Title Page
 Table of Contents
 A. Background information
 B. Objectives
 C. Research methodology
 D. Results: Environment and...
 E. Results: Meme crops
 F. Crop agronomy and utilizati...
 G. Conclusions and recommendat...

Title: Farming systems survey of Meme Division, South West Province, Republic of Cameroon
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082058/00001
 Material Information
Title: Farming systems survey of Meme Division, South West Province, Republic of Cameroon
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: National Cereals Research and Extension Programme
Place of Publication: Buea
Publication Date: 1987
Subject: Cropping systems -- Cameroon -- Meme (Division)   ( lcsh )
Food crops -- Cameroon -- Meme (Division)   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Cameroon
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082058
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 46785424
lccn - 2001345689

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    A. Background information
        Page 1
    B. Objectives
        Page 2
    C. Research methodology
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    D. Results: Environment and resources
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    E. Results: Meme crops
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    F. Crop agronomy and utilization
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    G. Conclusions and recommendations
        Page 57
        Page 58
Full Text

- I






Testing & Liaison Unit
Farming Systems Programme
Cereals Programme

National Cereals Research and Extension Programme

PMB 25, Buea
SWP Cameroon

? r //o/


S 1987 Farming Systems Survey of Meme Division, South West Province


Backgrounds In order to help IRA researchers on and off station direct tht:
work more towards the potentials and needs of food-crop farmers in the South
West and Littoral, the TLU at Ekona is undertaking a series of farming Aystems
surveys. The series began in 1986.

Objectives: To provide useful information to IRA breeders and agronomists, to
MINAGRI extension workers and planners, and to the TLU for its on-farm trial

Methods Preliminary analysis of Meme Division soils, climate and demographic
data was followed by a formal survey of 120 farmers in 24 villages of all but
ione of the most populated ecozones, coupled with qualitative description of
one to two fields per village. Statistical and qualitative results were com-
bined to produce a descriptive report based on differences by ecozone and
field type.

Results and Discussions Meme farmers grow food crops both for commercial and
subsistence purposes, and at least a third of the production of every major
crop is sold. Despite this, the technological level is quite low. Maior
inputs are still land and labour; purchased inputs are limited almost entirely
to labour. Chemicals and tools are scarce in quality as well as quantity.
Improved planting materials are almost non-existent, although much desired.
Crop protection chemicals and tools are in demand, but not fertilizers.

Meme crops in order of economic importance are plantains, yams, cassava.
itocoyams, taro, maize, bananas, groundnuts, egusi melons, beans, and potatoes.
Ordered by food energy, maize rises to third place and cassava to first. Co-
iCoyams are low in importance only because the root rot is devastating yield.
Plantain weevils and nematodes and maize stem borers and storaeg wptvvil are
the other serious pest/disease problems meriting focused research. Varietal
improvement in maize will increase the already existing marketing problems
.unless storage improvements are concurrent. The best existing markets are for
*plantains, cocoyams and yams (local and export) and cassava (local only).

Priority zones for agricultural research are the area stretching east-west
:from Kumba Town and the area around the Supe Escarpment. The former zone is
,land-scarce and is developing problems stemming from over-utilizatior; its
beavy soils and derivative planting methodn cr.-vt be replicated in IRA sta-
tion trials. The latter zone is rapidly increasing production and moving onto
inore acid and fragile granitic soils that are virtually unstudied, at least in
ithe Coastal Lowland Zone. Most of Tombel Sub-division is rich in agricultural
potential but held back by poor roads. Most of Bangem Sub-division is high-
land, and suffering already from over-utilization. The sedimentary areas of
Mbonge Council are highly productive for their size and can be benefitted by
existing IRA technology in cassava and yams already tested at Ekona's Yoke
fields. The accessible portion of Nguti Sub Division is not yet agricultural-
ly important.


This report is written to be used by many types of peo--
ple. Those with interest in a particular crop or crop
should scan sections D.1 and D.2 and E.1 and E.2. (en-
vironment, cropping systems and field management) as
well as the crop itself in section F. Administrators
with little time may want to start with the recommenda-
tions in section 6 and with sections At B, and D.1 and
D.2. Social scientists will be more interested in Sec-
tions C and D.




B. Background information . . . . .. . ..

i. Objectives ................. .. ..

. Research Methodology . . . . . ... .

p. Results: Environment and Resources . . . . . .

1. Meme Division . . . . . . . . .

2. Agro-ecological Zoning . . . . . . . .
The Kumba Corridor (7); Koupe zone (10); Bangem
zone (11); Sands zone (12); Nguti zone (12)

3. The Farming Household

4. Land . . . . .

5. Labour . . . . .

6. Cash Flow and Input Use

7. Extension . . . .

8. Livestock . . . .

9. Food Markets . . .

10. Perceptions of Farming

E. Results: Meme Crops . . . .

1. Cropping Systems . . .
Type I (28); Type II (31);

2. Field Management . . .

F. Crop Agronomy and Utilization .

*. a V

V V *

* * *

. * *

* * *

* * *
(10); ?vpe


. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

m m o o e o o m o a o



oe o o o e u



Type III (32); Type

. . . . . .

IV (33)

* . .

1. Maize . . . . . . . .
Importance (38); Ecozones (38); Associations (38); Field size (38),
Planting methods (39); Calendar (39); Varieties (39); Field
problems (40!; Processing and marketing (41); Storage (41)

. .. 37

. . .

. . . . . .

2. Cassava ....... . . . . . . . . . . 42
Importance (42); Ecozones (42); Associations (42); Field size (42);
Planting methods (42); Calendar (43); Varieties (43); Field
Problems (43); Processing and marketing (44); Storage (44)

3. Cocoyams . . . . . . . . ... . . . . ... 44
Importance (44); Ecozones (44); Associations (44); Field size (45);
Planting methods (45); Calendar (45); Varieties (45); Field
problems (45); Processing and marketing (46); Storage (46)

4. Taro . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . 46
Importance (46); Ecozones (46); Associations (47); Field size (47);
Planting methods (47); Calendar (47); Varieties (47); Field
problems (47); Processing and marketing (48); Storage (48)

5. Plantains and Bananas . . . . . . . . ... . . 48
Importance (48); Ecozones (48); Associations (48); Field size (49);
Planting methods (49); Calendar (49); Varieties (49); Field
problems (50); Processing and marketing (50)

6. Yams . . . . . . . . . . . ... . 51
Importance (51); Ecozones (51); Associations (51); Field size (51);
Planting methods (51); Calendar (51); Varieties (51); Field
problems (52); Processing and marketing (52); Storage (52)

7. Groundnuts . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . 52
Importance (52); Ecozones (52); Associations (53); Field size (53);
Planting methods (53); Calendar (53); Varieties (53); Field
problems (53); Storage (53)

8. Egusi Melon ... . . . . . . . . . . 54
loportance (54); Ecozones (54)t Asociations WI) Fietl Ms* 454);
Planting wthost <454> Calenldr (54) Vrlttes 45)0 Fltel
problems (54); Storage (54)

9. Beans . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Importance (55); Ecozones (55); Associations (55); Field size (55);
Planting methods (55); Calendar (55); Varieties (55); Field
problems (56); Storage (56)

10. Potatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Importance (56); Ecozones (56); Associations (56); Field size (56);
Planting methods (56); Calendar (56); Varieties and field problems

* Conclusions and Recommendations . . . ... .... . 57

1. Zones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
2. Management and investment . . . . . . . . . 57
3. Crops . . . . .. . . . . . . . . 58


erage Soil Characteristics on Farmers' Food-crop Fields at Survey Sites
in Meme Division, 1987 . . .. . . ....... . . 9
mographic Data Varying by Zone . . . . . . . . 15
?neral Characteristics of Meme Fields by Zone . . . . 16
'urs of Work per Person-day (Busy Season) by Age, Sex, and Zone . 18
,erage Household Crop Sales and Other Income Sources, by Zone . . 20
:tension Contacts, by Zone . . . . . . . . . 23
vestock Ownership, by Zone . . ......... . . 25
irket Distances, Transport and Prices, by Zone . . . . . 26
equent Associations between Crops, by Zone . . . . . . . 9
;rop Composition of Fields, by Field Type . . . . . ... 30
representation of Field Types in Total Area Planted to Each
Crop ... . . . . . . . . 30
leme Clearing and Planting in Meme Fields, by Zone . .. .. .. 35
Claimed and Actual Fallowing of Meme Fields (Types III and IV), by
Zone . . . . . . . . . . . ..... . . . 36
:rops Preferred by Meme Farmers in New, Old, and Tree Fields, by
Zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37


Weeded in One Person-day, by Field Type . . . . . . . .
ly Rainfall Variations in Kumba Town . . . . . . . 6


Division . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Principal Researcher: Susan W. Almy

Survey Team:

IRA-Ekona: Susan Almy, Magdalene Atungsiri, Esther Boya, Oscar Kange (driver);
MINAGRI-Meme: Simon Fosang, Jean Keubou, Peter Nchaye

Technical Assistance:

Augustine Aonsi (CSA, MINAGRI/Meme);
Patrick Kofi (Plantains/Ekona); Joseph Wutoh (Root Crops/Ekona);
Jan Hof, Frederic Tchuenteu and Jean Zambo (Soils/Ekona)

A. Background information:

The Testing & Liaison Unit (TLU) at Ekona is charged with determining the
utility of the technology developed by the Institute of Agronomic Research
(IRA) for food-crop farmers in the South West and Littoral Provinces; and with
bridging the gaps between IRA'researchers on the one hand,:, and farmers and
extension agents on the other. These two provinces are a root-crop and plan-
tain region, in which cereals play a relatively. minor role. Therefore the
Ekona TLU has been charged with addressing the problems of the entire system,
although with an emphasis on maize, the predominant cereal.

Until the TLU began work in this area, cereals breeders and agronomists
operating from Nkolbisson had to extrapolate from conditions in the Centre-
South to decide what to try in the coastal lowlands. Information on other
food crops was somewhat more available, because Ekona plantains and roct crops
researchers have access to local farmers, but their principal contacts natu-
rally tend to come from the Ekona subzone of Fako Division. Statistics on
provincial and divisional production and sales will become available with the
publication of the Ministry of Agriculture's Aqricultural Census of 1984, but
this will provide no diagnostic information and also cannot address the vari-
ety of ecological and socio-economic systems to be found inside the province.
A description of food-crop farmers and farms was imperative for the TLU's
work, and important for input to IRA work on-station.

Limited by resources, the Ekona TLU decided to start in Fako Division
(South West Province) in 1986, and to take on one more division each year. The
Meme Division survey was carried out in October-November 1987, and data col-

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 1

&C* c,,- tacton for tht Manyu and Ndian -uvru- -%s Eo4iduct-a tootty in April-May
7, 1998. A full provincial report will follow the release of thewdivisioial
S[3 .:,' reports by the and of 1988.

A uj B. Objectivess

1) to provide information on cropping systems and cultivation practices of
S principal food crops to guide on-farm and on-station agronomy and variety
S.i. trials for the Division;

S. 2) to provide information to the breeders (maize, cocoyam, cassava) on exis-
ting varieties, cropping systems, treatment in production and post-harvest,
Si field and storage problems and preferences;

S 3) to establish contact with the Ministry of Agriculture extension service and
with interested farmers, in preparation for on-farm trials and training;

4) to collect information of interest to the Divisional and Provincial Delega-
tions of the Ministry of Agriculture, to aid in their work.

C. Research Methodology:

This section is written for those with a particular interest in survey me-
thodology or in the validity of this survey. Others should skip to the next

Secondary data were collected to map soils, altitudes, rainfall, roads,
villages and towns in Meme Division, and supplemented by a road tour in the
company of staff from the Divisional Delegation of the Ministry of Agricul-
ture, and by discussions with the Divisional Agricultural Sector Chief (CSA).
These data were used to delineate nine potentially different agro-ecological
S zones, one of which (Upper Mbo) was inaccessible within the resources avai-

This preliminary data collection also induced certain modifications in the
original questionnaire applied in Fako Division, particularly a greater em-
phasis on the influence of cash crops on food cultivation. However, the final
questionnaire is very close in form and method of administration to the one
used in Fako.

The final instrument is eight pages long and takes an experienced enume-
rator an hour to an hour and a half to administer, depending on the farmer's
understanding and the complexity of his/her crops. It covers all food and
cash crops, their cropping system, land use and fallow, and for food crops,
agronomic methods, field losses and harvests, type and source of inputs, input
needs, storage, processing and marketing methods and difficulties, labour and
cash bottlenecks and solutions, extension contacts, and demographic data. The
enumerators were IRA and Ministry of Agriculture technicians.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 2

&C* c,,- tacton for tht Manyu and Ndian -uvru- -%s Eo4iduct-a tootty in April-May
7, 1998. A full provincial report will follow the release of thewdivisioial
S[3 .:,' reports by the and of 1988.

A uj B. Objectivess

1) to provide information on cropping systems and cultivation practices of
S principal food crops to guide on-farm and on-station agronomy and variety
S.i. trials for the Division;

S. 2) to provide information to the breeders (maize, cocoyam, cassava) on exis-
ting varieties, cropping systems, treatment in production and post-harvest,
Si field and storage problems and preferences;

S 3) to establish contact with the Ministry of Agriculture extension service and
with interested farmers, in preparation for on-farm trials and training;

4) to collect information of interest to the Divisional and Provincial Delega-
tions of the Ministry of Agriculture, to aid in their work.

C. Research Methodology:

This section is written for those with a particular interest in survey me-
thodology or in the validity of this survey. Others should skip to the next

Secondary data were collected to map soils, altitudes, rainfall, roads,
villages and towns in Meme Division, and supplemented by a road tour in the
company of staff from the Divisional Delegation of the Ministry of Agricul-
ture, and by discussions with the Divisional Agricultural Sector Chief (CSA).
These data were used to delineate nine potentially different agro-ecological
S zones, one of which (Upper Mbo) was inaccessible within the resources avai-

This preliminary data collection also induced certain modifications in the
original questionnaire applied in Fako Division, particularly a greater em-
phasis on the influence of cash crops on food cultivation. However, the final
questionnaire is very close in form and method of administration to the one
used in Fako.

The final instrument is eight pages long and takes an experienced enume-
rator an hour to an hour and a half to administer, depending on the farmer's
understanding and the complexity of his/her crops. It covers all food and
cash crops, their cropping system, land use and fallow, and for food crops,
agronomic methods, field losses and harvests, type and source of inputs, input
needs, storage, processing and marketing methods and difficulties, labour and
cash bottlenecks and solutions, extension contacts, and demographic data. The
enumerators were IRA and Ministry of Agriculture technicians.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 2

* Sampling was stratified by eco-zone and randomized within villages. In
each of the eight accessible zones, two to four villages were selected accor-
ding to population size. (In the end, reclassification of zones left none
with less than three villages.) Villages were selected to cover the geogra-
phical range of the zone and the variety of village sizes. Local extension
agents did the sampling, following instructions to start at one end of the
village or town quarter and select every tenth house, or its neighbor if the
tenth had no food-crop farmer working at least half-time. In all but one town
(claimed to have so fe,' farmers that this strategy would take a month to lo-
cate them), this procedure was followed. The number of non-farmers encoun-
tered in the process was factored into the population estimates per zone.

Although a Population Census was carried out in 1987, the results will not
be released for several years. In Fako, we had spent a month with the local
chiefs working out lists of food-crop farmers in each village sampled, but we
could not afford to do this farther afield. We worked from the Agricultural
Census estimates of number of farmers per Division, less 10% (since the Census
includes very small part-time farmers in urban or formal employment). We used
the Nominal Rolls to total the number of tax-payers in all the villages of
each zone, factored in the percentage of non-farmers encountered in each zone
during the sampling, and estimated the percentage of all Meme Division farmers
in each zone. All results reported for Meme as a whole are weighted by the
estimated size of farming population in each zone relative to the zonal sam-
ple. That is, the answers of a single Nguti farmer count less in the Meme
total than those of a single Kumba farmer.

Attempts were made to interview the farming couple together, and, failing
this, the woman, since she is the primary food-crop farmer. However, some
women absented themselves because of sickness, death celebrations or simply a
belief that their husbands should handle strangers coming about agriculture.
30% of the respondents were men alone, only 3% being unmarried. 31% were
women alone. Individual respondents were continually reminded to answer for
their spouses' concerns as well. "Families" or "households" were taken to be
the group living together in one house and sharing fieldwork. In fact, in
Meme very few families have polygamous arrangements within the same house,
although several respondents had attached single adults who were farming sepa-
rate fields in addition to helping with the family's.

While the interviewers were administering the survey questionnaire in five
farmers' homes, the team leader visited one to two fields picked as typical by
the local extension agent, together with the latter and the farmer, or some-
times her husband. Crop association patterns were described, densities measu-
red, soil taken for analysis, and the cropping and fallow history of the
field, clearing, land preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting sequence
described. Pests and diseases were described and often sampled, and healthy
cocoyams taken for the breeders' collection at Ekona. Farmer and agent were
also asked about local marketing, transport and access to inputs.

The TLU needed to approximate production and land area for purposes of
weighing relative importance of different crops and cropping patterns. South
West farmers have no conception of land area, and it was impossible to follow
the Census procedures (visiting every farm to measure it). In the Fako sur-

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 3

vey, people were asked how long it took to clear the land, and, during the
survey, one to two farms in each village were measured and compared to the
answers. Because of the differing vegetation and relief, time to clear turned
out to be totally unrelated to area. In Meme, the proxy chosen for land area
was based on the number of man-days required to weed a field in the first
weeding after planting. Again, the team leader measured sample fields and
compared with weeding time, this time controlling for field type.

It was discovered that weeding time varied much less, except for the forest
fields (Chart 1). Type I (cocoa/coffee farms) require less careful weeding
than II and III (mixed, unshaded food/tree farms and food farms), while Type
IV (heavily shaded food farms) grow few weeds and are seldom carefully weeded.
The weeding time was converted to area estimates by multiplying Type I fields
by 1.5 and Type IV by 3, and considering Types II and III to be roughly equi-

Chart 1: Area Weeded in One Person-day, by Field Type

Type Max Min Mean

IV 1 1 1 1 500 145 300

III 12 2 12 1 1 180 60 110

II 2 75 70. 75

I 2 145 150 150

5 10 15 206 25 300 350 400 450 500. mi

Once field area was estimated, we also needed a way to assign area per crop
under the normal intercropping situation. The 1984 Agricultural Census for-
mula1 was modified for this purpose. In it, each crop is given a standard
weight, and the area of a given crop for a given field is set equal to the
density of that crop times its weight, divided by the sum of the density-
times-weights of all the crops in that field, and multiplied by field area.
Because densities of secondary crops were not listed in the questionnaire, and
because a few farmers insisted on impossibly low or high densities for some
crops, modal densities were substituted for individually reported ones, and
measurements from the field visits were used for densities of secondary crops
(usually 10% of normal densities, but 20% for cassava and maize). As crop

SDirection Nationale du Recensement Agricole, Ministbre de l'Agricul-
ture. 1983. 1984 Agricultural Census (methodology). Yaounde. Offset.

e The farmer was asked to scratch out on the ground how far apart she
would put each seed group when planting, and was asked how many seeds or stems
per group would be planted.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 4

eights, the lowest recommended densities cited in Westphal et al.2 were used.

Production was measured by self-report of the farmers of the previous
ear's harvests. Units were the volumes carried out of the field or filled at
tome: baskets, standard market basins and tins, hand-trucks, mokutas (jute
,ags used for cocoa bean sales) and 20-10-10 50kg fertilizer bags. Baskets
ind non-standard basins were equated to one of the other measures by the far-
ter. Experimentation with water, grain and tubers led us to make a rough
'quation of one fertilizer bag to 2.5 tins, 1.67 basins, and .36 of a mokuta
ir hand-truck. Finally, volumetric units appropriate to each crop were
weighed in the market to arrive at approximate production figures. (The Agri-
:ultural Census of 1984 followed a similar procedure but weighed the units in
;he village and took reports of harvested quantities three times in the year.)

