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Abundant Precipitation During Main 2013 Cropping Season in Cameroon

16 October 2013

CAMEROON - Harvesting of the 2013 main season and the planting of the second season maize crops are underway concurrently in several bi-modal rainfall areas of the Centre and South.

FAO reports that abundant precipitation during March to July, the main season planting and growing period, benefited crops. On the other hand, below average rainfall in August and September may have negatively impacted planting activities of second season crops, for harvest in December/January, and rainfall amounts and distribution in the coming months will be crucial for crop development and performance.

In the unimodal North, where sorghum and millet are predominantly grown, harvest is underway: crops benefited from abundant rainfall throughout the planting and the growing period (May-September) and a satisfactory output is expected.

As a result, in the absence of official estimates, preliminary forecast for 2013 cereal production is tentatively put at about 3 100 million tonnes, 5 per cent up on last year’s output and about 10 per cent above the average of the previous five years.

Inflation rates forecast to remain stable in 2013

According to the IMF, the average inflation rate is forecast to remain stable at about 3 per cent in 2013. In the last several years, rates of inflation were highly volatile, varying from a low of 1 per cent in 2007 to 5 per cent in 2008 then declining to 3 per cent and 1 per cent in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Rates rose again in 2011 to 3 per cent, stabilizing in 2012.

Chronic food insecurity in the north due to recurrent climatic shocks

Since 2007, recurrent climate shocks have contributed to increased poverty and food insecurity in the North and Far-North. In 2008 and 2009, both regions were affected by drought while in 2009 and 2010 floods and a cholera epidemic resulted in devastation. More recently, the Logone and Chari departments (Far North region) have suffered in 2012 from the lingering effects of a severe cereal production shortfall caused by the drought conditions which prevailed in 2011. In addition, both Far North and North regions bore the brunt of flooding in September 2012, which affected 60 000 individuals, caused damage to crops and population displacement. In September 2013, heavy rains caused the rupture of two dams along the Logone river in the Far North region resulting in the evacuation of 9 000 individuals. In addition, since December 2012, the region received more than 5 000 refugees from the Central African Republic.

According to the findings of the 2011 comprehensive food security and vulnerability assessment (CFSVA), in the North and Far-North food insecurity has the highest incidence, with 15 per cent and 18 per cent of households, respectively, suffering from a chronic lack of adequate food (compared to a national average of 9.6 per cent) affecting approximately 615 000 people. The North and Far-North also have the highest rates of severe food insecurity, 3.7 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively. The nutritional situation is also critical in these regions, which have the highest global acute malnutrition rates: 10.2 per cent of children in the North and 11.8 per cent in the Far North suffer from stunting (compared to a national average of 6 per cent).These figures are beyond the critical thresholds, and are comparable to some countries in the Sahel.

In response, the Government launched the “Strategy for Growth and Employment 2010-2020” programme which aims to modernize the productive system, particularly the agricultural sector, and to enhance human development through improved health, training and social protection.

WFP in close cooperation with the Government launched the “Country Programme 2013-2017” in late 2012. The country programme will assist 781 850 beneficiaries through the establishment of community grain stocks and nutritional support for vulnerable groups. The food aid will be provided by the Government, with FAO providing technical assistance on managing cereal stocks. The cost of the operation will amount to about USD 21 million, while the Government will provide additional USD 6 million.

TheCropSite News Desk

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