Registering the Need for Food Security

cameroon-farmer

December 2014| Limbe, Cameroon

Food security is a large and growing global problem affecting many millions of people, including refugees as well as citizens in states that use food as a weapon to punish dissent.  Recent briefing in the UN Security Council on Syria and the DPRK provided sober, painful reminders of the brutality that accompanies state policies to restrict food access for political, cultural or religious objectives.

Recently in Cameroon, GAPW worked with LUKMEF and other partners to explore options for women farmers who have largely been denied access to personal security and markets for their produce that can increase prosperity for their families and communities.  Open and transparent ‘cooperative registration’ is widely believed to hold the key to greater empowerment for women farmers throughout the region.

LUKMEF’s efforts notwithstanding, challenges in securing ‘cooperative registration’ have been considerable. Government ‘cooperation’ with registation has been elusive at best.  The struggle for local food security through collective bargaining, purchasing, etc.,will remain a priority for some time to come.

Despite frustrations with registration, we personally witnessed some extraordinary efforts to improve food security and nutrition in local communities, including fish farming and women-led farms committed to both training the next generation of farmers and growing a wider range of vegetables to improve local nutrition, boost incomes and increase food security.

One such place was the Young Farmers Training Center in the town of Muyuka where we were treated to a tour of land that is among many farms carefully being transitioned from export crops such as palm and banana to crops such as okra, tomato and sweet squash more suitable for healthy, local consumption.

At the end of our tour of the Training Center, the women broke into a thankful chant to honor the ‘wonder of vegetables.’  In this season of abundance for so many in the west, we surely have chants of our own that we would do well to utter.

For more information on ‘cooperative registration’ for agricultural workers in Cameroon, click here.