Cameroon signs landmark declaration on food security
Local authorities to play a more active role
27 May 2005, Rome - In a first agreement of its kind, Cameroon's local authorities have agreed to join forces in combating food insecurity in the country, FAO said today.
In the so-called Douala Declaration, the country's local authorities stated their determination to play a more active role in enhancing the food security of their local populations and improving the efficiency of food supply and distribution activities by private sector operators.
"The provinces play an important role in initiating and executing food security strategies and programmes," said Olivio Argenti, an FAO expert on urban food marketing working on local approaches to food security.
"They can create better conditions for the everyday operation of formal and informal supply and distribution activities. For example, by eliminating the obstacles faced by the transporters and the merchants, local authorities can facilitate the flow of agricultural products and drastically reduce marketing costs."
Among other things, the agreement emphasized that creation of work opportunities, particularly for young people in rural areas, is needed to fight poverty, improve food security and slow the rural exodus.
It also emphasised the need to strengthen hygiene at food production, storage and processing sites, as well as commercial spaces, to assure food safety.
Direct involvement of local authorities in food security matters at local level has been the aim of a number of initiatives by FAO in developing countries in recent years. FAO initiated the Douala agreement following ten years spent promoting this issue globally and locally. If funding permits similar initiatives in other countries will follow.
Information Officer, FAO
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