Exchange workshop on land constraints and food and nutrition security in the Far North

In Cameroon, the Far North is the region that experiences the most significant levels of food and nutrition insecurity. Indeed, in addition to the abuses perpetrated by the Islamist sect Boko Haram, these populations are particularly vulnerable to climate disruption, low agricultural productivity, and low food diversification. To help address this food and nutrition insecurity, many actors, particularly development partners are implementing activities on the field. It is however clear that the effectiveness and impacts of these actions as well as their success are compromised by land constraints.

In response to these challenges, RELUFA as part of the LandCam project organized, on August 17th, 2021, in Maroua an exchange workshop on land constraints and food and nutrition security in the Far North region. The objectives of this workshop were to discuss the land constraints faced by stakeholders working on food insecurity in the Far North region; formulate and disseminate recommendations to stakeholders; improve a simplified tool to take land issues into account in the design of development projects. The 20 participants came mainly from civil society and farmers’ organizations, but also involved representatives of relevant ministries concerned by the issue (MINADER, MINEPIA), the Regional Council, and universities professors. Although invited, MINDCAF was unfortunately not present.

Presentations during the workshop made it possible to revisit the following points:

  • The link between land and food security;
  • Actions undertaken in the region to reduce food security;
  • Land constraints that hinder these actions;
  • Characterization of vulnerability and access to land;
  • Recommendations to improve land governance and food security.

The exchanges and group work made it possible to identify land constraints related to:

  • The absence of a formal framework on land that brings together all relevant actors and a synergy problem between MINDCAF and MINADER;
  • The hegemony of traditional authorities over land;
  • The absence and/or difficulties in implementing spatial development plans for all rural activities (agriculture, livestock, fishing, etc.);
  • The lack of mapping of actual land availability and land characteristics to develop adequate development plans;
  • Land grabbing by the wealthy;
  • Land leasing arrangements for cooperatives and individuals;
  • Socio-cultural burdens on safe access to land for women and for migrants and their offspring;
  • Gaps in terms of knowledge of inland fisheries;
  • The cumbersome and high cost of land registration procedure;
  • Demography in some departments (Mayo Tsanaga and Mayo Sava) is explosive, which poses a problem of land availability for all and is the basis for migration to other areas.

At the end of the workshop, recommendations were made including:

  • Delineating and formalizing the role of traditional authorities in land management (how to ensure that the chief plays a central role in land management without being a source of conflict or land injustice);
  • Recognizing legitimacy for households on the land they exploit;
  • Taking precautionary measures to avoid grabbing by the rich (for example, suspending land allocations until the current situation is cleared);
  • Orienting the green Sahel project towards agroforestry so that restoring, so that restoring efforts also serves farmers;
  • Formalizing the rental of land with the involvement of village chiefs in rental contracts.

Finally, the workshop discussed the need to take land issues into account when designing projects concerning food security, livelihoods support for poor households’ and adaptation to climate change. We presented a tool to address these questions and the participants contributed to strengthening it.

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