EBAFOSA Cameroon launching ceremony in Yaounde

The launching ceremony took place on the 11th of March 2016 at the Municipal Circle in the nation’s capital Yaounde witnessed by a good representation from Civil society organizations of the North West Region.

The theme for the launch was “to contribute to the resilience of food security in Cameroon”. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country representative outlined that Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) was created as part of the United Nations Environment Program to contribute to food security and to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Continental coordinator also mentioned that EBAFOSA seeks to combat food insecurity, climate change, ecosystems degradation and poverty in Africa. To achieve this it is usind an innovative approach that decentralizes the development and application of the policy solutions in the least bureaucratic channel to ensure immediate results are recorded at the grassroots in an inclusive, participatory way towards achieving the SDGs.

As part of the launching ceremony, there was the display of regional agricultural products. The North West regional delegation made up of 6 members from 4 different organizations (COMINSUD, NOWEFOR, Terre des Jeunes, and FAP) exhibited products like honey, honey wax, rice, coffee, processed soy beans and ginger, irish potato, spices and bitter cola.

With our experience in the areas of food security and protection of environment and our approach of working with communities we can surely provide good expertise to this platform.

Ndu identity – a foe or blessing?

“The population often goes hungry because more than 1500 hectares of land has been occupied by the CTE”

On 26th February 2016, COMINSUD facilitated a joint study of the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM), the International Land Coalition (ILC), and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Ndu on gender tools and large scale investment in Cameroon. The event was attended by 30 persons particularly from the areas affected by the large scale Ndu Cameroon Tea Estate (CTE) with the goal of identifying meaningful community engagement in Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa (LSLBI).

This session cued in from previous studies in Senegal and Zimbabwe and also Nkoteng in Cameroon on 23rd February 2016 led by the National Engagement Strategy on Land Reform (NES) in Cameroon.

Taking Ndu as one of two case studies in Cameroon, the participants gave the following answers (list of only the main answers) to two major questions:

1. What are the challenges you face as inhabitants of Ndu who live around the CTE?

  • Ndu Council does not receive and has not been receiving taxes for many years
  • the Fon (highest traditional leader of the community) is not paid royalties contrary to the privatization law of Cameroon
  • farmers are forbidden to cross through the plantation to access their own land, this leads to very difficult accessibility and rotting and loss to farm produce
  • more than 75 % of Ndu youths have fled the village due to unemployment and the threats of life from security guards of the CTE
  • the population often goes hungry because more than 1500 hectares of land has been occupied by the CTE making farm land to be inadequate and barren due to no time for fallowing to take place
  • Burning and looting of small holder’s tea plantations

2. If an investor decides to carry out an investment that requires a vast usage of land in your community, what conditions will you give him/her?

  • The investor would state clearly that he/she will rent the land on a contract base renewable over a period of time
  • He/she will pay constant royalty to the Fon
  • He/she will employ more than 75 % of the inhabitants (both men and women)
  • The gender component must be taken in to consideration
  • Employed inhabitants of the community must head at least 50 % the positions of leadership in the plantation

At the close of discussions, the participants lamented that they are like strangers in their own community. That is why they questioned whether their identity as natives of Ndu is a blessing or curse to their lives. Looking at them as a drowning man who catches at the tail of a snake for survival, the participants look up at NES CAMEROON and partners as a great contributor to hope.

It is hoped that data collected will serve as a veritable tool for an in depth study of these challenges and for further lobbying and advocacy activities for the benefit of the suffering population.

Introduction of EBAFOSA to Civil Society Organizations in the NWR

Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) is a continental framework that advocates a culture of Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) towards the attainment of food security, sustainable agriculture, ecological productivity, as well as job creation, poverty reduction, value addition, and sustainable industrial development in Africa

EBAFOSA is the first Pan-African policy framework that provides a platform for all stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to develop and adopt policy solutions to promote EBA driven agricultural approaches which are essential for climate change resilience, ecosystems productivity, agriculture and food security. Through this platform, EBAFOSA sets to foster partnerships through branch formation in each African country including Cameroon.

The first regional information sharing and planning meeting held on Friday, 19th February 2016 with 18 participants from 16 organizations in the Mezam, Boyo and Ngoketunjia Divisions at the COMINSUD Hall. This meeting had as objective to share information on EBAFOSA as well as establishing a regional bureau.

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Ambe Bruno (COMINSUD) encourages participants to show interest within the platform so as to represent the Region well at the upcoming National Launch.

From a presentation on the content of EBAFOSA, it was worth highlighting the vision, mission, objectives and benefits to CSOs.

Vision
A food secured Africa with sustainable ecosystems.

Mission
To provide a framework for ecosystem based adaptation that ensures food security in Africa.

Objective

  • To promote environmentally friendly approaches to food production
  • To promote value addition for all EBA products by efficient technologies
  • To develop a regional monitoring and evaluation instrument on EBA

Benefits of EBAFOSA to CSOs

  • Provides a platform through which their mandate can be delivered at a broader scale, hence benefit more people
  • facilitates continental peer learning in techniques, approaches etc. for country NGOs from counterparts across the continent
  • fostering of technical capacity building for local NGOs through interactions with diverse stakeholders and especially research institutions, and the private sector

Mrs. Yeloma Ruth, an EBAFOSA member who attended the meeting in Yaounde on the visit of the Continental Coordinator to Cameroon on the 19th December 2015 shared some feedback from the meeting. Some key discussions went around the type of crops having proven added value, which could be cultivated in the North West Region apart from maize and cassava and also, using efficient techniques to upscale EBA driven agriculture in the  North West Region (NWR).

