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Deterioration of the food security situation expected in the Far North

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Cameroon
  • February 2018
Deterioration of the food security situation expected in the Far North

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The continuing security problems in the Far North have displaced 342,416 more people, increasing the size of the displaced population as of the end of 2016 by approximately 20 percent (OIM/DTM, December 2017). Most of these IDPs live with host communities and share the same resources. This competition is a contributing factor in the reduction in income from petty trade, small trades, and farm labor.

    • Dry season crop production, particularly sorghum and market garden crops, has been hurt by the reported rainfall deficit at the end of the rainy season. In addition, trade in market garden produce and large animals with neighboring Nigeria is slow due to the falling value of the naira against the CFA franc and the reduced flow of traffic on certain major trade routes.

    • With shortfalls in cereal production putting it approximately 21 percent below the five-year average, Far Northern areas of Cameroon are reporting atypical rises in staple food prices by approximately 45 percent in the case of sorghum and 26 percent in the case of maize. As a result, poor households and displaced populations with low food stocks have been having difficulty maintaining their food access, which put them in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of acute food insecurity in February. 





    • Approximately 621,021 IDPs and refugees, including 231,159 refugees from CAR and 85,140 refugees from Nigeria, are living in the country, mainly in the Far North, North, East, and Adamaoua Regions.
    • Continued suicide attacks in villages along the border with Nigeria. Attacks and looting by armed groups this past December in Mayo Tsanaga department, which had been considered a peaceful area.
    • The security situation in parts of the East and Adamaoua Regions along the border with the Central African Republic is equally unstable, marked by acts of banditry and thefts of livestock.

    Far North

    • Rise in staple cereal prices by 45 percent in the case of rainfed sorghum and 26 percent in the case of maize.
    • Smaller volume of dry season sorghum production with the premature end of the rains in September failing to create adequate water levels along streams and rivers for the planting of sufficient crops and their full and complete maturation.
    • Shortage of water for the proper maintenance of market garden crops in normal crop-producing areas along the Logone River and the eastern and western shores of Guere Lake.
    • Incursions by armed groups associated with Boko Haram into Maya-Tsanaga department.
    • Steady rise in prices, driving them above the average for the last four years.
    • Growing household demand on local markets with the premature depletion of household food stocks.
    • Reduction in income as a result of the lower prices of livestock and market garden crops and the saturation of the market for farm labor, for petty traders, and for small tradesmen in urban areas.
    • Continued unstable security situation, discouraging IDPs from returning to their homes and disrupting the flow of trade in crops and livestock with Nigeria and Chad.


    Armed groups associated with Boko Haram are continuing to cause outbreaks of violence in areas along the Nigerian border. This past December, there were reports of suicide attacks, abductions of civilians, and thefts of livestock in Maya Tsanaga department where the security situation was believed to have stabilized. In an effort to control the situation, Cameroonian security forces are confining refugees to camp sites and, on occasion, are spontaneously closing certain trade corridors (such as Fotokol and Banki). This is limiting exports of livestock and market garden produce and imports of crops (maize in particular) to and from Nigeria.

    The cumulative effects of this inauspicious environment and the below-average volume of rainy and dry season crop production are creating smaller than usual market supplies and driving prices above the average for the last four years. With the premature depletion of their food stocks by the month of March, the market dependence of poor and displaced households will trigger an atypical rise in staple food prices. Prices for rainfed sorghum crops on the Maroua market, for example, could rise by as much as 60 to 75 percent.

    Pastoralists hurt by regular animal thefts are also faced with falling prices for their livestock in general and large animals in particular. In fact, the lack of security and falling value of the Naira against the CFA franc have caused the Nigerian market to lose its buoyancy. In addition, livestock from Chad are boosting market supplies, while demand, mainly from cities in the south (Douala and Yaoundé), has slowed.

    Displaced and host populations are competing for other available sources of income such as the sale of fuelwood, petty trade, transportation services (motorbike taxi service), and farm labor, which is limiting typical income-generating options for these households.

    Planned deliveries of humanitarian assistance for this year should cover approximately 350,000 people, including the 59,479 refugees at the Minawao camp. Distributions of food assistance are currently concentrated in Logone and Chari departments, covering approximately 67,800 IDPs and refugees (60,996 people supported by the WFP, 5,000 by the ICRD, and 1,800 by Plan-Cameroon). Access to fresh dry season sorghum crops should continue to keep acute food insecurity at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels for poor households and displaced persons in all departments through the month of March.

    However, as was the case in 2017, gaps in humanitarian program funding could reduce the amount of food rations distributed to the country’s refugee population. The depletion of household food stocks by the month of April, the rising prices of staple foods, and the erosion of their livelihoods will curtail the market access of displaced persons (refugees and IDPs) as well as poor host populations for the purchasing of food supplies. Thus, 25 to 33 percent of poor households, including displaced persons, will be in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) if not a worse phase of acute food insecurity between April and September 2018.

    Figures Figure 1. Projected 2018 prices for (rainfed) sorghum crops in Maroua, in XAF/100 kg

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Projected 2018 prices for (rainfed) sorghum crops in Maroua, in XAF/100 kg

    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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