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Cameroon: ASTI-IRAD Country Factsheet

Cameroon: ASTI-IRAD Country Factsheet

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Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Didier Begoude, Tata Precillia Ngome, and Kathleen Flaherty


International Food Policy Research Institute and Agricultural Research Institute for Development

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

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Low research spending

Although agricultural research spending in Cameroon rose by 10 percent between 2012 and 2014 due to increased funding from the government and other organizations, the country’s agricultural research spending as a share of AgGDP (at 0.34 percent in 2014) remains well below the minimum 1 percent target recommended by the African Union and United Nations. Greater investment is needed, particularly in training, baseline surveys, databases, laboratory equipment, and infrastructure.

Capacity challenges

The number of agricultural researchers employed at Cameroon’s main government agricultural research agency, IRAD, declined in recent years caused by staff departures due to job dissatisfaction and uncompetitive salaries, and retirements, exacerbated by an official retirement age of only 55 years. Staffing gaps are particularly serious in the areas of animal production, fruit tree research, nutrition and food security, and in areas of crop research, such as vegetables and indigenous food crops other than maize and cassava.

Key donor support

CD2—a program cancelling and converting bilateral debt to France through the French Development Agency—provided IRAD’s research projects with over 2 billion CFA francs in the three-year period from 2014. These funds have enabled important supplies and laboratory equipment to be purchased and upgraded. C2D funding was also allocated to a competitive fund in support of privatesector research projects.

Low government funding

In 2014, IRAD received just one-third of its funding from the national government. Other sources included donors, the sale of goods and services, and revenues from producer organizations. While this diversification helps to reduce overall funding volatility, the low share of government funding has negative implications for fixed costs, such as salaries. Lack of government funding limits overall staffing levels, as well as increases in salary levels to maintain parity, and hence competitiveness, with the higher education and private sectors.