Cameroon bans exports of cereal, including millet and corn, to Nigeria

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Cameroon has banned the exportation of cereals, including millet and corn, to Nigeria as a food security measure after a production drop.

Cameroon blamed the continued threat from Boko Haram terrorists as the cause of the decrease in food production on its northern border.

Damian Kinkoh of the food control unit of Cameroon’s Trade Ministry says about 6,000 metric tons of corn, millet and rice have been intercepted while being transported to Nigeria. Kinkoh says the ministry will return the cereals when the owners commit to only sell the corn, rice and millet in Cameroon and not to Nigeria.

“We see these goods, we seize them and bring them here. It has been fruitful. We have about 2,000 bags of rice,” said Kinkoh. “We are in Maroua and then in Ngaoundere. So, you go to our warehouses, our warehouses are full.”

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The cereals were intercepted in several northern border towns and villages including Maroua, Mora, Kolofata and Limani this week.

But, Yakoubou Ousmaina, the president of the Association of Millet farmers in Mora says they prefer to only sell in Nigeria.

According to Voa, Ousmaina said that members of his association will not make any profit if they sell their millet in Cameroon. He says villagers who provided labor in millet farms escaped and his association invested much money to bring workers from safer northern towns and villages to work in their farms. He says Boko Haram scared fertilizer sellers, and the few who have remained in northern Cameroon charge very high prices for fertilizer.

Ousmaina said a 50-kilogram bag of millet and corn sells at between $40 and $50 in Cameroon and between $70 and $75 in neighboring northern Nigerian markets. He pleaded with the government of Cameroon to give subsidies to farmers to make cereal production profitable.

On Monday, Cameroon announced what it  said would be a temporary corn and millet export ban.  

Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of Cameroon’s Far North region that borders Nigeria says the ban is aimed at assuring food security for its population.

He says the government has stopped the export of cereals, especially millet and corn because Cameroon risks food shortages. He says the situation is concerning on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria where famine looms. He says during the temporary ban on cereal export, merchants will be authorized to take limited quantities of rice to Nigeria.

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