Eric Ambe Asoh MSc.

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PhD Thesis

"Socio-economic determinants of land degradation in farmlands - Southern Cameroon"

Abstract

Abstract

It is imperative to note particularly in the fertile zones of farmlands in southern Cameroon that restoration of soils has relatively high success rate if left alone for time stretches of between 5 to 10 years. However, this is not likely to happen as long as the population of this part of the country keeps growing and people are faced with no other choice to sustain living than to turn to cultivation. The problem of soil erosion is well known in Africa, with up to 40 tons/ha/year (HAAN et al.) What is perhaps less known is the accumulated damage which is often caused by combination of grazing, collection of fuel-wood and cropping

Many factors have been identified that limit the motivation of smallholder farmers to invest in the improvement of the fertility of their agricultural lands. In addition to factors such as extreme poverty, lack of access to credit, the World Bank (2006) has equally identified insecure tenure as a factor that contributes to the inadequate investment in maintaining the soil capital. Many other sources have also voiced concerns related to tenure security and investment decision on soil fertility (D'HAESE, 2009; HEERINK, 2005; KAGWANJA, 2006; BATIONO et al., 2004; DE JAGAR, 2005 and WORLD BANK 2006). Shifting cultivation according to D'HAESE (2009) is frequently associated with insecure control over land and has been linked to soil erosion and other environmental problems in several developing countries, partly because there are few incentives to invest in practices that maintain the soil.

What this research seeks to investigate is the Socio-ecological determinants of land degradation in farmlands- Southern Cameroon. The study will employ desk and field research for data collection. A disciplinary approach will be used in the study, based on secondary data collection from the Ministry of Agriculture, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and private advocates and smallholder farmers in Southern Cameroon. The primary data collection will be done through detail interviews with smallholder farmers and stakeholders involved in agriculture in Cameroon. There will be review of relevant literature to give background situation of farmland degradation in Cameroon. This dissertation will target farmlands degradation from socio-ecological stand point. The study is aimed to be directed to smallholder farmers in Cameroon and in the politics of agricultural production in Cameroon.

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