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At the Dourum community in the Far North Regions of Cameroon very close to the Lake Chad river basin the planting season is in the offing. The local farmers out there need no scientist to remain them. By indigenous knowledge and design it will just be a repeat of an old aged tradition to plant at this time of the year. Optimistic farmers like Mme. mama Binta, 63 and mother of 6children have being cultivating their dusty farm fields hoping to sow millets and groundnuts seeds once the first rains fall. Like all her community mates farming for food and family incomes, Binta has taken urgent measures to “select” the planting seeds at best make them ready for sowing. Women working in small community mobilization groups, do all they can to help one another catch up with the coming of the first rains. This month like any other in the farming calendar present a glaring statistics of the gender inequalities between women and men as primary food producers and providers. .“I leave home early enough to do the man’s jobs and the wife work” Mme. Binta says proudly holding an old blunt matchet. This woman clears and hoes her fields dreaming of reaping the fruits of her labor in times of harvest.
 

This year the rains have signaled their presence over the entire neighborhood. There is joy not only with the farmers like Binta but the grazers who have been seen walking the red dust in the hills and valleys of the community wondering where next to tend their cattle. In these tiny villages of mud houses all the peasants always wish to be correct in issues of farming. Two to five bags of millet grains are a family primary source of food and money security for a year. Yet over the years it is not only hunger that has beaten the communities, the rains too have become unpredictable resulting to the soils being unfertile and unforgiving. “This has made farming a very tedious job” Binta complains.

Farming without manure leaves the soil too even more depleted and barren in this region of Cameroon. Financially not viable, affording farm inputs is a puzzle and dreaming of ever getting any kind of irrigation for their crops is a joke. The task of farming for 90% of the population has gotten more harder, demanding and not rewarding.

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posted @ 9:39 AM,

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