DISENCHANTING VOICES FROM WITHIN: INTERROGATING WOMEN'S RESISTANCE TO LARGE-SCALE AGRO-INVESTMENTS IN CAMEROON!
Paper prepared for presentation at the "2015 WORLD BANK CONFERENCE ON LAND AND POVERTY" The World Bank - Washington DC, March 23-27, 2015
This paper examines the processes used by investors to acquire large-scale land for agriculture in Cameroon, and reasons for popular oppositions in affected areas. It focuses on women who feed their families and the nation, and the activities of multinational agro-companies in two regions (Littoral and South West) dominated by plantation agriculture. The study involves a critical analysis of documentations and primary data from interviews conducted with communities, investors, administrative and traditional authorities on how investors have acquired land. Findings indicate that many local communities are gradually losing what was hitherto considered as ancestral land, without their informed consent and the provision of alternative sustainable sources of livelihood. The failure to include communities and women in a land-leasing process that displaces them from land; their nonpareil source of livelihood has generated local opposition in the form of demonstrations, protests/petitions, and non-cooperation. The paper concludes that instead of using bribes and empty promises to lure local support, investors should mainstream local interests and communities in land deals irrespective of whether they have statutory rights to the land or not.