Ndop Rice

Helping the rice farmers in Ngoketunjia, Cameroon

From our initial findings, one of the major problems facing the farmers is in not being able to afford farm inputs. Over 49% of farmers stated that they could not afford or needed assistance with fertilizers. Based on field studies the recommended volume of fertilizer to be applied is 250-300 kg/hectare of a combination of N-P-K and UREA. For 2007, 54% of our surveyed farms had less than 150 kg/hectare of fertilizer input.

Therefore should we look for an organic solution?

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This is a very relevant question throughout the developing world where farmers report considerable need for fertilizers. For your project in Cameroon the choice will boil down to a cost-price-expected harvest quantity calculation, for both cases. Namely, the cases of a marketing strategy for the realization of organic and inorganic rice crops.

Generally, the flavour I expect of the calculation is that with fertilizers you would have higher cost per unit, higher expected quantity of the produce and lower expected price per unit, vice versa with organic rice. The cost of organic rice per unit produced might actually not be much lower, especially of you factor in labour costs. Whichever one gives better prospects will depend on the numbers... which might be a problem as numbers are hard to get. Essentially getting these numbers would be a bit of guesswork. But an educated guess is possibly the best you can do.

Good luck helping Cameroon rice farmers! Have a look at mmd4d.org. I am working with Liberian market traders, and rice is the main staple in Liberia as well.
Thank you for your comment Mira. And also the link to the mmd4d.org website. It raises some interesting points.

As the website discusses in a lot of details the problem is in market inefficiencies that are unaddressed in countries like Cameroon, Liberia and Mozambique. So I think that these discussions must also somehow factor in these inefficiencies. For example price controls on fertilizers and other farm inputs, inefficient (or lack of) marketing - and the unstated cost of labour. All of these inefficiencies mean that labour (although not costed) becomes a substitute that is relatively easily available (even though even this is at times a problem).

I think our challenge is going to be in factoring all of these in, to find the best solution.

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