Rural cattle market near Acha, Cameroon.
Photo: Tobias Feldt
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Growing human populations and rapid urbanisation are associated with a higher demand for fresh vegetables and animal-based products, which should theoretically be satisfied by local farmers from the surrounding regions. However, global and transregional trade as well as development initiatives often lead efforts in the wrong direction, rather hindering than strengthening rural-urban linkages. And so, in Cameroon, the dairy and meat market has been biased and requires systematic improvement.

With almost 400,000 inhabitants as of 2018, Bamenda is the fast-growing capital of Cameroon’s Northwest Region – an area that today has gradually become the focus of international attention due to on-going violence in the context of independence attempts by the country’s two Anglophone regions. Irrespective of the current conflict, the area around Bamenda is one of the most densely populated parts of Cameroon and has become one of the country’s most important regions both for crop and livestock production thanks to its fertile volcanic soils, cooler temperatures and its long, extensive rainy season which ensures rich vegetation almost year-round. However, the expansion of agricultural production promoted by national and international initiatives has not necessarily led to enhanced food security for local populations, in particular for producers.

Rural and peri-urban crop farmers are gradually using larger areas for growing cash crops such as maize, potatoes and other vegetables. While most of the harvest is meant to supply urban markets inside and outside the region or even the country, very little is used for local consumption, if at all.

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