992).Today , ‘boundary disputes and land appropriation are among the major kinds of rampant conflicts in the Region ‘(GP-DERUDEP, 2006:19).

This region is however multi-ethnic. This suggests a broad variation in customary land tenure systems across ethnic groups. To this effect, the research focuses on Tubah Sub-Division which is endowed with a road network, market and agricultural research centers which are assumed to be economic, social and technical motivating factors for farmers.

Tubah is located in Mezam Division in the North West Region of Cameroon. It is situated between several Sub-Divisions; Belo, Bafut, Santa, Bamenda, Balikumbat and Ndop central. ‘Hemmed in between so many Sub- Divisions means having so many boundaries, a likely source of conflict’ ( Monographic Study, 2001:40). It is made up of five villages among which, one’s (Finge) appellation as a village is an issue of contention within the Sub- Division due to land disputes. As such, some official sources like (ibid.) record the Sub-Division as having four ‘main’ villages while others omit the word ‘main’ and rather prefer to say it has five villages. In this paper, because it seeks to analyze land tenure and exclusion, the later position is taken and these villages include: Bambui, Bambili, Kedjum Keku ( Big Babanki), Kedjum Ketinguh (Small Babanki) and, Finge.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that the government of Cameroon has not yet released the results of the third General Housing and Population Census (GHPC) conducted in 2005, it is difficult to say what the present population of Tubah Sub-Division is. This information was vital for a paper like this which deals with the land tenure question and exclusion. It would have been helpful to get the population density of the region such as to better understand issues of land scarcity. Thus, the paper fails to bring out this. However, according to population results of the 1987 GHPC, Tubah Sub-Division as of then was inhabited by a population of about 68,000 people with 51% females and 49% males distributed as follows:

Table 1: Population distribution of Tubah according to the 1987 Population Census

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: ( Tubah Monographic Study, 2001)

Recent population projections for all the villages could not also be found except for Bambui which was projected to a population of 26348 inhabitants by 2004, made of 14348 females and 12000 males. This projection suggested a population density of 354 inhabitants /Squared Kilometres in Bambui (Angong, 2005:14). Also, the population of Finge village as earlier mentioned is absent from the table above and no information was available on whether this population was merged with that of Bambui or explicitly left out.

Similarly, no information on the total surface area of the Sub-Division was obtained. Nonetheless, Angong (2005) reports that the land surface for Kedjom Keku is 108 square Kilometers and that of Bambui is 85 square Kilometers. Finally, both spaced and grouped settlements are observed within the Sub-Division today.

1.4.2 Procedure for selecting groups (cases) and informants

The process was four-fold in descending order according to the agricultural administrative hierarchy of the Region.

Firstly, a list of all groups that have applied for grants whether granted or not was obtained from both the Regional and Divisional offices of NSPMS. After this, four groups from thirty nine were purposefully selected from both group categories (three groups that received grants and, one that did not receive grants). Concerning the strategy to choose the groups, a purposeful selection was done based on: the gender of the group leader and/or his/her social status ( either traditional which conveys a relative authority in terms of customary land tenure, or Political/professional which conveyed their capacity to lobby).

Secondly, a list of all maize farming groups whether or not they had applied for grants was obtained from the Sub-Divisional Delegation of Agriculture and Rural Development (SDDARD) Tubah. This was to access even groups that had never applied for grants. At this stage, two groups from a total of ten were selected to find out their reasons for not applying (one landed and the other landless).

Thirdly, visits were made to the village farmers union to find out maize farming groups so as to sort out those groups which did not even feature in any of the two hierarchical levels mentioned above. The objective was also to find out why they have not applied for the grants. Here, one landless group from the six that were not found on the SDDARD list was selected. Thus, at the three different levels, a total of seven FG were selected.

Finally, to get the first individual non grouped maize farmer, the president of the farmers union was asked to indicate an individual maize farmer who is not a member of a group. After the first individual farmer, snow balling was used to select 19 other individual maize farmers. At the end of the process, it was discovered that, among the 20 individual farmers selected, five of them were landlords with plots between (4-8 hectares) who farmed on their own plots, nine owned farm plots ranging between (0.2 and 0.4hectares) and mainly rented land for maize cultivation and, six of them were completely landless and begged or rented land for maize farming.