Although data on production and proxy data on land area has been col-
ected and is being reported, they should be regarded as estimates only, of
.ess accuracy than those provided by the Ministry of Agriculture censuses
iegun in 1984. The Census has concentrated large staff and technical resour-
:es on these two questions, whereas the survey reported here is focused pri-
tarily on opportunities and constraints, both agronomic and socio-economic,
*ather than quantification of present production.

Zoning was refined after the survey. Villages originally assigned to a
!one were compared with each other and with neighboring villages and their
!onal totals on a series of indicators: main crops, number of crops, timing
mnd nature of field operations, fallowing, densities, crop losses, ethnicity'
knd household size. Those differing from each other more than from their
neighbors were recombined, and neighboring zones were compared to determine if
they should be merged (as were the areas east and west of kumba Town). The
)nly real anomaly was the village of Ebonji, which follows a predominantly
(umba agronomic pattern on Koupe soil, bordering the two; it was classified
Into Vumba but omitted from the soils summaries.

D. Results: Environment and Resources:

1. Meme Division:

Meme Division, with 6510 square kilometers and a population of over 196.000
in 1976, is the most populated and second largest division in South West Pro-
vince. From the town of Kumba, a major commercial and industrial centre, and
the dense cacao-culture surrounding it, to the sparsely inhabited forests of
the northwest and the fantastically fertile and nearly inaccessible slopes in
the east, it is a study in contrasts. Mostly low-lying, rolling hills under
400m altitude, it contaii,s the northern slopes of Mt. Cameroon, the eastern
sector of the rugged Rumpi Hills, most of Mt. Koupe (2050m) and the western
half of Mt. Manengouba (2396m). The only highland agriculture is on Mt. Mane-

E. Westphal et al. 1?85. Cultures vivrieres tropicales avec refe-
rence special au Cameroun. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Pudoc.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 5

ngouba, since Meme farmers have not settled or planted above 700-800m else-

Large and small rivers flow throughout the division, providing space for
dry-season farming and hindrances to travel and communication. The rainfall
probably' only drops below 2300mm per year (the Kumba Town average) along the
Fako border, rising to about 3600mm on the eastern and western sides and per-
haps 3000mm in the north. The rains start about mid-March and continue
through October or later, with a peak in August and no mid-season break; there
is a slackening in June around Kumba but it is not considered sufficient to
dry a maize harvest.

Chart 2: Monthly Rainfall Variations in Kumba Town


2QO *


(Source: National Meteorological Service data 1928-70)

Except for the Buea-Kumba road, there is no tarmac in Meme, although the
continuation Kumba-Mamfe was prepared for tarmacking up to the Supe Escarpment
in 1986-7. In dry season most of the division is accessible by most vehicles.
Mt. Koupe, behind the entry town of Tombel, needs a high chassis and usually
:four-wheel drive. Upper Mbo, the eastern part of Nguti Sub-division, has no
,roads at all and the people usually trek to Western Province. The scattered
small villages on Mt. Cameroon have roads which require lengthy detours
through Ndian Division, and the little-populated border region between the
Korup National Forest and Nguti-Supe has few and rough roads. In rainy sea-
son, the mud makes Koupe, Bangem and important cacao areas in the Kumba Cor-
ridor inaccessible for days or even weeks at a time, and similarly blocks the
Mamfe road which passes through Supe and Nguti.

Large rubber estates, mostly owned by the Cameroon Development Corporation,
only take up a small portion of the area, primarily in areas west of Tombel,
west of Mbonge and south of Kumba. A much larger proportion of the agricul-
tural land two-fifths of the land in use has been put into cacao (26%) and
coffee (15%). This rises to 47% in the Kumba Corridor, creating shortages of
land for food crops.

Rainfall data is only available for Kumba Town and environs, Tombel,
and Ekondo Titi (Ndian, on the border). These estimates are partly based on
observation and discussion of local conditions relative to the nearest sites
with data outside the division.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 6

Urbanization also creates land shortages, and varies around the division.
27% of Tombel Sub-division is packed into the town of :Tombel. Although this
includes a sizeable non-farming contingent, farms in the immediate environs
are overutilized and plagued with pest build-ups. Kumba Town accounts for 16%
of Kumba Central's population, and there are large urban clusters at the coun-
cil seats of Konye and Mbonge. Nguti Sub-division has two large urban con-
centrations around major hospitals and schools, at Nguti and Manyemen, amoun-
ting to 15% of the population. Bangem Centre contains only 9% of its sub-
division's population, with no other urban clusters.

Meme has many indigenous groups Bafaw, Bakossi, Bassossi, Balong, Bakundu
and Barondo all of which, except the Bakossi and the Bassossi, are settled
throughout the region. Each village and town has a primary ethnic identifica-
tion, but 51% of settled farmers are from outside the Division, and 8% more
from outside their own ethnic villages inside Meme. Households are usually
based on a couple and their children, and the children's education is prized
above any advance in agriculture.

2. Agro-ecological Zoning:

Agro-ecozones are sub-regions that are sufficiently distinct from one ano-
ther in their farming goals and methods that they should be considered sepa-
rately in deciding on appropriate technology and extension. In the Meme sur-
vey, six zones were delineated, with an estimated 85% of the farming popula-
tion: the Kumba Corridor, a settled cocoa zone with 10.450 farming households;
Mount Koupe, a fertile forest zone with 2.500 farming households; Bangem, a
highland coffee zone with 2.100; Supe, a pioneer cocoa zone with 1.800; the
Sands zone (a continuation of Fako's), a sandy sedimentary, primarily lower-
rainfall zone with 1.100 farming households in Meme; and Nguti, a zone focus-
sed on hunting and urban concerns, with only 650. Areas omitted from the
survey are Upper Mbo (1.250 households), the northern Rumpi Hills (800) and
the variable north slopes of Mt. Cameroon (1.300), part of which should proba-
bly be classified with the Kumba Corridor.

The Kumba Corridor: The Corridor stretches from around Ebonji in Tombel Sub-
division, through Kumba itself, west to Mbonge on the border with Ndian Divi-
sion, both Ebonji and Mbonge being transitional areas. From Ekombe Three
Corners, it stretches northwest almost to the Ndian border beyond Big Ngwandi,
and south towards Mt. Cameroon as far as Barombi Koto. After Barombi Koto,
the transport becomes sufficiently poor that fewer people have sought or
stayed in the area for settlement. The soils are of volcanic lava origin,
recent to old, dark brown to brown clay, not too acid, with half the nitrogen
levels of Fako Division's volcanic zones but twice that of the Sands (see
Table 1). They vary in permeability and ease of tillage, being worst in areas
around, and to the south of, Ekombe. Kumba Town has farming areas of sandy
sedimentary soil intruded from the Sands zone to its south. The annual rain-
fall at the Town averages 2300mm, but it becomes higher towards both the eas-
tern and western borders, Lobe Estate (just beyond Mbonge) averaging 3600mm
and Tombel Town 3700mm.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 7




Nguti zne

0 Sub Divisions
0 Councils
0 Other Urban or -
sub-regiora -
X Survey site%-\
AP Agric. Post '*-
-- Adm. Boundary
... Zone Boundary





Upper vt

:J; --gi --


R1inno Nor ,

.* -- -o

1 \ Bnglm ze i
a I
I J/
.--- ,. / ,
,-- 1,
^ '. N L<.-I

, North IRupi


Koup zone




... . .




/ Sars zone


/ North Mt.
ca eroan

/ Muy4PCq









The most characteristic trait of the zone is the occupation of most of the
arable land by long-established cocoa and coffee plantations owned by indivi-
dual small farmers. Food crops are usually located within or on the borders
of tree fields, fallows are short or non-existent, and farmers worry about
future access to land for food. There is no unallocated land, and the vil-
lages almost touch one another along the roads.

Table 1: Average Soil Characteristics on
Sites in Meme Division, 1987"

Farmers' Food-crop Fields at Survey

The zone has attracted many immigrants throughout the century, due to its
central location along the Ekondo liti-Loum road and around Kumba Town, the
crossroads with the Buea-Mamfe road. Most have come from the highlands to
find land to grow cash craps; some still have wives farming food crops at
home. So maize and groundnuts are more important than in any other Meme zone,
and cassava, which is considered by many exhausting to the soil, is cropped
less and at low densities. Cocoyams7 and plantains suffer more from root rot
and borers than in less heavily used zones, and are planted less than the
farmers would like. Yams and fruit trees are grown by many for home consump-
tion. Coffee is being gradually abandoned in favor of cocoa, which does not

Sr=range, m=mean, P test is Bray-2 (ppm).

G Excluding coffee fields.

Throughout this report, the word cocoyamm" refers only to Xanthosoma
saqittifolium, while the word "taro" refers only to Colocasia esculenta.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 9

No. pH (HeO) I Organic Carbon i Total N Available P K* seq/lOOg
Zone Sites r r r I r a r r a

Kuaba Corridor 9 4.5-6.5 5.3 1.77-3.46 2.48 .13-.32 .21 1-40 11 .05-1.03 .23
*inside cocoa
fields': 4 5.3-6.5 5.8 1.88-3.46 2.50 .20-.32 .24 11-40 23 .05-1.03 .24
other food
fields: 3 5.0-5.1 5.1 2.33-3.36 2.71 .17-.24 .20 1-4 2 .05-.25 .13

Koupe 4 4.8-5.9 5.5 4.91-9.56 7.98 .41-.92 .73 9-18 12 .38-2.78 1.68

Bangem 4 4.7-5.3 5.1 2.61-5.12 3.72 .18-.35 .27 2-4 3 .23-.90 .54

Nguti 3 4.4-5.0 4.6 2.00-3.93 2.85 .21-.30 .24 2-24 12 .06-.13 .10

Supe 5 4.3-5.6 4.9 1.76-3.25 2.53 .13-.29 .21 5-17 8 .09-.28 .19

Sands 3 5.2-5.8 5.5 1.10-2.12 1.68 .09-.13 .11 6-7 6 .02-.43 .18

require fertilizer to produce. Half combine farming with commerce, whether
petty trading or dealing in cocqa or beer.

The typical food field is less than a thousand square meters, surrounded by
the owner's cocoa trees, the latter interspersed with some plantains and fruit
trees. All the other food crops are mixed together on beds about 20cm tall,
built over weeded gr-s p;e-s. There may be a principal crop, maize or
groundnuts or cocoyam or taro; but it is almost always accompanied by substan-
tial amounts of several of the others and cassava and/or yams, so that half or
more of the cropping area is devoted to the other crops. Exceptions are often
the smallest fields: dust-smothered patches between road and cocoa farm, or
heavily shaded spots scattered throughout the cocoa farm. The food fields are
more acid and lower in phosphorus and potassium than the cocoa fields.

Koupe zone: The Koupe zone stretches from the environs of Tombel Town, north
around the lower slopes of Mlt. Koupe, from about 400-00m altitude. The zone
ends at the border with Bangem Sub-division, where the soil changes quickly
from Koupe's deep loam to a harder, poorer clay loam. Both are volcanic, but
Koupe's soil is pyroclastic (derived from eruptive material), and is extremely
high in organic carbon, nitrogen and potassium, as well as extremely tillable
and permeable enough to redjuc the incidence of the cocoyam root rot. The
upper reaches of the mountain go unused; according to an old soils survey"
they are not covered with volcanic material and their soils are granitic.
Rainfall is high (3700mm at Tombel) and continues most of the year.

Koupe would be one of the major farming areas of the province if its roads
were better, but as it is many people have moved away to find jobs or even
farms in less fertile, more accessible areas. Those who remain concentrate
their efforts on the highest-value crops not only cocoa and coffee, but
cocoyams and plantains. Tombel Town itself is an anomaly; its special status
as a Sub-divisional and military headquarters has given it a very dense popu-
lation, a localized lend shortage, relatively lower fertility, and major pest
and disease problems. Elsewhere, fallows are long and land preparation me-
thods leave tall shade trees on the principal farms, where cocoyams, taro and
plantains are planted over several thousand square meters. Smaller plots
inside cocoa/coffee farms or near the villages are cleared to cultivate a
little maize and cassava, usually on the flat.

Bangem zone: The Bangem zone covers most of the inhabited part of Bangem Sub-
division. It ranges from e00 to 1700m altitude, with farming villages located
almost up to the crater lakes below the summit. The soil is of volcanic ori-
gin, mostly lava flow, weathered into a reddish-brown clay loam somewhat high-
er in nitrogen and organic carbon than Kumba's, high in potassium but very
deficient in phosphorus. There is no rainfall data, but local reports indi-
cate a pattern similar to Koupe's, with good rains from March to November.
Because of the altitude, coffee is the principal cash crop, and is pruned and

B Food and Agriculture Organization, The Soils and Ecology of West Came-
roun, v. 1. Report to the Government of Cameroun. Rome: FAD. 1965.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.83 pace 10

weeded with great care, although seldom fertilized due to the difficulty of
bringing fertilizer into the villages.

Bangem is cut off from the major markets by its roads, which lead only to
Melong (Littoral Province) and usually degenerate into mud too slippery to
pass during much of the rainy season. The adolescents and young adults have
abandoned the region for urban employment, leaving behind families of young
children and middle-aged to old farmers. Those who are left concentrate on
their coffee, and enough food to feed themselves; sales of produce are lowest
in the Division.

Food fields are usually over a thousand meters square and separate from
coffee, and although farmers complain that they lack land, there is much land
in fallow and fallows are long. However, disease and pest problems in coco-
yams, cassava and maize have been increasing over the years, and the inhabi-
tants are badly worried about land quality. Food fields are usually planted
on a type of mound-bed that is characteristic of the area, about 40-60cm tall
and about 2m across, with a wide variety of crops on the top and sides of each
mound usually maize and/or cassava, taro and cocoyams, often with some
beans, yams or potatoes. Irish potatoes are a recent innovation and doing
well so far, but sweet potatoes are still preferred. Plantains and bananas
are planted bordering coffee fields or scattered through food fields.

Supe zone The Supe zone stretches from around Ikiliwindi north to Babenssi
along the Kumba-Mamfe road. In many ways, it represents the past of the Kumba
Corridor. It is a pioneer zone to which departed adults and newly educated
youths are returning to join in family efforts to clear and plant as much of
the forest as possible to cocoa. The soils presently being used are mostly
pockets of recent volcanic lava origin, similar to Kumba's. However, the
soils onto which people are beginning to extend seem to be largely of granitic
origin, more acid, gravelly reddish sandy clay, and less fertile'. Rainfall
is probably around 2500mm annually.

Because of the concentration on cocoa, most food crops are grown either as
the first year of a new cocoa field just cleared from forest, under partial
shaking left for the cocoa, or as small internal fields to cocoa, or on the
silt of river banks during the December-February dry season. The latter lamba
fields allow the woman to concentrate on food crops at a time when the cocoa
labor requirements are least, but they can only be used for short-cycle crops
like cowpeas, groundnuts and maize. The small internal fields are planted as
in Kumba, on beds with mixtures of maize, cassava, cocoyams, taro and beans or
groundnuts. The new fields, which may be several thousand meters square, are
planted on the flat, mostly to young cocoa seedlings, cocoyams, taro, plan-
tains and bananas. The plantains are die young and are replaced by bananas,
which don't. The cocoa is planted late and only begins to establish itself
after the cocoyams have been harvested. Bush animals damage crops as in
Nguti, but not as severely, perhaps because there are many more fields rela-

SThe region is unmapped except for tentative classification by aerial
photography. Nguti does not even have the latter.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 11

tive to forest cover.

Sands zones The Sands zone in Meme is divided in two by the variable volcanic
strip between the Kumba Corridor and Mt. Cameroon. One part, the continuation
of Fako Division's Sands zone, goes from the Fako border to Ediki and over to
the Littoral border. The other, continuous with the Ekondo Titi zone to be
classified in the Ndian Division report, lies just south and east of Mbonge.
Sands (II) is farmed similarly enough to Sands (I) to be classified with it
for this report, although I (South Meme) gets much less rain, about 2000mm
compared to Ekondo Titi's 3600mm. But the rains in Ekondo Titi come in April,
later than in non-Sands zones in Meme. The two subzones also make up about
half of the Mbonge Rural Council (and Cooperative) area. Both have sandy clay
loam sedimentary soils, with about half the nitrogen and organic carbon of the
other zones.

Sands farmers have cocoa farms, but most of their food fields are kept
separate from these. Food fields are large (several thousand square meters),
unshaded and planted on mounds or sometimes beds. Cassava and plantains are
the most important crops, except among the few major commercial yam farmers
that dot the zone. Plantains are usually associated with the cocoa, or coco-
yams and taro. The cassava, at relatively low densities, is planted with
first-season crops of maize, taro and egusi or groundnuts. Yams are planted
before the other crops, and egusi and maize are added. Economically, because
of the cassava and yams, Sands farmers make twice as much out of food crops as
any other zone, making more even when the commercial yam farmers are excluded.
The same was found to be true in the Fako Sands zone; yet Sands soil is poorer
and extension services in these zones are usually delegated to untrained de-

Nguti zones The principal distinction between Nguti and the Supe zone to the
south is in the goals of its inhabitants. Most of the young and middle-aged
men in Nguti zone are in the towns, either working in local government and
hospital jobs or in urban jobs elsewhere. Most of those who are left are more
interested in hunting than in farming. The urban people with farms tend to
plant cocoa for old-age provision, and to depend on other income to buy food
from outside the zone. Those who do try to grow food discover that bush ani-
mals eat or destroy the great majority of it, because their fields are so
isolated. Perhaps because of this, they overplant their fields at incredibly
high densities, intercropping cassava, cocoyams and taro, or maize and ground-
nuts, on beds or mounds. Food fields are usually under a thousand square
meters, and may be associated with the cocoa fields or separate. Plantains
are placed either in cocoa farms or with cocoyams and taro. The soils are un-
mapped; they seem to be transitional between older volcanic and granitic, as
in Supe, with farming occurring on both. During the survey the volcanic soils
were found around the villages along the Mamfe road, and the granitic soils in
the eastern interior.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 12

3. The Farming Household:

Meme farm families are large, with an average of 6.9 residents per house-
hold". A third are composed of couples with young and adolescent children,
45% of these couples providing homes also to nephews, nieces, younger siblings
or grandchildren of absent parents. Almost a third are couples with extra
adults to help out 40% of these being their grown children, and the rest
siblings, parents and others. A sixth are headed by single or widowed women,
40% of these with the help of an adult male child or relative, and only 3
households (2.8%) by single or widowed men, all with an adult female present.
8% are polygynous, most with several extra adult siblings or children as well
as the husband and 2-3 wives. 7% are composed of adults only: 4 couples, 2
single women and one man living alone, a pair of women, and six orphaned bro-
thers living together. In total, 70% of households are headed by a married
couple, 18% by women alone, 4% by men alone, and 8% by a husband and several
wives. 18% have an adult or adolescent member who cannot (or refuses to)
work. 12% have released an adult or adolescent child for full-time study;
that is, almost all children over the age of 10 contribute to family labour,
if only during holidays and weekends.

Almost half of Meme:farmers (49%) are natives of Meme Division, with 41% of
all farmers being from the ethnic group to which their village belongs. The
Bakossi are the largest group (24%). The rest are from North West (18%), West
(13%), Manyu (7%), Ndian (6%) and Nigeria (6%). Male farmers have been in
their villages an average of 29 years, women 19. 45% are Presbyterian and 42%
Catholic; 7% go to no church at all.

