The socio-economic impact of the cultivation of Oil palm and its related issues in the Tiko sub division
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Palm oil is derived from the fleshy mesocorp of the fruits of the palm tree (Curry et al 2001) and is naturally reddish in color due to the high amount of betacarbonate. It is semi solid at room temperature and a common ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, South East Asia and parts of Brazil. The aim of the study was to Assessing the socio-economic impact of the cultivation of Oil palm and its related issues in the Tiko sub division. To achieved this work both primary both primary and secondary source of Data was collection were employed. 4 sites. The random sampling technique was use in the administering questionnaire. Besides the questionnaire, interviews were also used. A total of 60 labourers were interviewed. Findings reveal that. majority (28.3%) of the respondents were of the opinion Low power supply during the processing period was among the challenge facing palm oil production, followed by (25%) of the respondents who also made mentioned of Insufficient labourers, (16.7%) of the respondents also said Low cost of payment for labourers, (11.6%) of the respondents made mentioned of Failure from the production machine, (10%) also said that low output is among challenges while (8.3%) also said that Lack of transport to evacuate waste products. Other challenges like poor working environment, insufficient machine, health issues also affect oil palm productions. it is recommended that other measures to improve on palm oil production were to improve on the payment of the labourers, providing of financial assistance, The use of chemical weeding in the field, Improve working conditions, Roads should be arranged, Vehicles should be supply to ease the transportation of the oil palm from the plantation, irrigation techniques should be provided, , Regular water supply to the plantation.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Palm and palm kernel oil are very relevant raw materials for the bioeconomy in Germany and Europe. It is used in the food and feed industry as well as in many areas of the chemical industry such as detergents, cleaning and care products. Beyond, palm oil is of great importance for the energy sector as a raw material for the production of biodiesel and HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil) that are used in the transport sector or for electricity production. In 2017, about 1.1 million
tonnes of palm oil and about 120,000 tonnes of palm kernel oil were consumed in Germany of which 78% of the palm oil and 58% of the palm kernel oil were certified by a sustainability scheme (Meo Carbon Solutions 2018). The proportion of certified palm oil in Germany has increased continuously since 2013 with developments in the food industry being much more dynamic than in the
chemical industry. Furthermore, in 2017, more than 50% of palm oil was consumed by the energy sector that is regulated under the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED) referring to mandatory certification requirements. At the same time, consumption of palm oil in the material sectors (feed and food, chemical industry) had been declining since 2013. The main driver of this development was the ongoing discussion about environmental and social hot spots of palm oil cultivation in regions and countries with large areas of primary forests and ongoing losses of carbon-rich and biodiverse areas in the course of the expansion of agricultural land.
By far, the largest producing and exporting country of palm oil is Indonesia (49%) followed by Malaysia (33%) in 2016 (OEC 2019). According to (Chatham House 2019) Indonesia alone, was exporting 5,4 million tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) to other countries worldwide in 2016. However, palm oil production in Indonesia is related to several ecologic, social and economic risks. One of
related deforestation and fire (Carlson et al. 2018). Between 1995-2015, the average annual oil palm plantation expansion in Indonesia occurred at a rate of 450,000 ha/a resulting in an average of 117,000 ha/a of deforestation (Austin et al. 2017).
Production of palm oil in Indonesia Further environmental hot spots are the loss of biodiversity, conversion of peatland and green house gas emissions (see chapter 8). Beyond, this study focuses on social and human right risks related to palm oil cultivation in Indonesia .
In order to face both, environmental and social risks of upstream oil palm cultivation in Indonesia, in recent years, numerous palm oil certification schemes and roundtables (Austin et al. 2017) were developed and applied within the value chain of palm oil from Indonesia. Palm oil is derived from the fleshy mesocorp of the fruits of the palm tree (Curry et al 2001) and is naturally reddish in color due to the high amount of betacarbonate. It is semi solid at room temperature and a common ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, South East Asia and parts of Brazil. Cameroon has a huge domestic and sub-regional market for crude palm oil (CPO), but the country is still a net importer of CPO (50 000 tons in 2011).
According to Ngando etalis. (2011), 80% of Cameroonians consume red palm oil of which 30% is produced by artisanal mills. According to Carrere (2010), the advantages of these oil palm smallholdings are numerous, since they can guarantee producers a stable income, they foster land tenure security and they strengthen the monetization of the rural areas, thus generating development. The present study aims at assessing the sector with special emphasis on its present strengths and weaknesses and it proposes ways to overcome/solve the problems. Agriculture was the main source of growth and foreign exchange until 1978 when oil production replaced it as the cornerstone of growth for the formal economy. In 2004, agriculture contributed 44% to GDP. Agricultural development and productivity declined from neglect during the oil boom years of the early 1980s. Agriculture was the principal occupation of 56% of the economically active population in 2003, although only about 15.4% of the land was arable.
The most important cash crops are cocoa, coffee, cotton, bananas, rubber, palm oil and kernels, and peanuts. The main food crops are plantains, cassava, corn, millet, and sugarcane. Palm oil production has shown signs of strength, but the product is not marketed internationally. Cameroon bananas are sold internationally, and the sector was reorganized and privatized in 1987. Similarly, rubber output has grown in spite of Asian competition. Cameroon is among the world’s largest cocoa producers; 130,000 tons of cocoa beans were produced in 2004. Two types of coffee, robusta and arabica, are grown; production was 60,000 tons in 2004. About 85,000 hectares (210,000 acres) are allocated to cotton plantations. Some cotton is exported, hile the remainder is processed by local textile plants. Total cotton output was 109,000 tons in 2004. Bananas are grown mainly in the southwest; 2004 estimated production was 630,000 tons. The output of rubber, also grown in the Southwest, was 45,892 tons in 2004. Estimated production in 2004 of palm kernels and oil was 64,000 and 1,200,000 tons, respectively. For peanuts (in the shell) the figure was 200,000 tons. Small amounts of tobacco, tea, and pineapples are also grown.
