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Intensified conflict in the east and flooding in the west exacerbate household food insecurity

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • February - September 2024
Intensified conflict in the east and flooding in the west exacerbate household food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Current Food Security Outcomes
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
  • Events that Might Change the Outlook
  • Area of Concern: North Kivu Province/Lubero Territory/CD12 (Forest Cultivation and Products) (Figure 3)
  • Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
  • Key Messages
    • Since the last quarter of 2023, attacks have increased by armed groups such as the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Cooperative for Development of the Congo (CODECO), and the Mobondo militias, escalating the level of violence and resulting in new population displacements. With the arrival of Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops to bolster the national army, a further increase in violence and additional population movements are expected. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 10 million people are already affected by these movements, including internally displaced persons, returnees, and host households. These people are experiencing limited access to their usual sources of food and income. The areas most affected by the security crisis in the eastern part of the country remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
    • Alongside the compounded effects of insecurity and population displacement, rainfall in the past two agricultural seasons has been abnormally high, leading to floods, landslides in cultivated regions, destruction of assets for numerous households, and damage to infrastructure. According to the Congolese government, approximately half a million households have been affected, and 400,000 hectares of cultivated land destroyed in 18 out of the country's 26 provinces, accounting for about 3.5 percent of cultivated land. 
    • The Congolese franc (CDF) continues to depreciate, with a weekly depreciation of 1.34 percent in January. As a result, prices of essential commodities are rising atypically in markets across the DRC. In January 2024, the prices of staple foods (beans, flour, vegetable oil, etc.) were approximately 27 percent higher than in the previous year and 134 percent above the five-year average. The continuous rise in food prices is driven by the combined effects of local currency depreciation and the ongoing increase in prices of strategic products such as fuel.
    • In February 2024, amid an atmosphere of renewed hostilities in the east of the country, the areas most affected by the conflicts are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In the central basin, particularly in the province of Equateur, which has experienced flooding, the situation has also reached Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in a large portion of the country, including the provinces of Sankuru, Tshuapa, Tshopo, Haut-Uele, Bas-Uele, Sud Ubangi, Nord Ubangi, Mongala, Kasaï Oriental, Kasaï Central, a portion of Maniema, and Haut-Katanga, which are stable and where households have better access to food. The western provinces (Kongo Central, Kwango) and those in the southeast (Upper Lomami and Lualaba), which have not experienced any major adverse events and do not face food consumption deficits, will remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    Conflicts and population movements: Over the past two months, clashes have intensified in the Masisi and Rutshuru territories in North Kivu between M23 rebels and the Wazalendo militias supported by the national army. The recent escalations of violence continue to cause population movements, with OCHA reporting that this crisis has led to over 2.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). In November, the DRC signed an agreement with the SADC authorizing the deployment of 5,000 soldiers in the eastern part of the country. The first troops arrived at the end of December 2023, aiming to neutralize armed groups and protect civilians and essential infrastructure. In addition, in the northern part of the North Kivu and Ituri provinces, ADF forces continued to carry out attacks and abuses against civilian populations, despite joint military operations by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the Ugandan forces (UPDF). Civil society stakeholders estimate that around 800 civilians were killed in 2023 in various attacks attributed to ADF rebels.

    On the other hand, militants from CODECO and Zaire continue their atrocities in the territories of Djugu and Mahagi. According to local civil society, more than 44 people were killed in January 2024 as a result of attacks by these militants. Since January, there has been a resurgence of violence observed after about six months of relative calm in this part of the territory. OCHA estimates that more than one million people have been displaced in various sites in Ituri because of these conflicts.

    In the southwestern part of the country, a resurgence of Mobondo militia activity has been observed in the provinces of Kwilu and Kwango since December. In January 2024, these militia members attacked several villages, where they reportedly killed dozens of people and set fire to homes, schools, and churches. Since late December 2023, these militia members have managed to block travelers on National Route 17 in the Kwamouth territory (Mai-Ndombé Province), prompting the provincial government of Kwilu to suspend all traffic on National Route 17 (RN17) since Monday, January 1. This situation has disrupted the availability of food products in this region.

