In Cameroon, approximately 2,940,807 individuals, representing 10.6% of the country's population, faced acute food and nutritional insecurity between October and December 2023. This data, unveiled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Minader) on December 11th, indicates a rise from the previous session (around 2.4 million people affected).
Minader Gabriel Mbairobe announced during a presentation of the Harmonized Framework of Zones at Risk and Identification of Food and Nutritionally Insecure Populations in Cameroon, held in Yaoundé on Monday, December 11th. Development partners also attended the event.
Minister Gabriel Mbairobe attributes this predicament primarily to the ongoing security crisis in the English-speaking regions, exacerbated by surging food prices and the ripple effects of external crises, notably the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, which poses a grave threat to global food security. The situation has notably worsened in ten of the country's administrative departments. Notably, the North-West and South-West regions, mired in a socio-political crisis since late 2016, house eight of the departments where populations are presently grappling with food insecurity in Cameroon.
However, Minister Mbairobe stressed that no department or region has reached an emergency situation. In response to these challenges, the document puts forth a set of recommendations for the government to implement, to safeguard livelihoods and mitigate deficits in food consumption.
He underscored the government's ongoing initiatives, notably the execution of an import-substitution policy. This strategic approach is designed to buttress the prices of fertilizers and pesticides for small-scale producers, a group that contributes significantly, amounting to 80%, to the country's overall food production. Additionally, concerted efforts are underway to rebuild and fortify the means of production in crucial sectors such as maize, millet, sorghum, cassava, plantain, potatoes, and market gardening.
The measures recommended to promote food security include "providing improved seeds and small agricultural equipment to these populations and strengthening the conservation and processing of agricultural products to reduce post-harvest losses. This will require the construction or acquisition of cold rooms and small processing units for the various production basins," he said, in remarks reported by national radio.