FARMER’S UNION AND THE ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY OF COCOA FARMERS IN CAMEROON

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ABSTRACT
This research on the activities and rule of cocoa farmers unions and organizations in Came-roon and the impact on cocoa farming, I will be looking at cocoa farmers unions in Cameroon and what they do to improve on the quality of cocoa farming while looking at how they have helped to make cocoa farming more economically profitable for farmers. The worry is that cocoa farmers in Cameroon take the activity as professional but are not able to produce on a mega scale and therefore cannot or find it very hard to make a living out of the trade (per-sonal opinion confirmed by many farmers). The famers unions and cooperatives are there to assist farmers achieve success and high quality and quantity production. It is important to look at the difficulties that most cocoa farmers unions and organizations have, and the rea-sons why most of the organizations do not meet the expectations of farmers. This is very vital considering the importance of cocoa farming in Cameroon and the world at large, explaining why we have to avoid losing a vital sector that attracts only the aging population.

To respond to the needs of this thesis, I have made use of books and much online documenta-tion related to interest groups and cooperative, to get a better understanding of the major concepts of farmer’s organizations. I did also develop a questionnaire with which I was able to present visible openings where difficulties and differences could be expressed. This pro-cessed gave me the possibility to sample over 80 opinions from different parties involved in cocoa farming and its unions. The exercise both from the questionnaire and from many re-ports and documentation led us to the conclusion that farmers unions are doing a job which on the part of most farmers is falls below the level of their satisfaction. Also based on the fact that it is very visible to see that most cocoa farmers are not economically happy, one can conclude that farmers unions have not been successful in adding value to cocoa production in one way or the other. It was then possible to outline what major problems that the farmers face and those that the farmer’s organizations also face.


At the end of the day, looking at the difficulties that are face here, i have been able to im-provise some recommendations that can be looked into in order to change the situation. Prac-tical solutions that will start from the state, changing the laws to the farmers themselves, changing their attitudes towards the participation in union activities, will be very important in changing the actual situation for the better in Cameroon cocoa production.

TABLE OF CONTENT
1. Introduction

2. Background and previous studies on major concepts
            2.1 Major concepts
                        2.1.1 Economic sustainability within the Agricultural sector
                        2.1.2 Major Agro-sartorial Discrepancies and Reasons for low Growth
            2.2 Background study
                        2.2.1 Cocoa Farmers union case study (Ekona cocoa Farmers unions)
                        2.2.2 Farming Economics and the importance of cocoa farming
            2.3 Literature review
                        2.3.1 The notion of Union
                        2.3.2 Farmers Union
                        2.3.3 Types of farmers Union
                        2.3.4 Union Management and Organigram
                        2.3.5 Objectives of Farmers Union

3. Research Methodologies
            3.1 Data analysis and its relation  to the literature review
            3.2 Quantitative data Analysis
            3.3 The Questionnaire and Qualitative Data analysis

4. How do farmers Unions Operate
            4.1 Creation and membership
            4.2 Management and external relation
            4.3 Funding and Resource planing
            4.4 Cocoa Farming in Cameroon
                        4.4.1 General perspective
                        4.4.2 Other cooperative bodies and their impacts
                        4.4.3 Global analysis of Agricultural Output from Cameroon
                        4.4.4 Evaluation of Cocoa production from Cameroon and the International economics

5. Challenges of the cocoa farmers unions in Cameroon
            5.1 The politicization of farmers union in Cameroon
            5.2 Lack of control of the pricing market
            5.3 Inadequate education and training
            5.4 Lack of autonomy and decisive powers in the union
            5.5 The role of the State

6. How can Cocoa farmers unions secure better services to farmers in Cameroon?
            6.1 Education and training
            6.2 Gain more lobby force to influence policy makers
6.3       Involvement in product marketing and price determination
6.4       Financial and administrative autonomy
6.5       Easy access to funds

7. Conclusion
7.1 Questionnaire Analysis
7.2 Recommendations
References
Websites
Figures
Tables

Thesis Questionnaire


1.  Introduction 
The main objective of this study is to have an insight look into the types of farmers union in Cameroon and to expose some of the practical difficulties faced by the farmers and the farm-ers unions. In the due course of this thesis I will be looking at what work is done by farmers unions and what limits them as they struggle to better cocoa farming through their different activities. Bettering Cocoa farming means that farmers are assisted to make their job more easy and enjoyable, make the sale of cocoa more profitable and ease the access to fund and farm materials for farmers. As a child who grow up and the agricultural community, I have witnessed the tremendous and huge efforts put forth by farmers to make the best of what they do, but it ends, to benefit just a mechanism, system or political figure who at the tail end do not in any way contribute to add value to the cocoa output.