1.4.3 Techniques of data collection

This research employed both qualitative and quantitative techniques of data collection. Qualitative research techniques used included Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and, in-depth interviews. These techniques were chosen because, the major concepts of the research land tenure and exclusion were operationalised in a more qualitative way such that, the use of quantitative techniques like surveys would not have informed us enough.

Furthermore, the research sought an in-depth understanding of various aspects of farming groups as well as their experiences. Quantitative data was obtained from secondary sources. Also, some qualitative field findings were quantified and tabulated.

More precisely, FGD were used to collect information from farming groups with, group membership being the identifying criteria. However, conscious of the diversity and, gender sensitivity that does occur during such discussions, different focus groups were done with women, youth and, mixed farming groups. A total of seven FGD each made of a number between 7-10 participants and, lasting 90 minutes were conducted. Of these, three FGD were for participants who have land and had received grants, two for those that do not have land at all, one for those that have land but have not applied for grants and, one with those that have land, have applied but did not receive grants.

Key informants and in-depth interviews were used to get information from traditional chiefs, landlords of farming groups, officials of: NSMSP and MINADER. Two hours long in-depth interviews were conducted with a total of 12 people. Three Fons, three extension workers, the delegate of SDDARD, three personnel from NSPMS, two landlords of FG. Also, twenty individual farmers who do not belong to any FG were interviewed each lasting between (60-90 minutes) Nonetheless, these techniques of primary data collection have their own repercussions and implications on the findings of this research. Since data was collected mainly from a few cases selected purposefully, claims to generalize the findings of this research are limited or, near impossible. It is also important to caution here that the language used in the field for both FGD and in-depth interviews was ‘Pidgin-English’ not pure English so, there might have been some loss of information in the process of reporting in English.

1.4.4 Secondary Sources

Secondary data was obtained from;

- Working documents of NMSP,
- Documents on the statutory land tenure of Cameroon. In some cases, there was no updated information from these sources to complement primary data.
- Finally, journals articles, academic books, and professional web pages, were consulted.

1.5 Field Difficulties and Limitations of the Study

The process of data collection was not without difficulties. We encountered refusals and silences. Some of these refusals as indicated below were a consequence of previous researches.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Also, one of the focus group discussions was aborted and ended up in a one person discussion. This was the case with one of the supported groups in Kedjom Keku which was selected at the Divisional office of NSPMS and upon arrival in the field, group members could not be traced. When the situation was reported to the office, I was called to an office where the concerned said, Why did you go to the field straight? Interview me, that lady who is indicated as the group president does not have a phone and so cannot be reached. I am the group delegate and own the land which the group uses for maize cultivation. I know all about the group. I can give you all the necessary information (Interview with Group ‘delegate’ of a maize supported group in Kedjom Keku , external elite and resident in Bamenda town on the 4th..08.09).

In this regard, information obtained about the group from my point of view was not so reliable since, other members experiences were not included in the discussion. Another major difficulty of this research was lack of updated statistics on key aspects like the population of Tubah. This constituted a serious bottle neck in determining the population density of the Sub-Division which is essential to a land tenure related research.

Furthermore, these grants are HIPC resources which demand accountability to international donors and funders. As such, financial and time consuming bureaucratic processes surrounded access to official information from the program. Added to these difficulties are the following limitations.

The paper does not:

- analyze the bureaucratic and structural set ups surrounding the legal registration of FG,
- analyze other selection procedures of beneficiary groups from the pool of eligible applicants,
- analyze how grants have impacted on the livelihood of group members.

Rather, this paper strictly focuses on issues of land tenure and exclusion of maize farmers from participating in, and benefiting from the NSPMS scheme. It examines issues such as: eligibility criteria for belonging to farming groups, how farming groups negotiate for access to group land, the tenure conflict between statutory and customary tenure in the context of access to group land, and finally, which groups are more prone to receiving grants.

It is admitted that, the aforementioned difficulties and limitations have repercussions on the completeness of information found in this paper and that; the quality of information contained herein would have been enriched if these aspects were elaborated. However, due to constraints such as time and paper word limit, nothing more could have been done. The information in this paper can therefore not be considered the ultimate knowledge of all exclusionary mechanisms surrounding farmers’ access to grants from NSPMS.

Having said these, the next chapter presents NSPMS with its grants conditions such as to; enable the understanding of what the program is all about, It’s assumptions about access to land for rural farmers and, how it seeks to reduce poverty among them.

