Vol.3, No.5, 651-657 (2012) Agricultural Sciences
Cassava sector development in Cameroon:
Production and marketing factors affecting price
Elise Stephanie Meyo Mvodo*, Dapeng Liang
Business Administration, School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China;
*Corresponding Author: mvodostephanie@gmail.com
Received 12 July 2012; revised 18 August 2012; accepted 6 September 2012
Regular and available supply is the prerequisite
of an effective and efficient commercialization
process. Using multivariate regression analysis
on field data, this research appraises the pro-
duction and marketing factors that influence
cassava market price. The production factors
include cultivated area, planting material, yield,
and farmers’ field schools; while farmers access
to a paved road, having a telephone, the trans-
portation costs of fresh roots, the level of root
perishability, and the prices of rice and maize
stand as marketing factors. The results show
that farmers who attended farmers’ field school
adopted improved planting materials, propa-
gated them in their localities and the yields in
these communities increased significantly. The
farm size also has a significant influence on the
availability of fresh root s. On the marketing side,
transport ation cost s, access to a p av ed road, the
prices of rice and maize significantly affect cas-
sava’s market price and tighten the relationship
between producers and marketers. We conclude
that to increase fresh roots supply, roads lead-
ing to cultivating areas should be paved, better
transportation provided, communication costs
reduced, even distribution of planting materials
and appropriate warehouses.
Keywords: Production Factors; Marketing Factors;
Cassava; Market Price; Cameroon
Literature reporting responsibilities’ allotment in a
Bantu family prior and just after the independence states
the man was the financial provider and in-charge of the
hardest work. In rural areas, his activities scope was
hunting for bush meat, fishing and picking. Additionally,
he cultivated cash crops such as coffee, cocoa and rubber
tree. He also took part in community farms and nation-
building initiatives. The woman was in-charge of chil-
dren’s education and housekeeping. She has to provide
food, placing herself at the bottom line of the family diet
manager. Women cultivated crops and exotic herbs for
cooking and medicinal purposes; those crops that were
considered as complementary with lesser economic im-
portance were peanut, cassava, taro, yam, cocoyam, on-
ions among others [1,2]. Women sold handful of those
products on seasonal and weekly community markets for
extra money usually without business objectives. The
mid 80s crisis, The Breton wood institutions structural
adjustments in early 90s and the country’s currency de-
valuation in mid 90s made cash crop prices unpredictable
and the government ceased to provide financial aids to
farmers [3]. Many rural-farming households faced criti-
cal financial down sloping and many coffee and cocoa
farms were abandoned [4]. In addition, the increasing
number of women in the intellectual arena, some with
high-institutional positions (decision makers) and women
empowerment initiatives contributed to the raising of a
self-determined and powerful generation of women, with
the quest of using what they have in order to upgrade
their family’s living conditions. All these created market
opportunities for many food crops, among which cassava
holds an upright place, moving from a family food crop
to a high financial return crop.
Today, cassava is a major staple food and one of Cam-
eroon top five crops. Cassava serves as raw material for
more than 80 industrial products worldwide. It represents
a delicacy, enabling the processing of many culturally
appreciated recipes. Cassava is imperatively needed for
human consumption, livestock feed and industries. Since
independence, the production has tripled with an average
production of 2,109,040 MT per year [5] still, the de-
mand is hardly met. Nowadays, there are attempting ini-
tiatives to reduce cassava process from field to the end
user. Cassava sector embeds many business opportunities
but lots of production are unexploited due to many in-
adequate factors namely production, marketing, commu-
nication and infrastructures. The most commonly identi-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
E. S. M. Mvodo, D. P. Liang / Agricultural Sciences 3 (201 2) 651-657
fied bottleneck to develop cassava market opportunities
is the lack of a reliable supply [6]. Consequently, to have
a permanent stock security, production and marketing
factors have to be identified and upgraded. How can the
sector’s production and marketing conditions improve?
