AMBIO

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 175–190 | Cite as

Crop Yield Gaps in Cameroon

Report

Abstract

Although food crop yields per hectare have generally been increasing in Cameroon since 1961, the food price crisis of 2008 and the ensuing social unrest and fatalities raised concerns about the country’s ability to meet the food needs of its population. This study examines the country’s potential for increasing crop yields and food production to meet this food security challenge. Fuzzy set theory is used to develop a biophysical spatial suitability model for different crops, which in turn is employed to ascertain whether crop production is carried out in biophysically suited areas. We use linear regression to examine the trend of yield development over the last half century. On the basis of yield data from experimental stations and farmers’ fields we assess the yield gap for major food crops. We find that yields have generally been increasing over the last half century and that agricultural policies can have significant effects on them. To a large extent, food crops are cultivated in areas that are biophysically suited for their cultivation, meaning that the yield gap is not a problem of biophysical suitability. Notwithstanding, there are significantly large yield gaps between actual yields on farmers’ farms and maximum attainable yields from research stations. We conclude that agronomy and policies are likely to be the reasons for these large yield gaps. A key challenge to be addressed in closing the yield gaps is that of replenishing and properly managing soil nutrients.

Keywords

Actual yields Cameroon Crop suitability Fuzzy set Maximum attainable yields Soil nutrients Yield gap 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work benefited from the kind support of a number of agricultural scientists in Cameroon to whom we are deeply grateful. Yields from experimental stations were supplied by the following: Dr. DK Njualem (IRAD Bambili) provided data for potato, cassava, and maize; Mboussi a Messia and Martin Tchuanyo (IRAD Ekona) provided data for sweet potato and beans; Fare Gilbert (IRAD Maroua) provided data for rice, groundnut, and sorghum. Thank You. This research was carried out within the framework of the Linnaeus Centre LUCID (Lund University Centre of Excellence for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability). We gratefully acknowledge the financial support to LUCID from the Swedish Research Council Formas.

Supplementary material

13280_2013_428_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (121 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 122 kb)

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Geobiosphere Science CentreLund UniversityLundSweden

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