Cameroon: Famine looms over Far-North region

We must be aware and concerned about the risk of famine that currently looms over the northern part of Cameroon. Resulting from low rainfall and disrupted farming, caused by Boko Haram’s attacks, this threat must be tackled by taking appropriate measures, to prevent families in the region to experience an unprecedented food crisis. These were the words of Cavaye Yéguié Djibril, president of the national assembly, on November 14, 2017, during the opening of the budget session in Yaoundé.

Subsequent to the president’s address, a visit to Maroua’s markets on December 26 has revealed that a bag of millet, which cost between CFA16,000 and CFA18, 000 at this same period last year, now costs between CFA30, 000 and CFA35,000. This was disclosed by l’œil du Sahel, the regional newspaper published three times weekly.

In the same wake, according to local sources, prices of corn and sorghum have substantially increased. A bag of corn is now between CFA20,000 and CFA22,000 in Maroua, Kaïkaï, Maga, and Yagoua. The bag of sorghum cost about CFA28,000.

Farmers and agriculture experts point low rainfall as the main reason for the increase in the price of these cereals which are staple foods in the three northern regions.

Indeed, according to official sources, in 2017, the rainfall in Far-north was 516 mm, while in 2016, it was 606 mm. So, experts think that due to this, it was not possible to meet forecasts of the ministry of agriculture and rural development, regarding cereal production, knowingly 1.210 million tons during the 2016-2017 campaign (against 700,000 tons in 2015-2016).

However, the decrease in production is not solely due to bad weather. Indeed, since 2013, this part of the country suffers multiple attacks from Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist sect.

These attacks have two main consequences on agro-pastoral activities. First, because of the insecurity, many farmers fled their villages and farms. Secondly, the exactions of Boko Haram in Nigeria have led to influxes of refugees in the northern part of Cameroon.

These hundreds of thousands of refugees are fed by the World Food Organization (WFO) which buys the cereals locally, thus exerting pressure on an already insufficient production.
Source: Business in Cameroon

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