Two in five households (40%) have some non-agricultural way of earning
cash. 11% are in the formal sector, as labourers, cooperative storekeepers,
teachers at primary and one at technical level. 28% have their own businesses
or informal employment from makers and vendors of puf-puf balls to artisans
of all types to licensed buying agents of cocoa and coffee. The middle sector
of artisans, school teachers and village off-licence owners (beer and liquor
retailers) predominates, with 30% of all households involved. Low-income work
such as labourer and street vendor (7%) is limited mostly to Kumba Town, and
high-income traders and a professor (3%) to the Kumba Corridor and Nguti Town.

Present-day farmers are not well educated: the men have an average of 4.6
years of schooling, the women 3.3 years (almost always less than their hus-
bands). But their children are going into secondary school and even univer-
sity: for all households with a child of 10 or older, the child who has
schooled longest averages .8 years, and many are still in school. In fact,
76% of all adolescents (aged 10-19) and 54% of all children under 10 were in
school at the time of the survey.

At the same time, the adolescents contribute considerably to farm labour-
particularly at peak seasons of weeding (usually May-July) and cocoa drying
(September-November). At the family's busiest time of year, an average of 24
person-hours are put into farm work every day, 34% by adult men, 37% by women,

o including dependent children who return weekends and holidays from school.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 13

11% by male adolescents and 13, by female, 3% by male children and 2% by
female ones. In households where they are present, men put in 9.0 hours and
women 9.2; male adolescents 4.9 and female 5.7; boys 1.3 and girls 0.9. Chil-
dren's work is often specified as limited to carrying food and produce between
home and farm. Processing time varies greatly in the year; men and their sons
(rarely women) sit up all night turning the drying cocoa seeds at the peak
time, and responses to the questionnaire varied enormously according to whe-
ther the respondent recalled that time or the time when farm activity was at
peak. Due to the cocoa drying, males claimed 44% of the processing burden, a
percentage which is doubtless too low for cocoa season and much too high for
the rest of the year.

Families average 2.8 adults (20 and over), 2.1 adolescents, and 2.0 chil-
dren under 10. 50.6% of the household population is male, with male adoles-
cents and children outnumbering females slightly and adult women outnumbering
men 6 to 5. Some of the adolescents and newly adult sons and daughters are
away at schools in Kumba and elsewhere, sustained by the family and working
weekends and holidays. Schooling for the children is a primary goal, having
the first claim on family income, and this is probably why so many older ado-
lescents are still tied to the family. However, in the forest areas outside
the crowded Kumba Corridor, educated young people are also returning home to
take up farming, either with parents or on their own. Only in Bangem, with
eroding land and severe isolation, is the rural exodus obvious.

The zones display certain significant differences (see also Table 2):

1. The Kumba Corridor attracts more dependent adolescents sent by outside
relatives, possibly to look for work, and also has more families with an
outside occupation and more mid-level ones. It has all the Western Province
families in the sample (although Tombel area contains Westerners also), and
very few natives". Perhaps because of the Westerners, the Catholics outnum-
ber the Presbyterians.

2. Koupe families have fewer adolescents, more incapacitated members, lower
education levels, and fewer off-farm income opportunities; besides a sizeable
group of Grasslanders'2 (35%), 25% are Upper Bakossi from Bangem. Koupe is a
Lower Bakossi area.

3. Supe has larger families, because more adults stay or return to help with
the clearing of new forest fields; educational levels are high, but most are
in farming only, and from their individual villages' ethnic groups (Bakundu,
Bafaw and Upper Balong).

4. Bangem is populated by older, smaller nuclear families from which adoles-

21 In South West, "natives" are those descended from the ethnic group
that founded the village. Everyone else is a "stranger", whether a new im-
migrant or fourth-generation resident, from 5km away or another country.

le The Grasslands are the highland savanna region of North West and West

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 14

cents and young adults have departed; all are natives, and there are very few
outside income opportunities.

5. Nguti has smaller families with fewer non-adults and twice as many adult
women as men; there is little outside income, and while the few men (mostly in
Nguti Town) have high educational levels, the women tend to be older and il-
literate and the children have less schooling as well. Two-thirds are natives
(Bassossi and Upper Balong).

6. The Sands also has more adults, but added to larger families; parents'
education levels are very low, but the children's are high; a third are Grass-
landers and less than half native (Bafaw and Bakundu).

Nigerians are concentrated in the Kumba Corridor with a few in the Sands
zone. Manyu natives are found in Kumba and Nguti, and Ndian natives in Kumba
and Supe.

Table 2: Demographic

Family type:
couple and own
children: 9%
c. & other de-
pendent ch: 24%

Family size: 7.1
No. of adults: 2.8
Ratio child!
adolescent: .8
W/ incapacita-
member: 19%

Outside earnings:
none: 47%.
mid-level: 39%

NW/W Prov.:
Meme Div.:
Village grp:


Schooling (years):
husband's: 4.6
wife's: 3.6
best child: 8.8
in school: 72%

Data Varying by Zone (% of households)

Koupe Bangem







































TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 15


















__I ___

4. Land:

Most land access in Meme Division is through ownership, whether by purcha-
sing or indigenous right to village lands. 9% of farmers have no such per-
manent access to any ,farm: a seventh in the Kumba Corridor, a tenth in Koupe
and 7% in the Sands zone. 3% of Meme natives and 14% of strangers have only
temporary access to land; only 4% of natives but 34% of strangers combine per-
manent and temporary access. 19% of all farms are used on a temporary basis:
a quarter in Kumba, where they are rented, given or pledged13, a fifth in the
Sands, where they are usually rented, and an eighth in Koupe, where they are

Table 3: General Characteristics of Meme Fields by Zone

Kumba Koupe Bangem Nguti Supe Sands Meme
% farmers wi:
cocoa 85 55 0 73 100 87 73
coffee 45 65 100 67 60 33 56
neither 15 25 0 20 0 13 13

X growing food
inside trees
>5 yrs 52 60 13 30 64 8 44

Mean no. of
farms: 3.1 3.2 3.7 2.7 3.1 3.1 3.2

Mean size"L
(m2) 3.300 2.500 2.900 2.700 3.300 3.200 3.100

Mean dis-
tance'" 49 49 32 40 41 54 46

% field type:
I 21 20 24 31 41 32 26
II 25 25 7 10 17 4 18
III 53 28 69 58 37 64 50
IV 1 27 0 3 4 0 6

SPledging is an arrangement in which a farmer loans money to the owner
of an established tree farm, and gets to use the farm as if it was his own
until the loan is paid back at an agreed time. The practice provides old-age
security for people who developed their cocoa farms in earlier years and have
no energy or resident children left to farm them themselves.

Estimated by weeks required for first weeding, times an average 600m2
per week weeding area, times 1.5 for Type I and III fields and times 3 for
Type IV; see section C.

Minutes from home (trekking).

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 16

usually given by natives in return for a freely offered, small portion of the
harvest. A few farms in Nguti and Supe are also on loan or rent.

Most agree that land used to be easier to obtain when they started farming
than it is now. But 22 farmers including 14 from outside the province (38%
of all non-SWP farmers) claim that access is now easier, probably because of
the difficulties created for immigrants during and after the Troubles of the
1970's in Koupe and Kumba.

Only an eighth of Meme farmers, mostly in Koupe and Nguti, have neither
cocoa nor coffee farms, and over half plant food crops inside these after they
have matured. (see Section E. 1 for details). Fields were classified into
tree farms (Type I, 26%), tree farms with internal food fields (Type II, 18%),
open food fields (Type III, 50%, possibly including some from .Types II and IV)
and forest food fields (Type IV, 6%). Average farm size is 5.8 weeding weeks
in Type I (about 5.200m), 5.8 in Type II (about 3.500m2), 2.8 in Type III
(1.700mW), and 2.4 in Type IV (about 4.300m2) an overall average of about
3.100 m2. A tenth of all farmers (15% in Koupe and none in Nguti or the
Sands) have only Types I and II. There are an average of 3.2 farms (1.2 tree
farms and 2.0 food farms) per household. The range is from I to 7 farms, with
78% between 2 and 4, and 0 to 5 food farms.

Only a few farmers, in Kumba and the Sands, believe that the land has main-
tained or improved its productivity. Farmers claim to fallow food fields as
many years as they cultivate them, ranging from a ratio of .7 fallow to cul-
tivation years in Kumba to 1.3 in the Sands, 1.5 in Nguti and 2 in Bangem.
But in Kumba, where 19% claim not to fallow, 39% of Type III and IV fields
over 4 years old have never been fallowed; in Koupe, where 7% claim not to
fallow, 27% have never been fallowed; in Bangem (where none claim not to, but
10% do not fallow), the average fallow time of actual fields is 2.8 years
whereas the claimed practice averages 4.7 years.

Overall, compensating for fewer and shorter fallows, the true average is
probably about .7 fallow to cultivation years division-wide. Since only na-
tives have free access to open lands, slightly more natives (79%) than stran-
gers (76%) fallow, and their fallow-to-cultivation ratio is 30% higher than
the strangers'. Fallow time does not directly relate to soil fertility or
even pest and disease build-up; one Kumba field visited has been in continuous
use for forty years, with incorporation of weeds and annual rotation between
maize-groundnuts and cassava, and is still relatively pest- and disease-free
and among the most fertile tested in its zone.

Most farms are quite distant from homes, an average 46-minute trek through-
out Meme, from 54 minutes in the Sands zone to only 32 in Bangem. Forest food
farms are the furthest 60 minutes and open food farms the closest, at 41
minutes. 34% are an hour or more away, an equal number between a half hour
and an hour.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 17

5. Labourv

All family members (except for the infirm, a few adolescents and most of
the children) help in the farmwork, and most adults and adolescents help with
processing cooking, making garri, drying cocoa beans. According to reported
hours of work in their busy season, the majority of work is done by the adults
(59% of farmwork and 57% of processing) and by the women (51% and 54%). How-
ever, individual men work longer hours than individual women in farming, be-
cause the women have housework as well. During the cocoa harvest, men work
much longer hours, staying up all night to turn the drying beans, but normally
the situation resembles Bangem's, where women do almost three-quarters of the
processing, as well as drawing of water, child care and cleaning. In Koupe
and Supe, where there are fewer adolescents, two-thirds of the farm labour is
adult, and in Nguti, where there are few men and ,any of the women are aged,
less than a half is.

Adults work a six-day week, taking Sundays off, and adolescents help seve-
ral days a week or on Saturdays, in the busy season. Children usually help
with some weeding and by carrying food and harvested produce.

Table 4: Hours of Work per Person-day (Busy Season) by Age, Sex, and Zone

Kumba Koupe Bangem Nguti Supe Sands Meme
Men 20+yrs 6.7 5.5 6.0 5.8 6.2 6.6 6.4
Women 5.8 5.3 6.4 5.6 5.6 7.1 5.9
Boys 10-19 2.6 2.3 3.5 3.4 2.1 3.3 2.6
Girls 3.1 2.4 3.3 4.2 2.9 4.7 3.1
Boys <10 0.7 0.4 1.3 0.4 1.2 0.4 0.8
Girls <10 0.5 0.3 1.3 0.5 0.4 1.0 0.6

Men 20+yrs 2.8 1.3 0.9 1.1 1.9 1.0 2.1
Women 2.5 2.2 2.4 1.8 2.6 2.4 2.4
Boys 10-19 1.1 0.5 0.8 1.1 1.0 0.9 1.0
Girls 1.3 1.5 1.6 2.1 1.2 1.7 1.4
Boys <10 0.0 0.3 0.4 0.1 1.9 0.1 0.3
Girls <10 0.1 0.3 0.5 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.2

Clearing is most commonly done by husband and wife together, with husbands
helping least with open food fields (Type Ill) and wives least with pure tree
fields (Type I). Husband and wife usually plant and weed together, but Type I
fields are often planted and weeded without the wife and Types III and IV (fo-
rest food fields) without the husband. Wives almost always help harvest all
fields, whereas husbands often do not help in food harvests. Customarily, men
harvest plantains and oversee and participate in tree-crop harvests, while
women act as labour in the tree-crop harvests and harvest all other crops.
Because women usually participate in the highly labour-intensive cocoa harvest
(peaking in September to November), both in the field and at home splitting

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 18

open the pods, they sometimes plant smaller food fields second season, or in
Supe, concentrate on a December lamba (river bed or swamp) planting.

Adolescents help to harvest half the fields (primarily tree-crop), and help
in weeding over a quarter (more in the food fields). Children help in over a
quarter of fields in both weeding and harvesting.

Paid labour is used primarily in weeding (32% of fields) and clearing (29%)
but also in tree-crop harvests (30% of Type I and II fields and 5% of others)
and occasionally planting (3%). As many food as tree fields are cleared with
paid labour, but it is used for weeding in 60% of tree fields and only 11% of
pure food fields.

Meme farmers join in njanggi groups, in which they take turns working with
each other on their farms, paid by the exchange labour and food and drink.
Njanggi is used for weeding in 33% of fields and for all other operations in
14%, being most important in clearing forest fields (45%, primarily because
these fields are concentrated in Koupe, where njanggi is more common than
cash payment), general weeding, planting of food fields .(18% of Type III) and
harvest of tree crops (25% of Types I and II but only 4%.of Types III and IV).

Overall, tree fields are the responsibility of the husband, helped by the
wife, but the entire family as well as paid and exchange labour are recruited
for weeding and harvesting. Food fields are the responsibility of the wife,
helped by the husband and their children, with assistance from paid and ex-.
change labour at clearing and principally exchange labour.at weeding time.

Labour bottlenecks months when the farmers claim there is too much work
for them to handle adequately occur in March (mentioned by 39% of farmers)
and October (33%) with a quarter also mentioning July, August, September and
November. March is the planting month, including bedding and mounding; only
in Nguti do they emphasize also the clearing months of January and February.
July and August are heavy weeding months for most crops perennials, roots
and tubers and plantains made more difficult by the torrential rains. Sep-
tember combines the start of the major cocoa and coffee harvesting with the
smaller second-season plantings; the harvesting only slacks off in December.
Bangem harvests its coffee mostly in January to March, but only regards March
and November (a weeding month) as difficult. The easiest months are May (13%
complaining of it) and December (10%).

Faced with such bottlenecks, almost two-thirds of the farmers pay labour-
three-quarters in Kumba, Supe and the Sands zone, under a half in Koupe and
Nguti, and a quarter in Bangem. Over a third use njanggi almost all in Ban-
gem, half in Koupe, Supe and Nguti, and a fifth in the Sands and Kumba. Only
9% regard taking the children from school as an option, and 8% simply over-
work. Labour payments are the major cash expenditure i-n agriculture, as will
be seen in the next section.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 19

6. Cash Flow and Input Uses

Meme farm families need cash at several key times of year the opening of
schools in September, the cocoa harvest (September to October), land clearing
(December to February) and Christmas/New Year (December). Money comes in when
the cooperative makes its cocoa and coffee payments, during harvests of plan-
tains (generally March to October), cassava (March to August), cocoyams
(year's end, or March to August for Koupe), and yams (October to December),
and gradually throughout the year as other crops and an occasional animal are
sold, or through salaries, off-licences, taxi-driving or street selling.

Table 5: Average Household Crop Sales and Other Income Sources, by Zone

Kumba Koupe Bangem Nguti Supe Sands Meme
Food crop
sales (FCFA)**:
plantains 71.800 107.200 25.500 61.100 72.100 70.200 69.500
cassava 24.200 23.300 41.300 23.700 30.300 111.600 31.000
yams 54.100 0 7.900 5.000 289.900 51.100
cocoyams 20.400 100.900 3.900 2.400 60.100 7.900 28.300
taro 6.100 22.100 39.600 12.300 57.600 20.800 18.400
maize 15.500 15.300 18.800 5.700 6.900 13.300 14.300
groundnuts 6.300 5.500 0 1.700 7.600 4.200 5.500
bananas (500) (82.500) (13.400) 0 6.900
egusi melon 2.700 0 0 0 20.100 2.700

Tree crops:
% with cocoa 85 55 0 73 100 87 73
coffee 45 65 100 67 60 33 56
neither 15 25 0 20 0 13 13

Non-farm income:
X mid/high level 43 20 7 20 27 27 33
X low level1' 10 5 0 0 0 20 7

few cases, all with missing data
( ) insufficient cases for confidence

61% reported that in 1986-87 they needed what they regard as a large amount
of cash for school fees from 80% on Koupe and 63% in Kumba to only 40% in
Bangem and Nguti (which have fewer children). 57% needed cash for agricul-

1' See Section C for derivation of production totals. These were costed
at the mean prices reported for sales in the survey: maize 1300fr/tin, cassava
4800fr/truck, cocoyam 2355fr/basin, taro 1300fr/basin, plantain 965fr/bunch,
banana 570fr/bunch, yam 485fr/medium tuber, groundnut 2315fr/tin (shelled),
and egusi melon 2120fr/tin.

17 Labourers or petty sales.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 20

tural labour, from 30% in Koupe (which depends on njanggi) and 47% in Ngutt
and Bangem to 63% in Kumba and 73% in Supe and the Sands zone. 1E% more-
only in Kumba, the Sands zone and Koupe had other agricultural cash needs,
9% for inputs (chemicals, seedlings) and 3% for land rental or pledging. 28%
needed extra money at Christmas, when gift-giving is often merged with once-a-
year restoring of clothing and household equipment.

4% (in Kumba and Koupe) mentioned needing money in certain months to buy
food. Two-thirds buy some of the foods they grow in some months; most buy
rice year-round (77%), and garri (50%) when they don't want to make their own.
The months of May to August are most often mentioned as food-scarce, but only
by 11-13% each, and no month is mentioned by less than 4%.

Reports of the sources of this cash are confused between immediate and
ultimate sources. 33% get cash directly from cocoa/coffee sales, 31% from
food crop sales, and 8% from off-farm earnings. 14% can be traced directly to
cocoa/coffee: 10% in loans from the Licensed Buying Agents (cocoa intermedia-
ries) and 4% in Cooperative loans. 34% take money from "meetings," the vil-.
lage-based mutual aid societies. 8% borrow from a friend, and 3% from a bank
or Credit Unionla.

Average farm labour payments for all Meme are 100.000 francs CFA 125.000
francs for the 78% of farmers who pay labour. Labour costs are under 30.000fr
in Bangem, Koupe and Nguti, but reach 75.000fr in Supe (94.000fr for payers),
141.000fr in Kumba (160.000fr) and 143.000fr in the Sands zone (165.000fr).

Farmers were asked if they had saved/borrowed what they considered a large
amount of money to use to improve their farms. Answers usually related to
labour costs of annual operations, but included some land acquisition, chemi-
cal and equipment purchases. 51% responded, averaging 265.000fr: 55.000fr in
Bangem, 330.000fr in Kumba, and between 145.000 and 170.000fr elsewhere. 85%
borrowed some or all of the amount: 49% in local meetings, 23% from LBA's, 5%
from cooperatives and 3% in Credit Union saving/borrowing schemes. 47% saved:
25% in meetings, 21% in banks and 3% in a Credit Union.

