Ensuring food security in Cameroon by reducing farmers vulnerability to climate change

To support Cameroon in the implementation of its new national development strategy 2030 which aims in part to ensure food security, the Department of National Meteorology of the Ministry of Transport (MINT) and GWP-Cameroon joined forces with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to address climate vulnerabilities in the Far North Region through a practical training of farmers in Meri on the weather, climate, and agriculture from August 18th - 20th, 2021.

The seminar which was supported by the local government council of Meri, follows a recommendation from the multi-stakeholder dialogue organized by the Department of National Meteorology (MINT) and GWP-Cameroon in November 2020 for GWP-Cmr to support MINT in conducting pilot initiatives within communities in the agro-ecological zones to improve in situ collection of agro-meteorological information from the farms and for the department to work with the local government of these areas to develop measures to improve accessibility to climate information to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

Presentations

The overall objective of the seminar was to popularize meteorological information often provided on a regular basis by the Department of Meteorology but seldom used by local farmers due to its complex nature leading to poor planning of agricultural activities - greatly affecting harvest. To ensure that the weather information from the department concerning these zones reflect the reality on the field, the training sought to show farmers the importance of using rain gauges to monitor rainfall. This will facilitate their decision-making and improve agro-sylvo-pastoral yields thus reducing their vulnerability to weather and climate variations.

Family picture

The seminar was attended by forty-one participants from the Meri local council, MINT (regional delegation included), local farmers, Common Initiative groups, Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Industries (MINEPIA), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER). It equipped participants on the of use of agro-meteorological tools and techniques, the local agricultural calendar, production systems appropriate to the climatic constraints of crops, and techniques for disseminating and collecting weather information notably monitoring rainfall through rain gauges.

Speaking at the seminar, the deputy director of the National Department of Meteorology, Mr. Gervais Yontchang Didier said, We realize that the information available on rainfall and meteorological data at the central level does not reach the farmers at the grassroots level. To better address this, MINT in collaboration with WMO and GWP-Cameroon, will use this training to provide participants with the tools that will enable them to know when to sow, which varieties of seeds to use, when to apply pesticides, among others”.

Mr Gervais Yontchang

 With women the most vulnerable to these climate variations, GWP-Cmr’s support to the project is within the context of the Water, Climate, Development – Gender (WACDEP-G) program. On her part, the WACDEP-G program officer, Murielle Elouga said, this initiative will enable communities, and particularly women vulnerable to climatic hazards, to become aware of the importance of aligning their agricultural activities with climate information provided by the ministry and them through the rainfall monitoring”

A need which was expressed by farmers during a June preparatory mission by the Department of National Meteorology to the locality of Meri. One maize farmer expressed, “We prepare the farms, we plough, we plant, and we wait but the rain doesn’t come. Last year we had to re-plant maize…the first time led to no harvest because the quantity of rain wasn’t enough to grow the crops”.

local farmers training

Day two of the seminar saw the   installation of 10 rain gauges in 10   districts of the Meri community to   the delight of the local farmers with   high expectations for the future   planting seasons. The information   collected from the rain gauges by   the focal points of the rain gauge   stations will be sent back to the   department for an apt weather  information of the zone.

A female leader, Veronique   expressed that “this training has   given us much information on   weather, climate and agriculture and   we will use it to ensure that our   farmers come out of poverty and   contribute to the overall   development  of the community”. 

 

 

Background

 Weather and climate are the main risk factors impacting on agricultural production and natural resource management in Cameroon, particularly in the north. Agricultural production in this region with extreme weather and climate conditions, such as severe droughts, floods, or extreme temperatures are recurrent causing considerable deficits in crop yields – threatening food security. For these reasons, Cameroon is committed to promoting policies and plans for farmers' adaptation to climate change, as part of the 2035 vision and through the implementation of its  National Adaptation Plan for Climate Change (NAP).