Saturday, February 27, 2016

Prolonged Drought multiply insecurity in Cameroon

By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon (PAMACC News) – Prolonged drought of over six months has hit Cameroon increasing fears of looming food supply crisis as insecurity aggravates in the country. The insecurity imposed by Boko Haram attacks in the northern region has continued to multiply and government says the situation might worsen with threatening food insecurity due to the absence of rain.

The governments in several recent gatherings around the country have continued to pray for an end to insecurity imposed by Boko Haram and that of worsening food supply.

Cameroon’s minister of agriculture Eyebe Ayissi says the delay in rainfall south of the country is unprecedented especially as it touches the breadbasket regions of the southwest, west, northwest and the center.

Since mid-September 2015 there has been not a single drop of rain south of the country. Experts say this could be one of the worst drought periods down south, a situation that hitherto prevailed only in the northern regions.

Already the planting period of one of the most staple food crops in Cameroon, maize and groundnuts have been delayed by over two months, raising fears of imminent food crisis for both urban and rural population. Even brewery companies that are the biggest consumers of maize experts say may be heading for a wreck.

Over 80 percent of Cameroon’s rural population lives on agriculture and prolonged droughts will not only lead to a worsening food security situation but will render these rural poor even poorer.
Experts say late planting will mean poor or no harvest, thus loss in income for rural farmers and food supply shortage for urban dwellers that rely on these crops to feed their families.

President Paul Biya in his message to the youth on the eve of the country’s 50th anniversary of National Youth Day celebrated every 11 of February, advised  the youths not to look up to the government’s public service for employment but to turn to the soil(agriculture) that never fails.

Little did the President think of nature (climate) dictating its unpleasant surprises as drought continue to raise its ugly head, experts say. Extreme weather according to experts in one perennial problem that has continued to dog efforts by most governments in Africa to help farmers feed their booming population. Be it excess water through floods or lack of water caused by prolonged droughts, the impacts have remained disturbing.

In Cameroon the youths and women are the most affected by extreme weather effects on agriculture.Youth unemployment in Cameroon according to statistics is well over 45 percent and it is expected to get worst in the years ahead because of a downing economy expert say.

Government however says agriculture may provide the magic wand amidst climate change threats.

Urban dwellers continue to pay the cost of rising food prices as supplies increasingly becomes scarce.

Many house wives complain of food crop scarcity already especially vegetables and fruits and thus higher prices.

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