Chapter 2 NSPMS: Rationale, Assumptions and Grant Conditions


This chapter presents NSPMS with a further emphasis on its assumptions about access to land for rural maize farmers and, the eligibility criteria for access to these grants. These assumptions and criteria are further critically questioned given that; NSPMS is considered to be a national priority program for the rural sector in Cameroon.

2.1 Rationale of NSPMS

In the context of the HIPC initiative in Cameroon, a large share of the resources is being disbursed through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) to various farmer support programs. Among these programs is NSPM which is an initiative of MINADER and was approved by the HIPC consultative and follow-up committee on the 6th of October 2004 (NEPAD, 2004). Its activities kicked off in June 2005 and, is said to ‘fall within the millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce by half the number of poor people by the year 2015’ (NSPMS, 2006:1). It aims at improving maize food production as well as incomes of maize farmers. As such, the contribution of the sub-sector towards food security and producers income cannot be overemphasized (ibid.1). It is considered to be the priority sub- sector which involves ‘all actors’ meaning that;

At least every rural farmer in the maize producing region of the country cultivates maize. Thus, the maize sub-sector is therefore of prime priority because intervention in the sub-sector will assist majority if not, all maize farmers (Interview with ‘Delegate’ of SDDARD Tubah on the 27th..07.09 in Bambui).

Thus, although there exists many programs6 which work with FG to eradicate rural poverty and improve farmers’ livelihoods in Cameroon, NSPMS was identified by rural actors and government as the priority program for the rural sector involving all actors and, capable of boosting farmers’ productivity, ensuring national food security and increasing farmers’ revenues (NEPAD, 2004) . On this hypothesis, NSPMS is said to be a rural poverty reduction program designed for all, even the poorest rural farmer in the region. This also justifies why NSPM was chosen for the present research. However, the claim ‘involving all actors’ as a rural poverty reduction program is what this paper seeks to analyze.

As a rural poverty reduction program, NSPMS aims at:

1) Providing technical and material support to farmers’ organizations in the areas of maize production, conservation and marketing.

2.) Providing support in the structuring of farmers organizations and the organization of the subsector. According to (Chai,2008), NSPMS does this by:

- Facilitating the use of quality seeds
- Providing support for the acquisition of production tools, marketing equipment and infrastructures.
- Building capacities of both maize seed producers and food maize pro- ducers
- Strengthening the structuring of the sub-sector and,
- Facilitating the supply of quality maize seeds to market

NSPMS has two arms, one which works with individual farmers and the other which works with FG known as the poverty eradication arm. The arm which works with individual farmers is mainly to increase maize seed production by training farmers to produce the new High Yielding Varieties (HYV) seeds which they argue it is more nutritious. This training is subsidized and farmers pay the seed multiplication training fee of 10,000FCFA (18€).

Farmers who show proof of larger pieces of land might apply for grants to engage in large scale seed production but funding is very limited for this because, the main aim of the program is to increase maize food production. The politics of these HYV, patenting and farmer dependency are quite interesting issues to look at but do not fall within the scope of this paper.


1 Best known by its French acronym (PNAFM) which represents Program Nationale d’appui á la Filliere Maize

2 Recent measure taken to curb corruption.

3 HIEFER project international promoting life stock rearing and, IFAD.

4 Original French version

5 common place because, before the introduction of SAPs, the transport, feeding and other expenses of the land and survey team were the responsibility of the Government but, during and after the structural adjustment period, all expenses in the process of land registration became the sole responsibility of land title applicants. This has further de- motivated most poor peasants from registering their lands. These unregistered lands by virtue of the 1974 land act are classified as national lands and in the Region, traditional chiefs are the administrators of these lands (GP-DERUDEP,2006)

6 Including the Plantain Project and, the National Program for the Development of Roots and Tubers

Excerpt out of 66 pages


Land as a Pre-Condition to Access the National Maize Support Program in Cameroon
A study of Exclusion in the North West Region
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Rural Livelihoods and Global Change
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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1310 KB
Land, Pre-Condition, Access, National, Maize, Support, Program, Cameroon, Exclusion, North, West, Region
Quote paper
Glory Manambowoh Lueong (Author), 2009, Land as a Pre-Condition to Access the National Maize Support Program in Cameroon, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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