A politically stable and peaceful country, Cameroon still faces serious challenges in achieving Zero Hunger and eradicating malnutrition by 2030 as required by Sustainable Development Goal 2. The country ranks 153 out of 188 in the 2016 Human Development Index and 39 percent of its people live under the poverty line.
Poverty has a strong regional dimension. It is mostly concentrated in rural areas and specifically in the northernmost and eastern regions, where structural underdevelopment and recurring climatic hazards have limited opportunities for communities to thrive and break out of the poverty trap. The Far North, North, Adamaoua and Eastern regions are frequently exposed to food crises and climate shocks, including floods and droughts. These, combined with poor road infrastructure, land degradation, outdated agricultural practices, high post-harvest losses and fragmented markets, severely limit people’s access to sufficient nutritious food.
The arrival of refugees driven into Cameroon by conflicts in northeast Nigeria and in the Central African Republic, and the internal displacement of people caused by Boko Haram activities in the Far North region are putting additional strains on already vulnerable communities.
As a result of multiple shocks and stresses, including pressure from insecurity and displacement, the overall food security situation sharply deteriorated in 2015 and 2016, with the proportion of food insecure people in the four most vulnerable regions spiking from 19 to 24 percent.
Chronic malnutrition remains a public health issue, with 32 percent of children under 5 suffering from stunting. The prevalence of stunting is above the national average in Far North (42%), North (34%), Adamaoua (38%) and East (36%). High malnutrition rates are primarily a result of limited consumption of nutritious food, diarrhoeal disease which limits the absorption of nutrients, and limited access to clean water, sanitation and health services.
To help Cameroon achieve Zero Hunger, the World Food Programme (WFP) works with the Government to improve the long-term resilience of vulnerable communities in the Far North, North, Adamaoua and East regions. This includes stabilising community productivity and nutrition, reducing post-harvest losses, improving gender and social inclusion and promoting market opportunities for smallholder farmers. To reinforce these interventions, WFP maintains an emergency response capacity which uses social safety nets to support displaced people and refugees and protect host communities’ long-term investments in resilience.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Cameroon
Emergency responseWFP is providing unconditional food assistance to communities affected by disasters, including refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities in the four priority regions: Far North, North, Adamaoua and East. WFP’s support ensures they have safe access to adequate and nutritious food during and after crises.
Resilience buildingWFP provides vulnerable communities with assistance to address food needs during the lean season, while promoting the creation of productive assets and supporting the development of income-generating activities. WFP works to ensure that vulnerable families in protracted displacement and communities at risk in chronically food-insecure areas have safe year-round access to adequate and nutritious food, and increase their resilience to shocks.
NutritionChildren and pregnant and nursing women among refugees and host populations receive nutrition support aimed at preventing and treating all forms of malnutrition. Additionally, nutrition assistance is provided to malnourished individuals living with HIV. The goal of WFP’s nutrition activities is to ensure children aged between 6 months and 5 years and vulnerable women and men in prioritized food-insecure districts have reduced malnutrition rates in line with national standards by 2020.
Support for smallholder farmersWFP provides smallholder farmers with financial and technical support (including training) to build and manage community infrastructure and post-harvest storage facilities, improve farming techniques, diversify crops and access markets. WFP promotes the participation of smallholder farmers in local value chains, including school meals.
Capacity strengtheningWFP supports the government of Cameroon in the development of social safety nets and the creation of a national system for cash transfers and for home-grown school meals, where ingredients for school feeding are bought from local smallholder farmers. Support includes South-South cooperation initiatives facilitated by WFP’s Centres of Excellence in Brazil and China.
UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)Given the lack of commercial air operators and the significant distances and insecurity limiting access to parts of the country, WFP operates safe, reliable and cost-effective air services to enable the humanitarian community to reach people in need.