Property Rights, Production Technology and Deforestation: Cocoa in Cameroon
32 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2004
Date Written: March 2005
In this paper, we use a vintage-capital model with risk of eviction to assess cocoa farmers' response to changes in their tenure security and to the introduction of a new, faster-maturing cocoa variety. The model is calibrated with data from Cameroon in calendar year 2000, and then used to simulate the effects of institutional and technical change on farmer welfare and deforestation rates. Our findings can be summarized in three points. First, improved tenure security over cocoa fields increases farmers' consumption and welfare, but at the expense of more deforestation. Second, the introduction of new cocoa varieties with faster maturity and higher input response also unambiguously raises farmers' consumption and welfare. Doing so increases deforestation under insecure land tenure, but slows down deforestation under secure land tenure. Third, when introducing the two innovations together (more security and also new varieties), there is both an increase in welfare and a decline in deforestation. In sum, the availability of new cocoa cultivars calls for stronger tenure security, to accelerate investment and reduce deforestation.
Keywords: Cameroon, tree-crops, land-tenure, forest-use
JEL Classification: Q15, Q16
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