Grain Banks Interrupt the Cycle of Poverty
Community grain banks have reduced the worries families have when the lean period comes July through September. Keeping back some of their harvest communally and storing it in safe and dry conditions means having maize and millet to eat during this period, and some for planting when the rains begin. According to a recent report from local partner RELUFA (Réseau de Lutte Contre La Faim), “Six hundred eighty-three people have benefited during the hunger months from grain from the storage facilities: 391 women and girls and 292 men and boys.”
Before the interventions of RELUFA including supplying building materials and conducting training in sustainable farming techniques and kitchen gardening, people had to resort to any number of coping strategies to survive. They might reduce the number of meals from three to one a day, or just eat green vegetables without the grains. In order to earn enough to feed their families, men might cut and sell wood or work as day laborers on the farms of the rich. They might sell precious poultry or a goat. Women might cut grasses and sell them to cattle breeders. Unfortunately, when they engage in these kinds of labor, they can’t work on their own farms, which traps them in a vicious cycle of food insecurity.
Knowing they have grain in storage to rely on, they can continue to care for their crops. However, agriculture is not yet enough to keep up with the needs of the family because of poor soils. People used to let fields lie fallow periodically and rotate to others, but due to population pressures they are forced to work the same land over and over. RELUFA recently conducted training in making compost as fertilizer to replenish the soils, but there has not yet been a harvest to prove the efficacy of the practice. The thirty farmers who learned compost making have already passed on their knowledge to 290 others in 20 different villages. They eagerly await the results.
Cameroon Far North Program
Led by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Local Partner RELUFA (Réseau de Lutte Contre La Faim)