    Agroclimatological situation: Above-average rainfall from mid-November 2023 until January 2024 caused major flooding in at least 18 of the country's 26 provinces. According to Congolese authorities, the floods affected about half a million households and killed nearly 300 people. 

    Furthermore, 1,632,417 hectares of land were affected, including approximately 400,000 hectares of cultivable land. This has impacted 282,665 households, resulting in 221 deaths and 625 injuries, according to the Food Security Cluster and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. Material damages include 67,519 destroyed houses, with 1,528 schools and 267 health centers affected, 211 markets impacted, and 146 kilometers of roads rendered impassable due to flooding. The extent of flooding was particularly intense in areas along the Congo River, from the west to the north-central part of the country. The most affected provinces were Equateur, Kongo Central, Lualaba, Tshopo, Nord-Ubangi, Sud-Ubangi, Tanganyika, and Mai-Ndombe.

    Depreciation of the local currency and economic conditions: As in previous years, the CDF has continued to depreciate in 2024. On January 26, 2024, the exchange rate was 2,727.48 CDF per 1 USD, representing a weekly depreciation of 1.34 percent. This depreciation of the national currency is likely to cause a rise in the price of goods and services.

    Regarding macroeconomic challenges, the prices of certain mining products exported by the DRC continue to decline on international markets. According to experts from the Congolese government, copper prices are forecasted to undergo a considerable decrease of 2.7 percent, while zinc prices are expected to decline by 0.65 percent. On the other hand, some mining products exported by the country, such as tin, gold, silver, and tantalum, are experiencing an increase in their value per ton. Tin has gained 0.63 percent in value, while silver is expected to be traded at 1.33 percent more compared to last August. This fluctuation in the prices of the aforementioned raw materials indicates a capacity for self-balancing within the economic situation. Given that raw materials contribute to more than 80 percent of the country's export revenues, a decrease in their prices foretells losses for the country's economy. 

    Outbreak resurgence: Several provinces of the country are facing an increasing number of cholera cases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the country recorded 51,461 cases in 2023, an increase of 34 percent compared to 2022. During the month of January 2024, more than 862 cases were reported in several provinces, a 45 percent increase compared with the same period in 2022. Furthermore, the WHO reports that 600 people have died out of a total of 13,000 cases of Mpox detected in 22 provinces between January and mid-November 2023.

    Market functioning and price trends for staple foods: As in previous years, the prices of key foodstuffs are rising atypically in markets in the DRC (Figure 1). The combined effects of the devaluation of the local currency and the continued rise in the prices of products such as fuel are sustaining the continuous rise in staple food prices. In January 2024, the prices of staple foods (beans, maize flour, vegetable oil, and rice) were about 27 percent above last year's levels and 134 percent above the five-year average. 

    Despite seasonal price decreases linked to Season A harvests, insecurity and high transportation costs are disrupting market operations and keeping prices of staple foods above average. In some areas of the country, insecurity and isolation due to the lack of transportation infrastructure are contributing to this rise in food prices. Data collected by FEWS NET indicates that the product price trends appear to be relatively stable in Kinshasa (particularly for imported products) compared to markets in other cities across the country. In this regard, the prices of key staple foods have experienced an average increase of only 22 percent over the past five years in Kinshasa, whereas in Lubumbashi and Mbandaka, this increase is 56 percent and 48 percent, respectively. This situation can be explained by the importation facilities available in Kinshasa compared to other cities in the country.

    Additionally, in areas affected by the recent floods, where the humanitarian situation is already concerning, trade in key staple foods between different zones has slowed due to severely degraded road infrastructure.

    Figure 1

    Maize flour price projection in Mbandaka
    Projection de prix de la farine de maïs à Mbandaka

    Source: FEWS NET

    Sources of income: Access to main sources of household income is currently severely limited in conflict zones. The sale of agricultural and livestock products remains the main source of income for almost 70 percent of households. These revenues are currently falling in some areas affected by conflict, as well as in areas affected by flooding. Some poor households, particularly those that have not been able to grow crops, are taking on temporary agricultural work in a context of low demand due to growing supply. 

