Part of the animals sold directly end up in the city’s two official abattoirs, where about 30 to 35 cattle are slaughtered per day. Meanwhile, others are transported alive, either by truck or even on hoof, towards Douala, Cameroon’s largest city and economic hotspot. From this angle, one might think that beef production and marketing in and around Bamenda provides a good example of a successful rural-urban relationship: while the growing population demands more and more meat which – despite health and ecological reservations – is nowadays seen as the essential ingredient of almost every African meal, this demand is largely served by regional producers who can make a good living from it.

The reality, however, looks slightly different. Although the results of a study we carried out between 2017 and 2018 show that about 40 per cent of Mbororo pastoralists consider the sale of live animals as the major purpose of cattle keeping, only a small share of their herds actually ends up in the markets.