Cereal Banks Prepare For The Lean Period
While it is still early in this new program, and though the Far North region of Cameroon is in the midst of the annual June-September lean period, local partner RELUFA’s past experience indicates that increasing the number of grain banks will strengthen the food security of participants. The goal is to have enough stored grain in villages for families to eat in the lean months, with enough left over to plant to feed their families going forward, and to replenish grain bank supplies.
Prior to the creation of new cereal banks, RELUFA facilitators train participants on electing a management committee to oversee food distribution, preserve the stock, maintain the granary register and keep financial records. Villagers contribute materials and labor to construct the units, and RELUFA supplies the initial store of maize and millet, purchased locally, for families to borrow against in times of need.
RELUFA is also training two groups of farmers in soil fertilization and climate change adaptation techniques, in order to improve yields. The work will be done on community demonstration farms to strengthen the community by solving challenges together. The communities are contributing the price of land rent in support of the effort, showing their enthusiasm for the plan.
Since 2014, RELUFA has been involved with a village close to a refugee camp for those fleeing the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria. The influx of refugees had been putting a strain on local resources: the scarce water supply has been taxed, trees have been cut down for firewood, and crops have been harvested by people they cannot identify. The community had been storing its grain in a small mud hut. When the hut was full, additional grain was stored on the roof, leaving it at risk to theft, rains, rodents or insects. Nevertheless, in the 2020 lean season the grain bank served 150 households comprising 900 individuals. This year, with program support, the villagers built a bigger, more solid storage facility. The community was so happy about the project that the members contributed all the help needed in terms of workforce and materials (sand, gravel, water) during construction.
Cameroon Far North Program
Led by Presbyterian Church (USA) and Local Partner RELUFA