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


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. 

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


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: Agriculture, Development, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Land Tenure, Infrastructure, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Food Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2010

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at