Few Meme farmers use purchased material inputs on their crops, other than
insecticides and fungicides provided by the Ministry of Agriculture or coope-
rative for their tree crops. Two Koupe farmers once put Ammonium Sulfate and
N-P-K 20-10-10 on cocoyams and plantains, and two Bangem farmers, one Koupe
and one Kumba one used them on coffee within which food was planted. The
Koupe farmers felt the fertilizer hurt the cocoyams and plantains, reducing
yields and increasing vegetative growth (not surprising given the high N con-
tent of their soil). The questionnaire did not ask about fertilizer use on
tree crops alone, although one farmer mentioned he put it once on some pure
cocoa and one, on coffee. No field with tree crops visited had ever had fer-
tilizer applied.

e Figures add up to more than 100% because many have several sources.
No-one relies only on a bank, 1 person on a Credit Union, 3 on the coopera-
tive, and 6% on the LBA's.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 21

Insecticides are used by one Koupe farmer (a powder, probably Gamaline, in
planting plantains), by 19% of Kumba farmers (5 using Gamaline powder on maize
against stem borer and one on groundnut against snails, and one professor
using Nemacir on plantain), two Supe and one Sands zone farmer (all using
Gamaline on plantain suckers). Gamaline was popularized by the Phytosanitary
Brigade at Mambanda and is now brought in illegally by traders from Nigeria;
the farmers do not realize that it is almost as toxic to them as to the in-
sects, and handle it with bare hands, and without knowledge of proper amount,
timing and location of dosage.

Farmers were asked what chemicals and tools they would want to buy if such
were readily available in the nearest council seat. At present even simple
tools are difficult to get 54% want cutlasses, 38% hoes, a6% diggers, 10-
15% the more specialized sprayers, files, axes and spades, 8% wheelbarrows, 5%
engine saws (for clearing) and 4% hand-trucks. Cash crop chemicals are provi-
ded in only small amounts to a few farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture for
trial, and little more is provided on payment basis through the cooperatives.
Fertilizer supply is small, all through the cooperatives, but the demand is
low. There are six farmers' cooperatives, all for cocoa-coffee, in Meme, one
each in the Sub-divisions plus in the Mbonge and Konye Councils.

Most farmers wanted chemicals, of the most varied types, for everything
from destroying tuber and root rots to borers, ants, capsids, snails and wild
animals, trees and grass. The most popular, again, was Gamaline (25%). At
this point chemical training seems to be more necessary than chemical provi-
sion to Meme farmers, as very few have an adequate idea of their uses and
abuses. There is much more present concern with crop protection against des-
truction than with initial yield improvement. Farmers are willing to pay for
the former but not the latter.

7. Extension:

The Ministry of Agriculture in Meme Division has 16 Agricultural Posts,
including the four Sub-divisional offices: Kumba, Mbonge, Matoh, Konye, Kwakwa
and Bai Grass; Tombel, Nyassosso, Ndom and Ebonji; Bangem, Nkack and Muambong;
and Nguti, Ntale and Ediango. The survey visited villages under 14 of these
posts, including 4 town quarters served by Sub-delegation offices, 2 villages
with Agricultural Posts, 8 with posted VEW's (Village Extension Workers: de-
monstrators with no formal training beyond short courses), and 10 served by
posts or VEW's elsewhere, three of the villages to which VEW's had been pos-
ted had not seen the man for at least a year.

Three-fifths of the villages are served by technician-level staff. Some
technicians and VEW's are active with the farmers, for both cash and food
crops, and eager to learn more; others were interested only in the cash crops
and/or seldom visit farmers. Urban farmers, those under Sub-delegations, are
actually worst served; whether because of the difficulty of integration into
the farmers' "community" in a town, or because the agents in Sub-delegations
are more involved in administrative and supervisory affairs, 70% of urban
farmers had never been visited, as vs. 55% of all farmers. Overall, about a

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 22

third of the staff met are highly involved in their villages and their work; a
third carry out their work conscientiously but without special efforts; and a
third rarely see farmers, or only a few of the cash crop farmers, or are em-
broiled in local disputes.

Over half the farmers have never been visited, and two-fifths refuse the
idea of going to extension for farm advice. But almost a quarter are visited
seasonally or more often, and fully two-fifths have asked help (59% of them
obtaining it). Two-fifths have also been to a meeting about agriculture. As
might be expected, since there is little food crop information for extension,
89% of farm visits concern cocoa and coffee only, 4% cash and food crops (usu-

Table 6: Extension Contacts, by Zone

Kumba Koupe Bangem Nguti Supe Sands Meme

% visited by agent:
never 57 65 33 79 60 40 55
yearly/less 15 15 53 7 27 33 21
more often 9 20 13 14 13 27 N3

% who have asked help of extension:
never, won't 41 30 40 53 20 33 37
", but could 18 25 20 27 20 7 19
w'ld ask other 1 10 0 0 0 7 3
have asked ext 40 35 40 20 60 53 42

% who have been to an agricultural
meeting: 37 30 40 20 53 33 38

% who were helped:
when asking 50 71 67 0 44 63 60
by meetings1' 33 33 54 100 50 100 52

ally the plantain intercrop), and 5% food (best farm competitions, certifica-
tions of loss for disaster aid, a woman's group, and plantains). When asking
help, 73% asked for cocoa and coffee aid (both information and supplies), 14%
for cash and food help (information and seeds), and 12% for food specifically
(crop diseases, animal and other destruction). Failure to help was usually
due to lack of supplies, sometimes (especially for food crops) due to lack of
a remedy. Meetings were felt to be helpful by 52% of attendees. 71% of mee-
t.itfnI were for cocoa and coffee (information about agronomy, pests, loans, and
discussions of the cooperative), 13% for the Agricultural Show in Maroua or
general exhortations to plant more, 13% for food (mostly the introduction of
soybeans around Kumba), and 3% for mixed cash-food agronomy.

Help with something applicable to improving the farm. Meetings also
dealt with topics not directly applicable but potentially also helpful to the
people attending.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 23

Extension in Bangem and the Sands zone get the highest marks from farmers,
and the farmers in Supe and the Sands zone are the most active in seeking

Gender is important to the farmer's relationship with extension. Both the
local agent's name and work site are unknown to 8% of the households headed by
a couple, none of those headed by a man alone, but to 25% of those headed by a
woman alone. 80% of the single men, 69% of the couples and only 42% of the
single women know both the name and work site of their agent. 50% of couples,
60% of single men, and 82% of the single women have never had a farm visit.
Until extension agents have useful information on food crops to disseminate,
however, it is impossible to attribute such discrimination to avoidance of
women by male agents. Very few of the agents accompanied to food crop fields
seemed ill at ease with the women farmers.

The transport problems of extension agents have been reduced in the last
year or two, but supervisory difficulties have increased. Many of the agents
now have their own motorcycles, provided under a Belgian cocoa/coffee program,
but they have to supply petrol from their own salaries, and some still lack
machines. More critical is the lack since late 1987 of functioning vehicular
transport for Divisional and Sub-divisional staff to visit the isolated VEW's
for supervisory control, training and distribution of inputs.

8. Livestock

Four-fifths of Meme farmers have livestock of some kind. Most (71%) have
poultry, 36% have goats, 22% keep swine, and 10% have sheep. Although an
average of 15 adult chickens are kept, adult goats and swine number only 4
among owners. The few sheep herders keep an average of 9 adults. All the
Bangem farmers sampled have some animals, and more of them are owners of every
kind of animal than in any other zone (except goats in the Sands); yet they
keep below-average numbers of everything except goats. Bangem also contains
two highland groups of pastoral Fulani, that raise and sell horses and some
cattle to local butchers. Nguti has the least livestock. There were surpri-
singly few complaints about crop damage from domestic animals only one in
Bangem and five in Kumba. Most villages try to confine their goats on ropes,
and fine owners of offending animals.

During the past year, over half of livestock owners (53%) sold no animal.
The most sold animals were poultry (29% of owners). 18% of pig owners, 17% of
goat owners and 4% of sheep owners sold an animal. About 60% of Kumba and
Nguti owners sold animals, and only 30% of Bangem and Koupe ones. More ani-
mals were eaten 50% of owners ate at least one pig, 52% a goat, 61% a sheep
and 78% fowls. Goats were least eaten in Bangem (25% of owners) and Nguti
(40%), as were sheep (20% and 0). Bangem owners also more rarely ate their
pigs (13%) and fowl (57%).

The animals' manure is also little used, because of the lack of confinement
in a closed space and the small number of animals. 14% of all farmers use
manure on some crop 5% using goat (Kumba and Sands zone) and 6% poultry

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 24

Table 7: Livestock Ownership, by Zone

Kumba Koupe Bangem Nguti Supe Sands Meme
% owning some
animal: 79 75 100 53 80 87 80
% owning 29 40 53 33 33 60 36
mean among
owners 4.0 2.5 4.9 3.0 4.8 4.8 4.1
X owning 67 60 93 47 80 73 71
mean 21.5 6.3 7.9 9.1 9.2 8.3 15.2
X owning 21 20 53 7 7 7 22
mean 3.8 9.8 2.0 (15) (2) (2) 4.0
X owning 3 10 33 13 20 0 10
mean (35) 3.0 1.6 6.0 8.3 9.4

( ) one case only.

(Kumba) dung, one farmer in Kumba pig manure, and one in Supe sheep manure.

Most animals are not fed, but 71% of owners feed some of their animals,
usually poultry. Maize is the favorite.food, at 54% of owners, followed by
rice (28%), cocoyams (18%), cassava (12%) and cassava leaves (2%), bananas
(12%), plantains (9%) and taro (5%). Commercial feed is purchased by 4%
around Kumba.

9. Food Markets:

Access to markets varies enormously in Meme. About a third of crops are
sold at village markets where the farmer resides (whether to trucker-traders
or to other villagers), a fifth to truckers and other passers-by at roadside,
two-fifths at central markets usually within an hour of home, and a few to
Littoral Province (Douala, Manjoh and Mboassung). Maize, and especially yams,
groundnuts and egusi are sold more often at central markets, cocoyams at local
ones, cassava and taro equally at both, and plantain and bananas as much at
roadside as at either.

The Kumba Corridor has large food markets scattered along its length, most
notably at Kwakwa, Kumba, Ekombe and Ebonji, and Douala truckers come to these
for the plantain surplus. Only 15% of the farmers travel a half hour or more.
Almost half the crops are sold at village markets, a sixth by the road and the
rest in larger markets in the zone.

Local Koupe markets get occasional trucker-traders who come for cocoyams
and sometimes plantains, and interior farmers sometimes hire a Land Rover to

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 25

carry their produce to Tombel. But Tombel Market has poor prices in compari-
son with Manjoh, 3-4 hours' trek across Mt. Koupe in Littoral Province, and
many women in the northern sector make a weekly trek there with cocoyams or
other produce. Village markets account for most crop sales. Almost half tra-
vel at least half an hour, and a quarter over an hour.

Bangem farmers can sell in Bangem Market to the few non-farmers, or pay
heavily for a taxi to Mboassung in Littoral, or trek the two to three hours
to reach there; prices are the lowest in the Division. All sometimes trek to

Table 8: Market Distances, Transport and Prices, by Zone

Kumba Koupe Bangem Nguti Supe Sands Meme
time to market
(minutes): 14 61 125 50 18 37 34
farmers not going
to any mkt: 10% 20% 27% 53% 40% 0% 17%
foot 80% 100% 100% 86% 56% 67% 82%
taxi 28% 19% 0 14% 67% 40% 27%
portion returned
unsold: .11 .09 .08 .03 .11 .06 .10

median price: (mean)
cassava(truck) 5.000 2.500 2.900 4.450 7.000 4.750 4.800
maize (tin) 1.200 1.400 670 1.340 1.600 1.250 1.300
plantain(bunch) 1.000. 500 400 1.500 1000 750 965
cocoyam(basin) 2.500 1.800 1.000 2.500 2.400 :2.000 2.355

Nguti farmers frequently do not harvest enough to sell at markets. Those
that do, take their produce to Nguti Town or Babubok in the inferior. Others
sell at roadside to locals. Almost half travel at least half an hour, 30% for
an hour or more. Many small traders from Nguti and Manyemnn Towns travel
south as far as Kumba and north to Mamfe Town to buy foodstiLffs to sell at
home, as local markets are very unreliable. Plantain price#, are very high;
bananas are more often grown but plantains are preferred by the urban immi-
grant population.

Supe farmers have markets at Wone, Baduma and Konye, and frequently use
taxis to go to non-local markets, only a ninth needing over t half hour. They
often sell instead to Nguti/Manyemen traders at roadside. Cassava and maize,
which do not do well with their intercropping system, have high prices on
local markets.

The Sands zone has the only two farmers that carry produce directly to
Douala, and many go to Huyuka and Kumba with the crops they produce most,
selling the rest in local markets or at roadside, often to Douala truckers

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 26

that come to load up with plantains. The ones near Ekondo Titi trek to Mbonge
Market, under an hour's distance. 60% travel a half hour or more, a third at
least an hour.

Meme prices in general are lower than Fako's. Farmers' reports of prices
at the time of year when they sell most average 87 F CFA per kilo for dried
shelled maize (84% of Fako's), 145 F CFA per kilo for cocoyams (90%), 87 F CFA
per kilo for taro (93%), 64 F CFA per kilo for plantains (74%), 182 F CFA per
kilo for Calabar yams (77%) and 385 F CFA for shelled groundnuts (83%). Cas-
sava, which is scarcer in Meme, has a better reported price: 32 F CFA (114% of
Fako). These prices will have to be checked against the long-term provincial
marketing survey now starting.

Most farmers make sure to sell all their produce before returning from
market. An average 10% returns unsold.

10. Perceptions of Farming:

Only 2% of farmers interviewed, from Kumba Town, expect to leave farming,
and 2% (in Nguti and Kumba) do not expect to increase their planting area.
Only 53% felt agriculture will unqualifiedly improve, but 23% more felt it
will improve if government continues to take more interest and help with ex-
tension and credit. 20% felt prospects are bad or mediocre. 6% in Kumba felt
food farming will disappear. The Sands zone is most optimistic, but there are
few real zonal differences.

Most farmers believe that in the past land was more fertile and easier to
obtain. Over half the Bangem farmers and a fifth of the Kumba ones complain
of bad soil and declining yields. Farmers in Kumba and southern Koupe worry
about the lack of land, especially food crop land. But farmers in the Sands
zone, Supe and Nguti welcome the recently increasing numbers of their children
returning to farm.

Despite large cash-crop areas, most are more now interested in increasing
food-crop area than tree crops: 63% mentioned only food crops, 30% both, and
3% only trees. 44% want to increase maize area (and 1% reduce), 39% cocoyam
(6% reduce, in Bangem, the Sands and Kumba), 38% cassava, 37% plantain, 29%
cocoa, 14% yam (in Kumba and the Sands zone), 9% coffee (but 7%, from the
Kumba Corridor, want to reduce it), 5% groundnut (1% wanting to reduce), 5%
taro (2% to reduce), 4% oranges and Irish potatoes, and 3% bananas.

Monkeys, cutting grass, porcupines, rat moles, squirrels, bush fowl and
deer are frequent complaints, the heaviest damage being perceived in Nguti,
where the farmers' greatest desire is a legal way to kill the animals. Far-
mers in the Sands zone and parts of Koupe and Kumba have to cope with spear
grass, requiring heavy weeding. Supe, Kumba and the Sands zone want financing
to open more land, and for workers. Koupe and Kumba mention farm-to-market
roads: Kumba farmers at least have home-to-market ones, but the Koupe roads
are rough tracks negotiable only by Land Rover. A few Bangem, Nguti and Kumba
farmers want access to fertilizer. The major food crops losses perceived are

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 27

due to animals, cocoyam root rot, plantain lodging and maize stem borer.

E. Results: Meme Crops:

1. Cropping Systems:

This section discusses patterns of crop association in general and within
four major types of field with food crops identified in the Division. Typical
fields of each type are described.

There is no standard association of crops either throughout Meme or within
zones, although paired associations of many crops occur in substantial numbers
of fields: maize-cassava (22%), cassava-cocoyam (20%), cassava-plantain and
cocoyam-plantain (19%), maize-cocoyam, maize-plantain, cassava-taro, cocoyam-
taro and plantain-taro (18%), and maize-taro (17%). Lesser associations are
maize-groundnut and yam-taro (13%) and maize-yam and cassava-yam (12%). As-
sociations of three crops together are rarer: maize-cassava-cocoyam is found
in 14% of fields and maize-cassava-taro in 11%, cocoyam-taro-plantain in 12%
and cocoyam-taro-cassava in 10%, maize-yam-taro in 7%, maize-groundnut-taro in
6% and maize-groundnut-yam in 5%. Maize, cassava, cocoyam and taro are found
all together in 5% of fields, and maize, cassava, cocoyam and groundnut in 4%.

Within-zone associations are shown in Table 9. There are also strong
three-crop associations in Bangem between maize, cassava and taro, and coco-
yams, cassava and taro (each 19% of fields), in Nguti between plantains, coco-
yams and taro (15%), and in Supe between cocoyams, taro and plantains (28%),
cocoyams, taro and cassava (17%) and maize, cassava and cocoyams (15%).

There are four distinct types of fields containing food crops in Meme Divi-
sion: I, cocoa/coffee; II, cocoa/coffee plus internal food field; III, open
food field; and IV, forested food field.

Type I is a cocoa or coffee field with interplanted plantains, cocoyams,
and perhaps scattered patches of taro and even maize or cassava inside. The
secondary crops occur wherever the maior tree crop has been planted a little
too far apart or a few trees have died and left a space. 26% of the 352
fields identified in the survey are of this type. The most frequent major
intercrops for cocoa fields are cocoyam (r=.35), plantain (.35), banana (.31)
and taro (.20); for coffee fields, banana (.26) and plantain (.22). Only 38%
of Type I fields have only one major cropeo, and 18% are monocroppedal. They

2"' A major crop is one identified when asked what is grown in the field;
a secondary crop is one added when s/he is asked what other small things are
grown there. In field visits, there was almost always a clear distinction in
the fields between crops at near normal densities (or higher) and others
scattered at about a fifth to a tenth of normal densities.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.99 page 28

Fields, by Field Type (.% of field area)

Field type: I II III IV
cocoa 44% 30% 2% 5%
coffee 25% 15% 1% 0%
maize 0% 18% 26% 0%
cassava 5% 19% 1%
cocyam 3% 6% 11% 58%
taro 1% 4% 8% 19%
plantain 17% 10% 7% 13%
banana 5% 2% 2% 4%
yam 0% 4% 6% 0%
beans 0% 3% -
groundnuts 0% 9% OX
egusi 0% 2% 0%
sweet potatoes O OX0 2% 0%
Irish potatoes 0% 0% 1% O0
fruit trees 3% 3% 0% 0%

total 100% 100% 100% 100%

less than .5%

Table 11: Representation of Field Types in Total Area Planted to Each
Crop (% of total crop area in Meme)

Field type: 1 II III IV Meme
cocca 71% 25% 2% 2% 100%
coffee 75% 22% 3% 0% 100%
mai.e 0% 34% 66% 0% 100%
cassava 2% 16% 80% 1% 100%
cocoyam 11% 12% 28% 47% 100%
taro 10% 15% 42% 33% 100%
plantain 57% 17% 16% 10% 100%
banana 60% 14% 14% 12% 100%
yam 34% 65% 0 100%
beans 0% 4% 95% 1% ICOX
groundnuts 0% 3% 97% 0% 100%
egusi 0% 5% 95% 0% 100%
sweet potatoes OX 0% 100% 0% 100%
Irish potatoes 0. 0% 100% 0% 100%
fruit trees 69% 30% 1% 0% 100%

less than .5%

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 30

Table 10: Crop Composition of

Table 9: Frequent Associations between Crops, by Zone"m (% of fields, weighted
by population)

Zone Association % all % fields % fields
fields w/ crop 1 w/ crop 2

Kumba maize-cassava 27 66 66
cocoyam-cassava 22 73 54
taro-cassava 18 62 44
groundnut-maize 18 95 44

Koupe plantain-taro 17 52 50

Bangem cassava-taro 28 76 72
maize-cassava 22 71 59
cocoyam-cassava 22 71 59

Nguti plantain-taro 33 83 77
cassava-taro 18 60 42

Supe taro-plantain 30 86 65
cassava-cocoyam 24 80 56
maize-cassava 17 71 57
cassava-taro 17 57 49
groundnut-maize 15 88 63

Sands cassava-maize 21 66 58
taro-plantain 17 61 45
taro-cassava 15 54 47

contain over two-thirds of the cocoa, coffee and fruit trees planted, and over
half of the plantains and bananas. They are longer established than the pure
food fields, averaging 19 years, and larger, averaging 5.200me (with about 5-
10% of the area in food, by field visit estimates), the largest being in Kumba
(6.700), Bangem (6.200) and the Sands zone (5.700). They are weeded an ave-
rage of 2.2 times in the year. In the field visits, 6 of the 34 fields in-
spected were of this type; the plantains were no less healthy than usual but
the cocoyams and taro were more susceptible to rot and the little maize more
spindly than normal. In areas where this type of field prevails (especially

e1 This figure is somewhat underreported; the interviewers did not
record pure cocoa/coffee fields and those with a few plantains/bananas only
for about 10% of farmers; in these cases only one such field was attributed to
the farme-.

