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Cameroon: Livelihood Zone Map and Descriptions, Sept. 2019


Cameroon is a land of contrasts. The clearest differences are in ecology, and we would expect these to be strongly reflected in a zoning of rural livelihoods, at least in terms of primary food and cash crop production. Other contrasts are less obvious, having to do with rural population densities, the urban sector, and the related geography of main market centers. And there is one market 'center' that is external to the country - Nigeria - which strongly influences parts of Cameroon's rural economy.
The country's ecologies range from sudano-sahelian in the far north to sub-equatorial rainforest in the far south, via Guinean wooded and grassy savannahs high and low in the center, and mountain, highland and coastal ecologies in the west. In a general fashion, precipitation increases from around 400 mm per annum at the northernmost point to up to some 2000 mm in the far south, encompassing a transition from unimodal to bimodal rainfall patterns. However, it is towards the west that the highest levels of precipitation occur, mainly in a unimodal or continuous regime, from 2500+ in the northwest to 5000+ mm in the southwest and 7000+ at parts of the coast and its immediate hinterland. Again, in a general fashion, food crop types change from cereals in the north, mainly sorghum and maize, to yams and cassava in the center, but still with substantial maize, to increasing dependence on cassava as well as plantain towards the south and west, again with the ubiquitous maize. But there are also many niche areas and products, as well as fish from the major rivers,


Household Economy Analysis (HEA) is a framework for analyzing the ways in which households at varying levels of wealth normally operate their livelihoods, and the likely effect of a given event on that livelihood. HEA makes use of an array of information sourced at different levels, central to which is local knowledge and detailed field information taken on household economy at the village level, but also using reference data including the national population census, official crop production estimates, and price monitoring of markets, and finally information on current events likely to affect production, income and expenditure.
The first step – the passport to rural livelihoods analysis – is to determine livelihood zones as the basis for filtering reference information, and positioning baseline fieldwork and analysis geographically, and for subsequent predictive work on the effect of events (Outcome Analysis). A livelihood zone is a geographical area in which most households share the same ecology, natural resources and general economic environment, and therefore engage in the same patterns of production and the same possibilities for cash income (while actual cash income is realized according to household assets, composition and other elements that determine relative wealth). This means that if one were to move from one livelihood zone to the next, one would expect to see different patterns of production, income and consumption, and possibly different coping strategies in response to shocks. The national zoning exercise that this report describes defined 16 such rural livelihood zones in Cameroon.
The national livelihoods zoning workshop was held at the Hilton Hotel, Yaoundé, September 16-20, with 32 participants as key informants from MINADER and UN and NGO partners.

Assessment Report: 
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Assessment Date(s): 
29 Nov 2019

Level of Representation

Report completed
Collection Method(s): 
Baseline data analysis
Population Type(s): 
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
Famine Early Warning Systems Network
Participating Organization(s): 
Government of Cameroon - Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
World Food Programme
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Food/Nutrition Crisis
Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)
Market Assessment
Cameroon: North West and South West Crisis 2016-2020
Cameroon: Far-North Crisis 2014-2020