The main objective of this work is to evaluate the differ-
ent factors influencing the sector’s supply and the com-
mercialization process.
Cassava sector is a promising sector with many busi-
ness opportunities; the main challenge is the mass supply
of tuber roots that can satisfy human, animal and indus-
trial needs. Cassava, as well as the rest of agriculture
sector faces production and marketing limitations that
significantly impedes the country’s overall economic
growth and development.
2.1. Production Factors
In Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is still germinal.
The farm size along with yield rate per hectare is among
the least in the world. The farming equipments are cut-
lasses and hoes and the cultivated fields are small (65%
less than 1 ha) that is mostly done by women; medium
(25% around 5 ha), and communities farms (10% more
than 5 ha). Lack of good planting materials and equip-
ments, absence of mechanization and power, soil infertil-
ity and land pressure are classified among the most re-
corded constraints. The need for agricultural moderniza-
tion cannot be overemphasized. The agriculture world
needs improved production techniques, high yield, pest
and diseases resistant planting materials (HYV) and ad-
vanced equipments. High productivity has to be sup-
ported by solid foundations i.e.; the creation of farm-to-
market roads, the identification of markets outlets and
the provision of better incentives to farmers [3,6,8].
Some limitations are usually not considered in studies
however they can be useful in the attempt to understand
critical elements of the behavior of sector’s actors; farm-
ers lack coordination, they specifically lack initiatives
and many do not take part in communities’ farms. Com-
munity farms, practiced in inter-cropping can boost em-
ployment and income creation. In addition, they repre-
sent effective alternatives for biodiversity conservation
and increase production at local and sub-divisional levels.
The nuclear family members serve as the only source of
labor where employable work force is highly required.
The socio-economic factors analysis indicates that cas-
sava as well as agriculture sector’s work force is aging,
less educated and dominated by women. This situation in
Cameroon is partly due to lack of motivation and ab-
sence of youth farmer’s settlement scheme.
Diseases such as mosaic, root rot, fungal rot and pests
like whiteflies impede the yields. The replanting of af-
fected planting material contributes to the propagation of
the diseases on subsequent harvest. Fungal rot spreads
faster in monoculture of cassava or when intercrops with
cowpea [9,10]. Fortunately, in the study area, neither
monoculture nor mixed cropping system with cowpea is
Work done by [11] argues that researchers’ major limit
is the failure to address post-harvest as well as the mar-
keting phase of the cassava life shield. Recently, many
researchers have focused on post-harvest processing and
upkeep methods of cassava roots. The farmers’ field
schools (FFSs) provide field trainers who educate famers
on how to efficiently plant, grow, harvest and process
cassava. They freely distributed (HYV). For an enhanced
organization and coordination, trainers work in collabo-
ration with farmers’ associations. Being a member of
rural associations, attending public meeting and social
events, belonging to an administrative committee, expo-
sure to visits and training access, family size, children
age and education level and information access are some
factors that positively influence farmers to participate in
training. Therefore, intensive awareness should be put in
rural areas with the purpose of encouraging people to
become members of agricultural cooperatives and take
part in community development [3,6,12].
The production factors could improve significantly,
but the sector cannot attain the objective of upgrading its
activities if there are not appropriate means facilitating
the roots availability on the market.
2.2. Marketing Factors
Beside production constraints, other agriculture sec-
tor’s constraints are infrastructures, consumer acceptance,
transportation costs, the commodity type, the efficiency
of transport and marketing sector, travel distance as well
as small volumes, poor price information, commodity
perishability, differences in storage and retailing [6,13].
The marketing system can be defined as a network of
possibilities that enable a commodity [cassava] to move
from producer to consumer through the large range of
intervening actors in a least length of time.
