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In Nord-Ouest and Sud-Ouest regions, roadblocks disrupt trade and flows of food crops

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Cameroon
  • August 2019
In Nord-Ouest and Sud-Ouest regions, roadblocks disrupt trade and flows of food crops

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through January 2020
  • Key Messages
    • The deterioration of food access among poor households and IDPs in urban areas, alongside limited provision of assistance to displaced households in inaccessible areas, is resulting in  Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.

    • Household food stocks are likely to be exhausted earlier than normal in January/February for the second year in a row. Persistent conflict in these areas will continue to lead to a deterioration of livelihoods and limited food access among displaced household and poor host households, which will likely lead to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through January.

    • In the Extreme North, the agricultural season is progressing will and likely to lead to above-average production. However, in areas affected by Boko Haram attacks, harvests will remain below average. Looting of livestock and destruction of assets will continue to negatively affecte livehoods and Stress (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity is expected to continue in these areas through January.

    ZoneCurrent anomaliesProjected anomalies


    • The security situation has slightly improved despite the persistence of incursions and pillaging by Boko Haram in areas bordering Nigeria.

    • Prices for key stables such as sorghum and maize are 34% below the recent five-year average.

    • The threat of future Boko Haram attacks continues and could lead to additional displacement. However, recent security improvements in most areas should lead to some displaced households to return to their areas of origin.

    • Favorable seasonal progress and increases in provision of agricultural inputs should result agricutural production generally above the recent five-year average. As a result, cereal prices will likely remain below seasonally typical levels.

    Nord-Ouest et Sud-Ouest

    • The security situation remains unable due to continued conflict between security forces and armed separatist groups. Violence in populated areas continues to drive internal displacement, with the number of IDPs estimated at 530,000 in June 2019 (UNHCR, June 2019).

    • Insecurity is limiting agricultural activities and reducing trade between production areas and urban centers. This is leading to reductions in income among producers and higher prices on urban markets.

    • Conflict between security forces and armed separatist groups, destruction of property and increases in days closed for business are not likely to slow internal displacement.

    • Reductions in agricultural production, la mévente des cultures vivrières, exports at rates unfavorable to producers, illicit taxes, and unemployment caused by closures of businesses and cooperatives will continue to negatively affect livelihoods.


    • Boko Haram-related insecurity and attacks in Extrême-Nord and persistent conflict between security forces and armed separatist groups in English-speaking regions have driven a 16% increase in the number of IDPs (presently 794,000) since the beginning of 2019. The number of refugees from Nigeria (93,000) and Central African Republic (266,000) has remained generally stable.
    • Voluntary returns of displaced households could lead to decreases in the number of refugees in the coming months. So far in July, 5,719 refugees from CAR and 5,604 refugees from Nigeria in Minawao camp have stated their desire to return to their home countries (UNHCR, July 2019).

    Projected Outlook through January 2020

    Extrême-Nord Region

    The rainy season in Extrême-Nord Region began on time at the beginning of May. Periods of recurrent dryness in the following weeks led to the need for agricultural households in all departments to replant. However, rainfall become more regular starting in late June. As of then, the agricultural services estimated area planted at approximately 77% of normal, which was 10 percentage points less than at the same time in 2018. Nevertheless, as a whole, the season is progressing well with cereal crops at the grain-filling stage.

    Treatment is taking place in response to attacks of chenilles legionnaires on crops, mostly in Mayo Sava department. The current agricultural season has also benefitted from provision of improved seeds by FAO and CRS (2,072 MT) and distributions of small reminants (7,000 animals provided by the Livestock Development Project. Between August and October, above-average rainfall is expected (ACMAD, August 2019). Typical levels of destruction by pachydermes are expected in Goulfé,  Maltame, and Kalfou  districts. As a whole, agricultural production is expected to be similar to last year and higher than the recent five-year average.

    The security situation remains unstable with continued attacks by Boko Haram in the islands of Lake Chad and in localities located along the border with Nigeria, such as Fotokol, Hilé-Alifa, Darak and Mayo-Moskota. In early July, these attacks resulted in the displacement of 1,533 people in the locality of Zheleved in Moskota, in Mayo Tsanaga department.

