The Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO, says the levels of persistent food insecurity in Cameroon’s Far North, North-West and South-West Regions due to worsening violence, the influx of refugees and internal displacement is alarming.
In its Response overview, the organisation observes that, civil unrest continues to affect land preparation in the Far North as well as agricultural activities in the North-West and South-West, causing a significant decline in production.
However, the FAO has been scaling up its response in the country as well as working closely with the other Rome-based Agencies to develop a food security analysis platform led by the Government.
Worsening violence and conflict are forcing people from hundreds of destroyed villages to stay with host communities in the main towns and cities, or to hide in the forests. As a result, over 700 000 people are displaced in the country. The fear of attacks is preventing people from returning to their areas of origin and accessing their livelihoods, particularly farming.
Insecurity is having a serious impact on agricultural activities, affecting land preparation in the Far North. Despite overall favourable weather conditions, there was a significant decline in production in the North-West and South-West regions, which was caused by intensified conflict during the planting season.
Consequently, the total cereal production for 2018 is estimated at about 3 million tonnes – 4 percent below the five-year average. 1.1 million people projected to be severely food insecure (June–August 2019), while eight out of ten regions are affected by one of the three concurrent humanitarian crises.
FAO has been scaling up its work in the country, from deploying experts to quick-impact interventions to meet immediate needs and boost food production to enhancing longer-term technical assistance.
Providing an integrated response that incorporates humanitarian, development and peace/security-based activities is crucial to building social cohesion and responding to the specifics of each crisis – protracted displacement in the East, the arrival of additional refugees and violence in the North, and socio-political turmoil in the North-West and South-West regions.
In its response to date, 51,088 people have been reached in the Far North region. They include IDPs, refugees, returnees and host communities. The FAO distributed 11.3 tonnes of vegetable seeds, 41.75 tonnes of crop seeds, 520 sprayers, 24 970 bags of biopesticide and 350 tonnes of fertilizer. The organisation trained 53 ministry staff on nutrition and awareness raising who in turn trained 503 small-scale producers. The FAO trained 35 ministry staff on epidemiological data collection given the outbreak of equine epizootic disease.
In the North-West and South-West: 6000 people have been reached (IDPs and host communities). The FAO trained 19 enumerators, carried out a refresher training for 21 field agents on production itineraries for broilers and egg production.
It also distributed 10 000 pullets, 20 000 broilers, 100 tonnes of poultry feed and small material for the construction of 1 000 poultry units through which beneficiaries were able to harvest 1,355 eggs.
The FAO says 20 million US dollars is required to tackle food challenges this year, under its 2017-2020 Humanitarian response plan.
By: Nsoesie Peter
Mimi Mefo Info