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Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles

CAMEROON

by
Etienne Tedonkeng PAMO

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FAO 2008

CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION

The birth of Cameroon

The role of agriculture in the economy

2. SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY

13

Soils

13

Topography

14

3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES

18

Climate

18

Climatic regions

19

Agro-ecological zones

20

4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

22

Traditional sedentary systems

22

Major grazing systems

22

Nomadism

24

Transhumance

24

Sedentary stock rearing

25

Peri-urban ruminant husbandry

25

Ruminant livestock

25

Cattle

26

Small ruminants

32

5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE

33

Rangeland

37

Economic aspects of rangeland

38

Improved pastures

40

6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF FODDER RESOURCES

43

Fodder legumes

43

Multipurpose trees

44

Supplementation of crop residues and agro-industrial by-products with forage

45

Recommendation

45

7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL

46

8. REFERENCES

47

9. CONTACTS

52

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

1. INTRODUCTION
The Republic of Cameroon is at the
extreme northeastern end of the Gulf
of Guinea, between longitudes 8 and
16 E and latitudes 1 and 13 N. To
the south it borders Equatorial Guinea,
Gabon, and Congo; to the west Nigeria;
to the east the Central African Republic
and Chad; and to the north a narrow
portion of Lake Chad (see Figure 1a).
The territory is roughly triangular with
a base of about 700 km and a height of
1 200 km; it covers 475 412 km2, with a
population of 14693000 (FAO, 1999), i.e.
31 inhabitants per km2. According to the
World Factbook the July 2008 population
estimate is 18467692 with a growth rate of
2.218%, while Njoya et al. (1999) expect
the population to reach 20500000 in 2010.
Global distribution of Cameroon land area
by type of natural resource (MINEF, 1996)
is given in Table 1.
Forest, park and protected areas,
Figure 1a. Map of Cameroon
which cover 54.7% of the country, are [Source: World Factbook]
an important asset, containing diverse
plant and animal species. Analyses of the crop areas show some disparities between provinces:
North West (31.1%), North (25.1%) and West (24.5%) have the most potentially cultivable land;
in the South West (88.1%), West (86.1%), and the Far North (61.2%) provinces land is almost
completely utilized.
The countrys boundaries were determined at the end of the nineteenth century by the colonial powers
and, in most cases, are artificial, except where natural boundaries occur such as rivers, mountain chains
and the ocean to the southwest. Cameroon has marked ecological diversity and climatic contrasts. It
stretches from equatorial to sub-sahelian and all the African ecological zones can be found. Cameroon has
diverse biophysical characteristics, ethnic groups, agro-ecological zones and socio-economic conditions.
Physically, it has regions that include mangrove swamps, coastal lowlands, plateau highlands, plains and
volcanic massifs. This diversity can also be noticed in its climate, vegetation and soils. On the human
aspect, the country has a number of ethnic groups who are involved in different economic activities
especially at the local level. The country has evolved over time and space in terms of administrative
structures and nature of governance.
The birth of Cameroon
The land of Cameroon is as old as the rest of the world, but Cameroon in terms of a geopolitical entity
with its present territorial boundaries and government did not exist before the arrival of the Germans.
In ancient times, Hanna, the Carthaginian navigator, saw Mount Cameroon and called it the Chariot of
the Gods. It was Mount Cameroon presumably under serious volcanic eruption as seen from what he
wrote We saw at night, he said, a land full of fire. In the middle was a lofty fire larger than all the
rest touching seemingly the stars.
In 1472 a Portuguese, Fernando Po, landed on an island 35 km off Limbe and gave his name to it;
more Portuguese settled there. During the second half of the sixteenth century Portuguese traders noted
the great variety of prawns in Wouri estuary and river and named the river Rio dos Camaroes meaning
River of Prawns. The Spanish version of Camaroes is Camerones, which gave rise to Cameroon. Other
spellings derived from this Spanish version. The Germans spell it Kamerun, the French Cameroun,

100.0

17 300

13 890

47 190

24 910

465 412

North-West

West

South

South-West

Source: MINEF, 1996.

Total

5.4

67 808

North

10.1

3.0

3.7

14.6

4.3

20 220

7.4

23.4

Littoral

108 900

East

14.8

13.3

34 260

68 942

in % of
total

Far-North

61 992

Centre

km

Total areas

Adamawa

Provinces

68 125

2 277

5 213

3 397

5 379

17 032

1 715

6 722

5 293

7 778

13 319

Potential
in km

14.6

3.3

7.7

5.0

7.9

25

2.5

9.9

7.8

11.4

19.6

Potential
in %

14.6

9.1

11.0

24.5

31.1

25.1

8.5

19.6

4.9

11.3

21.5

in % of
the
province

19 668

2 005

1 145

2 926

2 291

1 500

815

4 117

1 423

2 616

830

28.9

88.1

22.0

86.1

42.6

8.8

47.5

61.2

26.9

33.6

6.2

Cultivated Cultivated
in km
in % of
potential

Agricultural lands

Table 1: Land area distribution according to the type of natural resource

254 397

22 633

41 977

10 493

3 811

11 996

18 505

2 068

74 807

38 754

29 353

Total in
km

54.7

90.9

89.0

75.5

22.0

17.7

91.5

6.0

68.7

56.2

47.3

in %
of the
province

43680.5

4 785

6 880

340

3 040

7 352

5 037

1 883

12 456

1 797

110.5

Area in km

Forests and national park

17.2

21.1

16.4

3.2

79.8

61.3

27.2

91.1

16.7

4.6

0.4

Park in %
of forest

142 890

8 110

38 780

25 470

28 800

22 410

19 320

km

100.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.7

27.1

0.0

17.8

20.2

15.7

13.5

in % of
total

30.7

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

57.2

0.0

74.3

26.4

32.5

31.2

in %
of the
province

Pastures and savannahs

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Figure 1b. Map of Cameroon showing the different


provinces
Source: Administrative map of Cameroon

Figure 2. Administrative map of Cameroon


showing provinces and divisions
Source: Administrative map of Cameroon

and the English Cameroon. Today there are two


official forms: Cameroon and Cameroun, in
English and French, respectively.
Cameroons boundaries were decided by a series
of treaties between the Germans and the British
and later between the Germans and the French.
After the expulsion of the Germans during the First
World War, Cameroon was shared between France
and Britain in 1916. The division was confirmed
by the four allied powers in 1919 through the
Treaty of Versailles. The League of Nations later
mandated Britain to administer and develop West
Cameroon and France for East Cameroon.
Cameroon was a trust territory of the United
Nations Organization (UNO) from 1946 until
independence. After the Second World War the
two territories of Cameroon were ruled by their
masters, as Trust Territories of the UNO until
independence. The political development that
ended in independence was pursued by the
inhabitants of the two Cameroons separately.
A social aspect of Cameroon is its bilingualism
at the national level, which resulted from a
peaceful merger in 1972 of the French-speaking
East Cameroon and the English-speaking West
Cameroon. At the local level many languages
and dialects are spoken.
The country is divided into 10 provinces
(Figure 1b) along with divisions (Figure 2),
subdivisions and districts in each Province.
Yaound is the political capital while Douala is
the largest city in terms of population and the
main economic centre. Cameroon has 204 ethnic
groups among which are the Douala, Bakoko,
Bassa in Littoral Province; Pygmies, Fang, Bulu,
Beti, in Centre Province; Bamileke, Bamoun,
Tikar, Bafut, Kom, Nsaw, Bali, Wdikum, in West
and North West Province; Fulbe, Hausa, Baya,
Mafa, Kapsiki, Guidar, Guiziga, Tupuri, Massa,
Musgum, Kotoko, Mundang in the Adamawa,
North and Extreme North Provinces. The lowest
population densities are in the East Province and
the highest in the West, North West, Far North,
and Centre Provinces. Details of population
density are presented in Figure 3 and 4.
Until the late 1970s the countrys economic
growth was regular, about 5% per year in real
terms, mainly supported by the agricultural and
agro-industrial sectors. Economic policy was
characterized by an investment and prudent
public loan strategy. This period was equally
marked by the Governments willingness to
invest in agriculture and forestry by creating

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

several agro-industrial enterprises. Between


1977/1978 and 1985/1986 the national economy,
because of the petroleum boom, registered a
growth rate averaging 7% per year. The
Government took advantage of this situation and
realized major investments without appreciating
if these investments were able to generate
enough resource to cover the loan. This financial
situation equally lead the state to provide high
subvention to public and parastatal enterprises
(Figure 5). This slowly brought the Government
to extend its function from the regulatory one to
the production and distribution without taking
into consideration the negative impact and the
diverse distortion caused by this intervention.
With the expansion of the petroleum industry,
agricultural development was neglected and the
sector entered a relative decline. The regression
of agriculture, reflected in its contribution to
GDP, is clear since from 34% in 1977/1978,
this share represented only 22% in 1985/1986.
There were however a slight growth to 28% in
1990/1991 and 33% in 1993/1994.
The dramatic fall in the prices of all exported
products, including oil, in 1986 created a crisis
with a major consequence being the fall in state
taxes revenue. The revenue from oil of which
production had decreased could not generate
enough finance to compensate the decrease in
revenue. The agricultural subsector, which in the
meantime had lost its competitiveness, was not
performing in a way as to attract investments. The
years 1985/1986 were the end of a prosperous
period and the beginning of a crisis, difficult
to predict the scope and importance of. All this
kept the economy in the depths of recession and
between 1987 and 1993 the country was in a
structural adjustment programme (SAP). During
this period profound internal adjustment geared
towards stabilization of public finances and the
liberalization of the economy was undertaken.
This was not enough and external adjustment, the
devaluation of CFA franc, was necessary. This
was to help expanding non-oil exports, reducing
the import of goods that could be manufactured
locally, achieving self-sufficiency in food and
increasing the role of the private sector.

Figure 3. Map of Cameroon showing population


density in 2000
Source: FAO

Figure 4.Map of Cameroonshowing population


density (global density, urban density and town
population)
Source: Fotsing (2004)

The role of agriculture in the economy


Figure 6shows the general economic activity of Cameroon. Before independence and until 1980, agriculture
was the largest sector of the economy (Figure 7), and accounted for most of GDP and export earnings (Table
2). During the 1980s with the discovery of oil, agricultural development was neglected. Underinvestment,
poor price policies, a steady drift away from the rural land to urban areas, increased consumer preference

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Figure 5.Map of
Cameroonindustrial resources
Source: Atlas de lAfrique

Table 2. Contribution of the different sectors


to global economic growth percentages

19681976 19771981 19821985


GDP

4.3

14.2

8.1

1 Agriculture

3.7

10.3

1.2

Cash crops

1.9

2.9

2.4

Staple foods

4.0

13.5

2.5

2 Processing
industries

5.1

13.1

2.5

2.7

44.4

10.2

4.9

9.2

12.8

3 Other
industries
including
petroleum
sectors
4 Services
Source: MINEF, 1996

for imported foodstuffs and outdated farming


techniques continued to keep the level of food
production well behind the rate of population
growth. Table 3 presents output of some major
staple food crops from 1995 to 2006.
Cameroon has important and diverse
natural resources (Figure 7). The Ministry of
Environment and Forest (1996) while working
on the National Management Environmental

Figure 6.Map of general economic activity of


Cameroon

980

2.9

25

18

15

60

980

45

44

Bananas

Chillies / Peppers

Onions

Melons

Watermelons

Tomatoes

Bananas

Avocados

Pineapples

3.00

4.90

Soybeans

1 000

Palm nuts-kernels

Sesame seed

55.71

117

Oilseeds

4.30

Groundnuts

17.000

Coconuts

Okra

1.00

80

Cucumbers /
gherkins

Beans

0.70

Aubergines

1250.40

120

Yam

Plantains

750

Taro

15

Roots and Tubers

150

35

Potatoes

Sweet potatoes

0.400

1 780

Cassava

460

Sorghum

Wheat

35.3

66

Millet

Rice, paddy

618

Maize

1995

5.10

3.00

1 000

55.81

171.24

4.40

18.000

1.50

90

0.80

1 190

48

46

985.99

60

17

20

20

3.2

985.99

120

771

150

15

39

1 848

0.400

439.178

31.1

70.736

750

1996

5.30

3.00

1 050

56.01

90.00

4.50

20.000

2.00

100

0.90

1 326

50

47

800

65

19

25

40

3.5

800

150

793

150

15

41

1 918

0.400

400

37

70

760

1997

Source: FAOSTAT data 2007. (accessed October 22nd, 2007).

5.50

3.00

1 050

56.21

129

4.60

22.286

2.200

110

1.00

1359.15

52

48

729.51

69.42

23

30

41.33

3.7

729.51

253.951

815

147.691

15

42.025

1965.950

0.400

500

53.2

65

793

1998

5.88

2.96

1 100

56.41

184.36

4.70

32.539

2.400

121.11

1.15

1156.86

41.78

49

622.92

345.36

27.49

34.17

55.84

6.13

622.92

261.648

1028.660

178.272

15

126.089

1889.191

0.400

272.218

67.470

60

785

1999

Table: 3 Production statistics of some major staple foods thousand tonnes

5.88

2.95

1 100

56.61

196.70

4.80

32.539

2.514

122

1.20

1163.74

42.86

50

626.33

371.13

27.65

34.64

67.05

6.13

626.33

262.610

1033.560

174.226

15

130.535

1918.3

0.400

420

61.271

51.700

0.400

505

62.011

50

738.627

2001

5.70

3.38

1 150

56.61

197.63

4.90

32.539

2.500

117.35

1.20

1186.96

43.54

50

631.77

369.66

27.65

34.69

67.12

6.14

631.77

264.166

1046.620

175.111

15

134.315

1947.266

Years
741.447

2000

6.30

3.16

1 150

56.81

210.71

5.00

32.000

2.500

120

1.20

1237.01

45.56

52

692.89

511

29.39

35

70.30

7.00

692.89

274.972

1079.530

181.976

15

136.342

2003.630

0.400

541.975

44.548

50.3

861.456

2002

6.52

3.27

1 250

56.81

218.03

5.10

32.000

2.500

120

1.20

1275.36

46.97

52

743.47

398.50

30.30

35

71.99

7.06

743.47

280.326

1103.280

185.900

15

139.341

2047.710

0.400

573.951

47.175

50

912.280

2003

6.74

3.38

1213.70

57.17

225.72

5.17

32.000

2.500

139.20

1.42

48.42

54.31

797.74

408.06

31.24

41.05

73.72

7.38

797.74

286.494

1127.56

190.071

15

142.407

2092.763

0.400

607.814

49.958

60

966.106

2004

6.98

3.00

1221.59

57.40

233.62

5.25

32.000

2.500

150.58

1.56

49.93

55.84

855.97

417.86

32.21

44.73

75.49

7.77

855.97

292.796

1152.361

190

15

145.540

2138.804

0.400

523.484

52.905

51.826

1023.106

2005

32.000

2.500

300

1 200

190

15

145

2 100

0.400

550

52

55

850

2006

10

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

11

Figure 7.Agricultural map of Cameroon


Source: Atlas de lAfrique

plan estimated that out of a total surface area of 465412km2, 68125km2are agricultural lands and
only 28.9% are actually cultivated. For pastoral production there are potentially 142890km2that can
be used. However, these resources are poorly distributed across the country; in some regions there
are several factors such as tsetse flies or intensive/extensive agricultural practice lacks means, which
preclude intensive development of livestock production, while in others it is the prevailing legal status
of the natural resources that might be a problem.
Macro-economic decisions such as the devaluation of CFA franc and the liberalization of economic
activities were carried out in the hope of restoring the economic competitiveness in general and that of
agriculture in particular. Consequently, there was a 14% increase in the volume of the export commodities
other than oil and oil products, in which agricultural output had a major share. The contribution of energy

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

12

Table 4. Major cash crops production outputs (1 000 tonnes)


Crops

Year
1995

1999

2000

Coffee, green

74000

104121

63600

112532

98000

86200

Cocoa beans

134000

125726

126807

125000

116000

122600

71000

75000

75000

80000

74898

105000

Oil palm fruit

1000000

1000000

1050000

1050000

1100000

1100000

Palm kernels

56000

64000

58000

60000

65000

66000

125000

160708

135000

139000

131979

136277

1350000

1350000

1350000

1350000

1350000

1350000

2006

Cottonseed

Palm oil
Sugar cane

1996

1997

Crop

1998

Year
2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Coffee, green

70500

41000

48000

54000

43620

40500

Cocoa beans

122100

125000

154965

166754

178500

164553

Cottonseed

105000

92566

102160

118000

200000

150000

Oil palm fruit

1150000

1150000

1250000

1213699

1221586

1300000

Palm kernels

66000

64000

69000

70000

71000

75000

Palm oil
Sugar cane

138476

153121

162308

172047

154000

160000

1350000

1400000

1400000

1400000

1400000

1400000

Source: FAOSTAT data 2007. (accessed October 26, .2007)

resources to GDP was essentially due to petroleum products and although data on this sector are scarce,
in 1992/1993 it provided 113billion CFA to the national economy (MINEF, 1996). The contribution of
staple food crops to the re-growth of GDP in real terms between 1993/1994 and 1994/1995 was 6.5%
(MINEF, 1996).
The country has great pastoral potential with 30% of the rural population deriving their living from
the livestock sector and globally representing 16% of the agricultural sector. The low contribution of the
livestock production to the agricultural GDP is, at least partially, due to the prevailing production system
that for cattle, the dominant livestock species, is nomadism and transhumance. However, the increase
in meat demand and the introduction of commercialization into local production systems is bringing
some form of unadapted intensification that is slowly iundermining the judicious equilibrium that
existed between ruminants and forage production. The livestock growth rate during the last two decades
was estimated at about 2.5%. This herd increase will continue to degrade rangeland resources leading,
if nothing is done, to a drastic decrease in livestock population and meat production for a population
expected to reach over 25million by the year 2020 (MINEF, 1996)
Smallholders using simple techniques account for more than two-thirds of all agricultural production.
State farms are mainly engaged with export crops. Subsistence food crops sorghum, maize, rice, millet
and cassava are mainly grown in the north; taro, yams, cassava, rice, banana, plantain, maize, potatoes,
roots and tubers, avocado, beans and okra are grown in the south and traded largely outside the cash
economy. Cash crops palm kernels, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rubber, banana, tea, coffee, palm oil and
sugar cane are grown in the south; cotton and groundnuts are grown in the north.
Cameroonwas a major cocoa exporter but its share of the world market has fallen owing to ageing
trees, low producer prices, disease and labour shortages. Table 4 presents major cash crop production
from 1995 to 2006. Like cocoa, output from other cash crops suffered from labour shortages, inefficient
production methods, lack of inputs and low levels of capital investment. Trade liberalization and the
CFA devaluation of the 1990s contributed to an increase of exports. The supply of animal products has
been declining over the past decade, while the demand has been increasing, as a result of increases in
population and urbanization. The massive and fraudulent importation of meat coupled with the Structural
Adjustment Programme (SAP), which saw a massive devaluation of CFA currency, almost destroyed the
countrys livestock production system.