    Ninety-nine percent of fishing of fishing remains small-scale, with incomes decreasing due to rising water levels on the main waterways. As such, the current annual production, mainly small-scale and inland, is about 240,000 tons, approximately 30 percent of the fishery potential, which is estimated at over 707,000 tons of annual production. 

    Sales of artisanal mining products continue despite the activity of armed groups in certain mining areas; as is the case in Ituri in the Djugu territory, where rival groups are fighting over mining zones. The World Bank estimates that 10 million people, or 16 percent of the population, depend on artisanal mining for their daily survival.

    With more than 1,450,000 public servants throughout the country, the civil service is also an important source of income in the country. However, the ongoing devaluation of the local currency is eroding the already modest salaries of these state officials, thereby reducing households' ability to procure food. 

    Malnutrition: According to SMART nutrition surveys conducted in July 2023 in the four eastern provinces of the country (Tanganyika, South Kivu, North Kivu, and Ituri), the situation remains concerning, with rates nearing the Critical threshold. However, the nutritional situation seems to be improving compared with the previous five years, while the rate of chronic malnutrition is increasing in all the territories surveyed compared with the same period. 

    Humanitarian aid: According to the food security cluster, humanitarian actors targeted approximately 10 million people in need of food security assistance from January to October 2023 but reached only around 7 million. Of these, 96 percent were located in the crisis-affected eastern and central areas. According to OCHA, only 47 percent of beneficiaries targeted for assistance in the food security sector were reached from July to December 2023 (Figure 2). Delivering aid remains a challenge given the volatile security context, impassable roads, and continuous population displacement, among other factors.

    Figure 2

    Beneficiaries reached/month by WFP in November, December, and January 2024
    Bénéficiaires atteints/mois par le PAM en novembre, décembre et janvier 2024

    Source: FEWS NET, based on data from WFP


    Current Food Security Outcomes

    In February 2024, as hostilities resume in North Kivu—especially in its southwestern part (Masisi and Rutshuru)—farming households who managed to cultivate face severe limitations in accessing their fields. According to key informants, a substantial portion of the harvest in these territories has almost been lost, and the populations of occupied villages are now in safer locations under FARDC protection, without access to their produce. The latter are either harvested by rebel groups who have to feed themselves or destroyed by these same groups. The rebels occupy the main routes leading to production areas, thus strangling consumption centers such as Goma, Sake, and other urban centers like Bukavu. This reduces the availability of food in these areas. In addition, people are moving and concentrating around the city of Goma. According to OCHA, the displaced population receives food aid that does not cover even 20 percent of the area's population. Some displaced households rely for income on domestic work and are forced to travel from the camps to the city center to offer their labor. Others resort to emergency coping strategies, including begging and illicit activities. According to key informants, most households are limiting their number of meals to one per day, reducing food portions, or decreasing adult consumption in favor of children. Other households are selling their productive assets, as access to land is no longer possible in the areas to which they have been displaced. In other conflict zones in South Kivu (Fizi, Kalehe, and Walungu, which continue to suffer the effects of conflict) and in Ituri (including Djugu, Irumu and Mahagi), household access to sources of income and food remains disrupted. The areas most affected by conflict in the east of the country, as well as in Kwamouth territory, are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). A portion of the population most affected by conflicts, particularly the poorest displaced individuals from Rutshuru, Masisisi, and Djugu, are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). 

    In the central and western parts of the country, particularly in the Equatorial region and Kasaï, crop losses caused by floods have reduced food availability in the affected territories (such as Bomongo, Ingende, Mbandaka, and many other riverine localities along the Congo River). With road infrastructure completely destroyed, trade is conducted via waterways, resulting in staple food prices from affected areas remaining high since November 2023. These areas are therefore Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    However, the relatively calm areas of the equatorial region, which benefit from gathered products with continuous, staggered harvests throughout the year, are in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    Assumptions 

    The most likely scenario from February to September 2024 is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    Conflicts and population movements: Generally speaking, conflict in the DRC is likely to continue into the projection period, albeit to varying degrees. The M23's attempts to block commercial routes to urban areas in North Kivu could lead to retaliation from government forces and result in continued population displacement, particularly in Masisi. 

