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The growing season is making normal progress, with some disruptions in the south

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • December 2016
The growing season is making normal progress, with some disruptions in the south

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The first harvests of staple food crops such as maize, rice, beans, and vegetables in what was formerly Orientale province are providing households with food supplies and improving their current food consumption. As a result, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity is present in most areas of this province.

    • The reported rainfall anomalies in livelihood zones CD01 (Copperbelt and Marginal Agriculture) and CD08 (North Tanganyika Midland Agriculture), the Nyunzu, Kabalo, Manono, and Kalemie Territories in Tanganyika Province, and the Kailo, Pangi, Punia, Kibombo, and Lubutu Territories in Maniema Province delayed the planting of food crops. As a result, harvests could be pushed back to March 2017, extending the lean season in this part of the country. Accordingly, food security outcomes in these areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • The continued clashes between armed groups in certain eastern territories have contributed to the growing numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Current estimates put the number of IDPs at over 1.9 million, nearly half of whom are living with host households, with very limited access to their livelihoods and inadequate food consumption. These populations are generally in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


    Farming conditions:

    Harvests of rice and maize crops are underway in the Northeast. Current estimates show average levels of crop production in spite of a few reported production deficits in parts of Isangi and Ubundu Territories in Tshopo Province due to climatic anomalies marked by a near-total lack of rain between October and November 2016. Maize, bean, potato, and sweet potato crops in North Kivu and South Kivu Provinces are making normal progress in spite of the slightly later than usual planting of these crops in mid-October. The upcoming green harvests of bean, maize, peanut, and potato crops in these provinces in January 2017 will help give poor households food access and improve their food consumption. There will be a generally average main harvest at the end of January or the beginning of February 2017.

    Crops in livelihood zone CD01 (Copperbelt and Marginal Agriculture) in Haut Katanga Province, livelihood zone CD08 (North Tanganyika Midland Agriculture) in South Kivu, and certain territories in Maniema Province (Kailo, Pangi, Punia, Kibombo, and Lubutu) were planted two months later than usual (at the end of November or the beginning of December instead of in September). This delay in the planting of crops due to the late start of the rains and poor distribution of rainfall is responsible for extending the ongoing lean season in this part of the country through the end of February 2017, which should normally be over by the end of December.


    There is business as usual on markets in all parts of the country with the exception of areas such as Nyunzu, Beni, Butembo, Walikale, Shabunda, and Tshikapa recently affected by population movements, in which there are reports of temporary market disruptions. According to available WFP data as of October 2016, the price of maize meal on the Beni market was up slightly from last year by six percent but still close to (one percent below) the five-year average. Likewise, the price of cassava meal on the same market showed little change from last year (three percent) but was above the five-year average by 18 percent.

    Markets in the Southeast are still experiencing the worst disruptions due to supply-side problems, particularly their heavy reliance on imports from countries in the South African region (Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, and Angola), and the ban on maize imports by Zambia. WFP data for October 2016 puts the price of maize meal on the Lubumbashi market up by 61 percent from last year and 48 percent above the five-year average.

    Security situation and population movements:

    The security situation is marred by the activism of armed groups present in forest areas and villages in the Eastern part of the country and the tribal and ethnic conflicts constantly triggering new “back-and-forth” population movements. In addition, there is a steadily growing refugee population in the DRC as a result of the political instability and armed conflicts in neighboring countries. The number of refugees from Burundi in South Kivu in the DRC jumped from 17,382 in June 2016 to 27,352 as of the end of October 2016, or an increase of 57 percent in a period of only four months. Of these 27,352 Burundian refugees present in South Kivu, 21,837 or 77 percent were living at the Lusenda Camp in Fizi Territory and 5,515 or 19 percent were lodged with host households in Uvira and Fizi Territories. In addition, the failure to hold new presidential and legislative elections is beginning to create serious political tensions between political class actors and uncertainty with respect to the future security situation in the days ahead.

    Humanitarian assistance:

    United Nations agencies (ex. WFP, FAO, UNICEF, UNPD, UN Women) and national and international NGOs are partnering with the government to provide ongoing humanitarian assistance to IDPs, returnees, refugees, and crisis victims. The Humanitarian Fund (Pooled Fund) administered by the Joint Humanitarian Financing Unit (JHFU) comprised of U.N. agencies active in the DRC will channel US$ 7.85 million in funding to South Kivu, US$ 14.505 million to the Far North (North Kivu and Ituri), and US$ 3.5 million to Tshopo. This assistance should be made available by January 2017 and will essentially be used to help IDPs and other at-risk groups.


    The present situation has not affected the assumptions used by FEWS NET as basis for establishing the most likely scenario for the period from October 2016 through May 2017. A detailed examination of this scenario can be found in the Food Security Outlook for October 2016 through May 2017 posted on the FEWS NET website.


    Households in the Northeastern part of the country with average maize and rice harvests currently underway will have food stocks through the month of March 2017. In addition, the main season A harvests in South Kivu, North Kivu, Maniema, Tanganyika, Lualaba, and Haut Lomami Provinces and the two former provinces of East and West Kasai should be underway by the end of January or the beginning of February 2017. These harvests will improve food availability on local markets and could help bring down food prices. Poor households will be able to put together two to three months’ worth of food stocks, which will sharply reduce their dependence on market purchases for food access. Accordingly, poor households could see an improvement in their food consumption in the next five months (between January and May 2017), with residents of these areas experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    In spite of the expected average harvests in South Kivu, North Kivu, Maniema, and Ituri Provinces, food security outcomes in certain parts of Punia, Kabambare, Pangi, Kasongo, Mambasa, Irumu, Aru, Bondo, Ango, Dungu, Faraje Fizi, Uvira, Shabunda, Kalehe, Beni, Rutshuru, and Walikale Territories will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to the effects of previous shocks (conflicts, armed clashes and ensuing population movements, crop diseases, floods, etc.) on local livelihoods and food availability. In addition, there will be pockets of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity in certain parts of these territories (Uvira, Fizi, Kabalo, Manono, Kalemie, Punia, Pangi, Kailo, Lubutu, Rutshuru, Walikale, Lubero, Beni, Isangi, Irumu, and Bafwasende), fueled by the below-average levels of household food stocks and continuing population movements limiting access to household livelihoods. However, the affected groups in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) represent less than 20 percent of the total population of these areas.

    The season A harvests which would ordinarily take place in January 2017 in livelihood zones CD01 (Copperbelt and Marginal Agriculture) and CD08 (North Tanganyika Midland Agriculture), the Nyunzu, Kabalo, Manono, and Kalemie Territories in Tanganyika Province, and large parts of Maniema Province will get underway two months behind schedule due to the late start of the rains and resulting two-month delay in the planting of crops. Thus, the continuing lean season in these areas between January and February 2017 will limit staple food availability on local markets. This could keep food prices high and limit the food access of poor households largely dependent on market purchases at that time of year. Thus, conditions in these areas will remain strained, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity.

    Figures Figure 1. RFE2 Z-Anomalies de 3 mois (Septembre-Octobre-Novembre 2016)

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. RFE2 Z-Anomalies de 3 mois (Septembre-Octobre-Novembre 2016)

    Source: USGS

    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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