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

13

2. SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY


Soils
The soils of Camerooncan be classified into three broad groups based on their degree of development
as follows:
1. Soils developed in the ferralitic zone.
2. Soils developed in the ferruginous zone.
3. Young soils developed from varied parent materials (include soils developed from lacustrine, colluvial, alluvial and volcanic ash deposits and soils developed on steeply sloping environments).
[For details of the major soil classification system used in classifying the soils of Cameroonrefer to
Yerima and Van Ranst (2005).]
Soils developed in the ferralitic zone
This zone lies south of the seventh parallel with an annual rainfall above 1500mm and a dry season
of less than four months; it includes the equatorial forest. Further subdivisions can be distinguished
depending on the rainfall. A zone of yellow ferralitic soils in a band along the Coastal Lowland region
developed from sedimentary rocks, is highly leached in bases (<20% base saturation) and has a mean
annual rainfall of >2000mm with a dry season that is not pronounced. Towards the interior from this
zone (Bertoua through Nanga Eboko to Yaound) with lower rainfall, soils are usually red with a base
saturation of 2040%. These developed from varied parent materials including granite, gneiss, schists
and micaschists. These soils are classified as Ferralsols and occur in association with Alisols, Nitisols
and Acrisols that have clay accumulation horizons but low base saturation.
Ferralsols have good physical properties and poor chemical properties. Their great depth, high
permeability and stable micro-structure make them less susceptible to erosion than other soils, except
sandy units. Ferralsols have low fertility, no weatherable minerals and cation retention by the mineral
soil fraction is low. Under natural conditions in these soils, the bulk of available plant nutrients are
concentrated in the upper 1050 cm of soil. Nutrients that are taken up by the roots are eventually
returned to the surface soil with falling leaves and other plant debris. If this process of nutrient cycling
is interrupted, e.g. by introduction of low input sedentary subsistence farming, the root zone will rapidly
become depleted of plant nutrients. On cultivation of virgin soils, high yields are obtained that rapidly
decrease with time with increased mineralization of organic matter, leaching of nutrients and decrease
in soil fertility.
Also found in association with the Ferralsols are concretionary soils rich in Fe and Al, variously
called soils with lateritic, ironstone, or ferricrete crusts. Because of their indurated nature they usually
limit plant growth but are useful for surfacing roads.
Soils developed in the ferruginous zone
These, found north of the seventh parallel, are characterized by rainfall of less than 1500mm and a
dry season exceeding four months. Unlike the equatorial domain, the ferruginous zone has a shorter
rainy season and much lower rainfall. Chemical weathering, driven by water, is limited with mechanical
weathering predominating. This results in the development of much shallower soil profiles than the
preceding case. Little Fe is found in the exchange complex so the soils are grey to brown. These soils
are younger with limited weathering and have base saturations over 50% and often greater than 80%.
They have higher amounts of weatherable minerals and thus more nutrient reserves than their ferralitic
counterparts. The dominant clay minerals are phyllosilicate clays composed of smectites, vermiculites,
chlorites, micas and kaolinites, which have higher surface areas, greater water and nutrient retention
capacities and thus are more chemically reactive than the Ferralsols. Low rainfall limits vegetation
growth and organic matter accumulation resulting in low amounts of nitrogen. Though these soils
are more fertile than their ferralitic counterparts, the high amount of soluble products in the system
results in nutrient imbalances that tend to inhibit uptake of other nutrient elements required by plants
for normal functioning. A remarkable feature of this zone is the longer dry and hot season that favours
the translocation of weathered soluble products to the soil surface through evapotranspiration. These

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products are not leached beyond the soil profile during the rainy season due to limited amount of rainfall.
This results in the accumulation of precipitates of soluble salts at the surface, often in toxic proportions,
and is responsible for the formation of the type of soils called harde (in Fulfulde = sterile) in north
Cameroon.
Towards the southern edge of the ferruginous zone, plinthite (a humus-poor sesquioxide-rich material
that hardens irreversibly upon exposure develops), which often hardens into an indurated crust called
laterite, occurs. There is also a wide variety of young soils (Vertisols, Leptosols, Regosols, etc.) in this zone.
Young soils developed from varied parent materials
Besides those covered above the following soils that cover large areas can also be observed.
Andosols,young soils developed from volcanic ash, cinders and easily weatherable volcanic materials,
are commonly found near volcanic vents or downslope or downwind from the volcano, where a
sufficiently thick layer of ash has been deposited during eruptions. They are found along the volcanic
axis that stretches from Mount Cameroon in the South West Province through the Bakossi and Mungo
areas to Foumbot and the Adamawa plateau. The principal soil forming process is rapid weathering
of ash to produce amorphous or poorly crystalline silicate minerals such as allophane. Formation of
alumino-humus complexes protects the organic matter from mineralization and leads to its accumulation
in these soils. They have a low bulk density, are dark in colour and constitute the most productive soils
for intensive agriculture in the country.
Fluvisols are soils that lack any major marks of soil-forming processes due to periodic additions of
alluvial deposits. They are found in isolated zones, especially in the plains and bottoms of major river
valleys such as the Wouri, the Benue and the Logone and Chari valleys, and the Ndop and Mbo plains.
Due to their youth they are generally fertile and support intensive agriculture except where alluvial
deposits are derived from eroded subsoil materials.
Vertisols, formerly called black clays or grumosols, have marks of processes that mix the soil regularly
and prevent development of diagnostic horizons. The dominant soil-forming processes are shrinking
and swelling through periods of drying and wetting. They are dark in colour and have a high content of
swelling clays, dominantly smectite, which is responsible for their shrink-swell nature. They are very
rich in nutrient cations but because of their poor engineering properties (pronounced volume changes
with change in moisture, deep wide cracks in the dry season, low hydraulic conductivity, high bulk
density and difficulty in tillage), these soils are not exploited to their full potential. They are found in the
Lake Chad Basin developed from lacustrine sediments as well as in the Benue plain.
Leptosols and Regosols are soils with little pedogenic development found in steeply sloping
environments in hilly to mountainous areas such as Mt Yeye and Mbankomo around Yaound, the
Mandara Mountains and the Adamawa Highlands. Lack of pedogenic development is associated with
rapid removal of surface soil, shallow nature, high erodibility and limited moisture retention; they have
low potential for agriculture.
Gleysols (hydromorphic soils) are soils with signs of excess wetness as indicated by oxidation/
redoximorphic features. They are found in lowlying areas with shallow groundwater or valleys with
impeded drainage. They are found in the big marshes of the Haut-Ntem or Haut-Nyong and the middle
part of the Haut-Noun valleys. Waterlogging is their main limitation. They are mostly used for grazing
or covered with swamp forests, but can be planted to rice, coffee and some food crops, e.g. Mbo plain
in the West Province.
Topography
The relief map (Figure 8) shows that Cameroon is a country of varied landscapes.
The main physical units are:
a. The Coastal lowlands

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Figure 8.General physical


map of Cameroon
Source: Atlas de lAfrique

b. The Southern Plateau


c. The Adamawa Plateau
d. The Western Highlands
e. The Northern Lowlands
The Coastal Lowlands
This vast sedimentary zone stretches from the mouth of River Akwa Yafe in the extreme west where
it borders with Nigeria to the mouth of the river Lakounje. It is interrupted by the extension of the
Cameroon Mountain into the ocean. The coastal lowland zone is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the
west, the Western Highlands to the north and the Southern Plateau to the east. Between the ocean and the
Southern Plateau it stretches out over a surface area of about 150km2. It has an average altitude of 90m.
As this coastal lowland approaches the ocean, some important characteristics are noticed. Close to the
Atlantic Ocean there are mangrove swamps, creeks, sand bars and sand spits; the large rivers that drain
into this zone account for the huge deposits of sand, silt and mud, which in turn result in the marshiness
of the coast. The marshes make it difficult for the creation of good harbours.
The Cameroon coastal region can be divided into two parts:
a) The Lowlying Coast
b) The Rocky Coast
The Lowlying Coast
This zone can be subdivided into:
i) The Ndian Basinto the northwest of Mount Cameroon is characterized by the presence of mangrove
swamps. The rivers, especially the Ndian, split up into small branches that cut through sedimentary
deposits before entering the ocean. Significant branches include Rio-del-Rey, Ngosso, and Andokat.

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ii) The Douala Basinis a very low depression with a mean altitude of 30m where a lot of sediment is
deposited. The high rate of deposition can be noticed at the Wouri estuary. Like the Ndian Basin, it
is characterized by creeks, sand bars and lagoons.
iii) The Southern Lowlands: the rest of the coastal land from Douala down to Kribi is lowlying.
Compared to the preceding sections, the Southern Lowland zone has few creeks and the coastline
has very few indentations.
iv) The Mamfe Depression, which forms a distinct zone, some 150 km from the coast, is almost
encircled by a range of mountains, except to the west where its lowlands stretch out into Nigeria. The
depression receives many streams from the surrounding mountains that join to form the Cross
River which links Cameroonto Nigeria.
The Rocky Coast
The Rocky Coast has two sections. The first lies between Bimbia and Idenau; its volcanic rocks
spread down into the sea from Mount Cameroon. Volcanic activity results in stacks protruding from
the sea a few kilometres off the coast of Limbe. This section forms a break in the lowlying nature
of the coastal lands and is characterized by the presence of bays, capes, cliffs and rocky islands.
The second part of the Rocky Coast is in the region of Kribi where the Southern Plateau comes
close to the ocean. The region of Longi near Kribi is bare crystalline schist that sometimes stands as
cliffs at the coast, or splits up into mighty rocky blocks. This coast is clear of sand and silt deposits.
The Southern Plateau
Situated east of the coastal plain, this plateau covers all of the south and southeast of the foot of
the Western Highlands and the Adamawa plateau and extends to the borders of Cameroon. To the
northeast the plateau rises gently into the Adamawa in the region of Bedzare and Meiganga. To the
northwest it is interrupted by a large escarpment between Yoko and Linte. Altitudes vary from 250
to 800m; most hills have an altitude of 650m.
The landscape of the Southern Plateau is monotonous, of gently undulating hills with convex
slopes. These dome-shaped hills, generally referred to as half-orange relief, are prominent in the
Batouri and Belabo regions. There are occasional rocky domes with concave slopes, some bare
of vegetation. In the environs of Yaound these domes reach 1 200 m. Examples are the Mbam
-Minkomand Mbankomo massifs. Massifs that stand isolated are known as inselbergs or sugar-loaf
relief.
Three sections of this plateau can be identified:
a) The western part,with broken relief, composed essentially of gneiss, has deep valleys separating
its hills. Most hills have steep slopes; typical examples include the Mban-Minkom (1295m) and
the Ngovayang chain. This section of the Southern Plateau ends at the coastal plain with a steep
slope that is easily seen at Kribi where rivers tumble down in rapids and falls.
b) The eastern section is a peneplain with characteristic half-orange relief. Its landscape is
gentler than in the west. Its lowest portions are along the Sangha River.
c) The northern section,a transition zone between the Southern Plateau and the Adamawa high
plateau, has alternating depressions and granitic massifs that form the front of the Adamawa
Plateau. Altitudes range from 800m to 900m.
The Adamawa Plateau
The Adamawa Plateau, at an average altitude of 1 100 m, lies between 6 and 8 N, cuts across
the country and penetrates far into the Central African Republic. It is a faulted and upraised block
of the basement complex, mainly composed of granite. The granitic rocks are covered by thick
basaltic flows. Volcanic outpourings have formed some sizeable peaks, the main ones are Tchabal
Gangha (1923m), Tchabal Mbabo (2460m) and the Mambila mountains (2418m). In the north
of the plateau the relief falls very abruptly into the Benue basin; in the south it descends gradually
to merge with the Southern Plateau. The Adamawa Plateau is the main water dispersal centre of the
country.

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The Western Highlands


As on the Adamawa Plateau the underlying rocks are old, Precambrian granite and gneiss that have a
cover of basaltic rocks. The Western Highlands are less extensive than the Adamawa, have higher peaks
and a more broken relief. Some high peaks are of crystalline rocks, such as the Nlonako, the Gotemts,
the Guingue mountains, the Alantika and the Banglang mountains.
The main volcanic peaks are in the great fracture line oriented SWNE stretching far into the country
on which the following volcanic peaks can be identified: Annobon island, Sao Tome, Santa Isabel, in
the Atlantic Ocean; on land Mount Cameroon , Mt. Kupe, the Manenguba mountains, the Bambutou, the
Mbam massif, the Mkogam, the Mbapit Mountains and the Mandara Mountains. Mount Cameroon is
still very active today. The Western Highland region has many volcanic lakes and its soils are the richest
for agriculture.
The Northern Lowlands
This region can be divided broadly in two:
a) The Benue Depression, on the northern piedmont zone of the Adamawa Plateau at an average
altitude of 300 to 350m, formed by the floodplain of the River Kebi, is separated from the Chad
Plain and Logone Valley by a small elevation with some peaks, such as Mindif, the Rumsiki
(1224m), and the Peske Bori (1195m) which form part of the Mandara Mountains.
b) The Chad Plain: only a small part is in Cameroon , the rest is in Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
Altitudes are almost uniform and the land slopes gently towards the lake. Much of this plain suffers
from floods.
Major mountains
Mount Cameroon, the most prominent of the West African volcanic mountains, is a heap of piled up
lava reaching a height of 4 095 m that lies in a subsidence zone along the main Cameroon geologic
fracture line. Apart from the Cameroon Mountain, this fracture line also carries most of the high peaks
of the country such as the Kupe, Manenguba, Bambutus, Kom and Oku mountains. Mount Cameroon is
immense with a length of about 50km and a width of about 35km, covering therefore an area of some
1750km2. It starts from the sea and first rises into a small peak of 1713m, Etinde or Small Mount
Cameroon, from which to 900m before rising again continuously until the peak summital plateau of
4070m is reached. On this plateau recent accumulation of solidified lava still raise the peak to a height
of 4095m. The mountain is composed of different volcanic materials that, in many places, accumulate
to form small cones numbering over 75. Some of these cones have craters at their summits where
volcanic ashes, lapilli and scoria can be noticed. Mount Cameroon is an active volcano, which is shown
by the permanent presence of fumaroles and geysers. It is one of the few peaks in West Africa that has
experienced many eruptions within the last century. Its six last eruptions took place in 1909, 1922, 1954,
1959, 1982 and 1999, including numerous earth tremors and earthquakes.
MountKupe(2064m), overlooking the towns of Loum and Tombel, is of crystalline materials and
layers of volcanic flows. Its slopes are almost vertical. In places thick layers of lava flows have been split
perpendicularly into large blocks that stand detached from the main massif; some carry thick vegetation.
At its base, especially around Mbanga, Nyombe and Nkongsamba, and more specifically between
Tombel and Penja, there are over 80 small volcanic cones with an average height of 50 m. Volcanic
materials are used for road maintenance.
The Mandara Mountains in north Cameroon, which form an immense block on the Nigerian border
,are composed of very old granitic rocks; they have three sections:
a. The middle plateau
b. The mountainous northern and southern parts
c. The surrounding inselbergs
a) The middle plateau lies between the latitudes of Mokolo and Tchevi. The south of this zone is a
plateau ranging from 800m to 900m. There are landforms of necks and dykes formed by the volcanic
intrusion through the crust composed of trachite and rhyolite.

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b) The mountainous northern and southern parts resemble each other in that they are extremely
hilly. The massifs, composed principally of granite, have been greatly dissected. The northern section,
which is much higher than the southern part, has the highest part of the Mandara mountains the
Tourou Mountain (1 442 m). The dissection of the Mandara Mounts is a result of internal earth
movements and river action.
c) The surrounding inselbergs; morphologically it is difficult to dissociate the inselbergs from the
Mandara mountains; the most significant are in the southwest of the massif, e.g. Popologozom
(1165m), and Peske Bori. Some isolated inselbergs are far into the plains, e.g. the Mindif inselberg
(769m), the Waza hills and many other smaller ones.