In Africa and particularly Cameroon, the routing net-
work is limited: Cameroon has 77,588 kilometers of
roads with only 5133 of them paved. They mostly link
regional cities [14]; whereas farming communities dwell
at divisional levels. Road plays a crucial role in the agri-
culture and the transport of commodities. Therefor, dis-
enclaving rural areas and making them accessible is fun-
damental for economic development [3,13,15-17]. Tele-
phone communication within the same vicinity is seven
times more expensive than calling western or eastern
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
E. S. M. Mvodo, D. P. Liang / Agricultural Sciences 3 (201 2) 651-657 653
countries worldwide. Cameroon is 20% telephone cov-
ered, but some rural communities face unsteady net-
works. The cost of transportation represents another con-
straint; since roads in their majority are not paved,
transport societies and transportation equipments are
limited. Transporters are scattered, old-fashioned cars
coupled with high fuel prices escalate the problem. Tran-
sportation costs represent the most expensive of the pro-
duction costs. The rate of root deterioration depends to
root cyanogens content and this affects its price. There-
fore, the best way to upkeep cassava is to process it
[15,17-23]. The work done by [17] affirms that, price
depends on the location marketers and consumers ac-
quire the commodity: on the farm side, road side, com-
munity markets or on urban markets, while [6] sustain
that harvesting age and root starch content are the main
factors of price determination.
In Cameroon, agricultural studies on crop factors’ im-
pact are scarce. Researchers mainly focus on rice [24-28]
and maize [29,30]. Studies on the cassava sector largely
focus on traditional processing [15,17,21]. In addition,
price mechanism and its determination have received less
concern. The need to cover this gap is the driving aim of
this study.
The paper hypothesizes that:
H0: Production and marketing factors do not affect the
cassava’s market price
H1: Production and marketing factors of cassava fresh
roots do have impact on the market price.
3.1. Study Area
The study area is the Nyong and Mfoumou subdivi-
sion. It is one of the ten subdivisions of Cameroon cen-
tral region, located in the Southeastern part with Akono-
linga as capital city. Farmers cultivate Cassava in inter-
cropping farm system two times a year at the beginning
of each rainy season. The region has equatorial climate
with two rainy and two dry seasons. 1500 mm to 2000
mm of rainfalls recorded with temperature of 20˚ - 30˚.
Data were collected in four phases; each phase consisted
of the survey of one community made up of many vil-
lages. Four communities were surveyed between June to
September 2011. N = number of interviewees: Ayos (N =
26) in the south, Akonolinga 1 (N = 69) in the west, Ako-
nolinga 2 (N = 40) in the east and Mengang (N = 111) in
the north. There were not substantial processing units of
cassava in the region, most cassava roots were either
self-consumed (small farm) or sold on farm side, weekly
community markets and urban markets. Due to very low
population density, we targeted social gatherings in order
to have enough and diversified respondents. These loca-
tions include weekly-community markets (Saturday),
after-service gatherings, holidays events such as football
competitions, association meetings and cassava trade fair.
There exist three transportation societies, which service
Yaoundé every 1 - 2 hours while the informal cars, in
degraded states, service villages sometimes at the rate of
one time a week. The sub-divisional roads are not tared;
the national road from Yaoundé to Bertoua facilitates the
transportation of agricultural crops together with its inha-
bitants. A total of 246 farmers among which 231 (94%)
women were interviewed. Respondents were randomly
selected and data collected using structured interviews.
The main questions focused on the farm size: small 1 ha,
medium 5 ha, communities > 5 ha. The possible out-
comes were small = 1, medium = 2, small + community
= 3, medium + community = 4. The yield: 11 tons/ha =
1, 30/ha = 2, >30 tons/ha = 3. Attendance to farmers’
field school, access to a paved road and having a mobile
hand set were dummy questions (access = yes, otherwise
= no). Estimated days before the appearance of yellow
color on roots measured the perishability level. The ap-
proximate transport costs of 50 kg of roots from their
locations to Yaoundé. The usage of planting material was
classified as exclusively local varieties = 1 exclusively
high yield varieties = 2 and mixing varieties = 3. Un-
structured interviews were use with some officials, FFSs
trainers, ministry’s officials and heads of the National
Programme for the Development of Roots and Tuber for
complementary data. Cassava, rice and maize market
prices were collected from the ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development 2011 food index prices (Table
3.2. Model Choice
Data were analyzed using multivariate regression
model; this method is appropriate to test the influences of
each individual factor on the determination of cassava
market price. This method proves its usefulness as [6]
used it to test the influence of determinants on cassava
price and productivity in Indonesia. The model assesses
the appropriate agricultural extension technological
needs of users in cassava processing units in Nigeria [22].
