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Crop yield gaps in Cameroon.

Authors
  • Yengoh, Genesis T
  • Ardö, Jonas
Type
Published Article
Journal
Ambio
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2014
Volume
43
Issue
2
Pages
175–190
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s13280-013-0428-0
PMID: 23925855
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Although food crop yields per hectare have generally been increasing in Cameroon since 1961, the food price crisis of 2008 and the ensuing social unrest and fatalities raised concerns about the country's ability to meet the food needs of its population. This study examines the country's potential for increasing crop yields and food production to meet this food security challenge. Fuzzy set theory is used to develop a biophysical spatial suitability model for different crops, which in turn is employed to ascertain whether crop production is carried out in biophysically suited areas. We use linear regression to examine the trend of yield development over the last half century. On the basis of yield data from experimental stations and farmers' fields we assess the yield gap for major food crops. We find that yields have generally been increasing over the last half century and that agricultural policies can have significant effects on them. To a large extent, food crops are cultivated in areas that are biophysically suited for their cultivation, meaning that the yield gap is not a problem of biophysical suitability. Notwithstanding, there are significantly large yield gaps between actual yields on farmers' farms and maximum attainable yields from research stations. We conclude that agronomy and policies are likely to be the reasons for these large yield gaps. A key challenge to be addressed in closing the yield gaps is that of replenishing and properly managing soil nutrients.

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