COMMUNES ET VILLES UNIES DU CAMEROUN :: UNITED COUNCILS AND CITIES OF CAMEROON

BUREAU NATIONAL :: National Office

FONFUKA

 
Mayor 
   

Description of the Council area

Bum Sub Division is located i

n Boyo Division with its headquarters in Fonfuka. The Sub Division has boundaries with Misaje Sub Division in the East, Wum sub division in the South, Belo and Fundong sub divisions in the West, Fundong and Furawa sub divisions in the North. The municipality is situated between latitudes 10 degrees 8 seconds and 10 degrees and 32 seconds east of Greenwich Meridian and between longitude 6 degrees and 23 seconds and 6 degrees 39 seconds North of the equator.

Number of villages and population

The Council area is made of 16 villages. The table below shows the villages and the population breakdown as provided by community members during the participatory village meetings that were organise to diagnose village problems. Official statistics put the population figure at 27,750 persons

Historitical profile

Before 1894 Lord Lugard the British Administrator introduced the local government system when Southern Cameroon was part of Nigeria. He divided Nigeria into the Northern and Southern regions. The Southern region included Southern Cameroon.

Councils were introduced in Southern Cameroon in about 1945 based on ethnic groups. The Tikari group that included Bum fell under South East Federation of councils with its administrative headquarters in Ndop. The chairman was the divisional officer of Bamenda who was a British man. In 1948 the administrative structure of the council was modified and the Wum Divisional council was created and headed by Mr Lucas Ncham from Biango in Kom.

Two years later in 1950, another modification of the council structure was introduced and the Kom Clan council or Kom Native Authority was created . The chairman was the divisional officer who was a British man. In 1963 the Kom_Bum caretaker council was created with it’s headquarter in Njinikom and its first officially appointed chairman was Mr Cyril Muteh Mbeh from Kom under West Cameroon. On July 15th 1968 the Cameroon Secretary of State for the Interior, Hon. B.T. Sakah, issued a revocation letter reference NO. WCLN. 145 that terminated the caretaker council and created the Kom_Bum council. The headquarters remained in Njinikom and the first officially appointed chairman was Mr S.C.Wainfoin from Kom.

In 1972 the council was renamed as Kom Bum council. The headquarters was moved to Fundong while Mr. S.C. Wainfoin remained as chairman. By 1978 Mr. Itoe was the divisional officer and the administrator of the council and its name was changed once more to Fundong Rural Council.

From 20th August 1982 to 20th July 1985 Mr. Solomon Prombo Pongong was the divisional officer and became the first Municipal Administrator under the new council law of 1972.

From 20th July 1985Mr. E. N. Ndi from Kom was the first Municipal Fundong Rural Council Administrator when the name of the council was changed once more to Fundong Rural council.

From November 6th 1987 to 1996 Mr. Francis C. Ngam from Kom was the second and last Municipal Administrator of Fundong Rural Council.

The Fonfuka council went operational in 1996 from a Presidential Decree. It was amongst the three new councils that were carved out from the then Fundong Rural Council that covered the whole of Boyo Division. The other councils created at the same time in the division include Njinikom Council and Belo Council.

Main potentials and resources of the Council

Topography

The council area is characterized by undulating hills some with large rocks, valleys and plains. The hills and valleys are characteristic features in the whole municipality while the plains are typical along the River Kimbi through Fonfuka Village and the Kimbi Game Reserve. Other plains are found in Konene, Buabua, and Subum. The highest elevation is about 2020m around the Saff, Sawi and Laka Bum hills and the lowest is 1000m around the Kimbi Plain. Many rivers and streams can be found in the whole of the municipality, which take their rise from the surrounding hills.

Climate

Fonfuka Council area has the equatorial rainforest climate, which is characterized by two distinct seasons; the rainy and the dry seasons. The dry season runs from October to March and is characterized by high temperatures. The rainy season begins in March and ends in October with its peak periods in July and August. It is characterized by low temperatures. It is worth noting that during the months of December and January, the air is very dry and cold in the morning and evening periods and very hot in the afternoon periods. This period between December and January is known as the harmattan. In general, the lowland areas are warmer than the highland areas. This explains why the temperature of Fonfuka village is warmer than that of Saff, Sawi, Lakabum and other villages located up in the highland areas.

Hydrology

The municipality is richly blessed with streams and two main rivers and their tributaries give rise to wetlands. Very prominent is River Kimbi, which is the main tributary of River Katsina Ala in Nigeria. River Kimbi flows from Noni through Mbuk, Kichowi, Ngunakimbi, Mulung and Fonfuka and Faat Kimbi. River Jongah flows through Buabua and Subum. Farming activities take place in the wetlands in which vegetables, maize, cocoyam, beans, etc are grown.

Soils

The main soil types found in this municipality include alluvial soils in the lowland, wetland areas and plains. In the hilly slopes the thin immature, young soils are common and underlined by the granite parent material with little organic materials. These soils are affected by heavy leaching. Humus or topsoil are found mostly in the valleys and hilltops and are good in the cultivation of potatoes, beans, maize, coco yams, groundnuts and vegetables.

Flora

The vegetation is mainly montane, sub-montane forest and domesticated sub-montane forest. The remnant of the forest has characteristic tree species like Nitia sp, Noxia sp, Sheflicia sp and Gnedia sp. The domesticated sub-montane landscape which now looks like grasslands are occupied mainly by grazers for the rearing of cattle, sheep, goats and horses. This landscape gives beautiful green touristic sceneries during the rainy seasons. In the dry seasons, they are almost bare due to the over exploitation by cattle and constant bush fire.

