Food insecurity during COVID-19 in Cameroon: factors and adaptation strategies

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Atanase, Yene
Michelle, Eke Balla Sophie
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African Economic Research Consortium
Despite the introduction of agricultural policies, social safety net programmes, investment in agricultural infrastructure, and support measures for small farmers, the country continues to face high levels of food insecurity. Agricultural policies have been hampered by corruption, mismanagement of resources, and lack of monitoring and evaluation, leading to mixed results. Social safety net programmes have faced problems of exclusion and lack of transparency in the distribution of aid. Investment in agricultural infrastructure has been delayed and poorly maintained, limiting its impact on the food supply chain. Support measures for small-scale farmers have encountered obstacles such as lack of access to credit and appropriate training. These failures in the implementation of previous policies have serious consequences for the health, well-being, and socio-economic stability of the most vulnerable populations. It is, therefore, necessary to analyze the trajectory of household food insecurity in Cameroon, in order to better understand the factors and coping strategies that enable households to maintain or improve their food security over time. This may be useful for guiding policies and programmes aimed at reducing food insecurity and strengthening household resilience to shocks and crises. To this end, we used data from a two-round telephone survey of Cameroonian households. In the first round of the survey, 2680 households were interviewed between 1 and 28 February 2021. In the second round, 1861 households from the first round were interviewed between 21 June and 21 July 2021. Using these data, several factors can be identified: (i) the characteristics of the household, including the age of the head of household, the size of the household, the sector of activity of the head of household, insurance, and mutual insurance, access to the internet, area of residence (ii) shocks can be a loss of income, the death of a household member, loss of employment, an increase in the price of inputs, an increase in the price of food consumed. Households may also use a variety of coping strategies, such as savings, stored food, borrowing, government and NGO assistance, remittances, and loans.