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Northeastern and central-eastern areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3)

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • April 2022
Northeastern and central-eastern areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3)

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • A resurgence of the 23 March Movement (M23) rebellion in Rutshuru since March 2022 has caused new displacements in the midst of the resumption of season B. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 102,000 people have been displaced, resulting in lower participation in agricultural activities and lower-than-average agricultural production in this hard-to-reach territory, where food assistance is increasingly scarce.

    • Since early March 2022, there has been an atypical increase in the prices of both local and imported staple foods as a result of limited availability in local markets, which may be explained by higher transport costs and lower import levels for some commodities, such as maize flour and refined vegetable oil. This isolated upward trend appears to stabilize in the first two weeks of April and bodes well for an increase in household purchasing power.

    • Some conflict areas in the northeast with food consumption deficits will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) at the beginning of the short lean season (season B). However, the central-east and southeast, where territories experienced a relatively uninterrupted growing season, will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Areas in the north without a food deficit will be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).


    Conflict and population movements. Since March 28, thousands of civilians have fled their villages in Rutshuru territory as a result of armed clashes between the Congolese Army (FARDC) and combatants in the 23 March Movement (M23) armed group, which have started in several locations. According to OCHA, these clashes have resulted in 53,475 newly displaced persons and the destruction of economic activities on the main road connecting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with neighboring Uganda. Moreover, the conflict over the control of mining areas between armed groups in Walikale Territory resumed in the first half of April, with arbitrary abductions and arrests of mining operators. This situation is disrupting the livelihoods of households living off of artisanal mining of minerals in this area.

    The current security situation in Djugu and Mahagi in Ituri province remained tense in April, with continued attacks on civilians despite ongoing military operations. The humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate. Cooperative for Development of the Congo (CODECO) militia have continued their attacks on villages and displaced persons camps. In addition, Zairian militia have set up ambushes on roads and in villages, killing dozens of people. The security situation in Irumu appears to be improving with the arrival of Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) personnel in the southern part of the territory. Since February, the UPDF has bombed the various Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) posts in the middle of the forest in the Boga health zone, causing ADF to disperse and migrate to Mambasa. In the western part of that territory, however, Patriotic and Integrationist Force of Congo (FPIC) militia have continued their atrocities against civilians and attacks on FARDC posts. These have included 26 ambushes against FARDC forces and road users, with the aim of extorting goods and resupplying themselves with ammunition. In Mambasa, there has been a resurgence of insecurity due to incursions by ADF forces, which are thought to be associated with Mai-Mai Mazembe. On February 8, 23 suspected ADF soldiers were killed by the FARDC-UPDF coalition in the towns of Makusa and Makumo. According to OCHA, Ituri province has nearly 1.9 million internally displaced persons.

    In Tanganyika, violence erupted in the southwest of the Kalemie territory following the assassination of a village leader on the main road between Nyemba and Kasanga in early March, resulting in the displacement of more than 3,000 people according to OCHA. The abandoned houses where displaced persons used to live have been looted and burned, making it difficult for them to return. The Population Movement Commission estimates that there are approximately 370,263 internally displaced persons in Tanganyika.

    The fertilizer situation in relation to the crisis in Ukraine. According to the breakdown of large users of fertilizers from Russia and Ukraine, the DRC is not one of Africa's major fertilizer importers. The current conditions in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis have led to a slowdown in fertilizer production. In addition, there has been an overall increase in the cost of oil products. Supply chain disruptions and high transport costs as a result of the imposition of export restrictions and the sharp increases in bulk and container freight rates caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have also put upward pressure on fertilizer prices.

    Russia's fertilizer exports are also expected to be slightly to moderately reduced due to the reluctance of the private sector to deal with Russia and the reduction in the maritime transport capacity of the Black Sea. In addition to potential supply reductions, strong global demand and rising global energy prices will exert strong upward pressure on fertilizer prices in 2022. For example, urea, which was trading at around 400 USD per MT before the crisis (April 2021) is now selling at close to 850 USD per MT (January 2022), an increase of approximately 112 percent.

