Food Security: It Pays To Be Proactive!

Feeding the population to their full in quality and quantity is a constant headache for most, if not all, governments across the globe irrespective of their level of development. In effect, going by the World Bank Group and based on the 1996 World Food Summit, food security is attained when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficiently safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. The number of countries which hit this mark is obviously as scarce as the food in some areas. While some eat just anything provided it fills the stomach, others greatly lag behind even in the junk food. Little wonder the World Food Programme reports that thousands of millions of people worldwide are fighting to survive in catastrophic hunger and are one step away from famine. This is an alarmingly rapid increase, ten times more than five years ago. Latest reports qualify 2023 as, “another year of extreme jeopardy for those struggling to feed their families. The current scale of global hunger and malnutrition crisis is enormous, with more than 345 million people facing high levels of food insecurity in 2023 – more than double the number in 2020.” This is a serious threat to humanity looking at other life’s challenges that are leaving none indifferent! This calls for an immediate response so that the global community must not fail on its promise to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030.  
Although the problem of food security and safety may be more acute in under-developed societies, advanced countries are not left untouched. The situation is even further compounded by rising population, falling water tables, increased soil erosion and the unpredictable climate change. The state of food safety and security is so preoccupying that individual countries formulate and revise workable strategies to lifting their population off famine or malnutrition. 
They strive among others to address the supply side of food determined by the level of food production, stock levels and the economic and physical access to food with particular policy focus on incomes, expenditure, markets and prices. There is also the food utilisation which consists in sufficient nutrient intake by individuals ranging from feeding practices, food preparation and diversity of the diet. Even when all the above are guaranteed, governments still strive to ascertain stability given that even if food intake is adequate today, households and individuals are still considered to be food insecure if they have inadequate access to food on a periodic basis, risking a deterioration of their nutritional status. Tackling issues like adverse weather conditions, political instability, or economic factors notably unemployment and rising food prices is almost always the way to go as they are likely to have an impact on peoples’ and countries’ food security status. That is why visionary countries keep working.
A recently-published survey indicating that Cameroon’s food and nutritional security are on the right path sounds heart-warming. Having an idea of a harmonized framework of areas at risk and identification of food insecure populations in Cameroon during a given period, as the report presented, helps stakeholders to work towards bridging the identifiable gaps. Revealing that for the period March-May 2023, 11% of the population is in a situation of acute insecurity, including 1% in the emergency phase (335,899 people) and 10% in the crisis phase (2,676,204 people) and that in total, 6,093,718 people are under pressure, i.e. 22% of the total population of Cameroon, is at least eye-opening.  Knowing that in geographical terms, there are four Divisions where the food situation is good, 37 where it is relatively acceptable, 17 in crisis phase, including 11 in the North-West and South-West regions and that no Division is in the emergency or famine phase, is susceptible to directing or redirecting actions from government and development partners. Knowledge, they say, is power for targeted action.
As government works towards updating the national food crisis response plan, initiating humanitarian aid for populations in crisis, both in the current and projected periods, the protection of available food stocks and the establishment of conditions for optimal agricultural and animal production, it goes without saying that in results-driven planning, Cameroon would have no reason to panic vis-&agrav...



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