Due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the reduced domestic supply of mineral fertilizers is further pushing up already high pandemic-driven prices. Over the last three months, the prices of fertilizers across the country have continuously increased sharply to unseen levels and doubled relative to pandemic levels. The Urea fertilizer price rose by an average of 80 percent, NPK (20:10:10) by 70 percent, and NPK (13:23:13) by 80 percent. Russia supplies roughly 43 percent of Cameroon’s annual fertilizer imports. A rise in fertilizer prices due to supply disruption from Russia is expected to limit the institutional import of fertilizers in a context where support and subsidies for producers are already insufficient. Fertilizer use levels will remain low, especially in poor households, with an anticipated negative impact on production and yields.
Except for insecure areas, the supply of locally produced and imported food staples in most markets is average. However, prices remain high and significantly above 2021 levels and the five-year average. Imported rice prices remain on averagely 30 percent above pre-pandemic levels but have been relatively stable since March 2022. Retail prices of wheat flour in reference markets across the country have continued to rise and are currently 5-7 percent higher in April and have increased by 16-30 percent since February 2022. Except for onions that witnessed an overall drop in prices in the last month following the off-season harvest. Red sorghum prices rose by 16 percent in Mora, 10 percent in Kousseri, and 15 percent in Kaele. Yellow maize prices rose by 14-17 percent across markets in the Southwest region (Buea, Limbe, Kumba but remained stable across the Northwest region (<5% increase).
Green harvests of beans, maize, and potatoes are expected to start in June across most of the country's southern zone. In the northern zone, main season land preparatory activities have commenced on time, but poor households in areas hit by insurgent attacks and intercommunal clashes are expected to earn lower than average incomes from agricultural labor activities given lower areas cultivated.
The lean season is at its peak in cropping areas in the country’s southern zone, where poor households are mostly entirely dependent on market purchases following almost depleted own stocks. Soaring staple food prices are further reducing poor households’ purchasing capacity below 2021 levels, which coupled with significantly low incomes from reduced agricultural sales and labor, and long-term indebtedness is driving higher needs than projected.
Fully market-reliant households, mainly urban and conflict-affected households that are the worst affected by soaring staple food prices, increasingly rely on credit purchases and borrowing for food and income. They will likely face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes until the upcoming harvests in July for the Northwest, Southwest, and September for those in Logone et Charis, Mayo Sava, and Mayo Tsanaga divisions. Until the harvest period, poor households in the rest of the country will consume cheaper and less preferred staples but maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes.