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GIEWS Country Brief: Cameroon 03-April-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Concerns over upcoming 2020 cropping season in Northwest and Southwest regions due to insecurity

  • Near‑average crop production obtained in 2019

  • Staple food prices at low levels in Far North Region

About 2.6 million people estimated to be severely food insecure

Concerns over upcoming 2020 cropping season in Northwest and Southwest regions due to insecurity Seasonal rains started on time at the beginning of March in southern parts of the country, allowing the beginning of planting activities of the 2020 main season maize crop, to be harvested from July. In the uni‑modal rainfall areas of the North, planting of sorghum and millet is expected to begin in May.

Insecurity and displacements in the Northwest and Southwest regions are expected to continue affecting agricultural activities and limit farmers’ access to fields.

Near‑average crop production obtained in 2019

In the bi‑modal Centre and South regions, harvesting of the 2019 secondary season maize crop was completed in January 2020, while the main season maize harvest was concluded in September 2019. In the uni‑modal North and Far North regions, where sorghum and millet crops are predominantly grown, harvesting of the 2019 crops finalized last November. Adequate and well‑distributed rains during the season, coupled with a slight increase in plantings, resulted in a near‑average national cereal output in 2019, estimated at about 3.4 million tonnes.

In Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions, persisting civil unrest disrupted agricultural practices and hampered farmers’ access to land. In these regions, production of crops in 2019 is estimated well below the five‑year average level.

In the Far North Region, despite the civil unrest that spread from neighbouring Nigeria since late 2014, the 2019 cereal output is estimated at near‑average levels due to overall favourable weather conditions and a slight increase in planted area. However, below‑average outputs were obtained in the districts of Zina, Maga, Gobo and Kai Kai, along the Lagone river, where excessive cumulative precipitation amounts in September and October 2019 caused flooding with damage to standing crops and harvested grains.

Staple food prices at low levels in Far North Region

In the Far North Region, food prices followed a decreasing trend in the last quarter of 2019 as demand for marketed supplies seasonally declined during the harvest period. In January 2020, prices for maize and sorghum were about 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively, lower than the average levels reached in the same month over the last five years, amid the favourable outputs obtained. By contrast, in Northwest and Southwest regions, between November 2019 and January 2020, prices of maize rose by about 20 percent in urban centres, due to low supply and high demand following reduced harvests.

About 2.6 million people estimated to be severely food insecure Conflict remains the major driver of food insecurity as it affects households’ livelihoods and access to food, significantly disrupting agricultural activities and triggering the increase in staple food prices. In Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions, fighting between security forces and separatist armed groups persists since its eruption in October 2016.

The security situation remains precarious also in Far North Region, where incursions of Boko Haram increased between November 2019 and January 2020 resulting in new population displacements. As of end‑January, about 680 000 people were estimated to be internally displaced in Northwest and Southwest regions and 297 000 in Far North Region, about 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, above the number estimated in October 2019.

According to the March 2020 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis , about 2.6 million people (11 percent of the population) were estimated to be severely food insecure (“Cadre Harmonisé” Phase 3 or higher) in the first quarter of 2020. About 45 percent of severely food insecure people is located in Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions.