Food, Land and Trade
For long Cameroon has been considered a country that is self sufficient in its food needs. Climatic and soil conditions are favorable for abundant agricultural yields, but the focus on the production of export commodities has rendered the sector vulnerable to world market prices that plummeted in the 1990's. At the same time structural ajustment programs, imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to regulate the national budget and make the country eligible for their continued support exacerbated the difficulties for farmers. More recently, Economic Partnership Agreements between ACP countries and the EU threaten to further undermine the livelihoods of Cameroonian farmers. RELUFA tunes into the international banana trade to illustrate the impact of these agreements on small producers.
RELUFA works with marginalized farmers to offer consumers fairly produced dried fruit, which is marketed as Fair Fruit and not only sold in supermarkets and RELUFA's office but also distributed in the US by Partners for Just Trade and in Europe through the Moungo Foundation in the Netherlands. This Fair Fruit project is still being developed to eventually obtain certification from one of the recognized Fair Trade or Ethical Labeling Organizations.
Community Grain Banks
With the Sahara desert stretching out over the Far North Province, this
part of Cameroon is permanently at the brink of famine. RELUFA's sustainable
response to the recurrent food shortages in the country's arid North is the
establishment of a communal grain banking system in vulnerable villages. This program breaks the cycle of exploitation by
businessmen, food scarcity, soaring market prices and dependency on
food distribution programs. The community granaries allow for
self-governance of food supplies by the villagers and curb the usury
mechanisms that generate poverty.
RELUFA further helps organizing the participating communities into unions with as ultimate goal to create a federation to advocate policies that would prevent the sale of the already marginal regional production and keep the food available for the local population.
Credit Against Poverty
Credit Against Poverty (CAP) is RELUFA's micro-finance initiative to provide low-interest and
generally guarantee-free loans for projects of poor communities
affiliated with network member organizations. CAP offers a variety of loan products. CAP Holidays, for example, is geared towards University and High School students, enabling them to undertake small business ventures during the long and often idle summer break. RELUFA celebrated the 2008 International Women's Day by launching CAP for Women aimed at the self-development of society's underprivileged gender. Upon the request from subsistence farmers in the Far North, CAP for Schooling helps pay their children's tuition at the beginning of the new school year.
Programmatic and Institutional Support
Each of RELUFA's programs is supported by activities that invites the public at large to be informed and get engage.
lift up people's stories from the grassroots to a worldwide audience,
to publicize the network's programs and to make the efforts of its
member organization known to a larger public, RELUFA maintains a
Targeting students and researchers besides its own staff and interns RELUFA houses a modest library in its Yaounde office with numerous books and downloaded documents
The raise awareness in younger generations of Cameroonians RELUFA hosts regular film screenings of documentaries and thought provoking movies followed by debates facilitated by resource people