Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the North West Region of Cameroon. The great majority of farmers are small-holders, generally obtaining low yields from small parcels of land using rudimentary methods such as handheld hoes or animals for ploughing. Cash crop production is also done by small holders: 90% are coffee farmers- with less than five hectares.
Agricultural products:Coffee, palm oil, grains, root starches, livestock, rice, maize and ground nuts.
The ever-growing population of the city means more mouths to feed on a daily basis. Although farming is widely practised by households, out-put is still considerably low, thus the need for constant supply from nearby villages. However, the Region is rich in the production ofIrish Potatoes, maize, yams, cassava, rice and beans.
Below – Beans from the North West Region
The Region is rated second in the dairy sector and has a huge potential for growth. Apart from government services, key stakeholders in the dairy sector include small dairy farmers, Heifer Project International Cameroon, Sotramilk and Tadu Dairy Cooperative.However, productionof dairy products remains low despite an available market within and without the Region.
The agro-business climate of the Region is ripe for investment, given the golden opportunity of the Nigerian market. The Bamenda-Enugu corridor of the Trans-African Highway once completed, provides access to over 150million consumers,encouraging small and medium-size enterprises for processing and marketing of produce, and offering support to local farmers, Common Initiatives Group (CIG) and NGOs.This would provide opportunities for income generation and use of labour-saving technologies.
Existing enterprises involved in agro-business include The Farmer’s House (farm inputs), Rock Farms (large production of Irish potatoes, cattle-rearing), North West Cooperative Association (coffee production), Ndawara Estate (Tea production).
Other areas of agriculture with potentials for production and processing include:-
Honey Production -Bee farming is widely practised in the Region by individual farmers and CIGs. Investment in this area is of dual benefit: environmental protection and job creation for rural youths. Already, honey from the Kilum-Ijim forest in Oku is in high demand across Cameroon.
Fruit Transformation:Fruit trees of the North West Region include mangoes, oranges, bananas, passion fruit, papaya (Carica papaya), avocadoes and guava. These fruits are abundant in the Region but are seasonal. Processing at peak seasons will prevent post-harvest loss and would add value to the product. The processing of some of these fruits into juice is mostly limited to individual small-scale producers, whose market outlet include schools and main streets, and for home consumption.
Other Investment Opportunities
Organic Farming:Since agriculture in the Region is mostly carried out by families on small parcels of farm land, the use of harmful products is very limited. Most farmers use organic fertilizers that enhance soil fertility. This method of cultivation is an opportunity for the investment in organic farming.
Fair Trade:Bamenda City Council is very interested in working with partners in promoting Fair Trade locally and internationally. The Council is willing to serve as a focal point for local producers and groups who seek partnership with Fair Trade cities across the world.