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The Far North is facing rising staple food prices in the wake of the production shortfall

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Cameroon
  • December 2017
The Far North is facing rising staple food prices in the wake of the production shortfall

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The far northern part of the country is facing shortfalls of approximately 20 to 30 percent in cereal and pulse production due to erratic rainfall activity (20 percent less than last year), fall army worm infestations (9623 hectares of crops affected), and damage by elephants (846 hectares of crops), (November 2017 Report by the Regional Department of Agriculture). There will also be below-average levels of off-season crop production due to the premature end of the rainy season.

    • Staple food prices for sorghum and maize have risen by an average of 19 and 23 percent, respectively, since the end of the season in October. Together with the shortfall in crop production, market disruptions, reflected by the closure of certain trade corridors due to security issues and “farm-gate” speculation by traders, are helping to drive up food prices.

    • Though not yet a cause for alarm, and still below reported threshold rates for the last four years, the global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate among children under five years of age is close to 4.5 percent (SMART survey of August-September 2017) in this region of the country with a displaced population of 335,016 people (equivalent to approximately 11 percent of the host population), of which 72 percent are internally displaced persons.

    • Besides the Nigerian refugees (59,479 people) living in camps, current and scheduled food and nonfood assistance for 2018 covers approximately 350,000 people. However, with the premature depletion of their food stocks, 25 to 33 percent of very poor populations (unassisted host populations, IDPs, and refugees not housed in camps) will be market-dependent by March. Their limited market access with price levels at around 22 percent above the five-year average will expose these poor populations to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) if not higher levels of acute food insecurity between April and May.





    ·    A displaced and refugee population of approximately 652,967 people living in the country, including 247,777 refugees from the Central African Republic and 90,728 refugees from Nigeria, concentrated mainly in the country’s Far Northern, Northern, Adamaoua, and Eastern regions

    • These numbers will not change with the current instability impeding voluntary return migration.
    • Rise in staple food prices in affected areas, driven by the expected production deficit in the Lake Chad Basin and the limited operation of local markets due to security issues

    Far North

    ·    Rising staple cereal prices

    ·    Shortage of water for irrigation and damage by elephants to market garden crops along the Logone River and on the Eastern and Western shores of Guere Lake

    • Continued terrorist threat, with frequent security incidents: suicide attacks and deadly armed incursions

    ·    Steady rise in prices to levels above the five-year average

    • Smaller local food supply due to the shortfall in crop production
    • Growing household demand on local markets with the premature depletion of household food stocks
    • Continued terrorist threat liable to limit normal market operations


    The lean season in this region normally begins sometime between May and June. With the reported shortfalls in crop production, most poor households (33 percent according to the EFSA of September 2016), including IDPs and refugees not living in camps, will deplete their food stocks by the month of March, at which point they will be market-dependent. FEWS NET believes that prices on the Maroua market could stay approximately 22 percent above the five-year average between March and May.

    In addition to crop production, these households earn most of their income from market gardening activities, casual labor, petty trade, and livestock-raising activities. The water shortage could limit their production capacity. Likewise, livestock will be facing a shortage of drinking water very soon and threats of animal theft or violence from terrorist groups could limit herd movements by transhumant livestock.

    In spite of the weakening power of armed groups, the number of IDPs is reportedly up by more than 20 percent from last year due to the frequent security incidents in the form of suicide attacks (in mosques and marketplaces) and deadly armed incursions by small groups. These groups steal livestock and loot shops and will occasionally raid their own former suppliers. In some cases, this will result in the temporary closure of certain corridors. Border areas pay the highest price.

    The Cereal Marketing Board based in Garoua, whose main role is to regulate cereal prices and stocks in northern regions of the country, is earmarking 18,000 metric tons of cereals for the replenishment of warehouse inventories in that region in 2018. In addition, scheduled humanitarian operations (mainly involving treatment programs for malnutrition, basic cash transfer programs, and the restocking of 40 food security storehouses) should cover approximately 350,000 people, including the 59,479 refugees at the Minawao camp.

    However, this assistance will not suffice to fully meet the needs of these refugees and IDPs, who, along with poor households in host communities, will likely be facing above-average price levels. Yet another problem is the lack of economic opportunities due to the security situation, with approximately 46 percent of this population earning a living from the small trades sector (retail trade, casual labor, transportation services, and the sale of wood and livestock). Thus, 25 to 33 percent of poor households, including displaced households, will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) if not higher levels of acute food insecurity between April and May 2018.

    Figures Figure 1:  Projected sorghum prices in Maroua

    Figure 1

    Figure 1: Projected sorghum prices in Maroua

    Source: FEWS NET


    Figure 2


    Source: FEWS NET

    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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