Major or secondary status of either crop was ignored in calculating
these associations. The correlations (r) reported below give greater impor-
tance to associations of major than minor crops.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 29

the Kumba Corridor), the women concentrate maize-groundnut and maize-taro beds
along the roadsides, where they can at least get sunlight from one side.

Typical Type I fields were visited in Bai Panya (Kumba Corridor). The vil-
lagers have cut cocoa farms deep into the surrounding forest, and serious
food-crop farming is only done in the first few years of establishment.
Dense, partially shaded beds of maize and groundnut or taro line the roadside
wherever there is a small break in the cocoa. No fertilizer is used on any
crop, food or cash. Inside the cocoa, wherever a tree has died, a small patch
of cocoyams is planted; wherever several have died, plantains are intercropped
with the cocoyams; and in larger spaces left by eight to ten trees, small beds
of maize, taro, vegetables and plantains are put. One cocoyam-plantain plot
had densities of 14.000 cocoyams per hectare, 1.250 regrowing wild tree
stumps, 600 taro and 600 plantains; establishment at two months was retarded.
In a small plot of one-month-old maize-cocoyam-plantain beds, the maize had
been planted at about 40.000pph"4 and was already down to 15.000; these were
being rapidly destroyed by borer, as were the plantains (1.250pph). The coco-
yams (l0.000pph) and few garden eggs were surviving.

Type II is a Type I field with a food field inside. The food field is
hemmed in on three or four sides by trees, but at sufficient distance to allow
almost full light. Usually the food-crop planting is on beds. Among the four
Type II and three Type III fields for which samples were'taken in the Kumba
Corridor, the soils are better in the Type II, especially for pH, P and K.
Because of the limited space left by the trees, however, most internal food
fields are not fallowed, and intercropped densities are quite high (especially
in Kumba and Koupe). Inside the cocoa farms, besides the intercropped plan-
tains (r=.65), coffee (.49) and cocoyams (.42), are found cassava (.75), taro
(.51), maize (.49), yams (.46) and groundnuts (.27). The cocoyams are often
found both on the beds and under the cocoa. Coffee fields containing food
fields are primarily found in Bangem: they contain cocoyams (.50), plantains
(.38), cassava (.32), taro (.30), beans (.29) and maize (.23).

The Type II fields are also older, averaging 17 years, and measure an ave-
rage 3.500m' (about 1.000m" being food field in fields visited), the largest
in Nguti (4.600me), Kumba (4.200) and Bangem (4.100). They average 2.3 wee-
dings a year, plus clearing first season for the food. The fields average 3.0
major crops plus 3.0 secondary crops. By definition, no' Type II field is
monocropped, but 12% have only one major (tree) crop. They contain a quarter
of the cocoa and coffee planted, a third of the maize, yams and fruit trees,
and a sixth to an eighth of the plantains, bananas, cocoyams, taro and cas-
sava. At least 18% of the fields reported in the survey were of this type; it
is likely that a few of the fields classified as Type III are actually Type
II, in cases where women begged or rented fields internal to someone else's
trees and reported only the internal field. Six of the 34 fields inspected
were Type II.

Type II fields from Ngussi and Bombe illustrate the effects of management.

Pph = plants per hectare. All densities for crops on beds include
the empty alley space.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 31

The Ngussi (Koupe) field is one of six inside a large, 40-year-old, unferti-
lized cocoa farm, in a zone of rich soil. The farmer plants one field each
year, fallowing the rest. All the food crops were on beds, and the primary
crop was healthy groundnuts, at 130.000pph. The maize, also considered a
major crop, was planted at about 10.000pph, with half surviving borers, streak
virus and lodging to produce double cobs; there were also good stands of okro
(l1.000pph), cocoyam (5.000pph plus scatterings under the cocoa), a bed prima-
rily of huckleberry and some few cassava, tare and Phaseolus beans. The beds
covered two-thirds of the area, the alleys being narrow.

In contrast, half the Bombe (Sands) field, in an unfertilized cocoa-fruit
grove, on poorer soils, is planted each year. Beds covered only 40% of the
area, with large and irregular alleys. Groundnut densities varied widely,
from 80-155.000pph on different beds, and the densest beds, at 6-7 weeks after
planting, also contained the highest maize densities: 22.500pph, but only
10.000pph where the groundnut density was lowest). There were also a few
plants of cassava, okro, taro and cowpea scattered inside, most dying of com-
petition. The maize was almost all too stunted or spindly to produce.

Type III is an open field, sometimes with a few isolated trees but overall
unshaded. This is the largest category (although some fields of type II and
IV have doubtless been misclassified to it), with 51% of reported fields and
14 of the 34 fields visited. They average 1.700m2 varying (from 2.250m2 in
the sedimentary zone and 2.000m2 in Bangem to 1.350m2 in Kumba and 1.150m2 in
Koupe). They average 1.9 weedings a year, plus an original clearing. They
are newer, averaging eight years in age, and more often fallowed (48%, avera-
ging 2.1 years; 76% of those fields over four years old). 13% are monocrop-
ped, and 5% more have only one major crop. Maize is most often associated
with groundnuts (r=.43), beans (.22), and yams (.20); cocoyams with taro
(.37), plantains (.28) and cassava (.24); plantains with bananas (.46), cocoa
seedlings (.26) and cocoyams (.28); yams with egusi (.26 and maize (.20).
Maize-groundnut-beans and cocoyams-plantain-taro form interrelated complexes.
Cassava may be planted with anything. The type III fields half the fields
reported contain four-fifths of the cassava, two-thirds of the maize and
yams, two-fifths of the taro, over a quarter of the cocoyam, a seventh of the
plantains and bananas, and almost all the beans, groundnut, egusi and pota-

Fields visited at Ekangte (Bangem) and Ebonji (Kumba Corridor) illustrate
different levels of management. The Ekangte field is on a flat hilltop, long
denuded of trees, and has been planted since the 1940s; yields declined so
much that the farmer left it fallow five years before this planting. Tall
mounds, 40-50cm high, typical in this zone, had root and tuber crops projec-
ting out of the sides as well as the top. The mounds covered about 60% of the
area. Because the coffee harvest occupies their labour in second season, the
farmer did not plant until November, putting in maize, taro, cassava, cocoyams
and yams (D. rotundata); she got a small maize harvest in February, and the
tubers barely survived. When the rains returned in March, she planted sweet
potatoes and more maize in between the tubers. Densities were very high;
15.000 Dasheen and 16.000 Edo taro per hectare, 16.000 white cocoyams, 3.700
yams, and (at planting) 25.000 maize. Speciality mounds carried about two-
thirds the cocoyam/taro load plus 5.000 sweet potato, or a quarter of the

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 32

copoyam/taro load plus 4.000 cassava. At one year, cocoyam and taro tubers
were tiny, and all tuber leaves were small. She said that about half the
maize lasted to be harvested.

The Ebonji field was effectively a maize monocrop, and surrounded by other
farmers' maize and grass fallows. The farmer, who plants twice a year, used a
similar field for ten years, when the yields started to drop somewhat. She
already planted this one three 'ears (six seasons). The maize was planted on
the flat at regular intervals about two-thirds of a meter apart, in stands of
three; she planted 4-5 per hole to defeat birds and chopped down the excess
when it reached Im tall. Densities at two months were 43.000pph, and 80% of
plants were healthy and tall. She divided her field into quadrants, and each
season planted an intercrop in one of them only, letting resprouts grow from
previous seasons in the other quarters: thus this season there was a quadrant
with 10.000 planted Phaseolus beans and 3.000 resprouted cocoyam per hectare
in the maize, another with 5.000 cocoyams and some pumpkin, another with a few
cocoyams and resprouting groundnuts and one with some resprouted sweet pota-
toes the goats destroyed last season. Nearby fields were similar, with cow-
peas or beans the favoured intercrop.

Type IV fields are heavily shaded food fields. The exact number is uncer-
tain because the distinction between types III and IV, among fields reported
in the questionnaire part of the survey, was according -to crop typese; but in
the field visits eight type IV fields were visited, and four would have been
assumed to be type III if reported on the questionnaire. By report, 27% of
Koupe fields but only 6% of all Meme fields are forest fields. Those contain
half of the cocoyams, a third of the taro, and a tenth of the plantains and
bananas. These are created by cutting out the smaller trees and trash from
virgin forest, sometimes heaping and firing the brush around the larger trees
to partially kill them and reduce their canopy cover. 30% are monocropped,
and 80% have only one major crop. Cocoyams, taro (especially Dasheen) and
plantains are the primary crops, but in the field visits it was noted that
half the farmers try to grow climbing beans and/or yams as well as some maize-
cassava and various vegetables in slightly less shady spots.

Type IV fields are newest (5 years average) but large (4.300m2). They
average only 1.3 weedings a year, plus the original clearing. 55% of the Type
IV fields in the survey were fallowed, for an average of 4.4 years; 86% of
those older than fo'ir years were fallowed. Ndum (Koupe) and Ebanga (Nguti)
fields illustrate the range of variation. The Ndum field was on a 40% slope,
heavily shaded and the floor covered with rotting leaves and branches. The
farmer worked from start to end of the rains, cutting down the undergrowth and-
transplanting cocoyams from another field; she came bac-k to earlier portions
to weed at six and nine months, to replant the few rot-damaged sections to
beds of vegetables, and to harvest. The cocoyams were at 19.500 pph and ex-
tremely large and vigorous.

In contrast, the Ebanga field was the first stage of a cocoa operation.

If there was more than one sun-loving crop (cassava, maize, beans,
groundnuts) in a field it was considered Type III.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.98 page 33

Virgin forest was cut, burning the heaped undergrowth to discourage the tal-
lest trees. Food crops were planted the first year, with cocoa seedlings
planted six weeks late (so they suffered badly from competition), and by the
end of the year all crops except bananas and cocoa were removed from the
field. The husband planted the plantains, bananas and cocoa; he prefers plan-
tains but in the Supe-Nguti region most plantains immediately die (of borer,
they say) and he replaces them with bananas. At six months there were 600
cocoa seedlings and 600 plantain/bananas per hectare. The wife planted Edo
and Dasheen taro (11.000), sweet and water yams (1.200), climbing cowpeas
(600) and a little cocoyam, dwarf beans, okro, bitterleaf, country egusi
(ngon) and watermelon in the same field. She tried a small second-season
field in a less shady section where she densely packed maize (34.000pph),
cassava (9.000), dwarf beans (3.000), Edo taro (17.000), okro (10.000) and
pepper (3.000) on small mounds between first-season cocoa seedlings; all these
crops except the cassava, taro and okro were stunted and dying at 2 months,
and the latter three were retarded.

2. Field Management:

Except for established pure tree fields, Meme field management starts with
land clearing, in January and sometimes February. A few in Kumba start in
December. Farmers in Bangem are as likely to open a new field in September,
or perhaps August, and in Supe a minority open lamba farms in the river beds
in October. Burning during land preparation varies little according to field
type, but much by zone: all farmers surveyed in Nguti and the Sands zone burn,
and most of the Kumba ones do, but only a fifth of Koupe farmers and no Bangem
or Supe ones. Most of those who burn cut the grass, let it wither where it
falls, and then do a light burn across the whole field, usually in February.
A few make heaps, burn and then scatter the ashes as they make beds, and a few
burn the cut materials to partially kill tall trees. Most of those who don't
burn, incorporate the grass and plant residues into beds, or leave the grass
where it lies and plant on the flat; they may remove large trunks and branches
from the field. When they find ground-cover vines such as Pueraria, they
usually remove them, but some leave them to rot inside if they clear long
enough before the rains.

Beds are the dominant locus of planting most food crops other than plan-
tains/banaras, but one-third of farmers plant on the flat, rising to three-
fifths in the Sands zone and four-fifths on Mt Koupe. In general, on tillable
soils people plant on the flat; the less tillable, the more beds. Even within
the same farm both methods can be found if the soils vary. Mounds are rare,
most being the semi-bed huge mounds of Bangem. Even cassava is only planted
on mounds by a quarter of farmers, primarily in Bangem, Nguti and the Sands
zone. Few farms are monocropped, and few have only one major crop plus secon-
dary ones; 23% are in these two categories combined.

Farms are generally a good distance from home from half an hour's walk
average in Bangem to almost an hour average in the Sands zone and farmers
tend to do few weedings, an average of 1.8-2.2 per year per field in the dif-
ferent zones, plus the initial clearing. Usually if there is a short-cycle

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 34

__ ____ ___ I

trop-like maize or groundnuts in the field, the weedings will come about half
way through its cycle each season (most farmers planting these crops both
seasons in the same place)8e. If there is not, the weedings may occur 3-6
months or more after planting, or for tree farms, at four- to six-month inter-

Table 12: Meme Clearing


Clearing mo.s:
1st pltg: J-F-D
2nd pltg:
No. weedings
per year: 2.2
% burning in
land prep.: 70

and Planting in Meme Fields, by Zone

Koupe Bangem







Nguti Supe







% monccrop:
% effective
% 4/> crops:

X maize farms
pltg on flat: 34 78 13 17 23 60 37
pltg maize
two seasons: 75 47 71 33 36 65 67

Harvesting occurs over long periods,
months of a "fallow" period there are
being harvested from the farm. Cassava
the 16th month after planting; cocoyam
and plantains seven months, until the
usually the healthy plantains are left
crops are sown around them. The cassava
vested before new planting begins;

and frequently during the first six
still cocoyams, cassava and plantains
Harvests average four months, until
Sones the same, until the 13th month;
18th. When a farm is not fallowed,
to continue to bear while the other
and cocoyams are almost always har-
there are few healthy cocoyams left in

intercropped fields after a year, due to the root rot.

Farmers claim to fallow their food fields about as many years as they cul-
tivate them, varying from two years of fallow to one of cultivation in Bangem
down to 0.7 of fallow to one of cultivation in Kumba. However, they usually
practice shorter fallows than they claim, especially in Bangem, Koupe and
Kumba (Table 13). Correcting claimed fallows by percentage fallowing and

O" See the sections on particular crops for average weeding times.

Oa Effective monocrop is one major crop and one or more secondary crops.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 35







length of fallow, the average for the whole division Is probably only 0.7,
ranging from below 0.5 in Kumba and 0.6 in Koupe to 0.9 in Supe and the Sands,
1.1 in Bangem and 1.2 in Nguti. Fallowing is not directly related to soil
fertility or pest and disease build-ups; this depends on soil type and manage-
ment as well, as the 40-year-old Mambanda field illustrates. But in many of
the smaller fields compressed inside cocoa, the negative effects are quite

Table 13: Claimed and Actual Fallowing of Meme Fields (Types III and IV), by

Kumba Koupe Bangem Nguti Supe Sands Meme
Claimed fal-
low: cultiva-
tion ratio: 0.72 0.95 1.95 1.46 1.09 1.27 1.00
Claimed %
no fallow: 19 7 0 0 0 7 11
Actual %
no fallow: 39 27 10 0 9 12 23
Claimed no.
yrs. fallow 2.4 3.4 4.7 2.5 2.5 2.1 2.8
Actual no.
yrs fallow: 2.0 2.7 2.8 2.0 2.3 1.9 2.3

Only one farmer in a field visit and one in the survey (both near Kumba
Town) rotate their crops, although many remove crops that do badly from a
particular farm and try to substitute others. Relay planting is also rela-
tively rare, with most people (70% of fields visited) planting all crops in
the same field simultaneously. Yams are often planted before the start of the
rains, and egusi with the first sprinkles. Cassava may be planted shortly
before, after, or together with the other crops, and cocoa seedlings are often
planted 6-12 weeks later than the food they are intercropped with. Reasons
for planting a little before or after are to ensure establishment of a fragile
crop (cassava because of stake rot, egusi because of low germination levels)
before the others enter the field. Double-cropping (planting the same croP
twice yearly in the same spot) is common for maize, groundnut and beans, but
rare for other crops, although cocoyams and sometimes taro may be replanted to
the same hole immediately after harvest in healthy fields (especially Type

Meme farmers in general regard plantains, cocoyams, taro, egusi and maize
as crops requiring new fields, and cassava, groundnuts and beans as crops that

~" Farmers were asked in general how long they fallowed and cultivated
foo fields, ard specifically for each field, how long they had fallowed it
ast. he first is claimed" fallow, the second "actual". Number of years of
fallow is taken as the claimed or actual years among those who fallow.
TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 36

can be planted in old ones. But there is a lot of individual and zonal varia-
tion (Table 14). There is even more variation in identification of crops that
grow well or badly with tree crops. Two-thirds of farmers in Kumba, Koupe and
Supe continue to plant food crops in tree fields after five years (often in-
definitely), but only a third in Nguti and a tenth in Bangem and the Sands


Crops Preferred

Kumba Koupe

by Meme Farmers in New, Old, and Tree

Bangem Nguti

cy,eg mz,tr cy,tr
pl,ba pl pl,ym

cs cs

tr,cs cy,pl

mz,gn mz,gn










Fields, by


cy,tr pl,cy,tr
pl eg,mz

cs cs,gn,be

pl ba,tr,pl

Chemical inputs are seldom applied. Fertilizer seems rarely used even on
coffee, except in Bangem; three claimed the fertilizer applied to coffee helps
the internal food crops, and one (on Koupe) that it hurts them, and one of the
two Koupe farmers that once tried some directly on cocoyams and plantains.said
it hurt yields. Manure is also only used on a few crops, by only 14% of far-
mers, because there is little of it. Two farmers mentioned using coffee husks
and one, dirty cocoa leaves, for yams and other food crops. Sprays and dusts
have been applied to food crops only by 11 farmers, one plantain nematacide by
a Kumba professor, and the rest Gamaline powder, by farmers near Kumba, Tombel
and Supe. Three have abandoned it because they cannot get more.

F. Crop Agronomy and Utilization:

This section provides details on the incidence, cropping patterns and ca-
lendar, varieties, field problems, processing, storage and marketing of each
food crop of any importance in the Division. Readers may prefer to skip to
particular crops and then the section on recommendations. But first there are
some specific cautions to note.

1987 was drier than usual.

Almost two-fifths said they planted somewhat

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.98 page 37

Table 14:

in new

in old

away from

ea ba banana; be bean; cs cassava cy cocoyam; eg egusi melon; gn ground-
nut; mz maize; pl plantain; tr taro; ym yam.

early first season, vs. one-fifth pli-iting late, and over three times as many
planted early second season as late, ev-ecting shorter rains. Two-thirds said
they planted less than usual first season, but to compensate, and because
there was more sunshine in the usually overcast month of August, almost three-
quarters planted more in'the second season. These changes from usual habit
must be recalled in considering area, production and the calendar. Calendar
dates are early or late in a particular month, not specific days.