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An North West Regional EBAFOSA regional bureau was established with five executive members from different organizations whose duties commenced instantly.

Conclusively, participants were encouraged to continue carrying out awareness raising and for more organizations and individuals to jump on the EBAFOSA train.

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Representatives from 16 organizations in Mezam, Boyo and Ngoketunjia Divisions get knowledge on EBAFOSA.

Combating emergent food and nutrition problems in the North West Region

Following the Food and Nutrition Survey carried out in the North West Region by COMINSUD, findings have been presented in a regional workshop in Bamenda with a cross section of stakeholders including District Medical Officers, Mayors, Delegates and heads of institutions in related works.

Findings were presented on Friday 26 September following the survey carried out by COMINSUD from the 21st July – 15th September 2014 sponsored by SNV. The study sought to understand the stakes and vulnerability factors of population groups with the aim of supporting policy making and development.

The survey was carried out in 10 councils where 30 villages were chosen and distributed in a proportional manner based on the population size of each Division. This activity reached out to 3067 persons in 510 households.

This task was carried out by 20 trained field staff with the expertise of Nutrition specialist and Data analysts. The Surveyors administered two sets of questionnaires to community households; Food security questionnaire which covered households in general and Nutrition questionnaire which covered children (5-59months) and women while taking weights, heights and arm circumference of mothers and children.

The survey used the SMART Methodology, a generic method that provides timely and reliable data in a standardized way for prioritizing human assistance for policy and program decisions.

Mr. Kacho Charles WASH Supervisor of SNV, elaborated on the fact that Nutrition security became a thematic issue consequently there was need for SNV to work on this to device strategies to combat emergent Food and Nutrition problems.

The presentation elaborated on the fact that Food insecurity is generally one of underlying causes of malnutrition or nutrition insecurity. Nutrition security is however a condition when all people at all times consume food of sufficient quantity and quality in terms of variety, diversity, nutrient content and safety to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life, coupled with a sanitary environment, adequate health and care (CFS 2012).

The survey recorded a prevalence rate of global acute malnutrition of 2.6% and 1.0% for severe acute malnutrition. Boys had a lower global acute malnutrition rate than girls by 1%, while severe acute malnutrition was highest in age group 30 – 41 months. A number of primary and secondary causes can account for the high food insecure and malnourished population ranging from poor food consumption patterns, outdated agricultural practices, low education levels, poor sanitation practices alongside distant and inadequately equipped health facilities.

17.6% of the households in the surveyed area face alarming situation of food insecurity. This contrast with the Comprehensive Food Security Vulnerability Analysis Report for Cameroon carried out in 2011 which reported only 0.7% of the population in the North West Region with poor food consumption and 5.5% in 2007.

The population could have a low level of household food production and less diversity, poor storage and conservation system and high poverty levels to access sufficient quantities of food items from other sources consequently leading to food insecurity.

Mr Matoya Cletus, North West Region Delegate of Commerce emphasised on rejuvenating mindsets of farmers to do things with long term vision citing the case of the Bamenda- Ekok high way leading to Nigeria where buyers come right into the farm to purchase farm produce.

Following presentation findings, a number of recommendations were put forward for action some of which were;

A broad multi-sector and integrated approach is implemented in the North West Region to improve food security and reduce the vulnerability of both rural and urban households.

An increase agricultural output targeting agriculturalists and develop vocational skills and capacities targeting labourers and vulnerable small holder farmers such as limited access to land

More research to find out methods used in food preparation which could influence the nutritional content and sensitization on food preparation methods to retain required nutrients

The need to educate adults especially in rural communities on disease prevention including treatment of drinking water through boiling as 89% of households reported not using any method of treatment on drinking water.

And on mother and child health, families should be educated on the importance of hospital deliveries that ensures specialised medical attention not leaving out Constitution of balance diet using locally available food stuffs.

It is worth noting that similar studies were also done in the East and Far North Regions and all three results will be presented in a National Workshop to be held in Yaounde this October.

‘THINK. EAT. SAVE’

COMINSUD and CAMORIF join environmental stakeholders in activities marking the 2013 World Environment Day

Within the framework of the 2013 World Environment Day commemorated under the theme ‘Think. Eat. Save’, COMINSUD and CAMORIF together with the Network of Environmental Stakeholders in Cameroon (NEST CAM) in collaboration with the North West Regional Delegation of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development carried out activities geared at raising awareness on the theme of the celebration.
Focus was placed on raising awareness in the North West Region on the need to reduce food waste and particularly reducing food loss in households and markets. This was built on the fact that while in every year 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted in the world, more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. It is in this light that COMINSUD and CAMORIF carried out a mini campaign on the need to reduce food loss and the paramount importance in eating locally grown food rich in nutritional value, good for the health, saves money and builds the local economy and the environment.
To ensure the success of this mini campaign, COMINSUD did produce 2000 flyers with sponsor which aimed at stimulating discussions on the effects of peoples feeding habits on the environment, the local economy, their health and in creating waste. Emphasis therefore was put on encouraging community members in to eat less processed and processed food and grow their own food, vegetables and fruits with manure and avoiding the use of fertilizers as food grown with chemicals results to a lot of damage to the soil, water and biodiversity.
Awareness raising on the 4th of June was done in caravan in Bamenda, covered by the state television, encouraging the eating of locally grown food and educative talks were done in the Bamenda food market and the Nkwen market with the distribution of the flyers produced as these markets are areas marked with a high level of food loss and had among them farmers who needed to be encouraged to do composting and use local manure in crop cultivation