Income and factors influencing the potatoes landrace
production have been analyzed with this model [8]. The
Table 1. Market prices of rice, maize and cassava.
June July August September
rice 400 350 300 375
maize 275 263 250 250
cassava 130 148 151 147
Source: Cameroon Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development price (in
FCFA) indexes of food crop in Yaoundé-markets, 2011.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
E. S. M. Mvodo, D. P. Liang / Agricultural Sciences 3 (201 2) 651-657
factors affecting the job satisfaction of university lectur-
ers in Zimbabwe were tested using this model [31]. Fac-
tors affecting the adoption of fertilizer in rice production
in Cote d’Ivoire were also studied by [7], using this
 
. (1)
667788 99 1010.
 
Y = Cassava market price (in FCFA);
β = The regression parameter;
µ = The error term;
X1 = Cultivated area (in ha);
X2 = Yield per 1 ha (in tons);
X3 = Planting material;
X4 = Farmers’ field school (dummy variable);
X5 = Access to paved road (dummy variable);
X6 = Access to telephone (dummy variable);
X7 = Transportation costs of 50 kg of cassava (in FCFA);
X8 = Level of perishability (in days);
X9 = Price of rice (in FCFA);
X10 = Price of maize (in FCFA).
Farm sizes are classified into 4 categories, 39% of in-
terviewees grow cassava in small farms (less than 1 ha),
among which 19% exclusively work in their farms while
20% (49 respondents) took part in community farms.
Medium size farms are the result of some women re-
ceiving additional help from their upbrings, family
members and employable workers. While 34% exclu-
sively cultivate their farms, 66 people from this group
participated in community farms. In the survey area, many
community farms were IFAD initiatives going hand in
hand with FFSs training (Table 2). Improvements of
farming techniques and yields increase motivate farmers
to participate in those initiatives. Regarding yield results,
the highest number of interviewees, 121 respondents
reported having more than 11 tons per hectare. This was
due to many factors: In the southern part of the region
(Ayos), though they rejected the HYV, their production
remains high, and this is credited to its soil fertility. Where
FFSs took place, farmers adopted new practices and high
yield, pest and diseases free planting materials. Varieties
82/34, 80/17, 92/3/26, 41/15 and 24/25 were freely distri-
buted to participants (Table 2). They were allowed to sell
those at 25 FCFA a stem to their community mates. Im-
proved stems propagated as well as some planting and har-
vesting techniques. The training took place for the full
cassava production cycle [planting, weeding and harvest-
Table 2. Cultivated area, yield and planting materials.
% Number
Cultivated areaa,b
exclusively small 19 47
exclusively medium 34 84
small + community 20 49
medium + community 27 66
Total 100 246
less than 11 tons/ha 39 95
less than 30 tons/ha 49 121
more than 30 tons/ha 12 30
Total 100 246
Planting material
exclusively local varieties 30 73
exclusively HYV 22 55
mixing varieties 48 118
Total 100 246
Source: authors’ field work 2011. aThe farm size and yield were reporting
the last farm period i.e.: cassava planted at around March/April 2010 and
harvested starting January 2011. bCommunity farm is exclusively associa-
tions’ or local groups’. Partaking members own private farms, be it small or
medium, they however occasionally attain community farms.
ing] that is: one year, and results show that yields tripled.
