CAMEROON – The government of Cameroon, in collaboration with the French embassy, has inaugurated the Cameroon Rural Food Security Support Project (Secal) in Yaoundé.

The initiative, funded to the tune of approximately CFA10.5 billion (US$17.5 million) under the third Debt Reduction and Development Contract (C2D), is set to run from 2024 to 2026.

The primary objective of Secal is to foster job creation, inclusive growth, and food security by enhancing the ecosystem of rural enterprises across various production basins in Cameroon.

Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of the Economy, Planning, and Territorial Development (Minepat), launched the project and emphasized its significance in addressing security crises and inflationary tensions stemming from the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukrainian war.

These challenges have considerably impacted the gains made by the government in combating food insecurity in Cameroon.

“The Secal project interventions aim to support the public authorities in the successful implementation of the rural development sector strategy linked to SND30,” Minister Mey noted during the launch.

According to recent data about 2.9 million people, equivalent to 10.6% of the population in Cameroon, were food insecure in the period from October to December 2023.

The situation has particularly worsened in 10 departments, with five in the Southwest, three in the Northwest, and two in the Far North.

Contributing factors include rising input prices, soaring foodstuff prices, extreme weather conditions such as drought and floods in the northern part of the country, destruction of crops by caterpillars, devastation of fields by elephants, and the socio-political crisis in the Anglophone regions.

The Secal project’s activities are expected to address these challenges.

According to Cameroonian authorities, the project will strengthen the productivity and production of agricultural and agri-food products in rural areas.

It will also enhance the supply of financial services tailored to rural entrepreneurs, support the resilience of food and nutritional systems, and improve the availability and accessibility of agricultural products in key regions such as the North, Far North, Littoral, West, and Center.

Additionally, the project aims to upgrade the storage and marketing system of these products in rural areas.

“This is about strengthening Cameroon’s agricultural power, not only to feed its population but also to export the surplus of its production to neighboring countries,” French diplomat Thierry Marchand, stated expressing support for Cameroon’s efforts in the agricultural sector.

“The Secal project is a crucial step in Cameroon’s commitment to mitigating food insecurity challenges and fostering sustainable rural development, aligning with broader regional and international development goals.”

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