Cameroon + 2 more

GIEWS Country Brief: Cameroon 08-March-2016

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  • Concerns over upcoming 2016 cropping season in Far North Region

  • Reduced 2015 crop production in Far North Region due to erratic rainfall and civil insecurity

  • Low inflation rates in recent years

  • Food security situation sharply deteriorated in 2015 due to massive refugee influx and internal displacements

Concerns over upcoming 2016 cropping season in Far North Region, strong livelihood support required

In bi‑modal rainfall areas of the Centre and the South, planting of the 2016 maize crop started recently. According to remote sensing analysis, the onset of the rainy season was timely, with southern areas beginning to receive rains in the third dekad of February (see Estimated precipitation map). In the uni‑modal North, planting of sorghum and millet is expected to begin in May. However, agricultural operations continue to be severely affected by civil unrest which spread from neighbouring Nigeria in late 2014 and resulted in displacement of people, caused input shortages and depleted households’ productive assets that were already inadequate, due to recurrent climatic shocks which have eroded the resilience capacity of a large number of households. As a result, a reduced agricultural output for the second consecutive year is likely and a timely and effective support to the agricultural sector is required to mitigate the extent of the impact of the protracted and widespread insecurity on the agricultural sector.

FAO is appealing for USD 3.4 million to support vulnerable households affected by the Boko Haram insurgency and the households affected by natural disasters with improved seeds, tools and fertilizers.

Reduced 2015 crop production in Far North Region due to erratic rainfall and civil insecurity

In several bi-modal rainfall areas of the Centre and the South, harvesting of the 2015 second season crops was completed last January, while the main season harvest was concluded in October 2015. According to satellite-based analysis, abundant rains from March to May were followed in parts by erratic and below-average rainfall from June to September, with a negative impact on long‑cycle main season crops and early‑planted second season crops. Subsequently, adequate precipitation in October and November benefited second season crops. According to remote sensing analysis, vegetation conditions in late November, immediately before the harvest, were good. In northern uni-modal areas (North and Far North regions), where sorghum and millet crops are predominantly grown, harvesting of 2015 crops was concluded in November. Early season dryness in April and May caused a delay in planting operations and negatively affected crop establishment. Average to above-average rainfall in the following months reduced moisture deficits; however, as of September, remote sensing analysis still indicated below‑average vegetation conditions in parts (see ASI map). In addition, in the Far North Region, civil insecurity severely disrupted agricultural activities and caused a reduction in the planted area. According to the Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) carried out by WFP in June 2015, 60 percent of farmers in the region indicated major land access constraints because of civil insecurity. Official production estimates are not yet available.

Low inflation rates in recent years

According to the IMF, the average inflation rate, which was estimated at a low of 2 percent in 2015, is forecast to slightly increase to 2.1 percent in 2016. In the last several years, rates of inflation were highly volatile, varying from a low of 1 percent in 2007 to 5 percent in 2008 and then declining to 3 percent in 2009 and to 1 percent in 2010. Rates rose again in 2011 to 3 percent, before progressively declining to 1.9 percent in 2014.

Food security situation sharply deteriorated in 2015 due to refugee influx and internal displacements

Local resources in northern and eastern regions have been put under added strain by the arrival of large numbers of refugees from neighbouring Nigeria and Central African Republic (CAR). As of late January 2016, the number of refugees from CAR, who sought refuge mainly in Cameroon’s East and Adamaoua regions after a surge in sectarian violence in December 2013, were estimated at about 138 000. Taking into account the refugees who had entered the country in earlier waves since 2004 to escape rebel groups and bandits, the total number of refugees from CAR residing in Cameroon is currently put at about 267 000. Refugees from Nigeria, who entered the country following the serious deterioration of the security situation in Borno State in June 2013, were estimated at about 71 000 in late January 2016 and are located in the Far North Region. In addition, civil unrest spread from Nigeria into the region and caused the displacement of 158 000 Cameroonians. The overall food security situation has sharply deteriorated in 2015 due to multiple shocks, including the influx of refugees from CAR and Nigeria, increasing civil insecurity and natural hazards. The number of food insecure people was estimated in February 2016 at 2.4 million, more than twice the level of June 2015. The area most affected by food insecurity is the Far North Region, where according to an EFSA conducted in September last year, 35 percent of the population is food insecure. In this region, 32 percent of IDPs and 22 percent of the local population have exhausted their food stocks and the percentage of households relying on humanitarian assistance increased from 6 percent in 2014 to 33 percent in 2015. IDPs are the most vulnerable group, with an increasing number resorting to negative coping strategies. An estimated 75 percent of IDPs have engaged in “crisis” and “urgency” strategies such as the reduction of non‑food essential expenses, sale of productive assets and begging.