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Crisis (IPC Phase 3) conditions despite the good start to the agricultural season

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • April 2016
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) conditions despite the good start to the agricultural season

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through September 2016
  • Key Messages
    • According to the Early Warning and Food Security Monitoring report for March 2016, rainfall estimates as of March 20th, 2016 were above March 2015 levels and above the thirty-year average. This encourages seasonal activities such as land preparation work and crop planting, which are nevertheless generating below-average income levels due to the security problems that limit the supply of farmwork. 

    • Despite the beginning of the rains, pastoral conditions have failed to improve since the security crisis confines pastoralists to localized areas. Losses and thefts have sharply reduced the supply of livestock since 2012/2013 (the pre-crisis period). As a result, income levels are below the five-year average. Most pastoralists are unable to sell their products due to restrictions on trade caused by the conflict.

    • OCHA estimates as of March 2016 indicate 421,300 displaced peoples in Bangui and the country’s Southwestern, Central, and Northwestern prefectures. Most households in these areas are contending with poor food availability, limited market access, and disruptions in basic social structures. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity and food consumption deficits in these areas will persist through at least September 2016.







    • Sharp rise in prices for imported foodstuffs and livestock
    • Below-average income levels from most sources 
    • Deterioration of livelihoods
    • Tightening of market supplies 
    • Atypically low household food stocks and market inventories
    • Confinement of animals in localized areas due to continuing conflict
    • Rising prices for imported foodstuffs through the end of the lean season 
    • Decline in supplies of locally grown crops, driven by a weak local demand
    • Continued below-average income levels
    • Poor food access due to erosion of purchasing power
    • Continued limited flows of cereal 
    • Earlier and more severe than usual lean season and premature market dependence

    Displaced populations, returnees, and host households in the northwest, central, and southwest of the country

    • Fewer displaced persons in host households and IDP camps
    • Loss of livelihoods and consumer purchasing power
    • Sharp decline in food availability given the shortfall in crop production
    • Slow increase in income-generating activities
    • Tightening of market supplies in conflict areas 
    • Poor food consumption

    Projected Outlook Through September 2016

    The installation of the country’s new government in April seems to have stabilized the civil security situation compared to the past few months. However, attacks by armed groups and incidents of violence in parts of Bangui and in the country’s Southwestern, Central, and Northwestern prefectures (Ouham, Ouham Pendé, and Haut Mbomou) continue. The persistent security problems are maintaining certain displaced households in IDP camps across the country, in refugee camps outside the country or with host households. OCHA estimates as of March 2016 put the total number of displaced persons at 421,300, with the largest concentrations in Bangui and Ouham prefecture. However, this figure has declined 10 percent from December 2015, reflecting the desire of most IDPs to return to their homes (70 percent) or to be resettled in other areas (28 percent) according to a recent IOM return intention survey conducted in March 2016.

    The rainy season started normally and, according to the Early Warning and Food Security Monitoring report for March 2016, estimated rainfall levels as of March 20, 2016 were above March 2015 levels and above the thirty-year average. This encouraging seasonal activities such as land preparation work and the planting of crops, which are generating needed income to enable poor households to maintain their staple food access. However, according to the CFSAM survey, the conflict has reduced animal production by 46 percent, fish production by 40 percent, and yields of the two main cash crops, namely, cotton and coffee, by 42 percent and 28 percent, respectively, compared to the 2012/2013 pre-crisis period. Most affected households have limited food and income sources. Revenues from other ongoing income-generating activities in April such as temporary work and petty trade declined from the 2012/2013 pre-crisis period due to the erosion of household purchasing power slowing demand.

    According to the report by the joint FAO/WFP harvest assessment mission in November 2015, food production for the 2015/2016 season is 54 percent below the production figure for 2012/2013 (pre-crisis level) but 10 percent above 2014 levels. Thus, household food stocks are less-than-optimal, and market supplies will be limited for the remainder of the current consumption period (April through September). As a result, food stocks will be depleted sooner than usual, and households will be more dependent on market purchases for their food supplies.  

    In spite of the relatively normal start to the rainy season, herd movements are still limited with pastoralists confined to localized areas by the ongoing conflict. This could create overgrazing problems in these areas, which could negatively affect the physical conditions of livestock. The smaller supply of livestock compared with 2012/2013 has driven income levels below the five-year average. Meat prices in Bangui rose 25 percent between the 2012/2013 pre-crisis period and October 2015, but most pastoralists are unable to sell their products given the weak household purchasing power and the poor access to urban markets, which are limiting local demand.

    Despite the new government’s appeal for the normal resumption of economic and governmental activities, the ongoing conflict continues to disrupt trade. A relatively small volume of domestic and cross-border food trade exists, and market supplies are still tight compared with the 2012/2013 pre-crisis period.

    According to the UNICEF Humanitarian Situation Report for March 2016, after years of instability and insecurity with negative impacts on the country’s healthcare system, health conditions are a constant source of concern. There have been 131 reported cases of meningitis in the northern part of Ouham prefecture. In addition, a total of 4,259 children in host households, IDP camps, and enclave areas were admitted to treatment facilities for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) between January and February, heightening the risk of new flare-ups of certain diseases and high rates of global acute malnutrition.

    With the ongoing conflict, below-average sources of food and income, poor food availability, and limited food access by poor households, the food security situation and outlook in Bangui and the country’s northwestern, southern, and central-western regions remains precarious. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity and food consumption deficits will persist at least through September 2016.

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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