    In North Kivu and Ituri provinces, where joint FARDC-UPDF operations continue, ADF attacks against civilians may continue, although at levels below those observed in 2023 in both provinces. Furthermore, in Ituri, various militia groups refuse to lay down their arms. Thus, rivalries between CODECO and Zaire militias will likely persist, leading to atrocities against opposing communities.

    In the southwest of the country, ongoing Teke-Yaka intercommunal conflicts are expected to continue sporadically, although the number of conflict events is projected to remain lower than the levels observed in 2023. 

    Agroclimatological conditions and agricultural production: It is expected that the effects of El Niño, which resulted in excessive rainfall in the northeastern part of the SADC region and have caused flooding in several territories of the DRC, will continue until mid-2024 in the east (South Kivu, North Kivu, and Tanganyika Provinces) as well as in the west (Equateur, Kongo Central, and Kinshasa Provinces). The period from March to May covers the Season B rainy season in the northeastern and central-eastern parts of the country and marks the beginning of Season B production. These conditions are expected to disrupt the Season B agricultural cycle (March–June) in the eastern and central parts of the country, which are bimodal, and thus reduce agricultural production at the end of the campaign. Production is anticipated to be lower than normal and lower than in the previous Season A.

     According to SADEC forecasts, it is highly likely that excess rainfall conditions will continue, causing further crop losses and landslides, particularly in eastern and western areas of the country. Thus, flooding in low-lying areas and the erosion of crops on slopes are expected to continue. In addition, planting and preparation activities Season B will be disrupted by heavy rains. As a result, Season B harvests are likely to be below normal and lower than in the previous season. In the face of an insufficient response from the government to shelter the affected households, the livelihoods of thousands of households living on at-risk sites would be impacted.

    Market functioning and food staple prices: Prices of basic food staples in Southern Africa are expected to increase seasonally during the projection period. Given the importance of imports from neighboring countries for supply in the eastern part of the country, there will likely be a reduction in the availability of maize and rice in the southeast (Haut Katanga, Lualaba) and central parts of the country (Kasaï region), as well as price fluctuations based on the prices of source countries. 

    It is likely that the price stability of the main food products observed since the end of the previous year and the beginning of this year will continue until March, followed by seasonal variations during the lean season (April–May). Although harvests are expected to be below normal, these harvests should improve food availability in June 2024. It is likely that local product prices will stabilize again, improving food access for poor households. 

    Instability of the local currency: The CDF could continue to depreciate during the projection period. This instability of the local currency will continue to cause price instability for both imported products (refined oil, rice) and petroleum products (gasoline and diesel), which will impact transportation costs, thereby affecting the prices of other products during the scenario period.

    Availability of commodities: Given the 20 percent increase in fuel prices in December 2023, as well as the deterioration of roads and other transportation infrastructure due to heavy rainfall during the last two months, a decrease in the availability of basic products in inland areas is expected until September. However, the supply may remain the same in border towns, which could continue to benefit from imports with neighboring countries.

    Agricultural labor: With the increasing number of displaced persons due to conflict, the agricultural labor supply is likely to increase in host areas. This could lead to a decrease in the daily wage for agricultural work, reducing the incomes of poor households, who may struggle to access food. 

    Temporary and salaried workforce (mining): Given that 16 percent of the Congolese population depends on mining activities (both artisanal and non-artisanal), decreased global commodity prices, especially for copper and cobalt, could affect the income of households reliant on these activities. 

    Humanitarian aid: Details of humanitarian aid planned for 2024 are not yet available. However, FEWS NET believes that ongoing humanitarian aid will continue, particularly in priority areas hosting IDPs in the east of the country.


