In the context of rapid urbanisation of Cameroon, it is estimated that 70% of the total population will be dwelling in urban centres by 2060. Meanwhile, vegetable production has become an important economic activity for the urban and peri-urban poor because of its shorter production cycle. Thus, this study aims at describing the dynamics of the changes and sustainability within vegetable production systems in urban and peri-urban areas. A survey was conducted among 185 vegetable farmers and 184 non-vegetable farmers in urban and peri-urban areas of Yaoundé using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive results show that vegetable production is concentrated in densely populated areas with underpinning socio-economic characteristics. On average, vegetable producers are married (70.0%), educated (94.0%) and mostly young adults (24.0%). Most (70.0%) of the respondents have vegetable farming as their main source of income. The most dominant cropping system is the strip cropping system between traditional vegetables. The results of the sustainability analysis show that the profitability of vegetable production decreases with population density. While mulching, crop rotation and the application of organic manure increase with population density, land fallow is observed to decrease. The perceptions of vegetable producers and non-producers towards vegetable production are broadly similar. Finally, more than half of vegetable producers (53.0%) will not be able keep working on their plots in the next 10 years. Therefore, urban policy planners should take into account vegetable production when elaborating master and zoning plans to better preserve and integrate it as part of the urban development plan.
Key words: Urbanization, vegetable production system, sustainable agriculture, Yaoundé
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