Food Security Outlook Update

Green harvests improve the household food situation in the north and center

December 2020

December 2020 - January 2021

Le Bas-Uele, le Haut-Uele et le Tshopo sont en phase 1. Une partie de l'Ituri, du Sud-Kivu, du Nord-Kivu et du Tanganyika sont en phase 3 et le reste du pays en phase 2

February - May 2021

Le Bas-Uele, le Haut-Uele et le Tshopo sont en phase 1. Une partie de l'Ituri, du Sud-Kivu, du Nord-Kivu et du Tanganyika sont en phase 3 et le reste du pays en phase 2

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Not mapped
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners. FEWS NET only maps the Eastern half of DRC.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Not mapped
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners. FEWS NET only maps the Eastern half of DRC.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
Not mapped
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • In the north-east and south-east of the country, we are witnessing the start of the season A green harvests, which will improve food consumption among the analyzed groups, particularly poor households and displaced persons. Despite harvests estimated to be below-normal, a slight improvement in local availability and household access to basic foodstuffs is expected.

  • The resurgence of African migratory locust swarms, reported by the Food and Nutrition Security Working Group, in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola would decrease the availability of maize in south-eastern DRC.

  • Despite December's green harvests, the conflict-affected regions of eastern DRC will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while some less-affected central regions may improve their level and become food Stressed (IPC Phase 2). On the other hand, a portion of the households in the territories of Djugu and Irumu will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) thanks to food assistance.

CURRENT SITUATION

 

Floods and landslides: Since October 2020, the return of the rains has caused flooding and extensive property damage in several regions of the country, including Masisi (North Kivu), Kalehe (South Kivu), and Mbanza-Ngungu (Central Kongo). In all, several dozen deaths have been reported, and infrastructure has been damaged. Hundreds of hectares have been lost as a result of the floods. According to an estimate from the agricultural inspection, nearly 100,000 people would have been affected by the floods, which have caused the loss of their food reserves and crops.

Locust invasion in the south: The resurgence of African migratory locust swarms, reported by the Food and Nutrition Security Working Group in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola, remains a cause for concern and portends potential crop losses estimated at 1.1 million hectares at the regional level. As a reminder, Upper Katanga is almost 70 percent dependent on maize imports from the region. This situation, combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, would result in low production in these countries with a maize surplus and would reduce the availability of this product in southeastern DRC.

Security situation and population movements: According to OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), recent attacks in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have displaced around 35,000 people in recent weeks, including nearly 25,000 from villages in the south of the Lubero territory, as well as in the territory of Djugu, Ituri, where the increase in attacks has already displaced around 12,000 people. These attacks impede humanitarian access, prevent the delivery of assistance, and disrupt the coordination of COVID-19 awareness and prevention efforts. Violence and ongoing insecurity in other parts of the country also prevent displaced persons from accessing public health facilities. In South Kivu, insecurity persists in the Fizi highlands and on the Ruzizi plain.

Status of COVID-19: On December 2, 2020, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 13,132, according to the Multi-sectoral Response Committee (CMR in French) on COVID, and the pandemic continues to spread to new provinces. The CMR reported a second wave. Hospitals in the city of Kinshasa have recorded a daily average of ten new hospitalizations since October 2020. According to an evaluation carried out by REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals) in the provinces of South Kivu and Tanganyika in October 2020, there has been a decrease in the availability of agricultural equipment and inputs due to restrictions on cross-border movement during previous agricultural seasons.

Cross-border trade flows: The borders between Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC have been opened, but strict health requirements – including a COVID-19 test, the cost of which remains beyond the reach of small traders – are limiting de facto trade. With regard to commercial activities with Rwanda, small traders must be grouped into approved associations, and only representatives of these associations are allowed to cross the border.

Humanitarian assistance: According to data from the Food Security Cluster, 3.4 million people benefited from food assistance during the 3rd quarter of 2020 (July, August, September) in the provinces of Ituri, greater Kasai, South Kivu, and North Kivu, representing about 15 percent of the total population of these provinces. FEWS NET believes that this assistance improves the food security of the beneficiaries. However, information on the rations and frequency of distributions is being collected, and a more detailed analysis will be provided in the February Food Security Outlook Report.

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

The assumptions made in the October 2020 to May 2021 Outlook Report have been modified as follows:

Agricultural production: Given the low production of several consecutive agricultural seasons, causing an early lean season, disruptions in the functioning of the markets may be expected during the scenario period, particularly from March to May 2021, when the positive impact of season A has faded.

Markets and prices: Losses caused by flooding in several areas of the country would also have an impact on demand and prices.

Conflicts and population movements: Given the non-completion of the ongoing negotiations with the armed groups and their attachment to the communities, the conflicts in the areas concerned (Fizi and Uvira territories in South Kivu, Djugu and Mahagi territories in Ituri, and Mweka territory in Kasai) would maintain the same level as before without showing improvement as previously expected.

This situation portends a growing level of insecurity over the next six months, which would once again lead to the possible displacements of populations during the next agricultural season (season B).

Revenue sources: Households that have lost their jobs due to the containment measures would continue to face weak purchasing power. The thousands of people living from informal border commerce who cannot do business as usual would be affected during the projected period. The expected containment measures in cities would affect all activities, particularly the informal sector.

Humanitarian assistance: Humanitarian actors, particularly the WFP, would continue their assistance to the most vulnerable sectors in the coming months.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2021

In the period from December to May 2021, across all conflict zones in Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu, households that have lost access to their livelihoods because of the conflict will continue to depend on food assistance and will increasingly use negative coping strategies to meet their needs. Some people will depend on the hospitality of host households and others on small green crops where possible. These households will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the presence of food assistance provided in the area. This situation could improve with the large January and February harvests, which could relieve these populations and improve their food consumption, but they will continue to engage in crisis adaptation strategies and depend on assistance, remaining in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In other relatively calm areas, notably Sankuru, Lomami, northern Maniema, part of South Kivu, and northern Kasai, where households will have access to their own production, the households will be in a state of Stress (IPC Phase 2) until the end of the scenario period.

On the other hand, in the northern provinces of Tshopo, Upper-Uélé, and Lower-Uélé, which are generally stable areas and less affected by conflict, although receiving displaced persons. Households will harvest their crops and will depend for a long period on their own production. These areas will be in a Minimal (IPC Phase 1) situation.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics