CR 30:255-262 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/cr030255

Climatic trends in Cameroon: implications for agricultural management

Ernest L. Molua*

Department of Economics & Management, University of Buea, PO Box 63, Buea, South West Province, Cameroon

ABSTRACT: The weather in Cameroon, an ecologically diverse country in central Africa, is determined by equatorial and tropical air masses. Agricultural production is predominantly rain-fed, and the semi-extensive farming systems are particularly sensitive to small changes in climatic conditions. To estimate the relevance of climate issues for farmers' livelihoods, time series techniques were employed to analyse real temperature and precipitation series for 1960-2000 at selected weather stations across Cameroon. Strong positive temperature trends exist for the months of July, August and September. Significant trends in precipitation are observed at Kribi and Douala in the coastal region, and Batouri in the forest savanna ecotone; marginally significant trends occur in Mamfe in the rainforest and Bafoussam in the Guinean savanna zone. The results indicate that locally increasing temperatures are linked to increasing dryness and drought. Management of Cameroon's agrarian economy will require improved monitoring and forecasting, a shift toward more drought-resistant crops and varieties, adaptation of planting methods, and implementation of water conservation techniques.

KEY WORDS: Cameroon · Climate variation · Trend analysis · Agrarian economy

Full text in pdf format