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July marks the post-harvest period of the agricultural season B in the North-East and Center-East, which are estimated to be around 15 percent below the five-year average, following population movements in the east of the country and flooding in several localities. This drop in production has resulted in a short duration of stocks, with the lean season starting earlier than usual in August. Despite this poor performance, poor households will be able to make up their consumption shortfalls by using stress and crisis coping strategies during the lean season.
Despite regional peacekeeping efforts, the violence in the east of the country continues to cause new population movements. In North Kivu, clashes between the M23 and various self-defense groups are continuing in the Masisi and Rutshuru territories, while the ADF and other armed militias are committing atrocities against the population in Ituri. This situation is jeopardizing the return of displaced persons, and will contribute to a consequent drop in household agricultural participation during the coming agricultural season.
The devaluation of the Congolese franc continues as a result of the scarcity of foreign currency on the foreign exchange market, due to the increase in demand for foreign currency and the growing liquidity of the Congolese franc. By June 2023, this local currency had lost 13 percent of its value compared with January 2023. This rapid and continuing devaluation of the currency explains the rise in the price of basic foodstuffs. In June 2023, the prices of maize flour, beans and vegetable oil on the markets monitored showed variations of 64 percent and 18 percent respectively, compared with the five-year average and the same period the previous year. This situation is affecting household incomes and exacerbating food access for poor households.
In conflict zones in the east of the country, below-average harvests in the last agricultural season (B) were just enough to cover needs for a short period (one month), with dependence on local markets. Populations in these areas are still not able to meet their total food needs, indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. In some health zones in the Djugu and Rutshuru territories, those most affected by the conflict (Rwanguba, Jomba, Drodro and Fataki), a subset of households are facing severe food consumption deficits resulting in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), though the proportion of households remains below 20 percent. Whereas in some less-affected regions, where households have produced sufficient food but are unable to cover their non-food needs, they remain in Stress (IPC Phase 2), notably in the Centrer-East and South-East zones, which have experienced normal and complete crop cycles. The North, in the equatorial zone and in the absence of any conflict, is continuing its normal crop cycle and remains in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).
Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Democratic Republic of the Congo. Key Messages: Average season B harvests amid continuing hostilities in the East. 2023
This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.