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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Improved Integration of Underutilised Crops into Farm Household Economies: the Case Study of Vernonia calvoana (Hook) in the High Land Zone of Cameroon.

Joseph Florent Feulefack

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Institute of Rural Development, Germany


Poverty reduction is the focus of many developing countries' development policy strategy. In Cameroon, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper reveals that eight people out of ten live in the rural areas where they are in gross lack of basic needs.

Underutilised crop species play possibly an important role in the food security and income generation of the rural poor. This study considers the case of Vernonia calvoana (Hook) and seeks to value its sustainable contribution to welfare at the household level. It assumes that this species can increase income and improve food security at the household level. Questionnaires are submitted randomly to 105 households in Menoua Division.

Furthermore, plants are renewable resources that may be subject to genetic erosion if not carefully managed. This is relevant in the in the West High Land Zone of Cameroon were the situation of the poor is more difficult owing to growing urbanisation, population growth pressure and consequential environmental problems. The environmental and socio-economic factors and their interaction with the genetic erosion will be analysed. The study area is subdivided into three blocs according to one environmental and two socio-economic variables: elevation, level of urbanisation and level of preference (taste). Within each bloc, agromorphological variations of individual plants are characterised and evaluated to make out the existing patterns of diversity.

Based on the contribution of the species to welfare and its distribution according to environmental and anthropic factors, an analysis of its sustainable integration into rural farm household systems is made.

Keywords: Underutilized crops, rural welfare, food security, household income, Vernonia calvoana

Contact Address: Joseph Florent Feulefack, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Institute of Rural Development, Albrecht-thaer-Weg 12a/08, Göttingen, Germany, e-mail: josephflorent@yahoo.com

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