The varieties distributed are not only pest resistant, but
also, mature rapidly. Farmers reported that the palatabil-
ity and consistency of the new introduced varieties were
better than the local ones. They produce more delicious
leaves. Their roots are easy to boil and suitable to proc-
ess into starch; but to make cassava puddings (bobolo
and nkonda) local varieties are preferred. In addition, the
local varieties have more fibers and can be maintained in
the soil for longer period (more than 36 months),
whereas the new introduced varieties rot rapidly. Close to
Yaoundé, farmers were relatively young, they adopted
appropriate techniques and HYV but their yield per hec-
tare did not surpass 30 tons. The authors then conclude
that production of over 30 tons/ha must be the result of the
combination of fertile soil, use of improved planting ma-
terials, use of work force and early whole cassava harvest
(at around 11 months). The west and east parts of the
region did not have FFSs due to impracticable roads and
very low population density. Therefore, the use of HYV
was very scarce in this part of the survey area, the high
proportion of farmers using exclusively local varieties
coupled with the southern part, which rejected the
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
E. S. M. Mvodo, D. P. Liang / Agricultural Sciences 3 (201 2) 651-657 655
HYV, are found in these localities. A total of 55 farmers
admitted using only improved planting materials while
111 use both local and improved varieties. The northern,
central and southern parts of the survey area had FFSs
whereas the eastern and western part did not. The northern
and central parts adopted the HYV, while the southern part
rejected them. Some farmers from the western and eastern
parts received HYV through family, acquaintances and
alliances. The road from Yaoundé to Akonolinga is paved.
The national tared road connecting Yaoundé to Bertoua
largely ease the movement of people and the transporta-
tion of commodities within that locality. Thus only 32% of
the respondents have access to the road, the average
transportation of 50 kg bag of roots from the locality to a
randomly selected market in Yaoundé is 1107 FCFA ($2.5)
whereas only 85 farmers had a mobile hand set (Tables 3
and 4). In some weekly community markets, roads inter-
sections and food markets in urban centers, warehouses
are built, nevertheless these are insufficient and unfur-
nished. Four days is the mean time fresh roots can resist
before getting yellow color. The highest number of days
(5) is recorded on both HYV and local varieties depending
on varieties. Sweet varieties rot quicker than bitter ones.
Early maturity, sweetness and abundance of water were
reasons of fast rotting (Table 4). Women associations,
religious groups and weekly community markets were
suitable places for collecting and sharing information
since the population density in the region is among the
least in the country. All localities dwellers did not attend
FFSs due to the place where it was organized, the time of
its organization, the famers’ availability, their perception
on benefits and partner’s occupation or farmer-self other
income activities, and whether or not they have children.
The socioeconomic aspects of actors involve in the sec-
tor was not our main concern. However, as [7,11,21,22]
Table 3. Dummy variables.
yes no
% number % number
(FFSs) 41 100 59 146
Access to paved road 32 78 68 168
Access to telephone 35 85 65 161
Source: authors’ field work 2011.
Table 4. Transport costs and perishability level.
mean range
transport costsa 1107 [500, 2000]
perishability levelb 3.85 [1.5, 5]
Source: own survey 2011. aTransport costs are in FCFA; bPerishability level
is in number of days.
pointed out a precise understanding of the sector will be
possible if actors’ level of education, age, gender, num-
ber and age of children and activity of the partner are
thoroughly analyzed. This may uncover some underpin-
ning elements.
There is a strong, positive and linear relationship be-
tween the evolution of cassava market price and the con-
sidered factors hence; we fail to reject the alternative
hypothesis. R = 0.94, where 89% variations of the de-
terminants affecting the roots’ market price derive from
production and marketing factors; there is a highly strong
effect between roots availability on the marketplace and
price. The F-test is highly significant at P < 0.05 so F (10,
235) = 191.937, P = 0.000.
Cultivated area and planting material factors signifi-
cantly affect the production thus the market price (Table
5). It is obvious that since many cultivate small farms,
increasing the farm size will increase the available dis-
posable roots. In the same line of thought, farmers with
the improved, high yield varieties, pest and diseases free
planting materials will increase the fresh roots production.