3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES


Climate
All of Cameroonis in the intertropical zone but the climate is not uniform. Different elements account
for this lack of uniformity.
The main climatic elements
Cameroon extends from 2 to 13 N, which gives it almost all the characteristics of intertropical climates which
generally include hot, moist and dry conditions. The south has an equatorial climate up to latitude 6 N; the
rest, between latitudes 6 and 13 N, has a tropical climate. Relief and oceanic effects modify local climates.
Temperatures
Generally temperatures and temperature ranges increase from south to north and from the coast to the
hinterland, but altitude has a strong influence: for example Yaound (1120m) with 23.5C is at altitude
while Garoua in the Benue depression has an average temperature of 28C. In the south, temperatures
are relatively constant; temperature ranges in the north are much greater. Insolation is much greater in
the north: 1 023 hours per year at Douala, 1 841 hours at Yaound and 2 969 hours at Garoua. Low
insolation in the south is due to cloudy skies, higher precipitation and relative humidity.
Precipitation
Generally, rainfall in Cameroondeclines from the coast towards the north and interior of the country.
Highlands receive more rain than low altitudes. Douala receives 4 016 mm annually, Yaound 1 596mm,
Lomie 1 645 mm, Bamenda 2 596 mm, Garoua 1 000 mm, Kousseri 630 mm. Relative humidity varies
in the same order as rainfall. There are four seasons in southern and central regions a long wet season
from September to December, a short dry season in August and a short wet season between the months
of March and June. The north, from the Adamawa to Lake Chad, has two seasons: a dry season from
November to April and a wet season from May to October.
Air masses
The Azores in the northern hemisphere and that of St. Helena in the southern control the flow of air
masses over all Cameroon. Air masses from these high pressure centres converge in a low pressure
zone, the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which has the nature of a front and is often termed
the Intertropical Front.
The Intertropical Front shifts following the movement of the pressure centres as the position of the
sun controls the cycle of the seasons. The seasons in Cameroondepend on the dominant trade winds. The
Harmattan blows from the anticyclone of the Azores and the Monsoon from the St. Helena anticyclone.
These winds differ greatly because of their sources, the maritime south and the desert north.
The Harmattan, the Northeast Trade Winds, which are hot and dry because they pass over the Sahara,
are very stable, and blow from October till June.

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In January, the St. Helena anticyclone is far to the south. That of the Azores is reinforced and the
Harmattan becomes stronger than the monsoon so the Intertropical Front is pushed further south to
around 5N. North Cameroon is covered by the Harmattan, which brings the dry season.
The effects of the Harmattan are very intense in the north but become less severe southwards. This
wind carries fine sand from the Sahara, leading to poor visibility. Some small streams dry up completely.
Many big rivers reduce in volume, the vegetation turns brown and is scorched in some places. Not only
rivers and vegetation suffer but humans as well. Days are very hot while the nights are very cold.
In the south, especially in coastal areas, these adverse conditions are greatly mitigated because monsoon
winds, though weak, provide occasional showers; atmospheric humidity is higher than in the north.
The wet season
In July (August) the Intertropical Front is above Lake Chad and the St. Helena anticyclone is practically
on the Equator. Monsoon winds affect south Cameroon and this is the rainy season. The monsoon is
very warm, humid, unstable and susceptible to bringing heavy rains, especially when the ascending
movement is caused by relief.
Climatic regions
The whole of Camerooncan be divided into two broad climatic domains:
a. The equatorial domain
b. The tropical domain
The equatorial domain
The south of the country from 2 to 6 N has an equatorial climate, which can be subdivided:
a) The Guinea type, which starts from the coast at Kribi and covers all the Southern Plateau, is
characterized by four seasons (two rainy and two dry) with rainfall ranging from 1500 to 2000mm;
it has two rainfall maxima, e.g. Yaound, in September (long rains) and in MarchApril (short rains);
the first minimum is DecemberJanuary and the second in JulyAugust. This climate is characterized
by high and fairly constant temperatures, 25C on average.
b) The Cameroon typeclimate that occurs on the southwestern coast near Mt. Cameroon and extends
down the mouth of the Sanaga River and the Western and Bamenda highlands is hot and humid with
a wet season of about eight months during which rains are abundant throughout, and a comparatively
short dry season. This type can further be divided into:
i) The maritime Cameroontypeoccurs at the coast and extends to the mouth of the Nyong River.
The seaward slopes of Mount Cameroon that receive the monsoon at right angles are the second
wettest place in the world with Debundscha (10000mm of rainfall) coming only after Chirrapunji
in India. It has high and constant temperatures and high atmospheric humidity.
ii) The montane Cameroon type of the Western Highlands is cool and in the past attracted
colonialists to settle in places such as Buea, Dschang and Bamenda.
Northwards the Cameroonclimate degenerates gradually into tropical Sudanclimat.
The tropical climate domain
The tropical climatic domain can be divided in two:
a. The Sudanor humid tropical climate
b. The Sahel climate.
a) The Sudan or humid tropical climate, extending from 6 to 10 N, has two seasons a rainy
season of seven months and five months dry. On the Adamawa range, however, rains are heavier than
elsewhere because of the relief (Ngaoundere 1500mm), and there rains are often accompanied by
great storms that last from March to November.
Temperatures are cool, 21C on average, but the average annual ranges (6C) are often greater than
in the Cameroonclimate. Rainfall is generally low and rainy seasons often last six months. At the
onset of the wet season the rains are usually torrential and accompanied by tornadoes.
b) The Sahelclimate, which starts from the north of the Benue basin and covers the plains of MayoDanay, the Diarnare and the Mandara Mountain, is characterized by low precipitation, usually below

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900 mm, and a dry season of at least seven months. Low atmospheric humidity increases annual
temperature ranges (7C) and the level of dryness. The Mandara Mountains differ from the rest of the
area due to altitude, which results in cooler, more humid conditions (Mokolo 967mm) though the dry
season is still long. On the Chad Plain arid conditions are intense (Kousseri 630mm) and the rainy
season barely lasts three months. The rate of evaporation in this region is very high.
Agro-ecological zones
The major vegetation zones follow the climatic regions, although the relationship is distorted where
humans, soils and relief intervene. Cameroonhas two major vegetation zones, though the change from
one to the other is usually very gradual (Figure 9):
a. Dense equatorial forest
b. Tropical grassland
Dense equatorial forest
This covers the Coastal Lowlands and the southern part of the Southern Plateau. It can be subdivided
into two types:
Mangrove Forest occupies two swampy regions at the coast around Rio-del-Rey and the Douala
Basin. The region Rio-del-Rey, which extends from the Akwa Yafe river in the west to the foot of
Mount Cameroon, just east of Bamusso and inland to Isangele, and down to the coast, is characterized
by swamps, creeks and estuaries; there are raffia palms in swampy places. The second zone starts from
Bimbia through Tiko to Modeka and down to Douala Basin. Trees in this region develop very long roots
that plunge down into the swamps. The main constituents of the mangrove forest are Rhizophoraand
Avicennia, but other trees occur.
Rainforest; this evergreen forest, which lies
inland, just after the mangrove, between 200 m
and 800 m, covers a very large part of the
Southern Plateau. It has been subjected to serious
human attack for lumbering, farms and urban
expansion. Where such disturbances have taken
place, secondary forest may replace the primary
forest, as seen in the surroundings of Yaound.
Primary forest can still be found in the southeastern sector of the country, due to inaccessibility
and very little human habitation. The forest is
immense, luxuriant and has a continuous canopy
of leaves. It is dark and damp inside and has a
very thin undergrowth with little or no sunlight
reaching the ground.
Throughout the area, temperature, rainfall and
humidity are high, both in yearly total and every
day. Seasonal and diurnal fluctuations are much
less than in other zones. Trees develop buttresses,
large extensions of trunks and roots at and
around their bases, often reaching 10 m up the
trunk. While the forest as a whole is described as
evergreen, some trees shed their foliage at some
period of the year. It contains trees of economic
importance such as iroko, mahogany, obeche,
ebony and many others. Remnants of primary
forest are also found in less accessible zones such
as the Djerem and Mbam depressions, the broken

Figure 9.Major ecological zones of Cameroon


Source: Ministre de lEnvironnement et des Forts (MINEF)

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slopes of Mounts Fr and Yy in Yaound. Some areas, for example, the Widikum and Bafang slopes
where there are a lot of palms, look very much like primary forest but some of these palms were planted
although most are wild.
The rainforest is the home of many animals: elephants, monkeys, chimpanzees and many rodents.
Moving north from south, the forest gives way gradually to savannah.
Tropical grassland
There is no precise line of demarcation between the forest and grassland zones; the change is gradual.
Areas covered by grassland correspond to the domains of tropical climate. The general term of
savannah is given to grassland vegetation of northern Cameroon; its appearance changes as precipitation
diminishes and also with altitude.
The vegetation of many areas has been modified by human activities and bush fires; some areas in the
south may have supported much denser woodland in the past but that vegetation has been replaced by derived
savannah. Three types of savannah can be distinguished: Guinea Savannah, Sudan Savannah, and Sahel
Savannah. This division is useful, but tends to exaggerate the sharpness of the transition between types.
Guinea Savannah, which lies immediately north of the rain forest, is a mixture of tall grass and trees,
with thick woodland and grassy undergrowth. Further north, trees give way to grass. To the south trees
belonging to the rain forest occur; the southern slopes of the Adamawa in particular and the whole of the
Adamawa in general are covered with such vegetation. Bush fires in the dry season, lit by cattle rearers,
and other human activities help to savannize this area, extending the grassland southwards.
Sudan Savannah, which covers the Western Highlands, the Benue Depression, the Diamare plain and
the Mandara mountains, is a type of wooded savannah where shrubs shed their leaves in the dry season
to withstand the bush fires and dry conditions; they also have thick bark. This savannah gave rise to
the term grass fields, applied to what was formerly Bamenda Province. This vegetation, when young,
provides the beauty of the hills and cattle rearers like it for their cattle. This is the case with grazing lands
at Nkambe, Wum and Fundong. Stunted trees, well adapted to the harsh dry season, stand out clearly
above the grass. An interesting type of vegetation in the Sudan Savannah is raffia palm bush, found in
valleys and depressions.
Sahel Savannah With the drastic decrease in precipitation in the far north, the vegetation suffers from
a long dry season. The savannah becomes very low and scorched by the sun. Grass degenerates until it
ends up in small patches around the fringes of the Sahara. Such conditions are found towards Lake Chad.
As human activities increase, the destruction of vegetation is likely to render the land completely bare so
the Government has, in recent years, embarked on an afforestation programme Operation Green Sahel.
Swampy land bordering Lake Chad can support taller and thicker vegetation.
Gradient, temperature, and vegetation of Mt. Cameroon
The principle that temperature decreases with increasing altitude is obvious on Mount Cameroon.
Vegetation types at different altitudes reflect climatic and soil conditions.
Mount Cameroon has a series of terraces from its base to the summit. From the coast up to about
50 m is a sedimentary plain that extends to Tiko, where it is limited by a small escarpment between
Tiko and Mutengene. Beyond Mutengene the land rises gently up to the altitude of Buea (800m). At the
foot of this mountain the climate is typical hot equatorial with temperatures rising above 23C in such
places as Tiko and Limbe; the natural forest vegetation has been cleared to create settlements, farms and
plantations of rubber, palm and tea.
From about 915m, above Buea, there are very steep slopes covered by thick and evergreen forest
that extends to an altitude of 1700m then gives way to typical savannah vegetation. Hut One is at about
1600m. From the end of this forest, between One and Two, there is a much steeper section that ends at
an altitude of 3000m where Hut Two is and is covered by savannah.
From 3000 to 3500m the slope is gentle, about 30, and still covered by grass that is much shorter than
savannah and can be termed prairie. Between 3600m and 4000m the slope is very steep and the vegetation

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is composed of lichens and mosses; this is the summital plateau and has small crests of scoria of over 50m,
large funnel-shaped craters and fumaroles whose temperatures measure between 60C to 80C.
Temperatures on the summital plateau are extremely low; average daily temperatures are about 4C
in the wet season and about 8C in the dry season. In this zone winds can be very strong blowing at
240km per hour. The culminating point is formed of solidified lava and has snow caps and temperatures
are at freezing point.
Mount Cameroon has a crater of 100m in diameter and about 50m deep with vertical interior walls.
The mountain is formed of piled up layers of lava. From base to summit are a succession of basalts,
trachite, phonolite and other volcanic materials. Rainfall on the mountain is very heavy, especially on
seaward slopes.
Hydrographically, this mountain disperses water to two directions, considering those streams and
springs that arise above 3000m. Streams of the southeast flow parallel to each other before meeting to
form the Ombe River. Those of the northwest flow to form the Onge River. The mountain as a whole
disperses water in a radial pattern to all directions.

4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS


Ruminants, the most widespread livestock in Cameroon, are reared in traditional systems. Cattle, goat
and sheep rearing systems are: nomadic or pastoral, mixed farming and the peri-urban. Production and
management systems vary, from free range in less populated areas, to year-round confinement and cutand-carry feeding in densely populated areas.
Traditional sedentary systems
Ruminants under extensive systems rely on natural grazing. Traditional production systems include
scavenging, cut-and-carry production, seasonal tethering, and fattening.
Scavenging, a low-input system, is used by farmers all over the country. Animals roam freely in and
around villages, scavenging food scraps and crop residues. Animals are given no care nor is there any
routine management.Traditional farmers keep stock as a side line to crops and as a hobby.
Cut-and-carry rainy season tethering: extensive grazing systems can no longer provide adequate
feed to livestock in many areas. This system developed in areas such as Bamenda under cut-and-carry.
Stock are housed in the compound, or where forage is available and are fed cut forages. This system is
used where the farmer has insufficient land. There are strict production systems set by the Heifer project
and NGOs in which the number of animals is usually limited. Cut-and-carry is often used in conjunction
with fattening for seasonal markets and is very common in southern Nigeria.
Fattening Some farmers around cities such as Maroua, Garoua buy animals and stall feed them for a
set period. The animals may be fattened for six months to take advantage of seasonal variations in stock
prices. This system is promoted by government agencies in preparation for festive seasons.
Major grazing systems
Grazing systems in Cameroon are extensive; herders do not apply a specific technique to increase yields.
Livestock find their fodder in the natural grasslands and savannahs. The herders way of life is closely
related to the possibility of their livestock finding enough forage.
Herdsmen have had to retreat in the face of expanding agriculture; their major problem is a
compression of their range, both by the northward move of cultivation and southward desiccation.
Many authorities have recommended that pastoralists be sedentarized, but this has not occurred widely.
Would it have been the best solution? Various grazing controls have been suggested but none has been
implemented and problems are increasing.

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

23

Figure 10. Cameroon livestock production map


Source: Atlas de lAfrique

The state of the pastoral environment is difficult to assess. It has often been thought that pastoralism
leads inevitably to overgrazing and a reduction in the long-term carrying capacity. The increasing
degradation of the Sahel area is often seen as an example of large-scale overuse, either as a primary
or contributory factor (Horowitz, 1979). Yet pastoralists have inhabited the area for millennia and the
situation was never so serious. In nearly all cases of nomadism in Africa, movement is a matter of
necessity arising from the level of technology prevailing within the community and the circumstances
of the physical environment. There is little evidence of a romantic attachment to endless movement.
Nomadism is a hard testing faith and its hold is demonstrably weak (Baker, 1978). If there is any
positive alternative, they can quit nomadism. Where settlement has been resisted, the reason lies not in
the nomads wanderlust, but in a defective planning programme. There are three types of grazing system
in Cameroon: nomadism, transhumance and sedentary (Figure 10).

