Reflections on the Role of Plantations in Development: Lessons from the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC)

Jude N. Kimengsi, Julius N. Lambi, Solange A. Gwan


Plantation agriculture under the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) registers an average annual turnover of over 50billion FCFA. The corporation is hailed as a major contributor to development in Cameroon. However, conceptualizing development in terms of inequality reduction through the increase in social benefits to disadvantaged groups paints a completely different picture of the corporation. Empirical work shows that although farm labourers are central to the corporation’s economic success, they are yet to fully benefit from the proceeds of plantation agriculture. The lack of significant improvements in residential and income standards of the multitude of the CDC farm labourers contradicts the view of the corporation as a “development” agent. The corporation has seemingly maintained a deplorable social responsibility record wherein farm labourers are the sacrificial lambs in the quest for increased economic output which is then proclaimed as “development”. This paper contradicts the praises sung by different authors to the CDC as an agent of development by giving an insight on the living conditions of a majority of the workers of this parastatal. It therefore looks beyond gross economic outputs by providing knowledge on what really trickles down to the underprivileged majority.

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