HYV increase yield per hectare and larger farm size in-
creases acreages. This results in high quantities of fresh
roots. Yield per hectare and FFSs do not influence the
market price. Unquestionably, because the direct returns
of FFSs are the distribution of planting materials and
propagation of better farming techniques.
Tared roads, cost of transportation, warehouses avail-
ability and the price of substitutes (rice and maize) have
significant impact on cassava market price whereas access
to a mobile handset does not (Ta b le 6). Access to paved
road not only shorten the transportation of commodities
Table 5. Production factors affecting cassava roots supply.
model standardized coef. t-value
farm size 0.066 2.23
yield 0.027 1.11
(FFSs) 0.034 1.18
planting mat. 0.115 4.11
Table 6. Marketing factors affecting cassava price.
standardized coef. t-value
paved road 0.076 2.75
telephone 0.007 0.29
transportation 0.175 4.932
perishability 0.072 2.566
rice 0.676 21.38
maize 0.484 15.909
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
E. S. M. Mvodo, D. P. Liang / Agricultural Sciences 3 (2012) 651-657
from farm to market, but significantly reduces costs.
Farmers living alongside the paved road in the survey area
reported selling substantial quantities of cassava, in front
of their houses or on weekly community markets. Easily
accessible community markets, with paved roads and
bridges, where retailers and other sector operators pur-
chase, have higher affluence. Only the transportation costs
represent production costs and serve as price indicator for
farmers of this region since it is quite difficult to price
other production factors (land, labor, planting materials).
As a result, the higher the price of transportation, the
higher the cost of the commodity. Cassava roots rot
quickly; consequently, it has to be processed immediately
[15,17-23]. The perishability level measured by the ap-
pearance of yellow lines on roots negatively influences
market price. To gain a higher price, roots have to be fresh,
white in color and fiber-free. Additionally, stores are not
equipped with refrigerated system; hot temperatures
(around 25˚) accelerate the rotting process. The prices of
substitute rice and maize play crucial role on buyer’s
decision, according to the demand-supply rule, the higher
the price of substitutes, the higher the probability that the
buyer will turn to cassava. Looking at the social perspec-
tive, in a tight income revenue country e.g. Cameroon, a
kilogram of rice/maize is likely to feed a family of 6 in a
day, a result not achievable with a kilogram of cassava.
Urban homemakers rather choose staple foods with less
waste, easy to cook and to store with longer life span.
Telephone did not affect the price of cassava. In Sub-
Saharan Africa, communication is costly and information
links are under developed among agriculture sector’s
actors. In some rural localities, networks are unstable.
Many industries in Cameroon need fresh roots of cas-
sava to incorporate, either natural or in the form of modi-
fied starch, in their production process. The development
of the sector calls for an effective and efficient supply.
Therefore, the production and marketing factors have to
be carefully evaluated and improved. This paper con-
firms that the size of the farm, the availability and the
adoption of improved planting material play a critical
role on root production. The agricultural sector rests on
the hands of rural dwellers who perceive it only as their
primary supply source of food, thus practicing it at a
subsistent level; they lack adequate agronomy education
or training. The cultivated area is reduced due to the non
utilization of tractors, and improved technologies for
planting, clearing or harvesting. The un-adapted policies,
poor planting materials, pests and diseases, and lack of
technology further deter the sector causing the yield to be
At about 120 km from Yaoundé, the field inspection
and data collection reveal that study area is not fully
tared; this absence has a critical influence on transporta-
tion, supply rate and the quality of roots. The absence of
appropriate warehouses causes rapid deterioration of
fresh roots and has remarkable impact on the market
price. We concluded that appropriate warehouses in mar-
kets will slow the deterioration process; more and better-
tarred roads will ease the supply and communication
costs and therefore, should be earnestly reduced. It was
noticeable that cassava is a women cultivated crop, many
upgrade their life with its mass production and process-
ing, and this calls for a study of their socio economic
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