24

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Nomadism
Nomadism is the most extensive system; it is the type of life of herders who have no fixed home and
move from place to place, throughout the year, with their animals in search of water and forage. The
herders life is tributary to that of their animals. Nomadism carries high production risks and requires
large areas of range. It can be seen as a large-scale rotational grazing system that could be ecologically
sound. Unfortunately, a number of factors are contributing to its decay and these are largely responsible
for the continuing degradation of the Sahel and savannah. These include: the imposition of fixed
frontiers at the beginning of the twentieth century; population increase with consequent increased
settlement leading to constant shrinkage of the grazing area available to nomads; the introduction of new
techniques and services (water, veterinary service) without a concomitant improvement of grassland and
management systems; and the social attitude of people.
The true nomad and his herd live almost in a symbiotic form. Cattle are not regarded mainly as a
source of income but as a source of food, a source of social prestige and above all as a means of survival.
Inputs into the system are low, as are the outputs. But that is of less concern as long as it ensures the
survival of the group.
The traditions and the production system of these herders are more difficult to modify than
development theory usually estimates. Their mastery of extensive livestock production systems is very
delicate. Techniques brought from outside the system do not fit well because they are not a response to
an interior social, economic or traditional logic but rather to an outside economic logic or to a social
logic that is different from that of the herders. These techniques are not supported by an endogenous
motivation but by an exogenous one. Extension services provided to herders are not easy to implement.
If they are not carefully planned, they may appear as an attempt to substitute technicians for herders.
Our understanding of the rationale behind pastoral movements has advanced tremendously since
the days when nomads were thought to wander aimlessly on the rangeland. The many types of criteria
behind their decisions vary from year to year and household to household according to changing
social and environmental circumstances, giving the pastoralists a flexibility that allows them to meet
environmental challenges and subsistence needs (Niamir, 1990). This very flexibility is, however, often
interpreted as random, inconsistent and irrational by development workers and governments.
Transhumance
This system involves seasonal displacement of flocks from one area to another, by herders who have
permanent residence, in search of better or suitable grassland. It can be considered either as the next
phase from nomadism towards complete settlement, or as an elementary form of the seasonal-suitability
system that involves partitioning a rangeland into units on the basis of vegetation types.
Transhumance is very common because, after settlement, herders cannot find enough forage around
the village throughout the year for their animals. Temporary migration is more than necessary since
herdsmen do little to improve the grassland. The general mechanisms of transhumance are simple. In
search of pasture and water, herdsmen and their herd follow the rainfall southward and flocks return to
the village in its rainy season.
Throughout the rainy season animals are usually not far from the village. Water is available and green
pastures abundant. At the end of the rainy season the availability of water diminishes, pasture becomes
less and less nutritious, movement of herds towards areas of available water begins and continues as
the dry season progresses. During this period, animals will stay around what water points are left in the
area (boreholes are used in Yar, in the far north Cameroon near the Waza national park) and eat what
remains as standing straw, if fire has not reduced it to ash. At the end of the dry season, with the first
rain, the return towards the village begins; its pattern is regulated by the rainfall. This general principle
of transhumance, however, has a practical modality, which is more complex. Within Northern Cameroon
there are two kinds of transhumance: dry season transhumance and rainy season transhumance; various
motivations cause these movements especially that of the rainy season.
Dry season movement is the greatest; it is due to the lack of forage or water or both. Rainy season
displacement is complex and its reasons multiple. Arab herders of the Makari around Lake Chad migrate
to Nigeria where they remain during the whole rainy season because of disease-bearing organisms such
as tsetse fly, or floods. They return after the wet season. In Diamare department in North Cameroon,

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

25

many herders migrate to the southwest because, during the rainy season, most of this department is under
crops and it is difficult to keep animals out of the farm lands. In Benoue department, displacements are
also due to tsetse fly overrunning the riparian pastures. Wet season transhumance is generally shorter; it
covers a relatively limited area and the motivation for it may not be the same in all areas.
Sedentary stock rearing
This is the production system of the settled population. Animals are kept in or near the village through the
year although owners of a large number of animals entrust their flocks, or part of them, to transhumant
herders for the dry season. Agriculture or fishing is the main activity of such people; livestock raising is
a complementary activity. These herds are mostly of goats and sheep, although some may raise cattle.
Most cattle that migrate during the dry season remain near the village of their owner during the rainy
season. Animal production in the wet season is mostly sedentary. Usually there is no shelter for cattle;
for sheep and goats, which are more sensitive to unfavourable weather, farmers build a shelter or use
any available facilities for their protection. The animals graze around the village and during the height of
the dry season are given agricultural by-products: groundnut hay, bean hay, stover of maize or sorghum.
There is a special livestock raising system in central Margui-Wandala in North Cameroon. Matakan
farmers in the area build small, almost closed houses where they keep a young bull for two or three
years. The animal is fed through a small opening in the wall while from another, lower one, the house
can be cleaned. These bulls are specially raised for the Maray feast. It is also common for Moslems,
a few months prior to the Ramadan feast, to feed goats and mostly sheep intensively in a confined area.
Integrated crop-livestock. In this system crops and livestock rearing are components of farming.
Increasing urbanization, if coupled with income growth, provides a growing market for livestock
products from both rural and peri-urban farmers. Mixed farming has many forms. Even pastoralists
practise a form of mixed farming since their livelihood depends on the management of different feed
resources and animal species. With the rapid changes taking place ethnic groups that were traditionally
farmers are ready to acquire cattle and pastoralists are increasing their cropping/arable farming.
The widespread sedentarization of pastoralists and their adoption of crop growing in addition to
keeping livestock, the uptake of animal husbandry and fattening of livestock by arable farmers and the
utilization of crop residues by livestock farmers in exchange for manure are all indicative of a progressive
and widespread trend towards mixed farming (FAO, 1983; and McIntyre et al., 1992). Mixed farming is
established mainly in Northern Cameroon and the further integration of livestock production within local
farming systems will surely become a major strategic goal of livestock development. Many retired civil
servants take up mixed farming because it uses space more efficiently and spreads risks.
Peri-urban ruminant husbandry
Wealthy urban businessmen and government officials practise this system, mainly on the periphery of
major towns in northern Cameroon. Farmers take advantage of the potential of animals as investment
and a source of milk and meat. A farmer may decide to have only cattle or cattle with small ruminants.
Trained personnel are hired to carry out routine tasks. The use of crop residues and agricultural
by-products is intensive and economically combined with grazing.
Ruminant livestock
Livestock play a very important role in Cameroon agriculture, contributing about 9% of the total
agricultural or about 2.1% of the gross domestic product (MINEPIA, 2002). In 1995 the livestock
population comprised about 4.6million cattle, 3.6million goats and 3.4million sheep. These figures
have since increased to 5.9 million cattle, 4.4 million goats and 3.8 million sheep (Table 5). Horses
and asses are grazing species of relatively low economic importance. Accurate statistics on livestock
production and marketing (see Plates 1, 2 and 3) are not easy to obtain because of lack of an appropriate
statistics collection system. Animal production has increased gradually between 1995 and 2004. This
subsector is a source of revenue to more than 30% of the rural population.
The low rate of increase in livestock production is due to the prevalence of some major diseases that
affect the herd such as pateurellosis, foot and mouth disease, tick-borne diseases and trypanosomiasis.

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

26

Cattle contribute about 54% of total


meat consumption per inhabitant while
the proportion for sheep and goat is 13%,
pig 15% and poultry 17%. Data on meat
production are given in Table 6.

Table 5. Ruminant livestock population


Years

Livestock (000)
Cattle

Goats

Sheep

1995

4 650

3 620

3 400

Asses
36

Horse
15.5

1996

4 623

3 650

3 450

37

15.5

1997

4 737

3 700

3 500

37

16.0

Cattle
1998
4 846
3 750
3 550
37
16.0
Cattle are found throughout Cameroon but
1999
5 500
3 800
3 650
37
16.5
the major production areas are in the West
2000
5 882
4 410
3 753
38
16.5
and North West Province and from the
2001
5 900
4 400
3 800
38
16.5
Adamawa Province northward. Herd size is
2002
5 900
4 400
3 800
39
16.5
very small in the subhumid zone because
2003
5 950
4 400
3 800
39
16.5
of the high prevalence of trypanosomiasis.
2004
5 950
4 400
3 800
Beef production is almost entirely from Source: FAO, 2006.
extensive systems with low inputs (see
Plate4). The traditional nomadic system has Table 6. Data on meat production
Meat thousand tonnes
low productivity due to poor nutrition but
Years
has, over the years, met the major demand
Cattle Goats Sheep Horse Pig Rabbit Chicken
for beef in Cameroon. For hundreds of years
1995
512
1 303
1 224
1.950 400 0.090
26.5
local cattle have adapted to heat, harsh local
1996
509
1 314
1 242
1.950 400 0.091
30.0
conditions and management, and developed
1997
521
1 332
1 260
2.000 400 0.092
33.5
some resistance to the various environmental
1998
533
1 350
1 278
2.000 480 0.092
37.5
stresses. Local breeds are of two types: Bos
1999
605
1 368
1 314
2.050 400 0.094
36.0
indicus and Bos taurus (Table 7).
2000
647
1 570
1 350
2.050 538 0.094
26.5
The Bos indicus are comparatively of
2001
640
1 570
1 365
2.050 540 0.096
37.5
higher beef yielding than the taurin cows.
2002
620
1 570
1 365
2.100 540 0.096
37.5
There are the Adamawa Zebu (Gudali) and
2003
620
1 570
1 365
2.100 540 0.096
37.5
the zebu of the north (Mbororo).
2004
640
1 570
1 365
2.100 540 0.096
37.5
Humpless Bos taurus breeds are smaller
2005
650
1 570
1 365
2.100 540 0.096
37.5
than zebus, and relatively resistant to
2006
650
1 570
1 365
2.100 540 0.096
37.5
trypanosomiasis. They form a very small
Source: FAOSTAT data 2007. (accessed October 17 th , 2007).
percentage of Cameroon s cattle.
Most cattle rearers in Cameroon are men.
Njoya et al. (1997) reported that elderly
men were involved in cattle rearing in the
Northern region; 71% of farmers were within
the age range of 2450 years while 29% were
above 50 years. In the Menoua Division,
cattle rearers come from two principal ethnic
groups, the Bororos and the Bamelikes
(Yendji, 2000), and most them are males
(97.03%) of which 62.38% are between the
ages of 41 and 80years.
Etoundi (2003) found that in Northern
Cameroon most cattle rearers are illiterate
(51%), and have not had formal training in
Plate 1. Farmer conducting zebu cattle to market
cattle rearing.
Planchenault (1992) observed that in
many regions of Cameroon most cattle rearers (70.2%) do not grow crops. Contrary to Planchenaults
findings, Etoundi (2003) reported that in North of Cameroon, most cattle rearers (69%) also grew crops
and only 4% were solely involved in cattle rearing. Yendji (2000) reported that, in Menoua, cattle rearing
is practised by 63.37% of rearers who are also involved in other activities like farming, business, office
work, etc.

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

27

Table 7. Distribution of bovine herds in


Cameroon
Species

Breeds

Zebu
(Bos indicus)

Gudali
Mbororo

Taurin
(Bos taurus)

Namshi
Kapsiki
Bakossi
Kouri
Ndama (imported)
Total

Percentages
65.0
34.0

1.0

100.0

Source: Tchoumboue and Manjeli, 1991

Dairy development
The two provinces particularly associated
with dairy production are the Adamawa
Plateau, 1 100 m above sea level and the
Western Highlands, in the mid and high
altitude zone, between latitudes 520 and
7N 940 and 1110 E.

Plate 2. Cattle market in Douala

Traditional dairy production


In Africa, pastoralists derive up to 75%
of their food needs from milk (Galvin,
1985). Such pastoralists own about 50% of
Africas livestock (de Leeuw et al., 1995);
in Cameroon, they own most of the cattle.
According to Kameni et al. (1994), most
of the cows milk in Cameroon comes from
Fulani herds. The life of the Fulani revolves
around cattle rearing and most of their income
derives from it; crop production is marginal Plate 3. Cattle market in North West Cameroon
and is carried out by occasional labour. In
this system, milk is from beef breeds such
as the Gudali, Red Fulani and White Fulani
(Bos indicus). More than 90% of calvings are
during the rainy season (Njoya et al., 1999).
Milk offtake starts from 1 to 3 months postcalving. Calves are usually weaned at 10.5
months. Some lactating animals are kept at
the camping area while the rest of the herd
is taken for grazing. Milking is by hand and
any milk not required immediately is either
boiled and sold as liquid milk or allowed
to sour to provide a base for a sorghum or
maize porridge (Kameni et al., 1999). Milk is
also bartered for grain. When herds are near Plate 4. A young herdsman with cattle in the
urban centres they are the major, perhaps Bamboutos rangeland
only, source of fresh milk for urban dwellers.
In remote areas only a very limited amount of milk might occasionally be sold because of the distance
from markets. A major constraint to supplying milk to urban populations is the effective marketing of
the milk potentially available from pastoral herds. Demand for milk in urban centres is greater in the
dry season than in the wet but, in the dry season with cows on transhumance, pastoralists cannot take
advantage of this increased demand. In the wet season, when cattle herds may be adjacent to urban
centres, demand for milk is low and prices are depressed. The opportunity to capitalize on the demand

28

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

for milk, coupled to the need to promote more productive dairy systems, has led to the importation of
European type dairy cattle.
Introduction of exotic dairy cattle
The first exotic dairy cattle imported into Cameroon in the 1930s (Tambi, 1991) were of the German
Brown breed (Atekwana and Maximuangu, 1981). At the end of the Second World War, these were
replaced by Holstein Friesian and an Austrian breed (Pinzgauer) in Buea. Montbliard was introduced
in Dschang and Jakiri for crossbreeding with local cattle. In 1964, a dairy experimental station was set
up at Bambui (Njwe, 1984) and in 1967 Brown Swiss heifers were imported for crossbreeding with
NDama. Montbliard semen was imported in 1975 for crossbreeding with Gudali (Bos indicus) females
in the north country. Immediately preceding this, Heifer Project International (HPI) signed an agreement
with the Government and the importation of Jersey and Holstein Friesian cattle and semen began and
continues to the present time (HPI, 1999). This same organization has trained dairy farmers to use zero
grazing with Holstein Friesian cows that have been imported from Ireland since 1994. Importations of
exotic cattle led to the development of more specialized systems of dairying.
Semi-intensive system and crop and livestock integration
These systems of dairying use crossbred cattle with improved pasture and supplements such as rice
bran, palm kernel cake, cottonseed cake, wheat bran, and soybeans, all in small amounts. Fencing is
common as is rotational grazing. Animals often utilize crop residues such as maize stover, groundnut
and bean haulms, rice straw and banana forage. They are supplemented with agro-industrial by-products
such as brewers grains and tree legumes such as Leucaena spp. and other legumes ( Stylosanthes spp.,
Desmodium spp.). In the Western highlands, such systems are practised by the Tikar (native) population
(Njoya et al., 1999).
Intensive system
Intensive systems are used by a few modern commercial farms, using the cut-and-carry system where
animals are housed and supplemented with concentrates. These systems use pure-bred high-yielding dairy
cows (HPI, 1999). Small-scale farmers suffer from a very heavy workload because of the lack of machinery.
Productivity of breeds used for milk production
Nearly all milk production studies have been geared towards cattle which supply the majority of milk.
The common traditional breeds involved in dairying are the Bos indicus Gudali, Red Fulani and White
Fulani. Their production levels are indicated in Table 8.
Tawah and Rege (1996) reviewed information on White Fulani cattle related to the breeds physical
characters and production parameters. They described their distribution and husbandry and concluded
that the breed is economically important for several communities in West and Central Africa. Although
the population of the breed is large, crossbreeding with exotic and local breeds poses a long-term threat.
Red Fulani cattle are found in many countries of West and Central Africa. They are extremely hardy
and adapt to a wide range of conditions, particularly to arid zones (Maule, 1990). These breeds have
been crossed with European Bos taurus breeds, including the Holstein Friesian, Jersey and Montbeliard
(Mbah et al., 1987; Tawah and Mbah, 1989; Mbah et al., 1991; Tawah et al. (1999a).
Tawah et al. (1998) studied the fixed effects of genotype, parity, age at calving, season and year
of birth of cows on lactation and reproductive performance. Traits analysed were lactation milk yield,
lactation duration, annual milk yield, calving interval, dry period and age at first calving. They found,
as expected, that in Cameroon, Holstein cows produced more milk than any other breed; exotic or
local. Holstein F 1 crosses were also better than any other crosses for the same trait. The season of birth
of cows also significantly affected their age at first calving. Female calves born in times of hardship
(e.g. dry season) took much longer to get in calf. Tawah et al. (1999b) also studied the genotype and
environmental effects of crossbreeding Gudali cows with either Montbeliard or Holstein bulls. Their
study confirmed reports that F 1 crosses are superior to backcrosses for milk production in harsh tropical
conditions. Holstein x Gudali F1 cows were better than Montbeliard x Gudali F1 in milk production and
reproductive performance. The performance of the F2 was lower than F1 in milk production and age

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

29

Table 8. Summary of breed performance of animals used for milk production in Cameroon
Breed

Birth Daily gain Age


Calving Calving Lactation Number of
Milk
Milk
weight, from 13 to at 1st rates,% interval, length, Insemination yield per yield,
kg
41 weeks, calving,
days
days
per
day of
kg
kg
days
conception lactation,
kg

Gudali (G)

22.5a

0.35a

Red Fulani
(RF)

21.5a

0.43a

76.9b

White Fulani
(WF)

22.3a

0.27a

76.1

Jersey (J)

16.8a

0.39a

79.5

Boran (B)
Holstein (H)

1440

924
600

32.7a

0.44a

75

511

140

Mortality
birth
to 36
months,
%

373

3.5

114b

2.4a

513b
295a

4.7c

444

175

2.8a

536
465a

4.6

419

315

8a

2 681

8.9 to 26

964

75.4

472

329

HXG (F1)

780

78.9

399

HXRF (F1)

927

87.5

403

JXWF(F1)

1 077

78.8

MXG (F1)

1 140

82

3 155

2.4e

11.5a

3 202a
3 471b
4 750e

12.7 to
38

282

1 575

6.3 to 20

221

1 551

5.8

382

189

1 011

5.6 to
11.5

399

258

1 380

44

N.B. superscripts relate to references


a IEMVT (1975/76); b IRZ(1982,1983,1984,1985)b; c Mbah (1984) and Mbah et al.(1987); d Tawah and Mbah (1989); e HPI (1999);
Bayemi et al., 2005

at first calving. The authors recommended that Montbeliard x Gudali crosses be used for dairy-beef
production because of their dual purpose nature while Holstein x Gudali crosses may be better suited
for moderately intensive dairy production in the Cameroon Highlands and similar environments. Kamga
et al. (2001) working with Holstein, Jersey and their crosses with Gudali confirmed the suitability of
Holstein x Gudali crosses for milk production in Cameroon.
Domestic milk production and demand
The country has six million cattle with 4% of them dairy cows (Figure 11: FAO 19701999). The number
of cattle has been increasing consistently for over 30 years. The percentage of milking cows relative to
the total number of cattle has decreased, particularly in the late 1970s. Milking cows considered were
those that have been milked even if the milk was subsequently given to the calf. This definition does
not concern milk sucked by calves (FAO, 2000). This drop may have been associated to the fact that
for eight years, 1971 to 1979, the total number of cows sold to neighbouring countries was nearly three
times more (53972head) than the number exported during a period of 12 years after that date (18 830
head; 1980 to 1992). This exportation was done irrespective of gender.
The increase in number of dairy cows in the 1990s resulted from the new surge towards high-yielding
imported stock to increase domestic production. Annual per capita milk production in Cameroon was
estimated at 5.1kg (MINPAT, 1986) while consumption was estimated at 10kg by Von Masow (1984).
Total domestic production of milk was 50000tonnes (Tambi, 1991). In 1999, per capita production stood
at 12.8kg while per capita consumption was 15.3kg in 1998 (calculated from FAO, 2000). In fact milk
production in the country has substantially increased (from 48000tonnes to 184000tonnes). However,
production is far from satisfying local demand for milk and dairy products. Since the devaluation of the
CFA franc in 1994, the price of imported milk and milk products has more than doubled. Teuscher et al.
(1992) estimated the level of imports of milk and milk products was 11480tonnes, which represented
about 50% of the adult per capita consumption. The low per capita consumption in subsequent years (less
than half of Africas) reflects limits on imports of dairy products, standing at only 23% of total per capita
consumption. Consequently, local milk can compete with imported products. Previously the availability
of cheap products in international markets supported low consumer prices in the country. Approximately
50% of the population are urban dwellers. Figure 12 shows that, although urban population is rapidly
increasing, imports of milk have slowed down.
This trend was confirmed by ILCA (1993). The present situation creates an extraordinary opportunity
for dairy development. This reality has led some peri-urban farmers to use pure-bred Holstein Friesian

