New Study: Women’s Access to Land Ownership and Agricultural Development in Baïgom, West Cameroon
Women represent close to 51% of the Cameroonian population, and they are more than 70% active in food and market gardening activities (INS, 2010). Like those elsewhere, the rural women of Baigom are fighting with all the means at their disposal to gain access to land and participate in the agricultural development of this village. To this end, they need land and capital to carry out their actions to make agriculture profitable and ensure food security for their families.
This contribution makes it possible to analyze the socio-economic and cultural context, which is unfavourable primarily to women’s access to land in Baigom. Women active in agricultural production activities are limited by the unavailability of land resources, which constitute a no less negligible factor of production. This State of virtual exclusion of these leading actors in family farming is detrimental to the development of the agricultural economy.
To conduct this study, the methodology adopted focused on primary and secondary sources and field observations. As for the primary sources, socioeconomic surveys were carried out with a target population of women producers in the village of Baïgom. The socio-economic surveys reached 5% of women over the age of 15; in the end, 150 questionnaires were collected in the five central districts of the village (Nkoupetgom, Nkou gahri, Chaanké, Mbayé, Njissen). Young girls are more like family labourers in peasant agriculture.
The secondary data are the fruit of the literature review and the consultation of the archives. These archives are present in the decentralized services of the State of the specialized institutions which generate official statistics, such as the National Institute of Statistics (INS). The webography was not, moreover, a source of acquisition of specific knowledge in terms of the gender approach to land issues in tropical Africa as a whole. The main results indicate that women’s access to land ownership is low, with only about 8% holding a land title. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of modern and customary rights complicates the marginalization of women’s access to land, negatively impacting agricultural production activities. Despite these obstacles, solutions are envisaged by all the actors to involve women more in the management of rural land.