Estimated 2004 production of food crops was as follows: sugarcane, 1,450,000 tons; cassava, 1,950,000 tons; sorghum, 550,000 tons; corn, 750,000 tons; millet, 50,000 tons; yams, 265,000 tons; sweet potatoes, 175,000 tons; potatoes, 135,000 tons; dry beans, 95,000 tons; and rice, 62,000 tons. Agriculture remains the backbone of Cameroon’s economy, employing 70% of its workforce, while providing 42% of its GDP and 30% of its export revenue. Blessed with fertile land and regularly abundant rainfall in most regions, Cameroon produces a variety of agricultural commodities both for export and for domestic consumption. Coffee and cocoa are grown in Central and Southern regions, bananas in South west region, and cotton in several parts of Northern regions. In addition to export commodities, Cameroonian farmers produce numerous subsistence crops for family consumption. Principal food crops include millet, sorghum, peanuts, plantains, sweet potatoes, and manioc. Animal husbandry is practiced throughout the country and is particularly important in Northern region. (Encyclopedia of the Nations » Africa » Cameroon) According to a document jointly published in 2007 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), and that of Fishery, Livestock and Animal Husbandry (MINEPIA); in recent years, food production did not follow the rapid demographic increase, especially in the urban areas. According to these ministries, food security has to be assured by an increase in the production of food stuff and other crops which could substitute importations.
To meet these needs, these ministries have as an objective for a sector’s development strategy, set a target in 2015 to train 30.000 farmers per year. MINADER has 35 centers for agricultural training (24 are rural training centers and 11 are centers for the training of young farmers). Furthermore, these two ministries are actually offering training in the rural development sector like extension agents, agricultural
advisers and professional farmer groupings (farmers’ organizations) The Government, faced with the effects of the financial crisis, has taken steps to boost production of commodities such as corn, rice, cassava, potato, oil palm and plantain. For food crops, these measures aim to improve commercialization products through the construction of warehouses for conservation. In 2009, the agricultural sector accounted for approximately 75.6% of primary industry with 68.8% for food and agriculture 6.8% for export crops. This sub-sector increased by 8.3% compared to 2008, contributing 0.7 percentage point to growth actual primary sector. (Institute National de la Statistique – Annuaire Statistique du Cameroun 2010) In 2009, the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development intends to
implement an emergency plan to increase agricultural production. This plan aims to provide farmers planting material; subsidize pesticides and fertilizer from 20 to 50%, grant loans at low interest rates, create five pools of agricultural machinery support up to 15%, acquire about a hundred tractors and increase the capacity of processing, storage and packaging.
All this will lead to improved agricultural production. The National Agricultural Extension and Agricultural Research (PNVRA) through outreach activities conducted by Extension Agents Zone (AVZ) provide technical guidance and sometimes financial farmers. (Institute National de la Statistique – Annuaire Statistique du Cameroun 2010) In March 2012, “Cameroun Tribune” published an article on the eve of the launching of the 2012 farming season in Cameroon, stating that apart from some few mechanized industrial exploitations, agriculture in Cameroon is essentially traditional.
With subsistence agriculture, manual work is usually very arduous, the cultivated surface area is also reduced, and yields are low and therefore insufficient to meet both domestic and external demand for food. This article reveals that Cameroon is forced to import large quantities of cereals (rice, maize) to fill the gap in production, feed its population and meet the demands of the brewing industries.
That is why during the agro pastoral show in Ebolowa, President Paul Biya stressed the need to modernized Cameroon’s agriculture, so as to increase the productivity of small farmers and encourage the emergence of “second generation” production units; that is to say large and medium size companies. In this perspective, the mechanization of agriculture must be a fact, given the multiplier effect of machines in the chain of production. Plantation agriculture under Cameroon Development Cooperation (C.D.C) registers an average annual turnover of over 50billion (Kimengsi 2016). It must be borne in mind that the Cameroon Development Cooperation is an agro industrial
enterprise that was incorporated in 1947 to acquire, develope and transform tropical crops. The CDC is hailed as a major contributor to development in Cameroon. Empirical work shows that although farm labourers are central to the corporation’s economic success, they are yet to fully benefit from the proceeds of plantation agriculture. Hence this work will closely focus and lay emphasis on palm production in Tiko, bringing out some aspects of palm production such as stages of cultivation right up to extraction and production, socio-economic livelihood of the plantation laborers, not living the merits and demerits of palm production in the Tiko subdivision.
1.2 Statement of The Research Problem
Tiko is one of the many towns in Cameroon blessed with palm. However, palm is not the only crop cultivated in Tiko, there are crops like maize, egusi, yam, pepper, beans and these crops are usually cultivated by local inhabitants usually on a small scale. There is also the cultivation of cash crops such as banana and cocoa. This study will assess the socio-economic impact of the cultivation palm and its related issues. The social economic aspects here talk about livelihood, income and standards of living of plantation workers.
The related issues are those problems facing the cultivation of Oil palms like the poor growth rate in yields, human right violation on plantation and slash-and-burn oil for palm oil. Plantation agriculture in which the oil palm cultivation is inclusive plays an important role in the socio-economic development of Cameroon as well as other developing countries. It also has the potential to promote socio-economic development wherever it is being practiced with its provision of jobs, shelter, H.E.P, Health, amongst others.
However, in the Cameroon Development, Cooperation in Tiko there exist some controversies and problems regarding the poor policy to promote sustainable development in terms of low income wages given to the workers, poor working conditions, and living in poor conditions which intern leads to low standard of living.
FURTHER READING: GEOGRAPHY PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS