(Business in Cameroon) - In 2017, breeders in the district of Vina, Adamaoua region, a key breeding area in Cameroon, were hammered by the death of 8,000 bovine heads. This was revealed by Abdoulaye Nana who chairs the coordination unit of the Association for the Promotion of Livestock Production in the Sahel (Apees).
“Considering that the unit price of one head is XAF250,000, this represents a loss of about XAF2 billion for this district alone. As a result of this economic plight, villages have been abandoned, schools are closed, and famine has set in,” the official said in an interview with L'œil du Sahel.
Apees said the increasing unrest in the region triggered such a dire situation. Not only does this climate of insecurity no longer allow an effective veterinary follow-up of animals, but it has also paved the way to hostage-taking, targeting mainly herders, with ransom demands of several million XAF.
According to the association, the insecurity in Adamaoua region is mainly due to incursions into this part of Cameroon by Central African Seleka and anti-balaka rebels, who are operating along the borders that the country shares with CAR.
This situation in Adamaoua regions adds up to that in the Far North where exactions by Nigeria’s Islamist sect Boko Haram caused huge losses over the past five years.
According to a World Bank report issued in September 2018, about 17,000 heads of cattle and thousands of sheep and goats have been stolen by Boko Haram members in Cameroon’s Far North villages since 2013 ; a dead loss of more than XAF3 billion.
However, this loss estimate is only partial, since Boko Haram's abuses in the livestock sector were not limited to cattle thefts. They also hit the livestock markets, animal health care and the livestock farming as a whole.
Figures reported by the Cameroonian Ministry of husbandry, fisheries and animal industries (Minepia) showed that the livestock sector has been the most affected by Boko Haram with losses estimated at XAF54.8 billion overall since 2013; 65% of aggregate losses. According to the ministry’s report, these economic losses are the result of “thefts, kidnappings, animal killings, etc., animal diseases and the decline in the market value of animals.”
Brice R. Mbodiam