Agricultural Practices and its Impacts on Farming Household Livelihood and Food Security in the Mile 14, Debanda-Fako Division
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Farming is the main economic activity supporting and sustaining the livelihoods of the population in the Mile 14, manifesting in form of the income, foodstuff and the employment it offers to the farmers. The work seeks to bring to focus the impacts of agricultural practices on farming household livelihood in the Mile 14 Debanda. It is an exploratory and a descriptive study that focused on the types of farming systems, the impacts of farming on food security and nutrition diversity and the accessibility of farmers to farming lands in relation to the local land tenure. The study made used of information from published and unpublished sources (Secondary data). Ninety-Five food crop farmers were administered semistructured questionnaire (Primary data) and results were analyzed using SPSS 20 and Microsoft Excel 2016. Farming systems vary in the Municipality due to the ecological and socio-cultural reasons. Farming is more of a support system in the area through the income farmers generates every year, foodstuffs, employment and the prestige to the Municipality. Further investigation reveals that there are two major local land tenure systems through which farmers acquire land in the area. Farmers mostly acquire farming lands from the private individuals as attested by the 65% of the sampled farmers and 30% claimed to be farming on government lands. The different farming practices influence livelihoods and nutrition through the varieties of crops it provided. Though farming plays a pivotal role in this area there are however some challenges faced like domestic pollution, urban expansion, low price for agricultural products and the changing weather patterns that are preventing the full flourishment of the activity The work concludes that farming activities offer perennial supports and opportunities to the population and adopting a strategic synergy of indigenous and conventional production techniques will make agricultural production a “breed basket” and a “backbone” to the alarming population in the Mile 14 and a growth prospect to the country at large.
Agriculture being the Main source of food which man depends so much on to keep up with life is a call for concern. Good agricultural practices have main points of food security. With points like harvesting, transportation and production. Agricultural practices have great impact on food security, nutritional diversity, income, health economic resilience and education of the dependent farming household. (USDA, 2011).
In agriculture, there are certain parameters to be considered such as the type of crops to be cultivated, properties of the soil and climate. Depending upon these parameters, farmers decide which place and climate will be best for cultivation. To yield a high quality product (crop, sustainable climate and season are not sufficient. It requires a set of practices such as soil preparation; before planting a crop, the soil is to be prepared by ploughing. Sowing; selection seed good quality crop strain is the primary stage of sowing, manuring; crops need nutrients to grow well and produce good yield, and irrigation; which is the supply of water to plants by using pipes and draw from Wells ,ponds, lakes, water logging and dams. (BYJU’S)
If the above is done properly, it will greatly impact food security positively.
The issue of food (in) security has been critical in many parts of the world including some countries in Asia and Africa. In South Africa the right of food is enshrined in the international and national law. In South Africa, food security received much attention after 1994 when South Africa became a democratic country. The right to access to sufficient food was embedded in the law section 26 and 27 of South Africa constitutional law of 1996. The constitution indicated that every South African citizens have rights to sufficient food and water. (State of Nation Address, 2010).
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) report for 2008 indicates that international estimates of people experiencing chronic hunger increase dramatically over the period 1990 to 2007. According to the report the increase in the number of chronic hungry people was due to increase in food prices worldwide as a result of lower production of staple Food around the world such as cereals.
The price of oil also contributed to high food prices in many parts of the world. Political instability, wars and lack of agricultural inputs in many part of African countries and Cameroon in particular (English Cameroon) plays a role in food security as arable land lay fallow.
Food security is a brought term, which is defined in different ways by a number of organizations around the world. The basic definition of food security refers to the ability of individuals to obtain sufficient food on a day-to-day bases. International food security is defined as the ability of many people to secure adequate food. More especially, it has been defined by researchers as the access by all people at all times to enough food for an active healthy life. (Anderson, 1990)
According to the World Food Submit Organization in Rome, in 1996, food security exist when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe nutritious food to meet their dietary need and food preferences for an active life. Food security is in three dimensions namely food availability, food access and food utilization (use). Food availability implies that a country must have sufficient food available on a consistent bases at both national household level. Food access implies the ability of a nation and it’s household to acquire sufficient food on a sustainable bases. Food use refers to the appropriate use base on knowledge of basic nutrition and care as well as adequate water and sanitation (FAO, CPEG and HSRC 2008)
Food accessibility, reliability, availability or affordability have an impact on the livelihood of farmers. Though the population of Mile14 in the Buea Subdivision have employed diverse methods of agricultural practices especially poor household, it population continues to face challenges of food security all year round.
The situation is becoming more deplorable due to limit access to capital, quality or hibreadice seeds, skilled labor among others.
Farmers continue to utilize old and outdated methods of farming while new and better methods of agricultural practices are emerging every day. Farmers continue to practice the old techniques due to limited Government intervention and support.
Interestingly, Mile14 Dibanda host some of the best agricultural lands within the Buea Subdivision. The impact of the current agricultural practices on the livelihood of farmers is the problem this project is out to investigate. Locale farmers continue to use outdated methods of farming. The practical implication of this outdated methods of farming on household is that food prices are becoming high due to poor output and many people are abandoning farming for other lucrative livelihood activities
Many other farmers use unsustainable farming practices that affects the environment resulting to pollution of streams and rivers that are around the farm lands.
The improper use of some farm chemicals on crops to improve on output is a big problem to human health. The use of chemical fertilizer on vegetables and other crop are toxic to the human health. Many times people who have consumed such products have complained of stomach disorder with some ending up in the hospital due to the toxic found in the vegetables they have consumed.
All these are what the study is out to examine so as to be able to come up with solutions to these problems facing the farmers of Mile14 Dibanda.
1.3. Research Questions
- What are the different farming systems practiced by the farmers of Mile14?
- How have these farming practices impact food security and nutrition diversity of farming household in Mile14?
- How accessible are farming lands in Mile14, based on local land tenure system?
- To what extent has farming improve household livelihood?
- What policies measure can be implemented to improve and sustain farming household economic resilience?
The main objective is to access the impact of agricultural practices on farming household livelihood in Mile14 Dibanda.
- To investigate the type of farming practices which is being used by the farmers of Mile14.
- To investigate how farming practices have impacted food security and nutrition diversity of farming household in Mile14.
- To investigate how accessible farming lands are to farmers in Mile14 base on local land tenure system.
- To examine the extent to which farming has impacted farming household livelihood.
- To propose policies measures that can be implemented to improve and sustain farming household economic resilience.