    Staple food prices and market operation. Price volatility was observed for some products in early March 2022, with an upward trend of between 20 and 40 percent, especially for imported food products, including vegetable oil and rice. There could be a number of explanatory factors, including an increase in the price of fuel of around 10 percent, significantly affecting transport costs. There are also reports of shopkeepers speculating on the basis of likely shortages of stocks from abroad in connection with the current crisis in Ukraine.

    COVID-19 and restrictions. The epidemiological situation of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be under control, with even lower levels of infection over recent weeks. In response, there has been a relaxation of government restrictions affecting some livelihoods, which is improving food availability in the markets through the opening of borders with some neighboring countries (Rwanda and Uganda), as well as household incomes and access to food.


    The current situation has not affected the assumptions used for the FEWS NET most likely scenario for February to September 2022. A full review of the scenario is available in the February 2022 Food Security Outlook.

    The assumptions used to develop the FEWS NET most-likely scenario have been revised as follows:

    • Conflict and population movements in Ituri, Nord-Kivu and Sud-Kivu.
      • Ituri. Despite the decrease in violence from the peak in 2021 to the first three months of 2022, violence in Irumu and Djugu, the main areas of operation of CODECO activists, will continue to cause population displacement and is expected to continue to increase throughout the reporting period, probably exceeding the levels observed in 2021.
      • Nord-Kivu. It is expected that ADF will maintain a smaller presence in Nord-Kivu in the coming months and will continue to carry out attacks, but probably at a much lower level than before the state of siege. In connection with the Rutshuru crisis, it is likely that the M23 group will increase the rate of attacks on rural communities in Rutshuru territory until at least July 2022, leading to further population displacement.
      • Sud-Kivu. Given the evolving security situation in that province, it is likely that the number of incidents and associated deaths will continue at higher levels than recently, while FARDC and Burundian forces are continuing their offensive operations.
    • Other conflict areas. The intensity of conflict has remained unchanged over the last two months and continues to disrupt the livelihoods of populations in the provinces of Sud-Kivu, Kasai, Kasai-Central, Maniema, and Tanganyika, including during the current period when the growing season resumes. The security situation is therefore likely to remain the same for the remainder of the scenario period, with significant challenges to the resumption of the current growing season.
    • The fertilizer situation in relation to the crisis in Ukraine. Although the DRC is not cited among the major consumers of fertilizers according to the FEWS NET analysis of Ukraine, which indicates a likely overall decrease of around 60 percent, the production of some staple cereals (maize and rice) will be higher, thus limiting the ability of households to produce normally with decreasing yields. This situation would lead to a decline in the availability of both local and imported products. Fertilizer prices are set to remain high (Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and World Bank). Under this scenario, fertilizer prices could increase by 40 percent, with particular upward pressure on potash prices, given that Belarus is a key supplier.
    • Staple food prices and market operation. In relation to the above, given the expected limited availability of cereals over the coming months, and the continued increase in the cost of fuel, it is anticipated that the current volatility in food prices — especially cereals such as wheat, cornmeal, and imported rice — will continue in response to the likely disruption of supplies from producer countries facing Crisis.
    • COVID-19 and restrictions. Lack of compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could result in a new wave of the pandemic. This situation could lead to a tightening of measures that are detrimental to certain livelihoods.


    The end of the period from March to June 2022 is set to coincide with subsistence farmers' harvests for season B, while the end of September is the sowing period in the northeast and central-east region of the country. A large proportion of displaced households may not be able to participate in this second growing season and the area planted for agricultural producers could possibly decrease. This could also reduce harvests and thus limit local availability (in a global context), marked by rising prices for major food products. The situation in this region may therefore not improve.

    The food security situation in the central-east and northeast regions is expected to be characterized by areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), particularly in Sud-Kivu, Nord-Kivu and Ituri, until September 2022. Most of the central-north region of the country remains in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity, with areas of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) insecurity in the southeast and parts of the east. It is also estimated that the lean season will start earlier than normal, possibly as early as the beginning of August 2022.


    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET based on Index Mundi data

    Figure 2

    Seasonal Calendar


    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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