As drscribtd in Section C., production and area figures art tentative, and
the calculation of relative crop importance depends on recommLde d nr actual
local densities. Farmers' estimates of field problems and losses are fetative
to their general expectations for P crop; they are not real "yield gaps", the
difference between what should be ob -inable in an area and what is obtained
currently. Crop sales were discuss I in two separate parts of the interview:
at onn point, the farmer was asked ho much of the 1986-87 harvest was sold,
and in another, in what forms the c op is eaten and sold. As a result, some
farmers mentioned how they usually sell the crop but. did not report selling
the crop in 1986-87.

1. Maize:

Importance: Maize is planted on about 22 square kilometers of Meme land
(mnnncrop equivalent). Approximately 3.050 tons were harvested in the 1986-87
crop year, equivalent to 265 million francs at local prices or 11.1 million
kilocalories of food energy. This makes them sixth in economic importance and
third in nutritional importance in the Division.

Ecoznnest Bangem farms contain 70% more maize than Koupe and Supe ones, with
the other zones falling between. By total area, Kumba ranks first with 39% of
planting, and Bangem second with 14%. Bangem (215kg), Kumba (190kg), Koupe
(175kg) and the Sands (155kg) lead in reported average household production,
with Supe at 80kg and Nguti at only 65kg. In total divisional production,
Kumba leads with 59%, followed by Bangem with 15% and Koupe with 14%.

Associations: Maize is planted in 35% of fields by 94Y of farmers, as a major
crop in 63% of the fields. Among fields with the crop, 1.6% is monocropped
(with 0.5% of the total area of the crop). Almost all ip intercropped with
other major crops. 667. is found in open fields, and 34% in tree-food ones.
It is associated most frequently with groundnuts (r=.48), cassava (.30), beans
(.27), yams (.26) and cocoyams (.E2). In Kumba, a closer association with
cocoyams (.36) and egusi (.23) is added to these. In Bangem, the cassava
association is dominant (.51), with taro, beans, cocoyams and sometimes yams.
In Koupe, maize is grown most often with groundnuts and yams; in the Sands,
with groundnuts, yams, and egusi, sometimes cassava, and separate from cocoa,
coffee and plantains; in Supe, very closely with groundnuts, beans, yams,
cassava, and also cocoyams and taro, and away from cocoa; and in Nguti, with
taro, groundnuts, beans and sometimes plantains.

Field size: Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted to maize in a
field averages 860m2, ranging from an average 600m2 in Koupe and Supe to

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 38

1020dmin Bangem. Maize occupies 26% of the area in open fields and 19% in
tree-food fields.

Planting methods: Maize is planted on beds (55.), flat (37%) and sometimes
mounds (9%); on mounds, mostly in Bangem (where the distinction between a bed
and a mound is sometimes difficult to make), and on the flat, in the Kumba
Corridor, Koupe and the Sands zone (the latter two planting less on beds).
Planting distances vary from 15 to 150cm, but cluster around 40-100cm, with a
mean of 65cm. An average 2.7 seeds are planted per hole, ranging from one to
five but with 81% planting 2 to 3. Densities vary around a mean of 58.OOOpph,
from about 50.000 in Supe, the Sands and KoUpe, to 60.000 in Kumba and 65.000
in Nguti, to 79.000 in Bangem. However, anywhere from a third to four-fifths
of the seeds planted do not reach maturity, due to germination problems, com-
petition and stem borer. Early competition within maize plants is quite se-
vere; only one farmer was found to practice thinning, and she does this at one

Calendars Maize is usually planted both seasons (94% first and 64% second),
generally in March (72%) and August (74%). Planting is from February to April
(69% March, with most early cases being in Ebonji) in Kumba, with two-thirds
planting second season (80% August); March (100% of planters) in Koupe, with
half planting also in late July to September (73% September); February to
March in Supe (58% March), with 20% also planting in August and 15% in Novem-
ber in swamp; March (92%) in the Sands, with 27% planting in August and 13% in
September; equally first and second season in Bangem, in February to March
(58% March) and August to September and November (58% August); and 82% March
in Nguti, with 20% planting in August. Maize is weeded a first time by 79% of
growers first season and 74% second (the most weeding being done in Kumba), at
an average of 1.7 and 1.4 months after planting respectively. First season,
31% weed by one month and 49% only at two to three months; second season, 50%
weed by one month and 25% at two to three months. The second weeding in a
season is only done by 4% and 5% of growers. Harvesting begins at an average
3.1 months first season and 3.0 months second season and lasts only two weeks
on average. The latest average dates of harvest are in Supe first season (4.1
months) and the Sands second (3.9 months), and the earliest in Koupe first
(3.1 months) and Supe second (3.0 months).

Varieties: In terms of general preference, most people (42%) prefer their
maize hard and "red" (yellow), and 31% soft and white; 15% like it soft and
red, and 6% hard and white. Meme and Ndian natives prefer it soft almost two
to one; the Upper Bakossi of Bangem and the Bassossi of Nguti prefer it white,
the Bafaw and Lower Bakossi red. Grasslanders and Manyu natives prefer it
hard and red 2.5 to 1. 89% want it sweet. 15% mentioned "brightness", or
shiny grains, as a desired characteristic.

At present, 45% grow both red and white maize, sometimes carefully separa-
ting the best pure white and pure red cobs for seed and planting them mixed in
the same field, sometimes planting mixed ears. 41% plant only red maize, and
14%, only white. The soft white is a version of Calabar corn, small-cobbed,
very floury, short-stature, early, and highly susceptible to weevils. The few
white types are brought down from the North West and West by Grasslanders, as
are the hard reds. There is a constant replenishing of the supply from the

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 39

highlands as people eat or lose all their seed to weevils and purchase again
in the market; especially around Kumba Town, there is almost no local maize in
the market during planting time. Ij 1987, 26% of farmers bought market seed,
77% took it from their own or a neighbor's store, and 1% used an improved
variety (1 Kumba professor who had Ekona White and Yellow, and a Sands farmer
who claimed to have received red seed from an extension agent). 77% of far-
mers also claimed to store maize for seed, indicating that their storage is
more successful than in Fako. Highlands maize is said to do better the second
time it is planted in the lowlands than the first, but also to change its
taste. It is more resistant to weevils, but in some field visits, particular-
ly in Supe and Bangem, seemed to lodge more.

Field Problems: Farmers reported losing an average 17% of their crop first
season and 21% second season, or 19% of the total area planted and 17% of
potential production. The worst losses per farm were reported to be in Nguti
first season (30%) and second (42%), followed by Kumba (19%) first season and
Supe and the Sands (25%) second season, with the least in the Sands first
season (4%) and Koupe second (14%). Kumba and Koupe had approximately the
same level of losses first and second season; the rest had worse losses second

Stem borers were the worst problem reported: only an Average 2% loss first
season (or 45% among the 4% of growers mentioning borers) but 15% second sea-
son (or 60% among the 26% of growers mentioning them). First season borer
losses were in Bangem, the Sands zone and Supe; second season, everywhere
except Nguti (where borers were found in the field visits). In field visits
borers were tentatively identified"' as of two types: (1) Sesamia, a moth
which lays its eggs in the crevices of leaf nodes early in the cycle, the
larvae eating from the crown into the interior of the stem until it rots and
the plant dies, and (2) Eldana, a dark brown borer which lays its eggs late in
the maize cycle on leaf surfaces, the larvae then boring directly into the
stem after silking, seldom causing much damage to the plant but often migrat-
ing to the cobs to eat later. Sesamia was common throughout the Kumba Cor-
ridor, Sands, and Koupe, while Eldana was found in one Sands field and in
Nguti and Supe; Bangem had some of both. The major chemical control used on
food crops occurs against maize stem borer, and many more farmers would use
chemicals if they could find them to buy.

First season, stunting (possibly caused by streak virus or malnutrition)
was reported as the major problem in Kumba, Supe, and Koupe, by 9% of first-
season growers, averaging 50% losses. All zones reported some animal damage
(10% of growers) including both seasons. Birds, leaf-cutting insects, ear
rot, lodging, drought and flood were also mentioned by one to two farmers. In
field visits, borers caused the most damage in Kumba, Koupe, the Sands and
Nguti fields; streak was second in Kumba and tied with other causes in Koupe,
Bangem and Nguti. Lodging was a problem in Bangem, Supe and Koupe; stunting
(probably due to malnutrition) in Bangem, the Sands and Koupe; and animals in
Nguti. There was also some rust seen in Bangem, some ear blight in Supe, and
some snails, leaf cutters and stalk rot in Kumba.

e' on the basis of descriptions and discussion with Dr. Alan of IITA.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 40

-C*-ll- I ----

Farmers were asked if they woJld like to grow more maize (96% saying yes)
and then why they do not do sc: 45% gave answers that simply indicate a pre-
ference for other crops or contentment with present mixture (lack of land,
labor or money to obtain these but 14% mentioned forest shading or low soil
fertility, 12% animal and bird Camage, 9% insect damage in field or store, 9%
lack of good seed or technical advice, 4% lack of a market, and 3% improduc-
tivity of their own variety. Most Kumba, Bangem and Sands farmers indicated
mostly land/labor reasons. "'o-thirds of Koupe reasons dealt with forest
shading, animal and evil daWrfe. Two-thirds of Nguti reasons dealt with
animal damage, and most of the ftSt with infertility and 1prSodutivity. 8apg
farmers complained of all these factors but especially of the need for new
varieties and technical assistance.

Processing and marketing: Mai:e is eaten daily (four to seven days a week)
throughout the year by only 7% c' farming households, and several times a week
all year by 13%. During the two maize harvests, 21% eat it daily and 12% less
often. During only the principal maize harvest 11% eat it daily and 35% less
often. None never eat it. 9'" buy it all year and 15% out of season. There
is little zonal difference. 741 eat it as green cobs (least in Kumba) and 94%
in dried forms; but these latter include pap and koki foods that may be made
from fresh or dried maize. As ccbs, 59% of all farmers boil it and 55% roast
it. Shelled, 15% make fufu (zorn flour), 70% corn chaff (boiled grains,
usually fresh, with beans), 57% koki (ground corn mixed with vegetable, tied
in plantain leaf and boiled), anc 33% pap (finely ground flour).

A third of the total maize harvest is sold (from a quarter in Bangem to
three-sevenths in Supe) by 60% of farmers (50-60% except in Nguti (one quar-
ter) and Supe (three quarters)). As many sell as fresh cobs as do dried (87%
of sellers each). 74% sell to people to roast for themselves, and 69% to
small traders who will keep them on braziers to sell to othersw. 65% sell to
people to make fufu, 27% for pap, 23% for koki and'7% for chaff. Fully 58%
sell maize for seed.

Storage: Storage is a major problem for maize growing. The crop is stored
for a month or more by 83% of maize growers, ranging from 40% in Nguti and 73%
in Supe to 81% in Kumba and 83% in the Sands. It is.reported to be stored for
an average of 3.7 months in the rainy months after first season and 3.2 months
in the dry months after second season despite higher production second sea-
son and easier storage conditions. Storage is longer first season in Bangem,
Supe, Nguti and the Sands zone; the last three of these have 50-100% more
stores first season, and those not storing second season store longer in
first (4.1 months as vs. 3.7 average). However, overall, equal numbers of
those who store both seasons stire longer first season, as store longer second
season or store cqual lengths of time.

45% store partly to sell later, and 87% for seed (only 55% in Supe and 64%
in the Sands). 33% goes bad by end of storage (only a fifth in Nguti and

'" Present IRA varieties do not survive prolonged exposure on braziers
as well as local ones.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 41

Maize is stored either in a banda, or hung from the kitchen ceiling, Only
15% reported hanging from the ceiling, but it is often used as a supplementary
method to preserve special cobs picked for seed. 6% shell their maize first
and store it in jars or calabashes. 7% put cobs inside a container (bag, box,
basket or plastic bag). Probably almost all the stored maize is exposed to
smoke, although not all thought to report it.

Five percent, in the Kumba Corridor, use cocoa insecticides (including
Gamaline and Lindalo 20) on the cobs, despite the fact that there are no
insecticides locally available that are safe for storage. Maize is the only
food crop besides plantains for which there is significant chemical use, de-
monstrating the farmers' need for help in this area, both in the provision of
safer chemicals and their proper use.

2. Cassava:

Importance: Cassava is planted on about ten square kilometers of Meme land
(monocrop equivalent). Approximately 18.300 tons were harvested in the 1986-
87 croo year, equivalent to 580 million francs at local prices or 28.0 million
kilocalories of food energy. This makes them third in economic importance and
first in nutritional importance in the Division.

Ecozones: Sands zone farms contain three times the divisional average of
cassava, with the least being planted in Supe, Kumba and Koupe. By total
area, Kumba ranks first with 39% of planting, Bangem second with 25%, and the
Sands third with 17%. The Sands zone (3500kg) and Bangem (1300kg) lead in
reported average household production, followed by Supe (960kg). Kumba (42%),
the Sands (20%), Bangem (15%) and Supe (11%) lead in total divisional produc-

Associations: Cassava is planted in 36% of fields by 88% of farmers, as a
major crop in 70% of the fields. Among fields with the crop, 11% is monocrop-
ped (with 39% of the total area of the crop because of the low densities in
intercropped fields). In 4% it is the only major crop, with secondary crops
added, and the rest is intercropped with other major crops. B0% is found in
open fields, 16% in tree-food ones, 2% in tree fields, and 1% in forest
fields. It can be associated with almost any crop, but most frequently with
maize (r=.30), taro (.2?) and cocoyams (.29). In Kumba, it is associated more
often with cocoyams, maize and groundnuts; in the Sands with taro and maize,
and away from cocoa; in Bangem, it is strongly associated with taro, maize and
cocoyam, and often separate from coffee; and in Supe, it is planted with most
other crops, all together.

Field size: Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted to cassava in
a field averages 380m2, ranging from an average 240m2 in Koupe to 1300m2 in
the Sands zone. Cassava occupies 19% of the area in open fields, 5% in tree-
food fields and 1% in forest fields.

Planting methods: Cassava is planted on beds (53%), mounds (27%) and the flat
(20%), the latter mostly in Koupe. It is planted on beds in all zones but

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 42

especially in Kumba, and on mounds mostly in Bangem, Nguti and the Sands zone.
Planting distances vary from 20 to 600cm, but cluster around 100-200cm, with a
mean of 165cm. 1.6 stakes are planted together, ranging from one to four but
with 41% planting one alone and 58%, two. Average stand density is only
3.600pph, from 2.000 and 2.BOOpph in Koupe and Kumba to 7.000 in Supe and Ban-
gem to 10.400 in the Sands and 14.500 in Nguti31. In forest fields, farmers
leave the cuttings lying on the ground until they start to sprout, before
covering them over with soil.

Calendar: Cassava is usually planted in first season (91%, with 14% planting
second season), generally in March (55%). Planting occurs every month except
December, but concentrates between February and April (83%). It goes from
March to April in Kumba (54% March), in Koupe (65% March) and the Sands (85%
March), February to March in Supe (69% March), February to November in Bangem
(only 20% in March, the most popular month), and March (75%) in Nguti. It is
weeded a first time by 98% of cassava farmers at an average of 2.3 months
after planting, and a second time by 43% (only 27% in Bangem, and 50% in
Nguti) at 5.9 months. Harvesting begins at an average twelve months (20% be-
fore ten months and 29% at thirteen or later) and lasts only until the six-
teenth month (31% before thirteen months and 22% after eighteen). The longest
harvests are in the Sands zone (to the nineteenth month on average), and the
shortest in Nguti (to the fourteenth month).

Varieties: 69% of Meme cassava farmers grow both red and white varieties of
cassava, 22% red only, and 9% white only (especially in Bangem). Although
there is some variation, in general the red can be eaten boiled or even raw.
(as some do in Nguti) and the white requires more processing for safety.
Cassava cuttings are taken from their own farms by 96% of farmers and from the
market by 4% (mostly in Kumba); one Kumba and one Sands farmer had some IRA
cassava as well.

Field Problems: Farmers reported losing an average 11% of their crop, or 11%
of the total area planted and 12% of potential production. The worst losses
per farm were reported to be in Bangem (33%) and Nguti (25%), with the least
in the Sands zone (2%). In Nguti, Supe and the Sands zone, almost all repor-
ted losses are due to animals; 12% of all Meme growers reported animal damage.
Tuber rot was next most prominent, common in Bangem (33%) and occurring to one
farmer each in Nguti, Supe and Koupe, with average losses of 35%; two Bangem
farmers also had 90-100% losses when tubers were too hard to boil, and one
Bangem, one Koupe and two Kumba farmers had good vegetative growth with tiny
tubers. There were also one report each of probable anthracnose (Bangem),
cassava bacterial blight (Kumba) and root rot (Kumba). In field visits, only
three tuber rot cases (one in Kumba and two in Bangem) were seen, with the
Bangem cases accompanied by rot of the cuttings before germination. Mosaic
was common but not severe.

Reported densities are somewhat lower on the flat (averaging
2.400pph) and higher on mounds and beds (3.800 and 4.000pph), reflecting the
failure of our measuring system to take into account the empty space between
mounds and beds. Relative densities between zones change little by planting

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.08 page 43

Processing and marketing: Cassava is eaten primarily as water fufu (soaked
three days, pulped, and stored in a sack in water, 74%), pounded fufu (boiled,
pounded and eaten immediately, 67%), and garri (grated and pan-roasted, 53%).
It is also consumed in koki (pounded fufu mixed usually with pounded cowpeas
and fried in balls, 38%), as a boiled tuber (31%)3a, as myondo (pounded, rol-
led in thin lengths and wrapped in plantain leaves, 25%), as mosoma (water
fufu made into thick wafers and eaten with coconut as snacks, 7%), and, by one
to two farmers, as ekwan (mixed with pounded cocoyam and wrapped and boiled)
and roasted. Only one farmer never eats it, while 50% buy it all year (usual-
ly as garri, when they don't want to make their own) and 20% buy it during
some months when they have none in the farm. 37% of the total cassava harvest
is sold, by 56% of farmers (87% in the Sands zone, 40% in Koupe and 50-60%
elsewhere). 51% sell it as raw tubers, 17% as garri, 7% boiled, three farmers
as kumkum (flour made by drying pounded fufu), two farmers as water fufu and
one farmer as myondo.

Storage: Cassava is stored for a month or more by only two farmers, in the
form of kumkum, without loss.

3. Cocoyams:

Importance: Cocoyams are planted on about 19 square kilometers of Meme land
(monocrop equivalent). Approximately 3.650 tons were harvested in the 1986-87
crop year, equivalent to 530 million francs at local prices or 4.8 million
kilocalories of food energy. This makes them fourth in economic importance
and fifth in nutritional importance in the Division, despite the severe crop
losses of recent decades due to the cocoyam root rot.

Ecozones: Koupe farms contain three times thd divisional average of cocoyams,
with the least being planted in the Sands, Kumba Corridor and lastly Nguti.
By total area, Koupe still ranks first with 40% of planting, and Kumba second
with 33%. Koupe (695kg) and Supe (415kg) lead in reported average household
production (Kumba producing only 140kg), and Koupe (40%), Kumba (35%) and Supe
(21%) in total divisional production.

Associations: Cocoyams are planted in 31% of fields by 83% of farmers, as a
major crop in 64% of the fields. Among fields with the crop, 1.7% are mono-
cropped (with 7.7% of the total area of the crop). In 1% they are the only
major crop, with secondary crops added, and the rest are intercropped with
other major crops. 49% are found in forest fields, 28% in open ones, 12% in
tree-food fields, and 11% in tree fields. They are associated most frequently
with taro (r=.42), cassava (.29), plantains (.25), and maize (.22). In Kumba,
they are found most often with cassava and maize; in Nguti, with taro, yams
and egusi; and in the Sands, with taro, beans and plantains, and separated
from egusi.

ae It is boiled most frequently in Nguti (over half); IRA cassava is
good in most recipes but does not boil well in some places.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 44


Field size: Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted to cocoyams in
a field averages 7O0mt, ranging from an average 400m2 in Kumba to 2.100 m2 in
Koupe. Cocoyams occupy 58% of the area in forest fields, 11% in open ones, 6%
in tree-food fields and 3% in tree fields.

