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  Cameroon

Reference Date: 29-March-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Concerns over upcoming 2019 cropping season in Far North, Northwest and Southwest regions due to conflict

  2. Cereal production in 2018 estimated at below average levels due to decline in production in Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions

  3. Prices of maize in Far North stabilized due to recent harvests and overall decline in cross border trade

  4. Alarming food insecurity conditions persist in Far North, Northwest and Southwest regions due to refugee influx and internal displacements

Concerns over upcoming 2019 cropping season in Far North, Northwest and Southwest regions due to insecurity

According to satellite based imagery, seasonal rains started at the beginning of March in southern parts of the country, allowing the timely sowing of the main 2019 maize crop. In the uni-modal rainfall areas of the North, planting of sorghum and millet is expected to begin in May.

In the Far North Region, land preparation continues to be affected by civil unrest, which spread from neighbouring Nigeria in late 2014. Similarly, in the Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions, agricultural operations continue to be severely affected by the persisting civil unrest that erupted in October 2016.

Below average crop production obtained in 2018

In the bi-modal rainfall areas of the Centre and South, harvesting of the second season crops was completed in January 2019, while the main season harvest was concluded in October 2018. In northern uni-modal areas in North and Far North regions, where sorghum and millet crops are predominantly grown, harvesting of the 2018 crops was concluded last November. Despite overall favourable weather conditions, there was a significant decline in production in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions, which was caused by intensified conflict at planting time. Consequently, the total cereal production for 2018 is estimated to be at about 3 million tonnes, about 4 percent below the five-year average.

Staple food prices remain stable in Far North

According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in 2019 is forecast to remain around 1 percent, similar to the previous three years. The low inflation rates are due, to some extent, to the implementation of a tighter monetary policy (raising interest rates to slow down economic growth) as well as the adoption of the CFA Franc currency, which leads to less expensive and increased imports from neighbouring countries and consequent significant upward pressure on domestic food supplies and prices. In addition, in the Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions, due to poor supplies following below average harvests, market prices have risen significantly since January last year. By contrast, in the Far North Region, reduced seasonal demand for market supplies, as households consume their recently harvested 2018 crops as well as the overall decline in cross border demand from neighbouring Nigeria (northeastern parts of the country), has further contributed to generally subdued price levels.

Escalation of conflict in North and Southwest regions is expected to aggravate an already alarming food security situation

The deterioration of civil security due to the Boko Haram armed forces has resulted in the displacement of about 254 000 people in the Far North Region and an influx of more than 138 000 refugees from Nigeria as of end-January 2019. In the Northwest and Southwest regions, the ongoing crisis erupted in October 2016 due to perceived marginalization and resistance to the assimilation of the English-speaking minority to the French-speaking majority. The violence has since escalated leading to the loss of livelihoods and, as of January 2019, about 444 000 people have been displaced. The overall deterioration of the food security situation has caused a substantial and increasing number of households to resort to negative coping strategies. According to UN-OCHA, as of February 2019, about 4.3 million people in the country are estimated to be in need of urgent assistance.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.