Despite the fact the numerous farmers union do exist from within different sectors, it still difficult to ascertain that members in such unions have an understanding of the obligation, duties and responsibilities one union and another union, and between unions and some coop-erative societies. For the purpose of this study, it will be important to limit the study to co-coa workers farmers union. The idea behind the limitation is to make the research more spe-cific and to be able to trace and manage information from a particular operation with more concentration on the particular player. The idea here is to be able to identify specific trend of problems and make a more valuable contribution to the problem. Contribution generally will include,

i.              How do farmers unions operate

ii.             what challenges are faced by cocoa farmers unions

iii.            How farmers unions secure better services for cocoa farmers in Cameroon.

iv.            Finally recommendation for implementation


These mean that we will be able by the end of the study to understand the mechanism of Workers union in the context of cocoa farmers in Cameroon operates. It will important also to identify the most important unions and be able to sight specific problem that limit economic sustainability in agriculture

2.   Background and previous studies on major concepts


2.1     Major concepts

2.1.1    Economic sustainability within the Agricultural sector

Sustainability in Agriculture intergrates three main goals, environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. Despite the different pespectives that have been taken on defining sustainable agriculture, themes like stewardship of human and natural resource have always figured in common definations. At certain level of sustainability, we consider a system perspective, where we look at the the ecosystem from individual farms to large communities affected by farming. This approach will also envolve interdeciplinary ef-forts in research and education. it is very strategic to notice that family economy and person-al goals of all those involved in the system, do have great influence on the step by step pro-gress into susutainable Agriculture(Sustainable Agriculture research and education program)

Economic sustainability is a term usually used to describe the productivity and maintenance within certain trades or activities. It will be more appropriate to handle the definition by slid-ing the words apart. The word sustainable is a complex one that translates the management of the environment and economy in a way that will not diminish it value in the future. Usually in the 1980s, the word has always been used to identify situation of environmental sustaina-bility. But today with the numerous impacts of other activities on the environment, the term has also been shifted to diverse fields. The main idea is that an activity can maintain and support future generations(Agricultural sustainability, Vic Barnett, Roger Payne, 1995)

Economic has broad meanings from different standpoints and implications. In the light of this thesis, economic will not be viewed as a mechanism but as a stand for appreciation of living quality. Here we imply that the term quality will mean that an evaluation of the standard of live that a group people live from their activities is worth valuable and there is a guarantee that a better standard is possible in the future.

The main word, Economic sustainability therefore means that an activity can sustain and se-cure a good standard of live for those practicing it now and in the future. What is important here is that we are able to make a living through this activity and that the future of the trade is guaranteed. Cameroon Agro sector (proportional segmentation)

Very strategic figures from the encyclopedia of nations show that until 1978, agriculture has been the highest sector that contributed to the national GDP of Cameroon; there was a shift to oil and gas when extraction started.

(http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Africa/Cameroon-AGRICULTURE.html).

In this nation of vast agricultural potentials, it is very important to throw a light on the dif-ferent types of products that are cultivated and also to demonstrate their representation on the nations GDP. Between 1990 and 2001, agriculture in most developing countries has wit-nessed a decline in their contribution to the nations GDP. The case of china and Congo are instrumental as they witnessed a shift from 27% and 12.3% to 16.3% and 7.2% for China and Congo respectively. The situation in these nations demonstrate a situation where with the influence of industrialization, the impact of other sectors grow stronger and they tend to add more value to the GDP than Agric sector. The figures of Cameroon demonstrate a different scenario where between 1990 and 2001 Agriculture marked a change from 24.2% to 53.5%. These figures show that up till 2001, in most nations, Agriculture has always been the main source of revenue for the state. But from this period, there has been a shift and more people...

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