Planting methods Cocoyams are planted on beds (43%) and mounds (40%), with
19% of farmers planting on the flat, mostly in Koupe. Planting distances vary
from 15 to 300cm, but cluster around 50-100cm, with a mean of 84cm. The
exception is Nguti, which plants at an average 30cm. Only one farmer was
found to put two plants in a hole, thus densities vary around a mean of
14.500pph, from about 12.000 in Bangem and Kumba and 13.500 in the Sands to
18.000 in Koupe and .upe and 111.000 in Nguti.

Calendar: Cocoyams are usually planted in first season (89%), generally in
March (50%). Planting is from January to May in kumba (50% March), March to
November in Koupe (53% March), January to March, June and August in Supe (50%
March), March and a few in June in the Sands, February to March (31%) and June
to November (46% August-September) in Bangem, and March (100%) in Nguti. They
are weeded a first time by 94% of cocoyam farmers (the least in Koupe) at an
average of 2.2 months after planting, and a second time by 42% (only 8% in
Bangem) at 5.9 months. Harvesting begins at an early average 8.7 months (45%
before eight months and 17% at twelve or later) and lasts only until the thir-
teenth month (59% before twelve months and 13% after fifteen), due to the root
rot. The longest harvests are in Koupe (to the sixteenth month on average),
and the shortest in Nguti (to the ninth month).

Varieties: Half the farmers plant both white and red cocoyams, and 49% plant
white only. Despite the greater susceptibility of white to root rot, only one
farmer planted red alone. The most red was found in the Sands zone (100% of
growers), Supe (67%) and Koupe (69%), and the least in Bangem (10%). 95% of
growers took their seed tubers from their own farms, and 6% bought from mar-
kets. Thirteen of the twenty-three farmers storing for more than a month did
so at least partly for seed, averaging 3.5 months storage. Fields visited
with both cocoyam and taro had more taro in eight out of fifteen cases, with
cocoyam outnumbering taro in four of the five heavily shaded fields. Overall,
cocoyam outnumbered taro by four to three in unshaded fields and fourteen to
one in shaded ones.

Field problems Farmers reported losing an average 39% of their crop, or 40%
of tne total area planted and 35% of potential production. The worst losses
per farm were reported in Nguti (61%), Bangem (55%) and Koupe (48%); Kumba
repoi-ted 38%, the Sands 31% and Supe only 20%. In Nguti, a third attributed
their losses to animal destruction and a third to root rot. Little cocoyam
was seen there in field visits, all apparently free of rot*', but attacked by
soil borer beetles and by a red ant that lays its eggs on the tuber and causes
the tuber itself to rot. Cocoyams and taro are also a favorite food of cut-
ting grass, deer and other animals. In Bangem, the root rot was blamed by 93%
of farmers and seen in all three fields visited. It was somewhat worse by

Root rot was counted by number of plants with yellowing, dying leaves
and verified by uprooting some of the dying plants.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 45


report at 1300m altitude than at 900m, and in the fields visited, 85% of
plants were dying in the highest field (a flat hilltop), 10% on a shaded,
steep hillside at about 1100m, and none among the few planted on a flat, un-
shaded field at 900m. In Koupe, 60% complained of the root tot and 20% of
maggots (possibly ants, borer beetles or even the rot). The areas furthest
from Tombel had the least rot. Field visits showed about 5% rot in two of the
four fields (the steepest), plus reports of a borer beetle rampant in dry
season in the Nyassosso area. In Kumba, 53% complained of the rot, and 13% of
a problem that leaves roots healthy and leaves green but no tuber formation.
This latter was also mentioned by one farmer in Supe, and described by exten-
sion agents as common to some areas around Mbakwa Supe, but never seen in the
field. In the Kumba fields, four of the five with cocoyam had rot (10%, 15%,
25% and 40% dying). In the Sands zone, 47% complained of the rot, but no
field visited had cocoyams. In Supe, 20% complained of the rot, but it was
found in only one of the three fields with cocoyam and the extension agents
had not realized it existed locally.

Processing and marketing: Cocoyams are eaten pounded (90%), as ekwan (grated
and tied in vegetable leaves to boil, 77%), boiled (51%), as porrage (chunks
in stew, 46%), kwa coco (grated and tied in plantain leaves to boil,- 16%) and
roasted (5%). Only 2% don't eat them. Cocoyams are sold as raw tubers (44%
of farmers) or sometimes boiled (10%) although only 41% reported selling
last year. An average of 32% of the harvest was reported sold, from a low of
4% in Bangem and 22% in Nguti to 36% in Kumba and 46% in the Sands zone,

Storage: Only twenty-three farmers stored their cocoyams a month gr more.
Seventeen stored them in the house in a cool, dry place on the floor; four in
a hole in the farm, covered with plantain leaves or grass and then soil; and
two in the farm on top of the soil, covered with plantain leaves. Eleven men-
tioned putting wood ash on them. They were kept for an average of 4.9 months
(4.6 with ash, 3.8 on the farm and 5.2 in the house), for sale, peed and/or
food. An average 21% rotted by the end of storage, being higher with ash
(25%) and in the house (24%, vs. 15% on farm). Cocoyams were stored every-
where except in Koupe, where long planting and harvesting periods make it

4. Taro:"3

liportancet Taro is planted on about eight square kilometers of Meme land
(monocrop equivalent). Approximately 3.950 tons were harvested in the 1986-87
crrp year, equivalent to 345 million francs at local prices or 3.9 million
kiljcalories of food energy. This makes them fifth in economic importance and
sixth in nutritional importance in the Division.

Ecozones: Kdupe farms contain two times the divisional average of iaro, with
Bangem planting the mean and the other zones below. By total area, Kumba
ranks first with 35% of planting, Koupe second with 30%, and Bangem third with

n See also Section F.3. Cocoyams.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.8B page 46

~lr-r-~I~L-L ----

16%. Supe (665kg) and Bangem (460kg) lead in reported average household pro-
duction, with the Sands and Koupe at 250kg and Kumba at only 70kg. Supe
(35%), Bangem (24%), Kumba (18%) and Koupe (15%) account for most of the
divisional production.

Associations: Taro is planted in 32% of fields by 77% of farmers, as a major
crop in 62% of the fields. Among fields with the crop, 2.4% is monocropped
(with 4.6% of the total area of the crop). In 1.6% it is the only major crop,
with secondary crops added, and the rest is intercropped with other major
crops. 4e% is found in open fields, 33% in forest ones, 15% in tree-food
fields, and 10% in tree fields. It is associated most closely with tocoyams
(r=.42), and often with cassava (.29) and plantains (.281. In Supe, it is
grown with most other crops, all together; in Bangem, usually with cocoyam and
cassava, and often with maize; in Kumba, more often with yams, plantains and
maize; and in Koupe, more with cassava, cocoyams and plantains, and away from

Field size: Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted to taro in a
field averages 365m2, ranging from an average 240m* in Nguti and Supe to 780m2
in Koupe. Taro occupies 19% of the area in forest fields, 8% in open ones, 4%
in tree-food fields and 1% in tree fields.

Planting methods: Taro is planted the same way as cocoyam in almost every
case where they are both grown. Planting distances vary from 10 to 200cm, but
cluster around 35-100cm, with a mean of 70cm, Nguti being the major exception
with 35cm spacing. Densities vary around a mean of 22.000pph, from about
17.000 in Koupe, 21.000 in Kumba and 24.000 in Bangem 77.000 in Nguti.

Calendar! Taro is usually planted in first season (82%), generally in March
(59%), with planting occurring at every month except July and December but
concentrating in February to April (83%). Planting is from February to April
in Kumba (54% March), March in Koupe (75%) and the Sands (78%), February to
March in Supe (50% March) and Nguti (67% March), and February to March and
August to November (43% March) in Bangem. It is weeded a first time by 87% of
farmers (the least in Supe), and a second time by 21% (only 7% in Bangem and
Supe and 44% in the Sands). Harvesting begins at an average six months and
lasts only until the eighth month. The longest harvests are in the Sands zone
(to the ninth month on average), and the shortest in Supe (to seven and a half

Varieties: 99% of taro farmers have "Ibo coco" (C. esculenta var. Edo) and
40% "country coco" (var. Dasheen). Dasheen taro is .most prevalent in the
Northern half of Meme: Bangem, Nguti, and Supe. The Dasheen is taller and
"slimier" in cooking; according to some farmers, it is a heavy feeder that
crowds out some companion crops; according to Dr. Wutoh of Ekona it is less
resistant than Edo to the cocoyam root rot. 17% of farmers use seed tubers
from their farms, and 7% buy in the market. Fourteen out of the twenty-four
farmers that reported storing taro for a month or more store for seed, an
average of 2.2 months in storage.

Field problems Farmers reported losing an average 8% of their crop, or 6% of
the total area planted and 9% of potential production. The worst losses per

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 47

farm were reported to be in Nguti (36%). Four farmers (two in Koupe and one
each in Kumba and Supe) claimed that they lost 25-50% of their taro to root
rot, not differentiating the varieties. One in Bangem claimed that ants had
eaten 50% of her Edo and 20% of her Dasheen; ants often are attracted to coco-
yams with root rot and are mistaken for the cause by many farmers. Two in
Nguti and one in the Sands said maggots had eaten the tubers, and one in Kumba
blamed snails. One in Bangem and one in Kumba reported small/no tubers, de-
spite healthy roots. In field visits, the only problem discovered was taro
leaf blight, heavy around Tombel in Koupe.

Processing and marketing: 10% of farmers do not eat taro at all. 63% boil
it, 83% pound it to make achu, 8% make ekwan (pounded, tied in leaves and
boiled in soup), 15% porrage (chunks cooked in stew), and one used it in kwa
coco. 29% of the total harvest is sold. 33% of farmers said they sold it
last year (60% in Nguti and under 30% in Koupe and Kumba), although 42% clair
med to sell it raw; 4% sell it boiled.

Storage: Twenty-four farmers, some in each zone, stored taro for a month or
more, six in the farm (five in covered holes and one covered on the surface),
two in sheds (one also covered with plantain leaves), fourteen on the floor in
the house (at least nine with wood ash), and one on a banda (raised shelf).
Fourteen of them save planting material. The taro is saved an average of five
months and about a quarter is spoiled by the end of this period, most to rot
(one mentioned losses to sprouting). Only one had no loss.

5. Plantains and Bananas:

Importance: Plantains and bananas are planted on about 17 and 4 square kilo-
meters of Meme land respectively (monocrop equivalent). Approximately 20.200
tons of plantains and 3.400 tons of bananas were harvested in the 1986-87 crop
year, equivalent to 1.300 and 130 million francs at local prices, or 18.9 and
2.9 million kilocalories of food energy. This makes plantains first in econo-
mic importance and second in nutritional importance in the Division; bananas
rank seventh in both categories.

Ecozones: Sands zone farms contain two times the divisional average of plan-
tains, with the least being planted in Kumba and Nguti. Banana area planted
per field is 75% above divisional average in Supe and Bangem, low in Kumba,
and not even mentioned in the Sands. By total area, Kumba ranks first for
plantains, with 45% of planting, and second for bananas, with 28%. Supe ranks
first for bananas (45%) and second for plantains (18%), followed by Koupe (14%
for plantains and 5% bananas) and Bangem (10% plantains and 16% bananas).
Nguti (145 banana and 63 plantain bunches) and Koupe (111 plantain bunches)
lead in reported average household production, Bangem reporting the least (26
plantain bunches) and few growers outside Nguti reporting banana totals at
all. For plantains, Kumba (56%), Koupe (19%) and Supe (12%) lead in total
production; for bananas, among reporters, Nguti (46%) and Supe (45%) lead.

Associations: Plantains are planted in 35% of fields by 74% of farmers, as a
major crop in 54% of the fields. Among fields with the crop, 0.7% are mono-

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.89 page 48


cropped (with 2.5% of the total area of the crop); the rest are intercropped
with other major crops. Bananas are planted in 12% of fields by 20% of far-
mers, as a major crop in 54% of the fields. Among fleids with the crop, none
is monocropped, and 2.3% contain bananas as the only major crop, with secon-
dary crops added; the rest are intercropped with other major crops, 57% of
plantains and 60% of bananas are found in tree fields, 17% of plantains and
14% of bananas in tree-food ones, 16% of plantains and 14X of bananas in open
fields, and 10% of plantains and 18% of bananas in forest fields. Plantains
are associated most frequently with bananas (ra.44), and vice versa; but also
with cocoa (.37), taro (.29), coffee (.26) and cocoyams (.25). In Kumba, they
are found with bananas, cocoa and sometimes coffee and maize; in Koupe, with
coffee, cocoa, and sometimes bananas, cassava, cocoyams and taro; in Supe,
with most crops, all together; and in Bangem, with bananas and coffee, and
sometimes cocoyams. Bananas in Kumba are found mostly with plantains and
egusi; in Nguti, with plantains, cocoa, coffee, yams and beans, and away from
cassava; and in Supe, again, with every other crop except maize and coffee.

Field size: Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted to plantains
and bananas in a field averages 665 and 505m2 respectively, ranging from an
average 480m2 of plantains in Nguti to 1380m* in the Sands, from no bananas in
the Sands to 840m2 in Supe, and, added together, from 835mt in Kumba to 1620mt
in Supe. Plantains and bananas occupy 13% and 4% of the area in forest
fields, 7% and 2% in open ones, 10% and 2% in tree-food fields and 17% and 5%
in tree fields.

Planting methods: Plantain spacing varies from 100 to 800cm, but clusters
around 300-460cm, with a mean of 360cm. Densities vary around a mean of
BOOpph, from about 600 in Bangem and Koupe and 800 in Kumba, Nguti and Supe to
1.000 in the Sands zone. Bananas are planted exactly as plantains wherever.
they coincide.

Calendar: Plantains are usually planted in first season (81X), generally in
March (52%). Planting is done in every month except May and December, with
75% between February and April. It goes from February to April in Kumba (49%
March) and Nquti (54% March), March (63%) and October-November in Koupe, March
in the Sands (93%), February to March in Supe (54% March), and all year (20%
March) in Bangem. Bananas are planted first season by 70% of growers, with
only 34% in March, in all months except January, May, August and December; in
Nguti, 67% are planted in March, and in Supe, 43%. Plantains are weeded a
first time by 90% of farmers (the least in Koupe) at an average of 2.7 months
after planting, and a second time by 37% (over 50% in Bangem and Nguti) at 6.3
months. Bananas are weeded a first time by 93% of growers (the least in Supe)
and a second time by 46% (67% in Kumba and Nguti). Harvesting of plantains
begins at an average 11.5 months (22% before ten months and 9% at fourteen or
later) and lasts until the eighteenth month (42% before fifteen months and 25%
at two years or more), The longest plantain harvests are in the Sands and
Koupe (to the twenty-first month on average), and the shortest in Jangem (to
the thirteenth month). Bananas are harvested from 10.4 months to 18.7 on

Varieties: 93% of plantain farmers grow horn types (Ebanga) and 41% French
types (Sombre, Clair, Dwarf Njinikorn, giant Brococa, and Small Finger), with

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 49

the French being most common (beside the horn) in Koupe (100%) and Kumba
(86%). 90% transplanted suckers within their own farms, 9% buy on the market,
and 2% (in Kumba Town and one in Supe) have bought from IRA Ekona or IRA
Njombe. 49% of bananas for which information was given are unnamed locals;
four farmers had No. 1, five Poyu, and two Gros Michel; 75% came from their
farms, 20% from the market, and 5% are improved species.

Field problems: Farmers reported losing an average 20% of their plantain
crop, or 20% of the total area planted and 19% of potential production. The
worst losses per farm were reported to be in Kumba (25%), the least in Bangem
(9%). Banana losses were reported at 13% of the crop, the most being again in

Stem borers (plantain weevil) and root nematodes were the principal re-
ported causes of the losses in almost all cases. The larva of the plantain
weevil bores into the stem of the plantain, creating black rotten paths that
ants are attracted to, and eventually causing the plant to lodge before bea-
ring. Because of the ants, yellowing leaves and rot at base, it is equated by
many farmers with cocoyam root rot, and both with "Panama", a banana disease
brought in to the CDC plantations. Farmers do not often recognize the cause
(and never the adult insects in one village the predator beetle was iden-
tified by farmers as the adult borer), but 14% of growers described the rotten
stems as causing an average of 60% loss, in all zones. A further 14% descri-
bed general lodging before bearing, with 50% loss in all zones. 10% described
lodging due to dead root systems, with 40% loss in all zones except Nguti and
Bangem. In Kumba, there were also three "disease" mentions, two cases of
prematurely dying leaves, and one each of flood, monkey damage and leaf-cut-
tars; in Bangem, one case of monkey damage; and in the Sands one of small

In field visits, borer was found more frequently than nematodes in Supe and
Kumba, and the opposite in Koupe; in Bangem, cigar end and nematodes were
identified. Cases of prematurely dying leaves were inspected in Kumba, and
identified in photographs later by Mr. Kofi of Plantains as severe early borer
attack (not, as suspected black eigateka). te plaatlrnI Wre se in tho
Sands and Nguti, and in the latter gone end Supe many farmers claim to have
given up plantains in favor of bananas because the plantains would not do well
on most of their soils.

Processing and marketing: Plantains are eaten by all but one farmer. They
are boiled by 02X, eaten in porrage (chunks in stew) by 63%, roasted by 42%,
fried (dodo) by 10%, eaten in koki balls by 7%, in ekwan packets by 4%, and
pounded by 4%. 47% of all farmers said they sold plantains last year (two-
thirds in Koupe and the Sands, and a quarter in Bangem), selling almost one
half of the total harvest. Plantains are the highest-value crop for effort
expended (yam production and cassava processing being much more work), and the
closest food crop to commercial status. Plantains are sold raw by 56% and
boiled by 10% of farmers.

TLU IRA-ELona 7.B page 50

6. Yams:

Importance Yams are planted on about five square kilometers of Meme land
(monocrop equivalent). Approximately 5.250 tons were harvested in the 1986-87
crop year, equivalent to 955 million francs at local prices or 5.5 million
kilocalories of food energy. This makes them second in economic importance
and fourth in nutritional importance in the Division. However, their economic
importance is restricted to few people outside Kumba Corridor.

Ecozones: Bangem farms contain 60b more than the divisional average of yams,
with the least being planted in Nguti, Supe and Koupe. By total area, Kumba
ranks first with 73% of planting, and Bangem second with 14%; the Sands has
only 7%. The Sands, however, leads in reported average household production,
with 1600kg, followed by Kumba with 300kg and only 45kg in Bangem. The Sands
total is swelled by one major yam grower, without whom the average would by
aOkg, below Kumba's; but it was observed that a few such extraordinary gro-
wers could be found in most of the Sands villages. Kumba (63%) and the Sands
(33%) lead in total divisional production.

Associations: Yams are planted in 20% of fields by 51% of farmers, as a major
crop in 2S of the fields. Among fields with the crop, 1.5% are monocropped
(with 4.0% of the total area of the crop). The rest are intercropped with
other major crops. 65% are found in open ones, and 34% in tree-food fields.
They are associated most frequently with egusi (r=.26) and maize (.26); in
Kuimba, with taro and sometimes maize; in the Sands zone, with egusi and maize;
and in Bangem, with beans and maize.