30

Figure 11. Production patterns in Cameroon


Source: Bayemi et al., 2005

Figure 12. Dairy product imports relative to urban population


Source: Bayemi et al., 2005

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

31

cows. To maximize profit, these animals have been imported for commercial production in increasing
numbers over the last five years. For a sound and progressive development of the sector, dairy
cooperative societies were formed (e.g. the Projet laitier in Ngaoundr, Adamaoua in the Northern
part of the country and TADU dairy cooperative and Bamenda Dairy Cooperative Society in the North
West). A private dairy processing company, Sotramilk, ensures the purchase of their liquid milk.
A study conducted by Vabi and Tambi (1995) revealed that urban dwellers had a high preference for
fresh milk with a mean household consumption of 3kg for the high-income households, 2kg for the
medium- and 1kg for the low-income households. Although high-income households spent more money
on fresh milk compared to the medium- and low-income households, the proportion of income spent on
fresh milk was lowest for the high, followed by medium- and low-income households.
Constraints to milk production
Traditional dairy management, though sustainable for centuries, does not supply enough milk to meet
the demand. Improvement in milk production is possible through introduction of European type dairy
breeds. Though adapting to the environment, these breeds and their crosses are susceptible to the
challenging Cameroon environment. Constraints to dairy production are listed in Table 9.
Table 9. Tabulated constraints to dairy cattle in Cameroon
Constraints
Nutrition

Source

1. Traditional grasses are of low nutritive value and demand adequate


Njoya et al., 1999
supplementation; in February, native Sporobolus africanus only contains 4.5%
crude protein on a dry matter basis.
2. There is inadequate pasture management. Some areas are densely
populated, leading to insufficient grazing land. Consequently many dairy
farmers endeavour to cultivate grass.

Breeding and
management

1. Unavailability of good dairy stock. Many people wish to get involved in


dairy business but either they do not find dairy heifers for purchase or more
often they are very expensive to be bought on cash. Some NGOs give loans
to farmers in this line, to be paid in kind with a heifer or a bull of the same
breeds 3 years later.

HPI, 1999

2. There is a long calving to conception period with a mean of ( 185 105


days) indicating a great need of increasing reproductive performance on
farms.

Njoya et al., 1999

3. In improved systems (semi intensive and intensive) there are problems


with heat detection and low A.I. success rates.
Health

1. Ticks and tick-borne diseases are an obstacle to the introduction of exotic


dairy breeds.
They show a high susceptibility to Babesiosis, heartwater and dermatophilosis.
Attempts to control ticks with acaricides have been proposed.

Mbah, 1982 a, b;Merlin et al., 1986;


Merlin 1987 Merlin et al., 1987;
Bayemi, 1991 Ndi et al., 1991;
Douffissa, 1993 Staschurski, 1993;
Ndi et al., 1998

2. Brucellosis

Martrenchar et al., 1995

3. Haemorrhagic septicaemia

Martrenchar and Njanpop, 1994

4. Gastrointestinal parasites: Toxocara, Strongyloides, Coccidia Trichuris,


Moniezia, Fasciola and paramphistomes.
Deworming with anthelmintic has been recommended

Chollet et al., 1994

5. Foot and mouth disease is common.

Ekue et al., 1990 Bronsvoort et al.,


2002

6.There are inadequate veterinary inputs by dairy farmers. Most of them keep Mbanya et al., 1995
their animals indoors,because of the fear of high tick load and worm loads.
Exotic breeds though highly performing are very susceptible to parasites and
heat stress with very high mortality rates.

Processing,
marketing,
consumption

7. Because of high costs of conventional veterinary medicine. Many farmers


use ethno veterinary medicine

Nfi et al., 2001

1. Limited quantity of milk for processing and consumption in urban areas

HPI, 1999

2. Farmers who are far from urban centres cannot easily sell their milk.
HPI, 1999 Kameni et al., 1999
Consequently, cows are milked once day to sustain the family needs.
At farm level, there are no cooling or storage facilities for fresh milk as well as
a lack of processing facilities and technical know-how.
In peri urban areas there is no collection of evening milk for processing.
Therefore, milk is mainly consumed by family and fed to pet animals and calves.

32

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Table 10. Mean values obtained by the analysis


Milk processing
Traditionally, cows are milked once daily, in the of 12 samples of Bafut cheese
Properties
Mean
Range
morning, mainly by women and children. The calf
is allowed to suckle to induce milk let down in
Fat (%)
25.0
17.529.5
zebus. The milk is low in microbial quality and
Protein (%)
26.1
22.233.6
only lasts for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature
Moisture (%)
41.6
40.345.1
(ambient temperatures are 30 to 35oC) in the north.
Fat-in-Dry-Matter (%)
42.8
38.549.5
In the Western Highlands where temperatures are
Titratable Acidity (%)
2.1
1.82.6
moderate (18 to 22 oC) its shelf life is slightly
pH
4.3
3.94.6
longer. Traditional processing is done by women;
Total Volatile Substances (%)
0.09
0.050.15
local dairy products are sold in markets and shops
Free Fatty Acids (%)
0.3
0.180.33
in urban areas. Kameni et al. (1999) classified
Salt (%)
1.3
1.011.53
dairy products as those from traditional or modern
processing methods. Dairy plants make sweetened
yoghurt, set yoghurt (natural), stirred fruit yoghurt, stirred plain yoghurt and cheese. Products found at
household level include Pendidam (fermented milk), Kindirmu (set yoghurt), heat treated milk, Lebol
(butter), Nebam (butter oil) and sour milk.
Milk is pasteurized by the processing plants of Sotramilk and Projet Laitier. Another plant is being
built at Tadu near Kumbo. These plants do not run at full capacity but ensure that seasonal volumes of
surplus milk are efficiently utilized. Imele et al.(1999) determined the composition of milk from White
Fulani cows as: butter fat (3.890.17%), protein (3.520.21%), total solids (12.690.43%), solids-notfat (8.790.44%). Kameni et al.(1994 and 1998) studied the production of cheese in Cameroon. Studies
of Bafut cheese showed that a typical Bafut cheese is hard, cylindrical and of 2 kg in weight and covered
with a dry, hard rind formed by moisture loss during maturation. Its properties are indicated in Table 10.

Marketing
In the dry season market demand in Cameroon for milk products is very high but milk is scarce because
cattle are on transhumance. Even when milk is available, the lack of refrigeration at farm level forces
producers to make and market their products every day. The marketing system is mainly informal. In
Garoua there are large herds of cattle and a lot of milk in the rainy season. Women carry milk products
and walk around town to retail them. In Maroua where milk output is low and dairy products expensive,
sites have been provided for the sale of milk in the main market. In Bamenda, milk collection is done
on major axes with refrigerated vans by Sotramilk. This dairy plant collects 100litres/day in January
and 500litres/day September-October (peak). They use blended and reconstituted milk to make their
products (Mbanya et al., 1995). Farmers form cooperatives to ensure better marketing of their milk.
Tambi and Vabi (1994), surveying one cooperative, said that the financial responsibility of the household
head (gender), input cost and price significantly influence market supply. They stated however that price
is relatively inflexible to changes in market supply.
Small ruminants
Small ruminants are found all over Cameroon. They are estimated at about 8.2million head, with goats
out-numbering sheep. These animals, which are kept mostly for their meat and skins, are slaughtered
during festive occasions or daily for meat in both urban and rural areas. Although there is some seasonal
movement of pastoral sheep, mainly in northern Cameroon , most small ruminants are sedentary village
livestock. Traditional feeding of goats and sheep is based on agricultural by-products, grazing on fallow,
scavenging and browsing.
Goats
Some of the main breeds are the West African Dwarf, and the long-legged or Sahel, Zaghawa, Foulb,
Arabe. These animals survive in most environments. West African Dwarf goats are kept in the forest
zones while in the northern part there are both West African Dwarf goats and the other breeds. The
commonest production system is that of seasonal confinement, particularly in the cropping season, and
scavenging during the remainder of the year. Goats and sheep provide over 13% of all meat consumed

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

33

in Cameroon (MINEPIA, 2002). There is marked variation in demand coinciding mainly with Christian
religious ceremonies or funeral celebration particularly in the south of the country. Pamo et al. (2007)
review some major studies carried out on goat production in Africa during the past 40 years. The
study covers research in goat management, feeding and nutrition and reproduction. Not surprisingly,
none of these topics has been investigated in a coherent and sustained manner. Results often vary,
not only between reports and breeds, but also within breeds. The review highlights the gaps in our
knowledge that need to be filled in order to develop a coherent problem-solving package for sustained
goat production. Increased research is needed into adapted forage production system for sustained
development of specific breeds, as well as in the area of nutrition, reproduction, environmental stress and
their possible interactions. Greater knowledge is also required about the understanding of the farmers,
the characteristics of their enterprises and their available resources.
Sheep
Sheep play an important socio-economic role in the life of the population, particularly Moslems. The
main types of sheep are Uda, and West African Dwarf, Zaghawa, Arabe, Choa arabe, Foulbe and Kotoko,
although some minor breeds or cross-breeds can be found in some very limited areas. West African
Dwarf sheep are mainly kept in the south while both main breeds are raised throughout the north. All
Cameroon sheep are used for meat. In the north, they are eaten regularly and form part of the daily
protein supply, but there is a marked variation in demand coinciding with Moslem festivals. In some
areas household fattening of sheep for sale is an important economic activity.

5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE


With the current increase in crop area,
coupled with population growth, less land
is available for grazing. Forage forms the
main and cheapest feed for ruminants (Pamo
et al., 2006). In Cameroon, almost no
work has been done on range management
and development except on university farms
or research stations, so grazing livestock
depend on poor and degraded rangeland
(see Plates 5 and 6) that is often of very low
nutritional quality. All Cameroon livestock
are raised under extensive systems and forage
availability is a major problem.
Since 1955 an inventory of local forage
species and introduction of exotic forages with
a view to study their adaptability, persistence,
harsh environment, resistance to disease,
and productivity have been carried out in
research stations and university experimental
farms. Pasture agronomists and ruminant
nutritionists have investigated pasture plants
that could be adapted to the various agroecological zones. Suitable pasture plants
for some agro-ecological zones have been
identified (Pamo et al., 1998; Yonkeu et
al., 1986). Cameroon has many indigenous
grasses of good fodder quality including

Plate 5, Dawara rangeland in the highland of the North


West Cameroon

Plate 6, Cattle in the mountainous rangeland

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

34

Cynodon nlemfuensis, Andropogon Table 11. Major forage species of Cameroon


Species
Species
gayanus, Panicum maximum,
Panicum phragmitoides, Pennisetum
Andropogon pinguipes
Loudetia togoensis
purpureum,
P.
pedicellatum,
Andropogon gayanus var gayanus.
Mitracarpus villosus
Imperata
cylindrica,
Melinis
Andropogon gayanus var bisquamulatus
Oryza barthii
minutiflora, Melinis tenuissima,
Andropogon gayanus var poly
Oryza longistaminata
Setaria sphacelata, Hyparrhenia
Andropogon pseudapricus
Panicum afzelii
rufa, Echinochloa spp., Chloris
Brachiaria jubata
Panicum maximum
pilosa, Loudetia spp., Oryza spp.,
Brachiaria stigmatisata
Paspalum scrobiculatum
Setaria spp., Vetiveria spp. A number
Chloris pilosa
Pennisetum pedicellatum
of exotic grasses such as Cenchrus
Echinochloa colona
Pennisetum polystachion
ciliaris, Brachiaria ruziziensis,
Echinochloa obtusiflora
Phragmites karka
Brachiaria mutica, Tripsacum
Echinochloa pyramidalis
Rottboellia exaltata
laxum,
Panicum
maximum,
Echinochloa stagnina
Saccharum spontaneum
Brachiaria brizantha, Pennisetum
Eragrostis gangetica
Sacciolepis micrococcus
purpureum and others have been
Eriosema glomeratum
Sesbania pachycarpa
established successfully (Pamo et
Hyparrhenia barteri
Setaria pumila
al., 1998; Pamo et al., 1997; Yonkeu
Hyparrhenia bracteata
Setaria sphacelata
and Pamo , 1994). Tables 11 and 12
Hyparrhenia rufa
Sorghastrum bipennatum
indicate some major indigenous and
Hyparrhenia subplumosa
Tephrosia pedicellata
introduced forages while Tables 13
Ipomoea aquatica
Urena lobata
and 14 indicate browse, leaves or
Jardinea congoensis
Vetiveria fulvibarbis
fruit which are consumed by grazing
Leersia hexandra
Vetiveria nigritiana
animals.
Loudetia
simplex
Some legumes including Stylosanthes guianensis, Centrosema
pubescens, Pueraria phaseoloides, Calopogonium mucunoides and Pueraria phaseolodes have proved
valuable. A number of tree legumes and multipurpose trees such as Leucaena leucocephala, Calliandra
calothyrsus, Gliricidia sepium, Cajanus cajan, Leucaena trichandra, Leucaena diversifolia, Ficus
sycomorus, Acacia spp., Annona senegalensis, Vitex doniana, Balanites aegyptiaca, Dichrostachys
Table 12. Some introduced cultivars in Cameroon
Species
a) FABACEAE family
1
Cajanus cajan
2
Cajanus cajan
3
Cajanus cajan
4
Cajanus cajan
5
Cajanus cajan
6
Cajanus cajan
7
Cajanus cajan
8
Calopogonium muconoides
9
Calopogonium muconoides
10
Canavalia ensiformis
11
Canavalia ensiformis
12
Cassia rotundifolia
13
Centrosema acutifolium
14
Centrosema arenarium
15
Centrosema brasilianum
16
Centrosema macrocarpum
17
Centrosema pascuorum
18
Centrosema pascuorum
19
Centrosema plumieri
20
Centrosema pubescens
21
Centrosema pubescens
22
Centrosema pubescens
23
Centrosema pubescens

Cultivars
ILCA 11 700
ILCA 11 683
ILCA 13 682
ILCA 11 575
ILCA 11 686
ILCA 11 699
ILCA 11 700
CIAT 9901
ILCA 6750
ILCA 9286
WXNN 34 721
CIAT 5277
CIAT 5236
CIAT 5687
CIAT 5713

ILCA 14 613
Wakwa
CIAT 438
ILCA 219
FAO 61 896

56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78

Species

Cultivars

Gliricidia sepium
Gliricidia sepium
Gliricidia sepium
Gliricidia sepium
Gliricidia sepium
Gliricidia sepium
Gliricidia sepium
Indigofera articulatum
Indigofera spicata
Macroptilium atropurpureum
Macroptilium atropurpureum
Macroptilium atropurpureum
Macroptilium atropurpureum
Macroptilium lathyroides
Macroptilium lathyroides
Macroptilium lathyroides
Macroptilium africanum
Macrotyloma axillare
Macuna pruriens
Mucuna pruriens
Neonotonia wightii
Neonotonia wightii
Neonotonia wightii

ILG 61
ILG 62
ILG 63
IL
HYB
ILCA 10 930
ILCA 14 501
ILCA 7550
ILCA 7574
ILCA 69
ILCA 69
FAO 65 287
ILCA 6980
ILCA 6955
ILCA 9275
ILCA 9215
CSIRO 24 972
Archer ILCA 6756
ILCA 15 169
ILCA 6762
FAO 63 393
ILCA 6762

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Species
24
Centrosema pubescens
25
Centrosema rotundifolia
26
Centrosema schottii
27
Centrosema schotti
28
Centrosema schotti
29
Centrosema sp.
30
Clitoria ternatea
31
Codariocalyx gyroides
32
Codariocalyx gyroides
33
Crotalaria sericea
34
Crotalaria zanzibarica
35
Desmanthus virgatus
36
Desmodium discolor
37
Desmodium distortum
38
Desmodium distortum
39
Desmodium intortum
40
Desmodium intortum
41
Desmodium strigillosum
42
Desmodium tortuosum
43
Desmodium uncinatum
44
Desmodium uncinatum
45
Dolichos lablab
46
Dolichos purpureus
47
Flemingia congesta
48
Flemingia congesta
49
Gliricidia sepium
50
Gliricidia sepium
51
Gliricidia sepium
52
Gliricidia sepium
53
Gliricidia sepium
54
Gliricidia sepium
55
Gliricidia sepium
b) MIMOSACEAE family
1
Leucaena leucocephala
2
Leucaena leucocephala
3
Leucaena leucocephala
4
Leucaena leucocephala
5
Leucaena leucocephala
6
Leucaena leucocephala
7
Leucaena leucocephala
8
Prosopis juliflora
9
Samanea saman
c) POACEAE family
1
Andropogon gayanus
2
Brachiaria brizantha
3
Brachiaria decumbens
4
Brachiaria decumbens
5
Brachiaria ruziziensis
6
Chloris gayana
7
Panicum coloratum
8
Panicum coloratum
9
Panicum maximum
10
Panicum maximum
11
Panicum maximum
12
Panicum maximum
13
Panicum maximum
14
Panicum maximum
15
Panicum maximum
16
Panicum maximum
17
Panicum maximum
18
Panicum maximum

