Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa c. f. Gaertn) and household food security in northern Cameroon
Irene Franceline Mbouwe1, Miroslava Bavorová1, Ann Degrande2, Divine Foundjem-Tita2, Stepha McMullin3, Vladimir Verner1, Zacharie Tchoundjeu4
1Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Fac. of Tropical AgriScience - Dept. of Economics and Development, Czech Republic
Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa C. F. Gaertn) is identified among the most widely used indigenous fruit tree in sub-Saharan Africa. The derived products (fruit pulp and butter) are a source of food and income for vulnerable people in areas where the shea tree naturally occurs. However, the contribution of shea butter consumption and commercialisation to food security is not well known in Cameroon. This study aims to examine the relationship between shea butter consumption and commercialisation and household food security in Northern Cameroon. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected across four subdivisions purposively selected in the North of Cameroon. A total of 384 households in 12 communities were randomly selected and interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire, whereas qualitative data through Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and interviews with key informants were held before the surveys for a further understanding of the shea value chain and the role of shea in household livelihood in the study area. The Tobit regression model will be used to analyse the link between the food insecurity score (dependent variable) and socio-economic factors often used in the literature to affect food insecurity. Other variables will be included in the model in order to capture the effect of shea nuts and butter on food security in the study areas. The research findings from this study will help actors involved in the shea value chain to develop policies, strategies and programmes that promote the cultivation of shea trees in agroforestry parklands and increase income through shea commercialisation with a view to enhancing the living standard of shea producers in the North region of Cameroon. This could be a viable pathway contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals in the study area.
Keywords: Cameroon, food insecurity, livelihoods strategies, NTFPs, rural households, sub-Saharan Africa, Vitellaria paradoxa
Contact Address: Irene Franceline Mbouwe, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Fac. of Tropical AgriScience - Dept. of Economics and Development, Prague-Suchdol, Czech Republic, e-mail: mbouweirenegmail.com