Field size: Converted to mornocrop equivalent, the area planted to yams in a
field averages 3e5m2, ranging from an average 60m2 in Koupe to 600m2 in Ban-
gem. Yams occupy 6% of the area in open fields and 4% in tree-food fields.

Planting methods: Yams are planted on mounds (64%), on the flat (21%) and
and beds (14%), with little zonal specialization except in the Sands, where
all but one farmer used mounds. Planting distances vary from 20 to 400cm, but
cluster around eO-120cm, "ith a mean of 115cm. Densities vary around a mean
of B.000pph, from about 4.0C0 in Supe and Nguti and 7.000 in Kumba to 10.000
in the Sands and 15.000 in Bangem.

Calendar: Yars are usually planted in first season (99%), generally in March
(59%), with 12% in January, 19% in February, and a few in April and May.
Planting is from January to April in Kumba (72% March), February to March in
Supe (57% March). Nguts (60% March) and the Sands (71% March), and December to
March (40% March and 30% January) in Bangem. They are weeded a first time by
91% of yam farmers (the least in Supe and Koupe) at an average of 2.1 months
after planting, and a second time by 34% (only 20% in Bangem but 60% in Nguti)
at 4.9 months. Harvesting begins at an average 7.5 months (29% before seen
months and 11% at ten or later) and lasts only until the tenth month (12% be-
fore nine months and only 2% afte:- eleven). The longest harvests are in
Bangem (to the eleventh month on average), and the shortest in Supe (to the
ninth month).

Varieties: 63% of yam growers have Dioscorea rotundata (Calabar or white

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.99 page 51

yams), 12% each D. Alata (water) and D. Dumentorum (sweet yams), and 8% other
types (all in the Kumba Corridor: two with D. cayensis (yellow), and one with
D. Shipiana (red)). Calabar yams are mostly in Kumba and the Sands, water
yams in the Sands, and sweet yams in Bangem, Supe-.Kumba and ;..the Sands. 58%
of the yams farmers keep their own setts or get them from a neighbor, 42% buy
them in markets, and one farmer in the Sands zone had some from Extension.
Eleven farmers store yams for seed. : '

Field problems: Farmers reported losing an average 7% of their crop, or 9% of
the total area planted and 7% of potential production. The worst losses per
farm were reported to be in Kumba (11%). The reported losses were to maggots
(one case each in Kumba and Nguti), animal damage to one Sands farm, a case of
tuber rot in Kumba and three cases there of small tubers. No yam problems
were seen in the field, through one farmer in Nguti showed beetles (about two-
thirds the size of a yam beetle, with longer antennae) that eat through yam
roots and tubers as well as bean and egusi vines, taro and cocoyam tubers, and
eggs of a red ant laid on cocoyam tubers (and yam and taro ones) that cause
the tuber to rot.

Processing and marketing: 22% of farmers do not eat yams, the largest propor-
tion for any crop. 65% -eatas LLe pPI hop an DfnrTr rrage, 22%
make pounded yam fufu, and 3% roast. 18% said they sold.ya in 19B6-7, aver-
aging a third of the total crop. 25% sell yams as raw tU Trs, 7% boiled and
one each as porrage and planting ma grial, .F ig Jue crop but are
constrained by the labour required.for -g~Tle ;~ing 6 holes and sta-
king, and by the availability of planting material.

Storage: Yams are stored a month or"-more by fifteen farmers, twelve for plan-
ting material, four only to eat, and two to sell. Three farmers tie them on
sticks in a barn and one each, to eaves of a house, on a..fence, hang them on
ropes in the house or pin them to leaves of a palm tree. Seven leave them on
the floor in a cool, dry part of the house, three applying wood ash, and one
puts them in bags in the kitchen. Storage in or outside gives equal losses,
about one-fifth, to rot. Two farmers keeping them in the house reported no
loss, and one who ties them on sticks reported dessication. Storage is in all
producing zones except Bangem, but proportionally fewer-of the Kumba yam far-
mers store.

7. Groundnuts:

Importance: Groundnuts are planted on about six square kilometers of Meme
land (monocrop equivalent). Approximately 350 tons were harvested in the
1986-87 crop year, equivalent to 105 million francs at local prices or 1.5
million kilocalories of food energy. This makes them eighth in economic and
nutritional importance in the Division.

Ecozones: Sands farms contain twice the divisional average of groundnuts, and
they were not grown by any of the Bangem sample. By total area, Kumba ranks
first with 70% of planting, SbuplV!'*trd w15W'SX, foal"tiltb ~l the Sands and
Koupe with 7%. Production is low. Supe and Kumba (25kg),: Koupe (20kg) and

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 52

thde and* (Msk ) lead in reported average' household proutittion, aM uwmba
(66%*.Sup t flX) and Kupe (13%) in total divisional production

Alsociltiotns oroundnuts are planted in 14% of fields by 4eX of farmers as a
majbr Crop In 53X of the fields. they aft never monocropped or the only major
crop in a field. 97% is fourd in open field, mnd 3% In tree-food fields.
They are associated mbst frequently with make ~ti.48) bnd beans (.28); in
Kumba, with maize, egusi, sweet potatoes and cassava; in Supe, with most other
crops except -cocoa and coffee; in Koupe, with beans and maize; and in the
Sands, with maize and away from cocoa and plantains.

Field sizes Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted t6 groundnuts
in a field averages 56b0m, ranging from none in Bangem to an average OIOm i10
the Sands zone. Groundnuts occupy 9% of the area in open fields.

Planting methods Groundnuts are planted on beds (100%) and sometimes also on
the flat (18%). Planting distances vary from 10 to 50cm, but cluster around
15-30cf, with a mean'of 27cm. Only one farmer planted more than one seed to a
hole. Densities vary around a mean of 150.000pph, from 130.000 in Kumba and
140.000 in Nguti to 190.000 in Supe and 210.000 in Koupe.

Calendar: Groundnuts are usually planted in both seasons, 88. first season
and 64% second, generally in March (64%) and August .(44%7. Planting is front
February to April and July to September in Kumba (65% March, and most second-
season in August), Marth (71%) and July to September (most August) in Koupe,
February (25X) to March (SOY5 August (40%) and November (25%) in Supe, March
(60%), April (20%) and August (80%) in the Sands, and March (71%) and August
(57%) in Nguti* They are weeded a first time by 77% of farmers (the least in
Nguti and Koupe) at an average of 1.5 months after planting, and a second time
by only 4X. Harvesting begins at an average 2.9 months and lasts only a week
on average.

Varieties: Most groundnuts named are Yaounde (fourteen farmers), and most are
a red and white mix. 6b% buy seed from the market, 40% keeping their own.
Seventeen growers said they saved seed.

Field problems Farmers reported losing an average 12% of their crop. The
worst losses per farm were reported to be in Nguti (25%), with none in Koupe
and the Sands. Losses were reported due to few/no seeds in a pod calcium
deficiency) in three cases in Kumba, Nguti, and Supe, animal damage in six
cases (also in the three zones), and two cases of stunting (rosette virus?)
and one of snails ih Kumba; In field visits, groundnuts were seen in only two
Sands, one Kumba and one Xoupe field; rosette was about 5% in two of the
fields and absent in the others. Five to seven pods per plant averaging two
grains are a normai...yield4

Storage Twenty-four farmers stbred groundnuts a month or more, seventeen for
seed, ten for later sale, and four only to eat. They were reported bagged 'in
seven cases, put in aArtight containers calabashess, tins) in sii and in bas-
kets in two. Generajly they were reported as left in the kitchen banda, or
ceiling (usually the same thing). They were kept two to eighteen months,
averaging six; and were damaged by rats (sixteen cases) and weevils (seven),

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.83 page 53

with seven having no losses and the average loss being a fifth.

8. Egusi Melons

Importance: Egusi is planted on about 1.2 square kilometers of Meme land
(monocrop equivalent). Approximately 3.500 jute (cocoa) bags were harvested
in the 19B6-97 crop year, equivalent to 50 million francs at local prices.
This makes them ninth in economic importance in the Division.

Ecozoness Sands farms have 60% more planting of egusi than Kumba ones, and no
other zone plants more than an insignificant amount. By total area, Kumba
ranks first with 70% of planting, and the Sands second with 30%. Reported
average household production is 1.4 jute bags in the Sands and 0.2 in Kumba.

Associations Egusi is planted in 6% of fields by 21% of farmers, as a major
crop in 53% of the fields, always in association with other major crops. 95%
is found in open fields, 5% in tree-food fields. It is associated most fre-
quently with yams (r=.26); in Kumba with bananas, groundnuts and maize; in the
Sands with yams and maize and separate from cocoyams and plantains.

Field size: Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted to egusi melon
in a field averages 320m2, ranging from none in Bangem and Koupe to an average
480m0 in the Sands. Egusi occupies 2% of the area in open fields.

Planting methods: Egusi is planted on the flat (80%), and sometimes on mounds
(31%) and beds (16%), mostly in the Sands zone. Planting distances vary from
20 to 300cm, with a mean of 190cm. 2.8 seeds are planted to a hole, ranging
from one to six but with 75% (in roughly equal distribution) planting between
two and four. Densities vary around a mean of 3.000pph, from about 7.000 in
Kumba to 20.000 in the Sands.

Calendar: Egusi is usually planted in first season (95%), generally in March
(67%), with 22% in February. Planting is from January to March in Kumba (67%
March), and February to March in the Sands (B9% March) and Nguti (67% March).
They are weeded a first time by 76% of farmers at an average of 1.8 months
after planting, and not a second time. Harvesting begins at an average 4.6
months and lasts a half month.

Varieties. Eight farmers have "Ibo" egusi (a slender ground vine, probably
Citrullus lanatus) and four farmers, "country" egusi (a climbing vine, proba-
bly Cucumeropsis mannii, known in the east as ngan). 63% took the seed from
their farms (six claiming to store seed) and 40% from a market.

Field problems: Farmers reported losing an average 7% of their crop. The
worst losses per farm were reported to be in the Sands zone (14%).

Storage: Egusi was stored by seven farmers, by six for seed, four to sell and
one only to eat. Most put it in bags, one in tins. It was kept one to nine

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 54

months, averaging seven. Three had no losses, and the average loss including
these was one-fifth, to rats (three farmers) and maggots (two).

9. Beans:

Importance: Beans are planted on about 1.3 square kilometers of Meme land
(monocrop equivalent). Approximately 1.350 jute (cocoa) bags of all types of
beans were harvested in the 1986-87 crop year, making them a minor crop in the

Ecozones: Supe and Koupe farms contain two times the divisional average, with
the least being planted in Kumba. By total area, Bangem ranks first with 40%
of planting, Supe second with 28%, and Koupe third with 14%. Average house-
hold production is low: 0.2 jute bags in Supe and less in Bangem and Koupe;
Supe has 41%, Bangem 23% and Koupe 27% of total divisional production.

Associations: Beans are planted in 8% of fields by 24% of farmers, as a major
crop in 42% of the fields, always in association with other major crops. 95%
are found in open fields, 4X in tree-food fields, and 1% in forest fields.
They are associated most frequently with groundnuts (r=.28) and maize (.27);
in Bangem, with maize, 'rish potatoes and yams; in Koupe, with groundnuts; and
in Supe, with maize, groundnuts, cassava and taro, and separate from cocoa.

Field size: Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted to beans in a
field averages 220m2,.ranging from an average 55m2 in Kumba to 480m2 in Supe.
Beans occupy 3% of the area in open fields.

Planting methods: Beans are planted on beds (64%), the flat (19%) and mounds
(17%). Planting distances vary from 10 to 100cm, with a mean of 50cm. 1.9
are planted to a hole, ranging from one to four, with 73% planting two and
only 5%, more than two. Densities vary around a mean of 90.000pph, from about
60.000 in most zones to 230.000 in Supe and 380.000 in Koupe.

Calendar: Beans are usually planted in both seasons, 71% of growers first
season and 62% second, in all months except April and May, but most often in
February (24'), March (44%) and August (32%). Planting is from in March (75%)
and late July-August in Koupe, in almost every month in Supe and Bangem, and
March (86%) and August in NgJti. They are weeded a first time by 78% of far-
mers (the least in Supe) at an average of 1.8 months after planting, and a
second time by none. Harvesting begins at an average 3.4 months and lasts
about half a month.

Varieties: 36% of bean growers have dwarf (bush) haricot beans, 36% climbing
haricot beans, 33% cowpeas, and 14% (in Kumba and Supe) the soybeans recently
introduced from Dschang by the Ministry of Agriculture. Bangem has most of
the dwarf and climbing beans, and Bangem, Supe and Nguti the cowpeas. 87% of
growers save their seed and 18% buy it at the market. Ten farmers stored bean
seed for an average of 5.3 months.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 55


Field problems: Farmers reported losing an average 4% of their crop. The
worst losses per farm were reported to be in Nguti (24%) and Supe (15%).

Storage: Beans were stored by ten farmers, by all for seed and by two also to
sell. They were kept in bags in the kitchen banda (six farmers) or in sealed
containers (bottles or plastic bags, four), once with wood ash. Storage was
for one to fourteen months, averaging 5.3. Six had losses, which averaged a
fifth overall, to weevils (all) and rot from moisture (one).

10. Potatoes:

Importance: Potatoes are planted on about 1.2 square kilometers of Meme land
(monocrop equivalent), two-thirds being sweet potatoes. Approximately 1.400
jute (cocoa) bags of both sweet and Irish potatoes were harvested in the 1986-
87 crop year, making them a minor crop in the Division.

Ecozones: Sweet potatoes were found among only a few farmers, with the lar-
gest area per farm in Bangem and small areas in Supe and Kumba. Irish pota-
toes were found only in Bangem. By total area, Bangem ranks first with 95% of
sweet potato planting and all Irish potato. Reported average household pro-
duction was only 0.5 jute bags in Bangem (both types) and 0.2 in the Sands
zone., giving Bangem 83% of total divisional production.

Associations: Potatoes are planted in 2% of fields (2% sweet and 1% Irish) by
9% of farmers (7% and 5%). Sweet potatoes are a major crop in 53% and Irish,
in 83%, of the fields. Sweet potatoes are always planted in association with
other major crops, but Irish potatoes are monocropped in 33% of fields (43% of
the area). Both are found only in open fields. They are associated frequent-
ly only with each other (r=.22).

Field size: Converted to monocrop equivalent, the area planted to sweet and
Irish potatoes in a field averages 730 and 400ml, ranging for sweet potatoes
from none in Koupe, Nguti and the Sands to an average 1440m* in Bangem.
Sweet potatoes occupy 2% and Irish, 1%, of the area in open fields.

Planting methods: Potatoes are planted on beds (60%) and on the flat (40%),
with only Bangem using the latter method. Planting distances vary from 15 to
100cm, with a mean of 55cm (60cm in Bangem). Densities vary around a mean of
32.000pph, 29.000 in Bangem.

Calendar: Potatoes are usually planted in first season (83%), generally in
February in Supe and February to June, October and November in Bangem. They
are weeded a first time by 83% of farmers and a second time by 9%. Harvesting
begins at an average 5.5 months and lasts until the seventh month.

Varieties and field problems: 40% of Bangem farmers grow Irish potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are grown by 7% of Meme farmers 27% in Bangem, 13% in Supe,
and a few in Kumba and the Sands. All seed comes from the farm. There were
no reported losses of sweet potatoes. One Bangem farmer reported losing all
of her Irish potato crop to blight.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.88 page 56

G. Conclusions and Recommendations:

1. Zones:

In terms of farming population, present production and agronomic problems,
the priority zone for agricultural research (both breeding and agronomy) and
extension is the Kumba Corridor.

In terms of agricultural potential and future social needs, the Supe region
should be considered second priority for research, with particular emphasis on
the adaptation to, and handling of, its granitic soils. This work will even-
tually also benefit the development of the Nguti zone as the farming popu-
lation expands there.

The Koupe zone would be capable of substantial expansion of production both
in the short- and long-term if the road system were to be improved.

The Sands zone already enjoys substantial production for its size but can
benefit from the IRA varietal improvement in cassava and future technologies
to reduce labour input to yams; it may face a marketing problem shortly if new
urban cassava and yam markets are not developed.

The Bangem zone should be included in testing of IRA technology for soil
and pest management, maize and root crops in the highlands stations of Bambui
and Dschang.

2. Management and investment:

Despite short and shortening fallows, sustained cultivation does not yet
threaten soil fertility, as the fallows are shortest on the more durable
soils. But poor field management (high densities, shading, lack of rotation)
is creating pest, disease and soil texture problems in these same areas, espe-
cially on the food farms planted inside cocoa and coffee farms. Pest and
disease incidence is also high in Bangem, despite longer present-day fallows.
There is very little monocropping in Meme, and intercropped densities are
often quite high, reducing individual yields. Both extension and research
(social and agronomic) should be focused on improved management techniques
and the reasons for present ones.

Labour bottlenecks occur in March (making of beds and planting), July to
August (weeding of long-cycle fields), and September to November (cocoa har-
vesting). Technology recommendations should be tailored to reduce, or at
least not increase, labour inputs in these months.

Women bear the primary responsibility for food-crop fields. It is the
women who most determine what is planted in the fields and how it is planted,
managed and harvested, although their husbands have supervisory authority and
are likely to act as intermediary to extension and research visitors. Con-
stant effort must be maintained to interact directly with the women as well as
the men, to improve research understanding and extension education.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.89 page 57

Substantial sums of money are spent on labour for land clearing,'weeding
and cocoa harvesting, but other cash investments for agriculture are rare.
Local village meetings are the main credit source. Crop protection chemicals
(against animals as well as crops and diseases) are much more desired and used
than fertilizers; but food-crop chemical education is badly needed, even more
so than chemicall supply. There is little experience with new food-crop varie-
ties, but great interest. Simple tools are difficult to obtain in most areas.

3. Crops:

Maize, despite low prices, is of considerable importance, especially in the
Kumba Corridor. Preferences are for hard yellow or soft white maize, sweet
and bright, to make fufu, chaff and boiled or roasted green cobs. It is grown
both in open and' coc:?a/coffee fields, on beds and on the flat. Constraints
are over-planting without thinning, stem borer (both seasons), streak virus
and storage weevils.

Cassava is ,carcte relative to demand but still first in provision of food
energy, and most important in the Sands zone and Bangem. It is grown in open
fields on bedi. harvest is usually completed by the eighteenth month, posing
no problems frr IR garri. Constrair.ts are the local varieties' yield potential, animal damage
and some tub-r ro'.. Local markets are not yet satisfied, but further produc-
tion increases wruld require external marketing outlets.

Cocoyanv are still widely planted despite severe production losses to the
root rot, with (oupe 'jeing the most important zone. Forest fields contain
almost half thF planting, but the crop is found in all types of field. Almost
half harvest before eight months due to the rot, which does not seem to vary
with altitude or sloJ.e. Taro is usually planted with cocoyams but considered
of lesser importance; it is rarely damaged by the root rot. Seed storage is a
problem for those who cannot maintain crops in the field until next planting.

Plantains are the most important economic food crop in Meme, and are widely
cormercialized and exported from the Division. Almost half plant a French
type as well as the traditional horn. Planting is usually between February
Frd -pril, and they are often a secondary crop to cocoa, coffee or other food.
Bkainas are most important in Supe and Nguti, where plantains do not do well.
'-oses, due to borer weevils and nematodes, are almost as heavy as for coco-
ya ns.

Yams (especially D. rotundata) are a very important economic crop in the
'umba Corridor and among a .;tinori:/ of large-scale Sands growers. Planting is
in January to March. Yields appear to be very low in Bangem, but notable
field problems are few, land preparation and planting material being more
important constraints to production.

TLU IRA-Ekona 7.9B page 56

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