An Assessment of the Evolution of Land Tenure System in Cameroon and its Effects on Women’s Land Rights and Food Security

Citation:

Fonjong, Lotsmart, Irene Sama-Lang, and Fombe Lawrence Fon. 2010. “An Assessment of the Evolution of Land Tenure System in Cameroon and Its Effects on Women’s Land Rights and Food Security.” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 9 (1): 154–69. doi:10.1163/156914910X487979.

Authors: Lotsmart Fonjong, Irene Sama-Lang, Fombe Lawrence Fon

Abstract:

Cameroon land tenure policy has since pre-colonial times diverged with each passing administration. This change in land policies has effects on women’s rights to land and the ability of the country to feed itself and its neighbors. Women constitute the vast majority of small farmers who are mostly involved in the food production sector. They work on small parcels of land that are either leased to them or have been acquired through family bonds or purchase. Today, with increasing and competing demand for land from urbanization, urban services and infrastructural development, the contribution of rural women to food security hangs in the balance. The situation is further complicated by the current change in land ownership that de-emphasised communal land ownership in favor of private ownership. In the present context, food production is threatened, as land and women’s labor respectively, opt for other opportunities that offer higher rents and wages. 

This article explores the evolution of land tenure system in the context of women’s rights to land and their role in ensuring food security in Cameroon. It examines the emerging phenomenon of private land titles and farmer/grazier conflicts, which affect women’s farming activities and output in the face of land scarcity. We advocate for land policies and reforms that mainstream gender in an effort to affirm women’s rights and sustain women’s productive activities and food security in Cameroon.

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Infrastructure, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2010

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