Forest resources

Some of the common timber species found include iroko, Maliana, aiele (bush plum), Maobi.

Non timber forest products (NTFP) include: Irvingnia (bush mango), njangsah and aiele (bush plum), kola nut. There is no official data on the type and quantity of NTFP resources found in the forest.

Kimbi Game Reserve

Kimbi Game Reserve was created in 1964 according to the West Cameroon Gazette No 30. It is located in Boyo Division in Bum Sub Division in the North West Region of Cameroon. The reserve is host to some tree, bird and animal species. No actual census has been carried out since the creation of the reserve; hence the need for management plans.

Farming

Farming is the top economic activity in Fonfuka Municipality. Above 95% of the population is engaged in farming. Food crops are cultivated far off the settlement area while cash crops are cultivated beside the settlement area. The men are involved in the cultivation of cash crops, which include mainly coffee (Arabic), plantains and palms for palm wine and oil production. Food crops are mostly cultivated by women and include potatoes, beans. Maize, coco yams, groundnut, soyabeans, etc. The farmlands are mostly in many fertile plains. The Subum people are spread across Buabua and Kimbi camps. Those from Kimbi have not got enough fertile land and are forced to go back and farm in Subum where they stay for a short while to clear, plant, harvest and return to Kimbi.

Grazing

This is a big contributor to the economy of Fonfuka council area. Large herds of livestock are owned by the Fulani/ Mbororo and Akus in this area. Grazing lands are found mostly in the hillsides. Most village conflicts are centered on farmer-grazer issues. This is because most grazing lands are not demarcated and leads to either the grazer encroaching into farmlands and or the farmer encroaching into the grazing land. This calls for concern from the administration and the council to look for a proper way of solving this problem.

Mineral Resources

Sand, stones and clay are some of the minerals that can be found in this area. However, the council is yet to exploit these minerals fully. Sand is exploited at the individual level. The other minerals like the quartz deposits that are said to be found in the area are not confirmed until a comprehensive survey is undertaken.

Description of potentials of the socio-economic milieu

Settlement

Three settlement patterns are found in this municipality namely: scattered, linear and nuclear settlements. Scattered Settlement are found in farmlands with dotted houses all over the place.

Most of the villages are in the form of linear settlements situated along the roadside. Buabua is a typical linear settlement where the camp for survivors of Lake Nyos disaster of 1986 was constructed on the road as well as Kimbi town, Mungong, Mbamlu and Mbuk. Nucleated settlement is found in Fonfuka. Being the divisional headquarters administrative offices and residence for workers has influenced the settlement pattern to take this form. The main markets and small markets have equally contributed to this type of settlement. Sawi and Lakabum are nucleated settlements.

Ethnic Groups

The Bum people as they are called have eleven main fondoms, clans, chiefdoms or villages. When we add the Aku, Hausa and Fulani, there are fourteen ethnic groups. There are also other ethnic groups like the Nso, Oku’s, Nkanchi’s and Wimbum’s whom because of nearness have migrated and settled there to farm. Other social interactions like marriages have also brought other tribes to the area like Meta, Bafut, Awing, Kom, etc. the Bum people interact widely with their neighbors and beyond following the Geographical layout, historical lineage and its socio-economic advantage.

Agriculture

Despite the importance of agriculture to the economy, many farmers still carry out subsistence farming with the main crop produced being maize. Other crops produced though in very small quantities are beans, cassava, cocoa yams, plantains, pine apples, vegetables (“Njamanjama”). The council area abounds with potential to produce all these crops in large qualities. Mix cropping is very common here as farmers seek to maximize land use. Farm sizes are generally small. The farms are usually made up of two to three small plots located in different places. There is little use of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides and production and productivity is very low. Cash crop production is limited to Robusta coffee with low quality of the beans and the price is very low and palm nuts for palm oil. The potential to produce palm oil, cocoa, in large quantities is there. Common problems include: poor soils, inaccessibility to modern farm tools and inputs, destruction of crops by domestic animals, farmer-grazer conflicts, unorganized markets, poor farm –market roads and low farm income.

Commerce

There are four main markets that operate at full potential once per week in the following order, Fonfuka, Kimbi, Subum and Konene. Traders visit these markets from the sub divisional villages and neighboring Mesaje, Nkambe and Fundong Sub Divisions. The Subum market is the largest weekly market in all and deals with cattle as well. Foodstuffs, meat, pigs, goats and chickens, palm oil are supplied while secondhand dresses, shoes, salt, rice, pots, buckets, beer, fish, etc are sold. The Fonfuka weekly market holds right into the late hours of the night. People drink and enjoy themselves. Fonfuka town has a functional small daily market. Small daily markets are common in each village.

The cattle markets in Konene and Subum coincide with the weekly market and attract a lot of dealers in cattle. The volume of cattle sold in the sub division is not known because no statistics are kept on the movement of cattle. A large number of cattle are moved to the major market in Bamenda where the price is better.

This is dominated by activities of the informal sector. Trade takes place in the markets described above. Cattle remains the most valuable commodity that leaves Bum Sub Division through Subum market and Konene market to Fundong, Bamenda, Bafoussam down to Douala and the South West Regions. “Bayam Sellams” travel to Bum and buy foodstuff at very low prices especially after the harvest season to Nkambe. Palm oil is locally produced but not much to satisfy outside demand. Most of the oil sold in Subum market comes from Zhoa, which is the major supplier. Secondhand dresses and other articles such as rice, salt, fish, soap, dresses, etc are bought from Bamenda, Kumbo and Nkambe to Bum for retailing.