35

Cultivars
CIAT 5126
CIAT 5283
CIAT 76 010
CIAT 55 705
ILCA 122
CIAT 77 057
ILCA 9291
ILCA 12 455
CIAT 3100
IITA
ILCA 11 703
ILCA 312
ILCA 6988
Bambui
ILCA 7263
Greenleaf ILCA 104
FAO 65 285
CIAT 13 158
Cte dIvoire
ILCA 6765
Silverleaf ILCA 6765
Jhansi ILCA 6529
CIAT 6529
ILG 56
ILG 58
ILG 50
ILG 52
ILG 54
ILG 55
ILG 57
ILG 59
ILG 60

Species

Cultivars

79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109

Phaseolus acutifolius
Pueraria phaseoloides
Pueraria thunbergiana
Sesbania aculeata
Sesbania sesban
Stylosanthes capitata
Stylosanthes fruticosa
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes guianensis
Stylosanthes hamata
Stylosanthes hamata
Stylosanthes hamata
Stylosanthes hamata
Stylosanthes hamata
Stylosanthes hamata
Stylosanthes hamata
Stylosanthes macrocephala
Stylosanthes pauciflora
Stylosanthes scabra
Stylosanthes scabra
Stylosanthes scabra
Stylosanthes sympodialis
Stylosanthes sympodialis

ILCA 7380
CIAT 9900
FAO 68 199
ILCA 10 865
ILCA 9265
CIAT 10 280
FAO
CIAT 184
FAO 46 004
FAO 46 482
FAO 46 491
Endeavour ILCA 2
Oxley ILCA 1
FAO 46 500
CIAT 10 146
Graham ILCA 73
Cook ILCA 4
Verano ILCA 75
FAO 46 503
FAO 46 503
FAO 46 507
Verano ILCA 75
ILCA 75
CIAT 2570
CIAT 1281
CIAT 10 136
Zitzroy ILCA 441
Seca ILCA 140
FAO 46 507
CIAT 1044
CIAT 1044

19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35

Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Setaria sphacelata

B18
C28
D19
E10
G20
H11
I12
J24
K29
L26
M.2.12
N27
O25
P28
Q21
R.2.10
ILCA 65 284

Cunningham
ILCA 70
Cunningham
Peru ILCA 71
Hawan
ILCA 70
Hawan Giant K8

CIAT 606

Bambatsi ILCA 7153


Bambatsi
K187B
Makueni
C1
2A5
T58
2A4
2A6
2A22
1A50
A29

36

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

cinerea, Grewia spp., Piliostigma spp. Table 13. Browse whose leaves are the parts most
and Ziziphus spp., provide foliage for consumed by livestock
Species
livestock at all seasons. It will require
social and cultural changes amongst the
Sheep
Goats
Cattle
major livestock owners if they are to
Acacia ataxacantha
X
X
X
adopt the technologies that have been
Acacia gerrardii
X
X
X
developed and to treat livestock producAcacia nilotica
XX
XX
X
tion as a commercial enterprise, not just
Acacia senegal
X
XX
X
as a way of life.
XXX
XXXXX
XXX
In the Sahel savannah where the Adansonia digitata
Afzelia africana
XXXXX
XXXXX
XXX
rainy season lasts between three and
Anogeissus leiocarpus
XX
XXX
XX
four months the dominant grasses are
XXX
XXX
XXX
Andropogon gayanus, Hyparrhenia Bombax costatum
Boscia
senegalensis
X
X
X
rufa, Setaria pallidifusca, Setaria comXX
munis, Eragrostis robusta, Pennisetum Bridelia scleroneura
XXXX
XXXX
XX
spp., Oryza barthii, Echinochloa spp., Butyrospermum paradoxum
Calotropis
procera
XXX
Sporobolus pyramidalis, Pennisetum
XXXX
X
pedicellatum, Heteropogon contortus, Cochlospermum planchoni
XXX
X
Aristida spp. and Panicum spp. The Cochlospermum tinctorium
XXXX
XXXXX
XX
Sudan savannahh zone, which falls Combretum aculeatum
XX
within the tsetse fly zone, has high Combretum collinum
quality vegetation for rearing and breed- Commiphora africana
XX
XX
ing of ruminants but this fly is a seri- Crossopteryx febrifuga
XX
XX
X
ous problem; grasses include Imperata Daniellia oliveri
XXX
XXX
XXX
cylindrica, Pennisetum spp., Panicum Detarium microcarpum
XX
XX
XX
spp., Eragrostis spp., Andropogon gaya- Diospyros mespiliformis
X
X
X
nus, Schizachyruim spp., Schoenefeldia Entada africana
X
XX
X
gracilis, Eragrostis tremula, Aristida Feretia apodanthera
XXX
XXXX
XXX
and Loudetia. Browse trees contribute Gardenia aqualla
XX
X
to the fodder of the zone.
Grewia tenax
XX
XX
XX
The Guinea savannah has the follow- Guiera senegalensis
X
XXX
X
ing grasses : Hyparrhenia spp., Andro- Khaya senegalensis
XXX
XXX
XXX
pogon gayanus, Imperata cylindrica,
Kigelia africana
XXX
XXX
XXX
Pennisetum pedicellatum, Digitaria spp.
Lonchocarpus laxiflorus
XXXX
XXXX
XXX
Setaria sphacelata, Pennisetum purMaerua crassifola
XX
XX
XX
pureum, Andropogon tectorum, Panicum
Maytenus senegalensis
XXX
X
maximum, Chloris spp., Paspalum and
Pericopsis laxiflora
XXX
XXX
XXX
Melinis. The Southern part represents
Pterocarpus erinaceus
XXXX
XXXX
XXXX
a transitional zone between forests (see
Sclerocarya birrea
XX
XX
X
Plate 7) and the savannah zones. In genX
X
eral, the Guinea savannah zone is char- Securidaca longepedunculata X
Securinega virosa
X
XXX
acterized by tall grasses which replace
Sterculia
setigera
XXX
XXX
X
destroyed forest trees.
XXXX
XXXX
The
productivity,
chemical Stereospermum kunthianum XXXX
Strychnos
innocua
X
XXX
X
composition and nutritive value of these
Strychnos
spinosa
XX
XX
X
forages vary greatly according to the
XX
XXX
X
region, the nature and fertility of the Terminalia avicennoides
X
soil, seasons of the year, and the stage Terminalia laxiflora
XXX
XXX
XXX
of growth at which the grass species are Vitex simplicifolia
cut or grazed. During the wet season, X= level of consumption
forage biomass is higher in quality and
quantity early in the season. Natural grasses and legumes are rich and highly digestible. As the growing
season advances the protein level drops and the roughage quantity increases (Pamo et al., 2007).

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

There is an increase in lignin content and


voluntary intake decreases. Most grassland at
this period become of poor quality, resulting
in weight loss and decreased milk yield if
appropriate complement is not provided. The
severity and duration of low-quality feed is
common to all parts of the country due to the
rapid growth of the tropical grass species.
In the far north, the prolonged dry season
and high temperatures accompanied by rapid
deterioration in quality of most grassland
seriously affect the productivity of animals
(Pamo, 1993; Pamo and Pieper, 1993).
Seasonality has a major effect on ruminant
livestock production. The severity of the
dry season and duration of low-quality
feed increase from south to north. There
is widespread annual burning of grasslands
leading to drastic reduction of the amount of
forage on offer (Pamo, 1993). A combination
of low-quality roughage and burning, which
reduce the available biomass, causes weight
losses (Lhoste, 1967; Zemmelink, 1974) and
poor fecundity (Voh et al., 1984).

37

Table 14. Browse whose fruit and leaves are


consumed by grazing animals
Species
Sheep

Goats

Cattle

Acacia albida

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXXXX

Acacia polyacantha

XXXX

XXXX

XX

Acacia sieberiana

XXXX

XXXX

XXX

Annona senegalensis

XXX

XXX

XX

Vitex doniana
Balanites aegyptiaca

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXX

Dichrostachys cinerea

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXXXX

Ficus capensis

XX

XX

Ficus sycomorus

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXXXX

Grewia bicolor

XXXX

XXXX

XXXX

Grewia flavescens

XX

XX

XX

Piliostigma reticulatum

XXXX

XXXX

XXX

Piliostigma thonningii

XXXX

XXXX

XXXX

Prosopis africana

XXXXX

XXXXX

XXXXX

Tamarindus indica

XXX

XXX

Ziziphus abyssinica

XXX

XXX

Ziziphus mauritiana

XXXX

XXXX

Ziziphus spina-christi

X= level of consumption

Rangeland
Rangelands are found in West, North west
(see Plate 5), East, Adamawa, North and
far North Provinces. All grazing animals
rely on natural grazing. Carrying capacity is
very low. Productivity of natural grassland
is affected by soil fertility, the amount of
browse species available, density of canopy
and mainly management strategies such as
grazing (Pamo et al., 2007). Pamo (1989a)
observed on average that nitrogen fertilization
consistently increased rangeland yield.
Plate 7. Herdsman with his cattle in the forest zone
Legumes are not common on rangeland, so
their contribution to animal feed is very low.
Most tropical grasses grow rapidly during the wet season, becoming fibrous and coarse and then are
undergrazed because of the drop in nutritive value. Their quality declines further during the dry season
and they become standing hay if fire does not transform them to ash.
During the period of rapid growth the nutrient content of natural grasses on average is about 25 to
35% dry matter; 10 to 15% crude protein; 6 to 8% ash with a fibre content of 30 to 40%. As the dry
season advances and conditions become severe, their nutritional quality declines to the extent that crude
protein could fall to as low as the minimum required for proper rumen function. Ash values also decline
to about 3 - 4% as a result of translocation to the root system, while fibre content increases in response
to the process of lignification (Smith, 1992). These grasses cannot meet the nutrient requirements
of grazing livestock for most of the year. Even during the rains they can only satisfy maintenance
requirements (Smith, 1992).
Besides savannah rangeland, the vegetation found along roadsides and on fallows is used by
nomads, or those droving animals to city markets, during the dry season. In the rainforest zone (see
Plate7) grasses available in the natural grassland include Panicum maximum, Cynodon nlemfuensis and

38

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

Pennisetum purpureum. The low protein contents of natural grassland is a constraint, however, legumes
such as Centrosema pubescens, Desmodium uncinatum and Desmodium intortum can be introduced to
improve diet quality. Dry matter yields of native pastures are relatively low. The humid zones have large
potential for development and are much more productive in terms of dry matter than drier areas but are
poorly developed because of lack of sound policy implementation.
The low nutritive value of natural forage is the major constraint to livestock productivity in the humid
(ILCA, 1979), subhumid and sahelian zones of West Africa. The crude protein (CP) content of forage
rarely exceeds 6% for more than six months of the year and some form of supplementation is necessary
if calving rates, milk yields and growth rates are to be raised (Milligan and Kaufmann, 1980).
Economic aspects of rangeland
In Cameroon rangeland is said to be common property under the management of the village chief.
However, it is neither controlled by officials representing the community nor by individual chiefs.
Users take what they need, when they need it, regardless of the effect their actions may have on the
maintenance of the rangeland (Pamo and Pamo, 1991). When the rangeland was in good condition
this posed no problems, as during the colonial and the early post-colonial period when herders and
their herds were too sparse to tax the available rangeland seriously. When grazing pressure outstripped
supply, individual demands became competitive. Now, as more and more rangeland is destroyed, herders
depending on the same resource find it increasingly difficult to meet their herds needs.
Because rangeland is viewed as common property villagers consider its preservation as a
common or official problem. An individual villagers effort to preserve or increase rangeland
production would be senseless; he might control noxious range plants, use good range management or
refrain from overgrazing, with no assurance that he will harvest the fruit of his efforts. Another herder
may graze the rangeland leaving him no return on his outlay. Every herdsmen grazes, no-one improves
the range and its use has become abuse. Grazing pressure has escalated to the point where rangeland may
be completely destroyed in the near future (see Plate 8).
Even if individuals attempt to develop cooperative rules to enforce a socially rational grazing system,
they cannot solve their problems because nobody has enough incentive to keep such an agreement.
Benefit from breaking rules is always greater than the cost. An enforceable rule must be imposed from
outside or through a traditionally powerful ruler.
It has been thought that institutional rules might be a solution to the problem. Private property rights
are consistent with this hypothesis because they could be imposed from outside as a new institution with
legislative acts of enclosure.
Since that new approach started from the presupposition that individuals pursue strategies independent
of the expected actions of others, the institutional arrangement was designed by considering the private
individual user. There was a logical assumption that an individual will graze and conserve his private
range in a way consistent with its productivity and thus his practice will become beneficial to him, and
through him to the society as a whole. Many economic consultants and planners unanimously agreed
on the imposition of private property rights directed towards the internalization of common property
externality to halt the tragedy of the open
access rangeland.
This approach failed to integrate the
small-scale herdsmen spread all over the
region. Land formerly used by everybody
in the village and the region was being
transferred to individuals, such as high and
powerful businessmen and high-ranking
bureaucrats, who influenced the allocation of
ownership rights. These individuals not only
often failed to protect range because of lack
of knowledge of range management, but also
had to face fierce opposition from traditional
herdsmen who had been using the ranges for Plate 8. Degraded rangeland

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

39

centuries but were ignored in the design and implementation of the scheme. Not only has the scheme
failed to stop overgrazing and rangeland deterioration, it has also contributed to inequality in the already
unequal distribution of wealth in most parts of North Cameroon. Often herders ignore the new grazing
rights system and continue to use the range as in the past.
A wealth of local knowledge has been ignored in the past; rarely has anyone seriously approached
a nomad and asked him how he appraises, uses and organizes his living in this environment and why
he does that. When some rare studies of daily life have been made among pastoral communities, the
comprehensiveness of the survival strategies that emerge is very impressive and, within their confined
region, it is rarely possible to make any radical improvement on the old ways. However, circumstances
have rendered old ways less and less adapted from the point of view of sustained and increased
production. Many others have seen in the tradition of the nomadic community a barrier to progress.
Tradition is presented as an unbending set of rules, passed from generation to generation, defining
,without exceptions, how to deal with the community and the environment. However, it seems that
traditions are followed, not because the present generation knows nothing else, but because long and
cruel experience has proven within the confines of the past technology that these were the best rules
to follow. Unfortunately, the rules have remained the same but conditions have changed, outpacing the
capacity of nomadic society to adjust.
Yet the appropriate solution for poor rangeland management and heavy grazing in Cameroons open
access rangeland remains the internalization of its costs by making the public aspects of the range,
private property of individuals or groups of individual resource users, who, via the invisible hand, will
hopefully manage the resource in the societys best interest (Pamo and Pamo, 1991). This procedure has
to be implemented properly. When attributing grazing rights, priority has to be given to local herdsmen
within or around the rangeland who, through centuries, have been using the area, to prevent problems
like those arising from the transfer of range to influential people (fences broken, no respect of the new
grazing rights, misuse and poor management of rangeland). Individuals, or groups of individuals on
a rangeland area should be free to contract with the rest of the society, to establish private rights over
particular pieces of land, or series of lands in the various range types and to have legal systems that
enforce these contracts. The cost of enforcement would be paid for by contracting parties themselves or
through a subsidy mechanism.
Native users of the area, regardless of their wealth, power or social status, should be considered first
in the right-contracting procedure. Since in general herders might not fully grasp the fundamentals of
range deterioration, government should provide some incentive or alleviation mechanism such as tax
relief, and intense extension efforts to help progressively internalise and bring private and social cost of
sound rangeland management into balance or by direct control of the major rangeland inputs. In addition,
although it is difficult to stimulate animal offtake because the more animals a man owns, the more
important he is considered, it is possible for the government to develop an incentive mechanism based
on pricing according to quality and a system of rewards for ranches or group of natural resource users
to encourage better systems of livestock production or range management within a sound opportunistic
management system.
This suggested approach is the product of foreseen economic forces and is practicable because of
its efficiency. The efficiency of private management within this adapted mobility system would result,
because the scarcity value of good rangeland has risen to the threshold at which it becomes efficient for
society to create such grazing rights. If this were not the case, there would be no positive value to society
in creating such a clearly defined property right in the different range types. Indeed, under freedom and
enforcement of contracts to establish such rights, not only can private property rights develop over a
series range type of pieces of land as the scarcity value of land increases, but also such rights will tend
to become more and more individualistic and highly valued. The system may progressively be adapted
and become an integrated part of the socio-economic system of the region. Hence, rangeland might be
more efficiently used, conserved and progressively improved for our use and/or the greater benefit of
future generations.
This approach may not succeed everywhere. In some regions optimum long-term forage production
requires that livestock of members be maintained at carrying capacity. Stock owners who wish to
maximize forage production and livestock in the long term must make their short-term stocking decision

