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Improved 2013 Cereal Production for Cameroon

20 January 2014

CAMEROON - Harvesting of the 2013 second season maize crops is underway in bi-modal areas of the Centre and South.

Early season dryness in August delayed planting operations; however, rains resumed to near average levels in the following months, and a satisfactory harvest is anticipated.

Earlier in the year, the main season crops, harvested from June, received abundant precipitation during the planting and the growing period, with positive effects on yields.

In the unimodal North region, where sorghum and millet are predominantly grown, average to above average rainfall throughout the cropping period benefited crops, harvested in November.

As a result, in the absence of official forecasts, the 2013 aggregate cereal production is tentatively put at about 3.1 million tonnes, 5 per cent up on last year’s output and about 10 per cent above the average of the previous five years.

Chronic food insecurity in the northern regions due to recurrent climatic shocks

Since 2007, recurrent climate shocks have contributed to increased poverty and food insecurity in the North and Far-North regions. 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 persons, 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 May 2013, the region received, according to official authorities, more than 8 000 Nigerian refugees (of which, as of late November, only 5,289 were registered by UNHCR), while the 4,700 refugees received from early 2013 from Central African Republic are mainly hosted in the Eastern region.

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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