Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Cameroon

Geographical situation of CameroonSituated in the Central Africa sub-region and opened to the Atlantic Ocean, Cameroon can be divided into five agro-ecological zones. Agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy. This sector employs 70% of the labour force and represents 52% of the GDP. Cameroon is the sixth largest producer of cocoa in the world. Other important crops are coffee, lumber and cotton.

The plant breeding capacity of Cameroon has suffered from the economic crisis which reached a lot of African countries in the 1980s. This crisis led to a sharp decrease of the budget allocated for plant breeding. This is particularly dramatic in a country where breeding research and biotechnology are essentially carried out by the public sector. Five privates and five public institutions are involved in plant breeding or in biotechnology. The activities of the private sector consist mainly of the evaluation of the varieties generated by the public one or the introduction of some international varieties.

Cereals (maize, rice, sorghum), root and tuber crops (manioc (cassava), yam, macabo, sweet potato), legumes and cotton represent the major crops targeted by plant breeding research. The number of varieties released by the public sector in Cameroon decreased since the beginning of the economic crisis.

The survey results for Cameroon suggest that policy makers in this country should probably place more emphasis on improving the basic infrastructure and human resources for agricultural research, in order to develop a more solid conventional plant breeding program.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes


Agricultural Research Institute for the Development - Institut de Recherche Agricole pour le Développement (IRAD)
Website available in French and English

IRAD is a public institution with financial autonomy. It has decentralised and regional units for agricultural research. The activities concern a wide range of crops: cereals,root and tuber crops, legumes and fruit trees. These activities are partially included in or are complementary with the activities carried out in the Biotechnology laboratory of Ekona, especially for the root and tuber crops.

Yaoudé Univesrity

Biotechnology Centre of Nkolbisson - Centre de Biotechnologie de Nkolbisson, Université de Yaoundé 1
Website available in French

Created around 15 years ago, this centre depends on the Sciences Faculty of the University of Youndé 1. It comprises 2 sections: one section of plant biotechnology and one of animal biotechnology.

Dschang University

Crop production Department - Département des productions végétales, Faculté d’agronomie et des sciences agricoles (FASA), Université de Dschang
Website available in French

Parallel to its teaching activities, FASA has for a mandate to carry out research aiming to find solutions on agricultural development issues of Cameroon and thus with the collaboration with the institutions of the agricultural sector.


African Research Center on the Banana tree and the Plantain - Centre Africain de Recherche sur le Bananier et le Plantain (CARBAP), Njombé
Website available in French

Created in 1989, this centre is a public institute of regional research. Plant breeding activities on banana trees and plaintains mainly focus on the production of hybrids resistant or tolerant to specific diseases or parasites.

no website

Biotechnology Laboratory of the Regional Centre of Agricultural research for Development of Ekona - Laboratoire de biotechnologie du centre régional de recherche agricole pour le développement d’Ekona
No Website available

This laboratory of biotechnology was created around 20 years ago thanks to the Root and tuber crops research programme (ROTREP). ROTREP is a collaborative project of IRAD and the University of Maryland (USA), financed by USAID. Its activities mainly focus on root and tuber crops (manioc, yam, macabo, taro, sweet potato) and latex crops in Ekona and on palm tree in the specialized station of Dibamba.


Private Institutes


Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC)
Website available in English

CDC is an Agro-Industrial Complex that grows, processes and markets tropical export crops. It is the biggest society of agricultural development in Cameroon and the second employer after the State. Its activities are relatively wide. The industrial production of crops such as banana, palm tree, hevea and tea are involved.

No Website available

MAÏSCAM is a private agro-industrial company in charge of the maize production and processing. It introduced in Cameroon some varieties developed by IRAD but also some varieties from Kenya.

Western-North Development Mission - Mission de développement du Nord-Ouest (MIDENO)
No Website available

MIDENO is composed of 10 research centres which aim to test the varieties developed by the public research institutes. For example, the Santa’s Centre is in charge of the testing of the new potato varieties, the Mbiyeh Centre tests the new maize varieties, etc.

No Website available

First, SODECOTTON evaluated the varieties from Chad. Nowadays, it works with IRAD to test its new varieties and more recently with PRASAC (Agronomical Research Center in Central Africa).

No Website available

This agro-industrial society of oil palm works with IRAD’s station of Dibamba. This station is specialized in oil palm breeding and in seed production. The ‘tenera’ hybrid, which came from the crosses between Dura and Pisifira, is the most famous.


Information by Joseph Kengue (2004) - Information based on the Cameroon's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 20-07-2009, GIPB