By Diego Gómez Pickering
Lack of economic growth, food insecurity and environmental degradation are pressing challenges in the Far North Region of Cameroon, where OIKO is working along with the University of Maroua and the Center for Technology Network to provide sustainable and innovative solutions for the dairy sector in the communes of Wina and Petté.
During the last few years, the Far North Region of Cameroon has experienced less and more erratic rain, and higher average temperatures, phenomena that negatively impact the food security of its inhabitants. “Our main fear is that it is increasingly challenging to find pasture and our cows are not adapting to the constantly changing climate. We feed them appropriately, but their milk production keeps diminishing year after year,” affirms one of the several farmers, herdsmen, collectors, transformers, and producers of the dairy sector, many of them women, participating in the project.
Considered the poorest region in the country, with 74.3% of its population living under the poverty threshold, the Far North Region of Cameroon is part of the 2018 – 2030 United Nations Support Plan for the Sahel, which frames OIKO´s efforts and seeks to promote peace and sustainable growth through the pursuit of a series of priorities which include building resilience to climate change and decreasing natural resource scarcity, malnutrition, and food insecurity.
Cameroon is one of the countries with the lowest production and consumption of milk per capita in the world, milk production represents only 45% of its potential. Hence the opportunity “to develop an integrated Water-Energy-Livestock implementation plan for the dairy sector that adapts to the local patterns of development while taking into consideration Cameroon’s Far North cultural features and socio-economic challenges, where women and young children become actors of change,” as explains Nyore Nyore from the University of Maroua.
Storing energy generated by solar panels that could be used in the form of refrigeration units to boost the local dairy sector, while fighting the negative effects of climate change in northern Cameroon and working towards achieving food security in the region exemplifies OIKO’s commitment and embodies its principles.