    Demand on markets for staple foods is at typical levels as households still retain stocks of cereals from last year. Supply on markets is higher than normal, leading to a decrease in prices (43% for sorghum and 35% for maize) compared to last year and the five-year average. During the next 7 months, prices for rainfed sorghum on Maroua market are likely to remain approximately 25% below the five-year average for the same time of year. At the time of peak demand for livestock for Tabaski, animal prices were higher than last year, by 43% for bulls, 70% for rams, and 79% for goats. These increases have contributed to improvements in livestock to cereal terms of trade for households. The sale of one bouc currently would allow a household raising livestock to purchase one bag of maize or one to two sacs of rainfed sorghum.

    Distribution of emergency food and cash assistance is reaching 55,000 refugees in Minawao camp and approximately 11% of refugees and displaced individuals off site. In areas where the security situation is relatively calm, lower-than-normal staple food prices and the availability of vegetables and harvests of maize are improving food access. However, in areas affected by Boko Haram attacks, displaced households and displaced households are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.

    The availability of new harvests starting in September will further improve household food security. However, households directly affected by conflict will face lower than normal harvests due to limitations on agricultural activities. Thefts of livestock will also continue to affect households’ access to food and cash income. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to continue through January in these areas.

    Nord-Ouest and Sud-Ouest Regions

    In recent months, the security situation in Nord-Ouest and Sud-Ouest departments has remained concerning, with approximately 30 conflict incidents occurring each month as fighting continues between security forces and armed non-state forces (Figure 2). Violence in populated areas, destruction of property, and the closure of businesses for days at a time are causing displacement, limiting agricultural activities, and negatively affecting commercial trade in the area.

    Although slight to moderate rainfall deficits have persisted throughout the season, the distribution of rainfall has been generally favorable for crop production except in Mamfe and Kumba departments, which could see reductions in maize and bean crop yields due to dry spells that occurred during the flowering stage of crop development.

    Aside from agricultural households facing reduced access to their fields, increasing numbers of non-working days are likewise reducing income for laborers. In addition, agricultural labor opportunities are rare and wage rates are higher than normal, particularly in areas where access is difficult. For example, the daily labor rate in the cocao plantations has surpassed 3,500 FCFA per day, compared to a typical level of 2,500 FCFA per d day. Together, these effects are likely to result in reductions in production of staple and export crops compared to pre-conflict levels. 

    Early harvests of vegetables and potatoes have been ongonig since May and green maize is also available. However, rural production areas are facing difficulty due to the poor state of roads, threats, and raquettes by armed groups, as well as roadbloacks put in place by armed groups and resident populations. As a result, staple foods are available, but the sell-off of agricultural products at lower than normal prices is hurting overall producer income and limiting their access to imported products and animal product, which households are replacing with consumption of wild animals. In the Ndob production basin, a 20kg sack of white maize and red beans sell for 1,700 and 6,000 FCFA, respectively, while on Mamfe market, they sell for 5,000 and 10,000 FCFA, respectively.

    In the urban areas hosting IDPs, staple food prices are higher than normal due to limits on supply from rural areas. Supply of imported rice, which represents at least 80 percent of the rice consumed, is limited on local markets. On urban markets, a 50 kg sack that normally costs between 18,000 and 19,000 FCFA is currently selling for between 21,000 and 30,000 FCFA.

    Production chains for exported products are also facing difficulty. The lack of maintenance of plantations and poor transformation conditions are reducing the quality of cocoa and coffee grains. In addition, in the Nord-Ouest production basin, certain producers still have prior year stocks that have lost their value on markets. The absense of foreign companies are leading these producers to sell their products to lower buyers at prices lower than those officially set.

    Despite the availability of fresh harvests, poor and displaced households in urban and inaccessible areas are depending on assistnace due to difficult markets access that is forcing them to reduce the quantity and quality of foods consumed. During the last month, assistance reached 13 and 22% of displaced persons, respectively, in Nord-Ouest and Sud-Ouest, but this coverage represents less than 5% of the overall population in these areas. As a result, these populations are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity.

    Food stocks for poor households, which typically last for approximately 10 months between July and April in a normal year, are likely to be exhaused earlier than normal in January/February. This due to a combination of below-average production and the need to sell more agricultural products at reduced prices in order to pay for their children’s school fees outside the conflict areas. Continued conflict is likely to lead to a further deterioration of livelihoods and limit food access among poor and displaced households in urban areas and among displaced households in areas where humanitarian access is difficult. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to continue in these areas through at least January 2020.


    Figure 1

    Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique/Extreme nord

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Price projections for rainfed sorghum in Maroua

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Monthly number of conflict incidents in Northwest and Southwest Regions

    Source: ACLED

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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