    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Source: FEWS NET


    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Between February and May, food stocks will be depleted earlier than usual in the northeastern and central-eastern zones due to consecutive low productions in conflict areas, resulting in an early lean season starting in April. Some central-eastern areas, including Maniema, Haut Lomami, and Lualaba, are expected to transition from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during this period, marked by the Season B lean season (April–May). During this harvest period, it is almost impossible for households to return to their fields due to the risk of succumbing to the attacks of rebels and armed militias in the area.

    In conflict zones, especially in the east of the country (Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu) and the Mai-Ndombe province, a significant portion of the harvest has been lost due to the intensification of fighting at the end of the growing season. Displaced households and hosts primarily rely on humanitarian aid. Due to constraints, some households travel back and forth attempting to harvest crops left in the fields when they moved to safer locations. During the harvest period in June, farmers with access to their fields will have access to their own production and thus will be able to improve their food consumption levels. Given the low production, households will face consumption deficits in August and September, and many areas will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). 

    In the western part of the country, household food security has significantly deteriorated due to the structural causes associated with increased food prices, and thus many areas may face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, especially in Tshuapa and Mai-Ndombe. 

    In Equateur province, cultivated areas were devastated by flooding from November 2023 to February 2024, creating a large loss of production as well as a decrease in fish catches. As a result, the prices of agricultural and fishery products have increased, further limiting households' access to food. Reduced agricultural and fish production has placed this area in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    The southeastern zone, often deficient in agricultural production, will experience a lean period between February and May; households will depend on food imports from countries in Southern Africa (such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, etc.), where the last agricultural season faced several challenges. As a result, the availability of food in markets may decrease, as may poor households' access to food. The provinces of Haut Katanga and Haut Lomami and a part of Kasaï, which make up this area, will therefore face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. 

    From June to September, the northeastern and central-eastern areas will experience a harvest period in June and July. These harvests will enable households to improve their food consumption for the duration of their food stocks. Households will improve their income by selling harvested products and will depend on their own production. Household stocks from the Season B harvest will be depleted early, from August onward. With reserves depleted, households will begin depending on markets for their food needs in August, despite low incomes. Areas in the east that are experiencing the effects of the prolonged conflict will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), including Ituri (Irumu and Djugu), South Kivu (Uvira, Fizi), North Kivu (Beni, Nyiragongo, Rutshuru, and Masisi), and part of Tanganyika Province (excluding Kalemie and Kongolo).

    Areas of the central basin (Équateur) that have experienced flooding for several seasons will also remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    The territory of Kwamouth and its surroundings in the Mai-Ndombe province, which have experienced population displacement due to the activities of the Mobondo armed group, have not yet recovered and may remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    In the provinces of Sankuru, Tshuapa, Tshopo, Haut-Uele, Bas-Uele, Sud Ubangi, Nord Ubangi, Mongala, Kasaï Oriental, Kasaï Central, part of Maniema, and Haut-Katanga, conditions are stable and households have better access to food and income and minimally adequate food consumption. These areas are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). 

    The western provinces (Kongo Central, Kwango) and those in the southeast (Haut Lomami and Lualaba), which have not experienced any major adverse events and do not have a food-consumption deficit, will remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).


    Events that Might Change the Outlook
    Table 1
    Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most likely scenario
    AreaEventsImpact on Food Security Outcomes
    NationalIncrease in flooding due to rain disturbances in the eastern and western zonesThis would limit normal agricultural production and reduce the flow of local products into the country. An increase in areas in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) would be likely in areas with rainfall deficits.
    Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika, Espace Bandundu, KasaïThe decline in the intensity of armed conflicts and the significant surrender of armed groups in response to current peace initiativesThe success of the peace processes underway in the region may lead to a reduction in new displacements and encourage people to gradually return to their villages of origin. This would increase household participation in agricultural activities and other livelihoods, thereby improving food access and income sources for poor households.

