IDPs and Host communities in NW/SW face Food Insecurity

Increasing violence in the NW and SW regions of Cameroon has displaced more people, causing them and host communities to face food insecurity with disruption in agricultural activities, food prices sky rocking and worsened food security in areas where 70 percent of people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.

From June – August 2019, 1.1 million people in Cameroon were projected by FAO as people suffering from food insecurity, with 39 percent of the population living under poverty line.

To improve food security, nutrition and promote SDG 2, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has stepped in to support IDPs and host communities in some divisions of the NW and SW regions, through the production of broiler chickens and eggs.

BUEA, SWR – Ojong Obi Violet ran from Kembong in Mamfe, in December 24th 2017 after her home was burnt. With 12 relatives including her children, they trekked to Buea, spending days in the forest before arriving their destination (Bwitingi village), where a relative took them in.

Ojong Obi

“Life in Buea is a little better as we can feed and have a good night sleep. I cannot go back to Kembong. Back there, you have to lock yourself indoors but here, we can move freely. There is nothing for me there; it is more like a war zone,” she narrated.

Ojong Obi now owns a broiler production farm in Bwitingi village. She received support materials, 50 chicks and two bags of animal feed from the FAO last year. She gradually nursed, sold and bought more chicks, making it up to100.

Ma Obi’s poultry farm

Ndome Linda Lyonga age 34 is an IDP from Muea and now lives in Bokwai village. Insecurity in Muea made life very difficult for Linda who had to abandon her home.

“I was a petit trader but could not feed my family and getting medical attention was really challenging. We are 15 in my household and when the quarter-head told me of the assistance from FAO, I quickly registered.

Ndome Linda

“With the support of FAO, I own an egg production farm (poultry). I pick at least 18 eggs daily. I sell 7 trays of eggs every Saturday and also feed my family,” Linda said.

Though happy she now supports her family, growing her farm with little resources is challenging as Linda says, she needs more money to buy animal feed for the chickens.

“At times, the profit I make isn’t enough to buy their feed as the chickens are not many and I don’t pick enough eggs. I need more from the FAO to expand my poultry farm,” She said.

Linda feeding her chickens

So far, the FAO has reached 7 551 people in the two regions; 1000 small poultry units constructed by beneficiaries supported by FAO, trained 19 enumerators on beneficiary targeting, trained 21 field agents on production itineraries for broilers and egg production. They have distributed 10 000 pullets of 3 months old to 500 households in the NW/SW, 20 000 broilers of 21 day old to 500 households and 100 tons of poultry feed to 1000 households in NW/SW.

To Emmanuel Penn, FAO coordinator for NW/SW, more funds is needed to include more IDPs and host communities in different areas of the two English speaking regions that are IDP populated by 2020.

Emmanuel Penn, FAO Coordinator

“There is pressure for us to help everyone and it is our policy not to create more harm, so we have to help 80 percent of IDPs and 20 percent of host communities,” he noted.

Implementation of activities is challenging due to inaccessibility of certain villages and the increase of ghost town days in the NW/SW.

FAO needed $20 million in 2019 but received only 25% ($5 million), leaving a gap of 75% ($15million).

Increase in population in host communities and migration has led to a boom in the urban areas, thereby the need for sustainability. This is where SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities comes in, and the government needs to create more business opportunities, safe and affordable housings and improve urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways.

By Maikem Emmanuela Manzie

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