Skip to main content

Improved food security outcomes expected in the Far North as harvest begins

  • Key Message Update
  • Cameroon
  • September 2023
Improved food security outcomes expected in the Far North as harvest begins

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Most areas in the northern zone are expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity until January 2024. Household food supplies are improving with the start of dry harvesting of sorghum, maize, and legumes in September, and household stocks are likely to last for at least five months given average production. The moderate El Nino observed over previous months did not have a significant impact on the 2023/24 season. Additionally, many households now have near-normal access to in-kind wages for harvesting. Local markets are also receiving freshly harvested stocks, leading to typical seasonal price decreases. In Maroua, a reference market in the Far North region, groundnut, and maize prices have dropped by an average of 18 percent compared to August. However, prices for sorghum, locally harvested rice, and cowpea remain high due to production declines in conflict-affected areas and persistent demand from Nigeria. 
    • Area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are ongoing in the Far North but are expected to transition to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in October as dry harvesting progresses. Production prospects are low in Logone-et-Chari, Mayo-Sava, and Mayo-Tsanaga divisions, where Islamist forces have continued to attack civilians, looting and abducting. As per ACLED's records, 52 percent more incidents were reported from April to August 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Although household food availability and diversity have improved with newly harvested staples, many households still struggle to access imported rice and essential non-food items due to below-average incomes from crop sales and labor. In areas with rainfall deficits and expected harvesting delays, such as Mokolo, Mayo Moskota, Blangoua, and Tokombéré districts, households are expected to rely on green maize and vegetables, while others will have to buy dry grains.
    • Meanwhile, harvesting of the main season crops has been completed across the southern zone, and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes will likely persist through January 2024. Households in regions unaffected by conflict or insecurity should be able to maintain their food consumption by consuming their own-produced stocks. Although no official estimates are available yet, FEWS NET and agricultural stakeholders estimate a near-average national production thanks to an average to above-average rainfall during the growing season. Seasonal availability of food and income is expected to increase to average levels due to the main cereal harvests between July and September and irrigated rice and off-season maize in November and December. Roots and tubers harvesting is ongoing and will continue until December. Improved market supplies will continue driving seasonal price declines through November, benefiting poor urban households that depend on markets for food purchases. Nevertheless, the prices of food and essential non-food items are expected to remain above average due to high transportation costs, straining the purchasing power of poor households.
    • Widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected from October in the Northwest and Southwest regions, as ongoing conflict and insecurity limit trade and agricultural activities. A two-week lockdown imposed by Separatist fighters in September to boycott school resumption led to more population displacements and further disrupted access to sources of food and income. Additionally, prices of harvested foods in key markets remain significantly higher than last year and the five-year average. Prices failed to decrease seasonally during the harvesting period. For example, in Bamenda and Fundong (NW), the cost of maize remained steady from July to the second week of September and atypically increased by 14 percent in Nkambe. In the southwest region, maize prices in all markets increased by an average of 35 percent during the harvest. Own-harvested stocks for many poor households are expected to be very low or depleted by October, compared to February/March in a typical year. As prices continue rising, households may resort to negative coping strategies such as reducing meal frequency and portion sizes.
    • In Mbere (Adamawa) and Kadey and Lom et Djerem (East), many households will continue to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, with worst-off households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until January 2024. The presence of a significant number of refugees from the Central African Republic, many of whom have limited access to land for cultivating their own crops, has been driving high demand and prices for food during and after the harvests. Additionally, high fuel and transportation costs have exerted additional pressure on the prices of food and essential non-food items, causing further stress to refugee and host-population households.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Cameroon Key Message Update September 2023: Improved food security outcomes expected in the Far North as harvest begins, 2023.

    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top