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Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity in the Northwest and Southwest during the lean season

  • Key Message Update
  • Cameroon
  • March 2021
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity in the Northwest and Southwest during the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Cameroon has recorded a peak in the number of new cases of COVID-19, with average daily new cases of around 2,000 in March 2021, which corresponds to the peak reached in July 2020. The government is strengthening COVID-19 prevention measures nationally, such as social distancing, wearing face masks, restricting gatherings and movements, and mandatory screening at all points of entry, while aiming for the acquisition of vaccines to be administered on a voluntary basis. These measures continue to limit economic activities and employment, particularly in the informal sector in urban areas, which has a negative impact on the access of poor urban households to daily income. However, unlike the same time last year when staple food prices increased following new COVID-19 restrictions, current prices have remained broadly stable.

    • The onset of the rains in March favored the timely planting of corn, beans and tubers in the southern part of the country. However, the ongoing conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions continues to limit access to fields and maintains prices of fertilizers and improved seeds above average. More and more poor households in these regions continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes during the lean season, due to their heavy dependence on markets for food, in addition to high staple food prices and low purchasing power.

    • In the Far North region, off-season harvests are supplementing existing food stocks for poor households. Current sorghum prices in major markets have fallen by 25-35 percent compared to previous months. However, staple grains are currently selling for 15 to 20 percent more than the same time last year, due to below-average supplies of stocks from Chad following the border closure, the increased smuggling to Nigeria and a slight decline in maize production in the northern region due to a longer drought period last year. Recent Boko Haram / ISWAP attacks continue to disrupt typical livelihood activities, exposing poor households in Mayo Sava and Logone & Chari to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity.

    • The concentration of refugees from the Central African Republic in Mbere and Kadey departments continues to drive above-average prices amid declining incomes due to competition for employment opportunities and natural resources, driving Stressed (Phase 2 IPC) acute food insecurity. The closure of the main roads connecting the Central African Republic since December 2020 disrupts cross-border trade and transhumance and increases current food prices by 20 to 30 percent on average in the main border towns.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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