Around 70 percent of Cameroon’s 23 million people rely on agriculture for survival, but those living in the North and Far North regions struggle with crop production due to poor soil quality and limited rainfall. Over 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, experiencing high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition. Access to healthcare, education and clean water is limited.
The situation has been made worse by four successive years of flooding from 2009 to 2012, and by the Sahel drought crisis in 2012, during which 400,000 people needed urgent food supplies. Severe flooding then damaged homes and plantations, leaving many families homeless. High rates of crop failure have left many people with small or non-existent food stocks for the lean season, widening the gap between food production and national needs. Fragile political and security conditions in neighboring countries have put further strain on Cameroon’s limited resources owing to an influx of 87,000 refugees.
Acute malnutrition continues to be prevalent in the northern regions, affecting 5.5 and 6.3 percent of those in the North and Far North regions respectively. Chronic malnutrition levels in these regions are critical, at 43.3 and 44.8 percent respectively. School attendance rates sit at 77.6 percent for girls and 88.6 percent for boys, but in the rural north just 15 percent of adults have completed their primary school education. Only 5 percent of women have had access to basic education.
WFP’s work in Cameroon aims to promote food security and rural development, in particular reducing rates of acute malnutrition among young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. As well as providing emergency food supplies to those who need them most, we also support the basic education of girls.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Cameroon
WFP has been providing food supplies to over 300,000 people affected by the Sahel drought crisis and subsequent flooding in the northern regions. Our aim is to distribute food to prevent hunger, and to reduce acute malnutrition rates among babies, young children, and pregnant and nursing women. WFP also helps 107,500 people through the pre-harvest lean season.
WFP provides long-term food assistance to refugees from several of Cameroon’s neighbouring countries, including Chad, Central African Republic and Nigeria, where security deteriorated in 2013 due to escalating conflict and tensions.
Reducing disaster risk
WFP also supports host communities affected by climate change-related crises, with the aim to strengthen their resilience to disasters by building assets such as granaries and providing training in food storage techniques.
WFP provides school meals to 55,000 children in rural primary schools each year, encouraging school attendance.