    Area of Concern: North Kivu Province/Lubero Territory/CD12 (Forest Cultivation and Products) (Figure 3)

    Figure 3

    Reference map for the area of concern: North Kivu Province, Lubero Territory, CD12 (Forest Cultivation and Products)
    Carte de référence pour la zone concernée :    Province du Nord-Kivu, Territoire de Lubero,  CD12 (forêt – cultures et produits)

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current Situation

    Security situation and population movement: Local armed groups are active in Lubero territory and occupy more than a third of its area. In addition. this territory is located between the three most affected territories of North Kivu province. These include the Rusthuru territory to the south, the Beni territory to the north, and the Walikale territory to the west. Thus, the security situation remains volatile in the territory of Lubero due to ongoing armed clashes between FARDC/Wazalendo and M23 in the territories of Rutshuru and Masisi, as well as the continued offensive against the ADF by the FARDC/UPDF coalition in the territory of Beni. 

    Following the offensives of the M23 in Rutshuru and the ADF in the territory of Beni, a significant proportion of the FARDC soldiers assigned to Lubero were transferred to Rutshuru and Masisi to strengthen FARDC positions, thereby creating a security vacuum in Lubero. This situation pushed the local armed groups present in this territory to recover the positions formerly controlled by the national army. According to key informants, nearly a third of the territory of Lubero is under the control of local armed groups. These armed groups impose their own laws, including requiring producers to pay taxes (1,000 CF per adult) to access their fields, as well as levying taxes on other economic activities.

    Continued violence in the three neighboring territories (Rutshuru with the M23 rebellion, Beni with the ADF, Walikale with the local armed groups) is causing mass population displacement to the Lubero territory. According to OCHA, the Lubero territory was home to nearly 350,313 displaced persons in December 2023. The majority of these displaced persons live with host families. With this influx of IDPs, certain settlements in the territory, such as Kanyabayonga, Kayna, and Kirumba, are becoming urban-rural cities with significant socioeconomic consequences, particularly related to constraints on access to land and infrastructure.

    Seasonal progress: Season A production, which began in mid-December 2023 and will last until the end of February 2024, is below average. The territory has experienced rainfall disturbances characterized by abundant but poorly distributed rainfall, as well as the reduction of available land due to the conflict and the presence of a large number of displaced persons. 

    In this territory, a lack of technical support for farmers results in the use of rudimentary and less productive farming techniques. However, according to some local actors, given sufficient rainfall, production is estimated to be moderate to good for certain crops.

    Significantly, maize production has also experienced growth. The cultivation of wheat has recently been revived with new varieties by Virunga Development, which is working with local cooperatives. More than 400 tons are expected on a cultivated area of 192 hectares. 

    During Season A, there has been a notable increase in potato harvest compared to previous years, which can be attributed to the successful adoption of new varieties.

    Livestock situation: Some households in the Lubero territory make a living from livestock, including large livestock (cattle), small livestock (goats, sheep, pigs), and poultry (chickens and ducks). As per data from the livestock division, around 99,812 cattle, 89,818 goats, and 18,537 pigs were recorded in the territory in 2020. Due to the dominance of armed groups in this territory, there have been numerous cases of livestock looting, as well as the imposition of taxes by these groups, payable based on the number of animals owned. The livestock sector in this territory is also marked by a lack of quality breeding stock and specialized centers for breeding stock production. 

    The explosion of zoonotic diseases such as foot and mouth disease and peste des petits ruminants, the lack of veterinary products, and the despoliation of pastures and watering places are not conducive to good livestock production in the area, threatening household food security. 

    Changes in livelihoods: In normal times, the sale of harvests (such as beans, cassava, maize, and potatoes, among others) during Season A (mid-December to mid-February) and Season B (between mid-June and mid-September) constitutes the main source of income for households, enabling them to access food, healthcare, and other primary household needs. Currently, daily wage work ranging from 2,500 FC to 3,000 FC per person (depending on the type of work) has become the source of income for poor households. The cultivation of vegetable products is thriving across the entire territory of Lubero. The cultivation of cassava is highly favored by farmers, as it is a staple food and not particularly demanding.