40

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

consistent with long term maximization


criteria.
All these efforts aim to maximize current
income and secure an acceptable growth rate,
which will happen when the gross social
value of the benefits of rangeland production
exceeds the gross social cost.
Land tenure, especially in arid and semiarid environments, is critical. On a year to
year basis, a given rangeland may receive
highly variable rainfall. Herders maintain
their stocks at stable levels by moving them
between areas that have received relatively Plate 9. Zebu and Boran cattle on improved pasture at
higher rainfall levels. Livestock may be the end of the dry season
herded over extensive areas and follow
regular patterns. Opportunistic grazing strategies, which have been developed in this region, may
contribute to optimal utilization of available forage in areas where forage production varies significantly
in space and time. Open access, and to some extent common property tenures, permit herders to move
over wide areas in search of available forage. These aspects have to be taken into consideration in an
effort to internalize the cost of sound and sustained rangeland management within the framework of
opportunistic grazing systems.
Improved pastures
As part of the new strategy to improve animal husbandry, improved pastures produce more forage of
high nutritive value and lead to greater animal productivity than rangeland. Forage species investigated
in Cameroon are shown in Table 12. The use of highly productive, good quality pasture grasses and
legumes resulted in increased productivity in grazing animals on research stations and university
experimental farms (see Plate 9) in Cameroon (Pamo et al., 2001; Pamo et al., 2002; Pamo et al., 2004a
and b; Pamo et al., 2005a and b; Boukila et al., 2005; Pamo et al., 2006a, 2006b; Boukila et al., 2006).
Research on indigenous and exotic forages has been reported ( Pamo, 1989a and b; Pamo and Yonkeu,
1989; Pamo, 1990; Pamo, 1991; Pamo and Yonkeu, 1993; Pamo and Pieper, 1995; Pamo et al., 1997;
Pamo et al., 1998; Yonkeu et al., 1985; 1986). The productivity of some indigenous and exotic grasses
and legumes, as well as their seed production are reported in Tables 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19.
The use of forage legumes reduces feed deficiencies and improves the quality of available feed
during the dry season. The use of high-yielding legumes as a sole crop or in mixture with grasses
is a way of achieving year-round quality forage. Stylosanthes guianensis, Leucaena leucocephala or
Calliandra calothyrsus have emerged among the best forage legumes in various parts of the country.
However seed production remains a major constraint due to lack of appropriate structures. Pamo (1993)
reported some problems hindering forage seed production in Cameroon. Stylosanthes guianensis has
been recommended for sown pastures or fodder banks in Adamawa while Leucaena leucocephala or
Calliandra calothyrsus were recommended for fence lines to be used as forage during the dry season
(Taravali and Pamo, 1991; Pamo and Yonkeu, 1994).
Pamo et al. (2007) evaluated variation in the nutritive value of three grasses: Brachiaria ruziziensis,
Pennisetum purpureum and Tripsacum laxum, and leaves of two leguminous trees, Leucaena
leucocephala and Calliandra calothyrsus, through a calendar year. The crude protein (CP) level in the
tree leaves was higher than that in the grasses throughout the year while the reverse was true for NDFom
and ADFom. There was an increase in the CP level during the rainy season for all forages and this
increase was higher (P<0.01) in Brachiaria ruziziensis, Pennisetum purpureum, Leucaena leucocephala
and Calliandra calothyrsus (P<0.05) respectively relative to dry season samples. Lipid levels were
higher (P<0.05) in Brachiaria ruziziensis and Calliandra calothyrsus during the rainy season. Sulphuric
acid lignin (sa) was higher (P<0.01) in Brachiaria ruziziensis and Leucaena leucocephala during the
dry season. Brachiaria had the highest level of P irrespective of season. Seasonal variations in nutrient
levels in these foliages suggest that, throughout the year, leguminous tree leaves would be needed to

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

41

Table 15. Productivity of some indigenous and exotic grasses: sum of 28 days cutting during the
growing season in dry matter tonnes per ha
Species

Indigenous species
Andropogon gayanus
Andropogon gayanus
Brachiaria brizantha
Hyparrhenia rufa
Melinis tenuissima
Exotic species
Pennisetum purpureum
Tripsacum laxum
Brachiaria ruziziensis
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum
Panicum maximum

Ecotypes
or cultivars
Orstom
Wakwa
Faro

06.94
Kizozi

Bamenda
Bambui
Makueni
Shika
trichoglume
Colaniao
Killo
K 187 a
K 187 b
K 184
K 160
K 89 a
K 89 b
K 211
G 23 a
G 23 b
G 17

Dry matter (tonnes/ha)

Means

Years

Standard
deviation

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

01.02
02.45
03.01
02.39
06.04

01.36
02.11
04.10
03.68
07.72

02.37
03.54
05.91
08.86
11.21

03.82
03.70
06.18
06.38
07.28

03.31
01.08
10.62
08.61
06.98

02.98
03.46
08.52
08.55
06.98

02.74
02.81
06.50
07.10
06.80

02.51
02.74
06.41
06.51
07.57

01.01
0.94
02.56
02.56
01.68

01.43
01.08
05.95
03.32
03.28
02.66
02.74
03.03
03.72
05.05
03.31
02.32
02.75
03.20
05.07
03.03
01.04
04.38
04.22
03.47

03.59
05.09
06.11
03.71
03.62
04.20
03.71
03.66
03.10
04.58
04.08
03.77
03.41
03.40
03.41
02.93
01.92
04.08
05.53
04.73

04.12
04.63
14.43
08.20
06.04
02.27
07.88
07.88
07.60
08.59
07.70
07.53
04.84
07.51
04.84
06.82
03.26
09.82
08.06
11.51

11.95
08.75
11.37
11.53
10.81
15.19
11.13
10.58
10.24
12.30
15.83
12.14
14.89
14.38
05.61
11.78
08.50
13.86
14.34
11.06

05.64
07.28
11.47
09.32
12.40
12.00
07.96
06.45
07.81
11.99
08.53
09.86
10.62
09.31
06.41
08.26
06.32
11.07
09.97
09.74

03.27
05.75
06.64
07.26
06.22
06.03
05.06
06.47
07.54
07.81
06.28
06.89
05.46
08.92
07.38
06.38
08.28
06.22

04.69
03.12
07.93
06.20
07.92
10.61
07.07
08.04
08.12
10.31
07.64
08.00
05.60
06.71
08.43
11.22
08.41
11.39

04.96
05.10
09.13
07.08
07.19
07.57
06.51
06.71
08.31
08.22
07.08
07.34
05.20
06.92
05.26
08.69
08.40
08.30

03.35
02.54
03.30
02.95
03.44
05.05
02.88
02.52
03.02
04.16
03.37
04.30
0.93
03.18
03.14
03.76
03.25
03.41

Table 16. Productivity of some exotic species of legume: end of growing season in dry matter
tonnes per ha
Species

FAO
cultivars

DM (tonnes/ha)
Years
1981

1982

Means
1983

Standard
deviation

Centrosema sp.

46000

01.56

02.91

03.20

02.56

0.87

Centrosema sp.

46001

0.86

03.07

03.50

02.48

01.41

Stylosanthes guianensis

46004

04.62

04.28

06.26

05.05

01.06

Stylosanthes guianensis

46481

0.63

03.67

06.46

03.59

02.92

Stylosanthes guianensis

46482

03.05

05.34

5.71

04.70

01.44

Stylosanthes guianensis

46484

02.61

02.77

06.48

03.95

02.19

Stylosanthes guianensis

46489

03.85

01.75

05.62

03.74

01.94

Stylosanthes guianensis

46491

01.97

03.50

03.68

03.05

0.94

Stylosanthes guianensis

46493

04.79

07.09

Stylosanthes guianensis

46497

02.12

03.54

02.94

02.94

0.74

Stylosanthes guianensis

46498

02.28

02.77

03.93

02.99

0.85

Stylosanthes guianensis

46499

03.00

02.21

Stylosanthes guianensis

46500

05.80

04.91

Stylosanthes guianensis

46502

01.36

02.33

02.35

02.01

0.57

Stylosanthes hamata

46007

02.03

01.62

01.24

01.63

0.39

Stylosanthes capitata

46009 a

01.08

0.90

01.18

01.06

0.14

Stylosanthes capitata

46009 b

01.30

01.10

03.21

01.87

01.16

Stylosanthes fruticosa

46477

03.10

3.62

03.38

03.37

0.26

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

42

Table 17. Productivity of some indigenous and exotic grasses: biomass at the end of the growing
season in dry matter tonnes per ha
Ecotypes
or Orstom
cultivars

Species

DM (tonnes/ha)
Years
1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

Means

Standard
deviation

Indigenous species
Andropogon gayanus

Wakwa

05.92

07.68

08.79

07.65

07.11

04.50

05.85

06.79

01.44

Andropogon gayanus

Faro

07.63

05.05

13.20

12.99

10.50

04.34

05.80

08.50

03.73

Brachiariabrizantha

03.49

03.46

2.96

05.01

08.35

6.65

07.05

05.28

02.10

Hyparrhenia rufa

08.33

06.41

11.72

10.46

12.50

9.80

10.10

09.90

02.05

Melinis tenuissima

07.34

07.42

10.94

04.83

08.69

07.80

08.10

07.87

01.82

01.73

0.87

17.88

10.09

03.20

04.50

04.67

06.14

05.97

Tripsacum laxum

01.77

02.64

09.13

10.79

07.68

01.70

03.31

05.29

03.80

Brachiaria ruziziensis

03.56

04.04

2.64

3.83

5.64

02.32

03.50

03.65

01.08

Exotic species
Pennisetum purpureum

Kizozi

Panicum maximum

Bamenca

06.57

01.57

21.53

18.04

08.74

02.94

04.10

09.07

07.75

Panicum maximum

Bambui

01.76

02.27

13.13

13.12

06.83

01.84

02.80

05.96

05.19

Panicum maximum

Makueni

04.67

03.48

15.00

17.79

06.92

04.79

13.00

03.38

05.77

Panicum maximum

Shika

07.54

4.60

12.96

15.84

6.61

04.27

08.05

08.55

04.31

Panicum maximum

Trichoglume

01.67

07.42

10.18

Panicum maximum

Coloniao

6.80

3.63

12.20

12.49

7.81

05.33

04.42

07.52

03.58

Panicum maximum

Killo

02.56

08.37

05.51

05.47

1.60

05.52

Panicum maximum

K 187 a

04.59

03.96

16.38

21.81

13.97

04.15

07.98

10.41

07.06

Panicum maximum

K 187 b

04.88

02.68

13.69

10.97

21.68

02.35

04.93

08.74

07.12

Panicum maximum

K 184

04.94

02.78

07.41

06.00

24.96

02.50

05.31

07.70

07.80

Panicum maximum

K 160

02.52

0.92

07.29

06.06

09.74

Panicum maximum

K 89 a

01.69

01.62

04.38

11.40

06.75

01.10

02.68

04.23

03.72

Panicum maximum

K 89 B

05.01

03.11

10.78

14.33

10.41

04.29

1.80

07.10

04.71

Panicum maximum

K 211

03.03

03.06

06.20

09.55

07.30

06.02

04.51

05.67

02.35

Panicum maximum

G 23 a

03.42

02.12

07.93

08.12

07.15

01.09

02.65

04.64

02.99

Panicum maximum

G 23b

04.22

01.64

11.14

04.17

07.55

02.10

03.45

04.89

03.35

Panicum maximum

G17

03.09

01.38

05.22

10.07

2.79

04.51

02.38

04.21

02.89

Table 18. Productivity of some exotic species of legume: end of drying season biomass in dry
matter tonnes per ha
FAO
cultivars

Species
Centrosema sp
Centrosema sp
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes
Stylosanthes

guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
guianensis
hamata
capitata
capitata
fructicosa

46000
46001
46004
46481
46482
46484
46489
46491
46493
46497
46498
46499
46500
46502
46007
46009 a
46009 b
46477

DM (tonnes/ha)
Years
1981
01.70
01.10
05.10
06.50
05.50
11.38
05.20
05.36
05.31
06.50
04.09
06.49
01.10
02.43
02.55
02.64
01.90

1982
01.93
01.40
04.08
06.01
04.76
07.36
02.86
0.49
03.56
06.01
04.68
0.85
02.56
02.41
02.56
01.42

Means
1983
02.10
01.95
01.19
01.49
02.70
01.64
01.39
0.75
01.93
01.49
01.37
0.71
01.23
01.27
0.65
01.80

01.91
01.95
03.46
04.67
04.32
06.80
03.15
02.20
03.60
04.67
03.38
01.22
02.07
02.07
01.95
01.71

Standard
deviation
0.20
0.43
02.03
02.77
01.45
04.89
01.92
02.74
01.69
02.77
01.77
0.76
0.73
0.70
01.12
0.25

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

43

supplement diets of ruminants whose main Table 19. Seed production of some introduced forage
legumes in kilogram per ha (January, 1981)
feed comes from natural pasture.
Species
Cultivars
Production
Boukila et al. (2006b) reported the
FAO
in kg/ha
result of in vitro digestibility of Leucaena
Centrosema sp
46000
leucocephala and Calliandra calothyrsus
Centrosema sp
46001
04.20
evaluated in combination with Brachiaria
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46004
394.0
ruziziensis, Tripsacum laxum and PenniStylosanthes
guianensis
46481
setum purpureum as sources of energy. The
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46482
357.1
legume was mixed with grasses in 30%/70%
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46484
255.7
(150 mg of legumes and 350 mg of grasses),
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46489
162.2
analysed and incubated. The study revealed
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46491
97.6
that during the dry season there was no
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46493
107.1
significant difference (p>0.01) between the
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46497
gas and volatile fatty acid (VFA) produced
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46498
52.4
from incubation of L. leucocephala (27.15
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46499
98.6
ml/200 mg DM) and (0.58 mmol/40 ml),
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46500
148.0
and C. calothyrsus (27.77 ml/200 mg DM)
Stylosanthes
guianensis
46502
and (0.60 mmol/40 ml). In the presence of B.
Stylosanthes
hamata
46007
21.40
ruziziensis, P. purpureum and T. laxum, the gas
Stylosanthes
capitata
46009 a
80.0
produced from incubation of L. leucocephala
varied from 43.21 to 49.19 ml/200 mg DM
Stylosanthes
capitata
46009 b
and VFA from 0.89 to 0.96mmol/40ml viz
Stylosanthes
fructicosa
46477
41.01 to 43.68 ml/200 mg DM for gas and
0.91 to 0.98 mmol/40 ml of SCFA from incubation of C. calothyrsus. There was no significant difference
(p>0.01) between metabolizable energy (ME) derived from degradation of L. leucocephala (7.30MJ/kg
DM) and C. calothyrsus (7.10MJ/kg DM) incubated alone and ME derived in the presence of energy
source from grass (8.76 to 8.99 MJ/kg DM). There was no significant difference (p>0. 05) between
microbial mass (MM) produced from the degradation of L. leucocephala (148.97mg) and C. calothyrsus
(127.65mg) incubated alone and MM produced in the presence of grasses (123.70 to 172.23mg). The
organic matter digestibility (OMD) of L. leucocephala (50.70%) was significantly (p<0.01) higher than
that of C. calothyrsus (48.89%). Energy significantly (p<0.01) improved the fermentation activity of
micro-organisms and the in vitro digestibility of L. leucocephala and C. calothyrsus.

6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF FODDER RESOURCES


Livestock producers in Cameroon do not use forage legumes although their inclusion in pasture offers
considerable benefits because of their ability to fix nitrogen biologically.
Over the years legumes have received a lot of research attention in the Wakwa and Bambui
research stations. Early seedling growth is slow but, once established, legumes compete favourably
with associated grasses and weeds. The addition of phosphorus fertilizer to the soil results in marked
increases in legume growth and seed production. Legumes are generally established as pure stands and
their dry matter production depends to a large extent on the system of management applied.
Grazing trials have been carried out at Wakwa and Bambui using legumes as supplementary dry
season feed. All have demonstrated the benefits of legumes to the growth of livestock (Pamo et al.,
2006a, b). Pamo et al. (2006) obtained an increased liveweight gain of West African Dwarf goats of 28%
with a mixture of Leucaena leucocephala and Calliandra calothyrsus over that of the control animals.
Fodder legumes
During the dry season livestock feed supply is usually at its lowest especially in the north and far north
Cameroon. At this period animals feed exclusively on dry rangeland if fire has not reduced standing

