Impact of prolonged rainy seasons on food crop production in Cameroon
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Division of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden; National Service of Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Yaounde, Cameroon; Department of Environmental Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana; Nature Today, A 25 Standard Estates, Sakumono, Osu, P.O. Box OS 1455, Accra, Ghana
This study set out to examine why agricultural production in differing agro-ecological zones of the same country responds differently to a common environmental event (an extension of the rainy season). We find that the heavy reliance of farmers in the drier agro-ecological zones on seasonal cycles make them more vulnerable to an extension of the rainy season than those in regions where rainfall is less relied on. Effects in these vulnerable regions include significant damage to crops as well as a shortage in local markets, which raises prices of basic food commodities. The difference between prices in low and high food producing periods is low for crops that can easily be preserved during rains (such as cassava at 58% from an average of 20% in previous years and yams at 82% from 65%). Crops that depend on sunshine for preservation experience greater differences between low and high periods (maize at 92% from an average of 31% in previous years, sorghum at 180% from 53%, and beans at 68% from 42%). In zones with a history of unreliable dry seasons, farmers are more adapted to coping with an extension of the rainy season and possess technology and skills which can be made available to others in vulnerable zones through inter-regional knowledge transfer of knowledge and skills. This study further reinforces the understanding that isolated climate shocks could be important in understanding and managing vulnerability. Also, vulnerability is quite variable even among communities in the same country, in which people practice the same economic activity and are exposed to the same shock. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
commodity; crop damage; crop production; ecological impact; economic analysis; farming system; legume; maize; market system; rainfall; season; sorghum; vulnerability; Cameroon; Manihot esculenta; Zea mays