    Market functioning and food prices: The local market is being disrupted by high demand due to the presence of displaced persons in the area. This disruption of local markets is caused by the instability resulting from the insecurity experienced in the neighboring territories of Rutshuru and Beni, which serve as bridges for certain industrial food products coming from Goma and Uganda.

    Availability of agricultural/mining labor: The Lubero area has an increased supply of labor, due to the massive presence of displaced persons, with significant mixing between local populations and displaced persons. The demand for labor is highest during the period of soil preparation, sowing, weeding, and harvesting. Limited access to fields reduces the chance of using this workforce, despite its abundance. 

    Mines, which concern a small proportion of households (less than 3 percent), are mainly located in the Mangurujipa sector, currently occupied by armed groups. 

    Nutritional situation: According to the results of the SMART surveys carried out in July 2023 and November 2020 in the territory of Lubero, the rate of global acute malnutrition (GAM) is less than 5 percent and that of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is less than 2 percent.

    Humanitarian aid: Overall, the level of humanitarian assistance remains below the level of need, and the persistent deterioration in the security situation is affecting humanitarian access in the area. From January to November 2023, the Food Security Cluster estimated that only 52 percent of food aid needs were covered in the Lubero territory, reaching 290,437 people, or about 15 percent of the territory's population, with a ration of about a month and a half.

    Assumptions 

    In addition to the national-level assumptions, the following assumptions apply to this area of concern:

    Agricultural production: The active presence of armed groups and the atrocities they have committed on civilian populations have disrupted Season A agricultural activities in the territory of Lubero. The conflict-induced displacement of populations will limit households' participation in Season B (March–June) production and potentially in the beginning of Season A in September, resulting in a decrease in agricultural production for this area, which was once a surplus zone for the main staple crops and the primary granary for North Kivu. Access to quality seeds, with falling incomes for agricultural households, will remain a challenge, particularly in the first scenario period.

    Market functioning and commodity price: Given the below-average agricultural production expected in the livelihood zone due to persistent insecurity and massive population displacement, staple food prices will rise overall throughout the projection period. They will remain above the five-year average with atypical fluctuations compared to the previous year, despite periods of temporary decline when the first harvests in December will boost market supply.

    Petty trade: Due to the presence of multiple checkpoints set up by various armed actors along the main roadways in the territory of Lubero and its surroundings, activities related to petty trade have decreased in these areas. Thousands of households that used to make a living from these activities and from cross-border informal trade (Bunagana and Ishasha) are deeply affected, as are the livelihoods of poor households that used to make a living from these activities.

    Humanitarian aid: Plans for humanitarian aid for 2024 are not yet available. However, FEWS NET assesses that humanitarian aid will continue in Lubero at similar levels to those observed in 2023.

    Figure 4

    Cassava flour price projection in Beni
    Projection de prix de la farine de manioc à Beni

    Source: FEWS NET


    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    The period from February to May corresponds to the planting season between March and April and the beginning of Season B green harvests at the end of May 2024. However, given that a significant portion of the agricultural population is displaced within the territory, the production of staple crops will be lower than normal. Given the early lean season expected at the end of March in the area, household food consumption is expected to deteriorate during this period, with moderate consumption gaps. Displaced households can rely on food assistance, while poor households will struggle to access their usual food sources. As a result, they will experience increased dependence on the market for their food consumption. The area will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). 

    The period between June and September includes both the harvesting of Season B crops and the beginning of the lean season in the Lubero territory. The situation of households throughout the area will be increasingly challenging, with limited access to food due to the early depletion of stocks. Food availability will be lower than usual from the beginning of August. As a result, food consumption may improve during the first two months of the scenario period and deteriorate during the remaining period. Very poor and poor households may resort to the cheapest and least-preferred foods, or even rely on the solidarity of other households, while displaced individuals will rely more on potential humanitarian aid in the area. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity will persist in this territory, with a portion of the population likely facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Democratic Republic of Congo Food Security Outlook February - September 2024: Intensified conflict in the east and flooding in the west exacerbate household food insecurity, 2024.

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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