44

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

hay to ash and crop residues that are low in nutritive value. During the dry season leguminous crop
residues such as groundnut haulms and cowpeas are relatively nutritious. However, crop residues such
as sorghum, millet, rice and maize are low in quality and, though used throughout the zones, they do
not meet the nutritional requirements of animals. Fodder legumes that have been used and show some
value for conservation are Stylosanthes sp., Stizolobium deeringianum and Lablab purpureus; when used
properly with improved management of native pasture they assist to reduce the heavy liveweight losses
that are common in the dry season.
The production of quality fodder may lead to the introduction of more productive crossbred animals
into pastoral herds. That is the major objective of Heifer Project International in northwest Cameroon.
This NGO for several decades has been working on the introduction of crossbred dairy animals into the
rural areas through the the establishment of quality fodder pasture. Farmers can also benefit from using
their fallow land for forage production. This is probably the key issue in promoting integrated crop/
livestock systems where the livestock and land are owned by different people.
Multipurpose trees
Forage shrubs form an integral part of ruminant production; feeding browse has become an essential
practice especially in the dry season when herbaceous forages are scarce (Bamikole et al., 2004) and
low in nutritive value (Aregheore, 2001; Pamo et al., 2007). Browse are important in the maintenance
and survival of ruminants. Their relative importance in ruminant nutrition especially during the dry
season cannot be overemphasized. Large numbers of browse trees have been tried experimentally and
subsequently introduced to ruminant farmers (Pamo et al., 2002; Pamo et al., 2003a).
Browse are shrubs and trees that are of considerable nutritional importance as livestock feed during
the dry seasons of the year. Their leaves are green all year round and many are well known to herdsmen
who frequently cut down their branches for stock feeding. Most nomads and smallholders know
them and therefore use them for their livestock (Table 13). The fruits of some form an important feed
resource during the dry seasons (Table 14). Many browses contain high levels of essential elements
such as calcium, sodium and sulphur as well as critical micronutrients such as iron and zinc, which
have been shown to be deficient or borderline for productive purposes in many grass species (Olubajo,
1974). In long-term studies that were designed to evaluate the effects of browse supplementation on
the productivity of sheep (Reynolds and Adediran, 1987) and goats (Reynolds, 1989), pregnant ewes
and does maintained on a basal diet of Panicum maximum were supplemented with graded levels of
a 1:1 (w/w) mixture of Gliricidia sepium and Leucaena leucocephala over two reproductive cycles.
Supplementation with browse increased growth rate to weaning of both kids and lambs by 45%. Direct
supplementation to kids and lambs doubled growth rate from birth to six months in both species. Also
browse supplementation increased overall daily dry matter intake by the dams during the final two
months of pregnancy and four months of lactation (Smith, 1992). In the study of the effect of Calliandra
calothyrsus and Leucaena leucocephala supplementary feeding multipurpose leguminous tree (MPLT)
on goat production in Cameroon mixed in equal quantity by weight and distributed at the rate of 800 g
per goat per day, Pamo et al. (2006b) found that supplementation reduced the incidence of abortion and
increased the overall yield of kid per animal. During the three months postpartum period the body weight
decreased as compared to that recorded at parturition but the supplemented goats continued to have 11
to 15% more body weight than their respective control during the dry season whereas during the rainy
season the difference between supplemented and non-supplemented goats were not so elaborated. This
indicates the effect of the scope and importance of supplementation for the animals particularly during
the dry season.
Pamo et al. (2006a) evaluated the influence of supplementary feeding of leguminous leaves on the
reproductive performance, milk production and kid growth of West African Dwarf goats (WADG).
During the dry and rainy season the leaves of Calliandra calothyrsus and Leucaena leucocephala had a
higher protein content than grasses while the grasses were richer in cellulose. The average birth weight
of the kids of the supplemented group (1.35 0.08 kg) was significantly (P<0.05) higher than of the
control group (1.12 0.10 kg) during the dry season but the difference was not significant during the
rainy season. At weaning age, average kid weight in the supplemented group was significantly (P<0.05)
higher than that in the control group during both the dry (5.95 0.45 Vs 3.56 0.45 kg) and rainy

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

45

(6.22 0.33 vs 4.64 0.19 kg) seasons. Kids from goats receiving supplements gained 67.1% more
weight during the dry season whereas only 34.1% more weight was gained during the rainy season in
comparison to the control group. Average weekly milk production of goats receiving supplements was
almost double that produced by the control group in dry season (361 11 g vs. 183 43 g) and about
32% more milk was produced during the rainy season. There was a positive correlation between weight
gain and milk production which was highest in the group receiving supplements during the dry season
(r2 = 0.96). The reproductive performance, milk production and kid growth of the WADG will be greatly
improved when the feed from natural pasture is supplemented with leaves of Calliandra calothyrsus and
Leucaena leucocephala.
Supplementation of crop residues and agro-industrial by-products with forage
Maize residues are low in nitrogen and their nutritive value can be improved by feeding them along with
nitrogen-rich legume supplements. The beneficial effects of feeding these leguminous forages include
increased metabolizable energy and nitrogen intake, improved palatability, increased available minerals
and vitamins and better rumen function.
Boukila et al. (2006a) reported the effect of urea molasses multinutrient blocks (UMMB) made of
different agro-industrial by-products and mineral blocks (MB) on growth and body condition score
(BCS) of Djallonk sheep. Supplement intake and weight gains were evaluated fortnightly. Consumption
of UMMB (289.21g) was significantly higher (P<0.05) than that of MB (101.9g) during the entire trial.
Animals that received UMMB had higher average daily weight gains (41.90g/day) and BCS (2.600.36)
compared to those that received MB (25.23g/day and 1.770.05) and the control group (20.23g/day and
2.390.43) respectively. An economic analysis revealed a cost-benefit ratio of 1:1.4 in terms of weight
gain alone while this body weight improvement might have also helped in better breeding performance
of the supplemented sheep.
The nutritive value and in vitro digestibility of maize stover associated with tropical legumes tree
leaves (Calliandra calothyrsus, Gliricidia sepium, Leucaena leucocephala, Leucaena trichandra
and Leucaena diversifolia) was evaluated in the laboratory by Boukila et al. (2005). The results of
this study revealed that the crude protein of maize stover was 4.63% and varies from 10.3 to 13.7%
when mixed with legumes in the proportion of 70% maize stover and 30% legume. The maize stover
produced 43.5 ml/200 mg DM of gas and in association with legumes it varies between 42.88 and
47.1ml/200mg DM. It was also noticed a highest and variable short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production
(0.96 1.06mmol/40ml) when maize stover were associated with legumes. Metabolizable energy of
maize stover associated with G. sepium and L. leucocephala was significantly (p<0.05) higher than that
of maize stover incubated alone and that of other associations. The organic matter digestibility (OMD)
of maize stover was statistically (p<0.05) less than maize stover associated with legumes. The microbial
mass produced from degradation of maize stover was significantly (p<0.05) lower than those produced
from the association with C. calothyrsus and L. leucocephala, and there were no significant (p>0.05)
differences compared with those produced from other combinations. In general, legumes improved the
production of gas, of SCFA, of ME and OMD of maize stover. However, the association of maize stover
with G. sepium and L. leucocephala seems to be the better combination.
Recommendation
Research has been carried out over the years in Cameroon on ways to improve rangelands. To date
it has not yieldedmeaningful results because of poor implementation of the findings. Yet sustainable
development of this sector can only be based on sound and adapted long-term research. Future research
on improved pasture should focus on soil conservation and management through the use of legumes. A
survey of indigenous legumes to identify those that are more suitable for particular agro-ecological
zones, methods of establishment, fertilizer use and seed production that involves field establishment,
management practices, harvesting methods and storage quality determination is required. The present
poor system of livestock production of the majority of herd owners should not be a deterrent to exploring
possibilities. The need to increase farmers awareness of the benefits of legume-based technology
through increased participatory activities and adequate training of extension officers in integrated part
forage-legume production systems should be emphasized.

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

46

Government policies and programmes to assist livestock farmers and those engaged in livestock
enterprise need to take into consideration:
- A revised and adapted land tenure that makes it easier for those who really need land for livestock
to obtain it and can invest on it for a long-term return under some form of private system regime.
- The necessity to have sufficient animal science specialists, range managers and technical staff to
foster rapid improvement in ruminant livestock production.
- The need to determine carrying capacity of various ecological zones and regulatory control of herd
size and distribution to achieve ecological balance and avoid overgrazing.
- The need for appropriate incentives to producers in the form of marketing, credit facilities, technical supervision and subsidized inputs.
Government assistance through research and training of specialists in the areas of range management,
pasture agronomy and animal science would be of significant importance to ensure future economic
growth and development of the ruminant livestock sector to enable Cameroon to meet the challenges of
the future.

7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND


PERSONNEL
Universities
Animal Production Department, University of Dschang, Cameroon
Agronomy Department, University of Dschang, Cameroon
Department of Botany, University of Dschang, Cameroon
Department of Biology and Plant Physiology, University of Yaound I, Cameroon
Department of Animal and Plant Science, University of Bua, Cameroon.
Department of Biology and Plant Science, University of Ngaoundr, Cameroon
Department of Animal Biology, University of Dschang
Ministry: Ministry of Livestock Fishery and Animal Industries, Yaound, Cameroon
Institutes Institute for Agronomic Research and Development, Yaound, Cameroon
Contacts for information on pasture and fodder production and management
Name

Main field of interest

Institution

E-mail address

Pamo, E.T.

Range and Pasture


Sciences/ Ruminant
Nutrition

Department of Animal Production,


University of Dschang, Cameroon

pamo_te@yahoo.fr /
pamo-te@excite.com

Onana, J.

Pasture Management

Institute for Agronomic Research and


Development, Yaound, Cameroon

Sipowo, T.

Pasture Management

Ministry of Livestock Fishery and


Animal Industry, Yaound, Cameroon.

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

47

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Pamo, T. E. 1991. Rponse de Brachiaria ruziziensis la fertilisation azote et diffrents rythmes


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of Brachiaria ruziziensis Germain and Evrard in Adamaoua Plateau, Cameroon. Tropicultura. 13 (1):
914.
Pamo E.T. and Yonkeu S. 1986. A study of trends in some climatic parameters of the pastoral
environment in Wakwa, Adamawa, Cameroon Revue Science et Technique, Series Sciences
Zootechniques 2: 1934.
Pamo, T.E. and Yonkeu, S. 1989. Rponse du pturage naturel de faibles doses dazote et a diffrentes
frquences de coupe en Adamaoua Camerounais. Cam. J. Bioch. Sc. Vol. n 2: 132143.
Pamo Tedonkeng E. and S. Yonkeu. 1993. Effect of Nitrogen fertilizer in Combinaison with potassium
and phosphorus on rangeland yield in Adamawa Cameroon. XVII International Grassland Congress New
Zealand 5556.
Pamo Tedonkeng E. and Yonkeu S. 1994. Arrire effet de Stylosanthes guianensis sur la production et la
valeur bromatologique de Brachiaria ruziziensis en Adamawa Cameroun. Rev. Elev. Med. Vet. Pays Trop.
N o 1 1994. France.
Pamo T.E., B. Boukila, and F. Tendonkeng. 2007. Goat production in Africa: a sign post review for research
in the new millennium. International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences. 1(1): 7689.
Pamo T.E., T.B.A.Kennang and M.V. Kangmo. 2001. Etude compare des performances pondrales des
chvres naines de Guine supplmentes au Leucaena leucocephala auGliricidia sepium ou au tourteau de
coton dans lOuest Cameroun. Tropicultura, 2001;19 (1): 1014.
Pamo Tedonkeng E., Yonkeu, S. and Onana, J. 1997. Evaluation des principales espces fourragres
introduites dans lAdamaoua camerounais. Cahiers Agricultures, 6: 203207.
Pamo T.E., Boukila B., Fonteh F. A., Tendonkeng F. and Kana J. R. 2005a. Composition chimique et effet
de la supplmentation avec Calliandra calothyrsus et Leucaenaleucocephala sur la production laitire et la
croissance des chevreaux nains de Guine.Livestock Research for Rural Development. Vol. 17, Art. # 34.
Retrieved January 11,2005, from www.cipav.org.co/lrrd/lrrd17/03/tedo17034.htm
Pamo T.E., J.R. Kana, F. Tendonkeng, B. Boukila, and M.E. Betfiang 2005b. Valeur nutritive et effet
de diffrentes sources dnergie sur la digestibilit in vitro de Leucaena leucocephala ou Calliandra
calothyrsus au Cameroun. Bulletin of Animal Health and Production, 53: 149159.
Pamo T.E., L. Tapondjou, F. Tendonkeng, J.F. Nzogang, J. Djoukeng, F. Ngandeu and J.R. Kana.
2003. Effet des huiles essentielles des feuilles et des extrmits fleuries deCupressus lusitanica sur la tique
Rhipicephalus lunulatus lOuest-Cameroun. Journalof the Academy of Sciences, 2003. 3 (3), 169175.
Pamo Tedonkeng E., L. Tapondjou, G. Tenekeu and F. Tendonkeng. 2002. Bioactivit de lhuile essentielle
des feuilles de Ageratum houstonianum Mill. sur les tiques de la chvre naine de Guine (Rhipicephalus
appendiculatus) dans lOuest Cameroun. Tropicultura , 2002; 20 (3): 109112.
Pamo Tedonkeng E., Yonkeu, S., Onana, J., and Rippstein, G. 1998. Evaluation de quelques espces
fourragres locales du domaine soudanien Camerounais. Sci. Agron. & Dev., 1 : 19-5.
Pamo T.E., F. Tendonkeng, J. R. Kana, B. Boukila and A.S. Nanda. 2006b. Effects of Calliandra
calothyrsus and Leucaena leucocephala supplementary feeding on goat production in Cameroon. Small
Ruminant Research, 65: 3137.
Pamo T.E., B. Boukila, F.A. Fonteh, F. Tendonkeng, J.R. Kana and A.S. Nanda. 2007. Nutritive values
of some basic grasses and leguminous tree foliage of the Central region of Africa. Animal Feed Science
and Technology, 135: 273282.
Pamo T.E., Tendonkeng F., Kana J.R., Tenekeu G., Tapondjou L. A. and Khan Payne V. 2004. The
acaricidal effect of the essential oil of Ageratum houstonianum Mill. flowers on ticks (Rhipicephalus
lunulatus) in Cameroon. South African Journal of Animal Science , 2004, 34 (Supplement): 230233.

Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

51

Pamo T.E., F. Tendonkeng, J.R. Kana, P.K. Loyem, E. Tchapga and F.K. Fotie. 2004a. Effet de diffrents
niveaux de supplmentation avec Leucaena leucocephala sur lacroissance pondrale chez la chvre naine
de Guine, Revue Elev. Md. Vt. Paystrop., 57 (1-2): 107112.
Pamo T. E, Kana J. R., Tendonkeng F. and Betfiang M. E. 2004b. Digestibilit in vitro de Calliandra
calothyrsus en prsence du Polyethylne glycol et de Brachiaria ruziziensis, Trypsacum laxum ou
Pennisetum purpureum au Cameroun. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Vol. 16, Art. # 49.
Retrieved 1 July 2004 , from www.cipav.org.co/lrrd/lrrd16/7/tedo16049.htm
Pamo, T. E., F. A. Fonteh, F. Tendonkeng, J. R. Kana, B. Boukila, P.J. Djaga and G. Fomewang II. 2006a.
Influence of supplementary feeding with multipurpose leguminous tree leaves on kid growth and milk
production in the West African Dwarf goat. Small Ruminant Research,. 63: 142149.
Pamo T.E., F. Tendonkeng, J.T.T.Kadjio, H.N. Kwami, R.K.Taboum, J.R.Kana and A. Tegodjeu. 2002.
Evaluation of the comparative growth and reproductive performance of West African Dwarf Goat in the
Western Highland of Cameroon. In: Development and field evaluation of Animal Feed supplementation
packages. Proceeding of the final review meeting of an IAEA Technical Co-operation Regional AFRA
Project organized by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture and held
in Cairo, Egypt , 2529 November 2000. Pp 8796.
Planchenault D. 1992. Enqute productivit du btail Cameroonais Ministre de llevage des pches et des
industries animal (MINEPIA), Cameroon. CIRAD-EMVT, Mont pellier, France
Reynolds, L. and Adediran, S.O. 1987. The effect of browse supplementation on the productivity of West
African Dwarf sheep over two reproductive cycles. In: Smith, O.B. and Bosman, H.G. (eds). Goat production
in the humid tropics. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation (Pudoc). Wageningen, The
Netherlands. Pp. 8391.
Reynolds, L. 1989. Effects of browse supplementation on the productivity of West Africa Dwarf goats; In:
Wilson , R.T. and Azeb melaku(eds); African small Ruminant research and development. Proceedings of a
conference held at bamenda, Cameroon , 18-25 January 1989. African Small Ruminant Research Network.
ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Pp. 237250.
Smith, O.B. 1992. Small ruminant feeding systems for for small scale farmers in humid West Africa. In: Stares,
J.E.S., Said, A.N. and Kategile, J.A. (ed). The complementarity of feed resources for animal production in
Africa. Proceeding of the joint Feed resources networks workshop held in Gaborone, Botswana , 4-8 March
1991. Africa Feeds Research Network. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa). Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia. Pp. 363376.
Stachurski F. 1993. Variability of cattle infestation by Amblyomma variegatum and its possible utilisation
for tick control Revue dElevage et de Mdecine Vtrinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Volume 46, Numro 1/2,
pp341348.
Tambi E.N. 1991. Dairy production in Cameroon : growth, development, problems and solutions. World
Animal Review. Number 67, 38-48. www.fao.org/DOCREP/U1200T/U1200T0G.HTM
Tambi N.E. and Vabi B. M. 1994. Analysis of factors influencing dairy market involvement in Bamenda,
North West Province, Cameroon. Agribusiness (New York), Volume 10, Number 4, pp293304.
Tarawali, G. and Pamo Tedonkeng E. 1991. A case for on-farm trials on fodder banks on the Adamaoua
plateau Cameroon. Experimental Agriculture, 28 : 229235.
Tawah C.L. and Mbah D.A. 1989. Cattle breed evaluation and improvement in Cameroon. A situation report
Institute of Animal Research (IRZ), Wakwa, Ngaoundr, Adamaoua, Cameroon.
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subjected to artificial suckling in the tropical highlands of Cameroon Revue dElevage et de Mdecine
Vtrinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Volume 52, Numro 1, pp6570, 42.
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of the 6th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Armidale, NSW, Australia , 1116.
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52

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des pturages en Adamawa-Cameroun. Actes du colloque sur la conservation et lutilisation des ressources
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9. CONTACTS
Profile prepared by:
Prof. Etienne Tedonkeng PAMO
University of Dschang
Faculty of Agriculture and Agricultural Science
Department of Animal Production
P. O. Box 222 Dschang
Cameroon
Tel: +237 33 45 14 62; Fax: +237 33 45 13 81
Cell phone : +237 99 54 54 32
Email: pamo_te@yahoo.fr/ pamo-te@excite.com
[The first draft of this profile was completed by the author in December 2007 and following amendment
was edited by J.M. Suttie and S.G. Reynolds in March/April 2008.]