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The gradual normalization of trade flows improves food availability in markets

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • April 2021
The gradual normalization of trade flows improves food availability in markets

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Persistent civil insecurity has forced thousands of people to flee abuses and seek refuge outside their settlements and in sites outside their villages of origin. These households whose livelihoods are deteriorating are exposed to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. The coming months will be even more difficult for displaced populations who have not had access to their fields to cultivate, and some of whom have lost their usual sources of food and income.

    • The reopening of the Douala-Bangui corridor, the country’s main supply route for imported foodstuffs, has enabled a resumption of external flows for supplying the country. However, the volume of these flows remains below its level before December 2020 because some economic operators still hesitate to take this route despite the security measures. Internal flows between production and consumption zones have also resumed; however, the availability of foodstuffs on local markets remains generally lower than normal. This is due to the ongoing curfew, extension of the state of emergency for six months, poor state of roads, and harassment of the rebel groups.

    • Overall, prices in April registered slight declines compared to the previous month. Compared to last year at the same period, the prices of imported and local products are generally down: 27 percent for cassava, 37 percent for sorghum, 19 percent for imported rice, eight percent for maize. The price of oil remains stable. These decreases are consecutive to a better supply of markets following the good harvests of the past agricultural season.





    • Civil insecurity remains a major limiting factor for food security. According to OCHA, the number of people internally displaced by conflict stands at 738,279 as of March 31. This number is broadly similar to that of the previous month. The security situation, which limits access to fields and disrupts imports, reduces the availability of foodstuffs. This also forces poor and internally displaced households to resort to products such as smoked caterpillars, wild yams, and wild potatoes for food.
    • Commercial flows continue to resume their functioning. However, they remain below normal because of the rebels' harassment, limiting the accessibility of supply areas. As for external flows, a recovery is being observed on the Bangui Douala corridor; however, not reaching the level observed before December 2021.
    • Over the next six months, civil insecurity will remain a limiting factor in food security. However, the already perceptible lull will continue, especially in large cities, encouraging a greater return of internally displaced persons.
    • Agricultural production in 2021 will be broadly equivalent to last year. However, the areas sown could see a slight decrease compared to last year due to the inaccessibility of specific fields due to insecurity.



    The prospect of lower conflict levels is likely after the second round of legislative elections in mid-May and the installation of the new Central African parliament. However, residual localized insecurity in places will continue to disrupt population movements. In addition, pastoralist-farmer conflicts are to be feared between April to May during the usual return of livestock and pastoralists to their area/country of origin.

    Overall, the availability of food products will improve over the coming months due to new harvests and the resumption of internal and external trade flows. However, it should be noted that certain localities are at risk of experiencing difficulties in the supply of basic food products in the coming months, not only because of civil insecurity but above all because of their inaccessibility. These include Bouar, Boda, Bossangoa, Ngaoundaï, Bangassou, Boali, Bossembélé, and Bimbo.

    In some markets, we are witnessing an increase in the prices of agricultural commodities due to the insecurity that prevents agricultural producers from accessing markets with their products, thus creating a shortage in specific markets and increasing the prices of products. This situation is observed in the markets of Bambari, Alindao, Bangassou, Bouar, Bossangoa, Kabo, Bria, Bocaranga and Ngaoundaï, Berberati, Bambari, Boali.

    The food situation of poor households (internally displaced persons and host households), which is currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), will continue through September. The agricultural campaign, having been disrupted by armed conflict, displacement of populations, lack of seeds, prolonged drought, will not allow them to have a usual level of production. In addition, their primary sources of income, particularly agricultural wage labor, petty trade, and income-generating activities, have been strongly impacted by the political-military crisis. Poor households in large cities such as Bossangoa, Bouar, Berberati, Bambari, Boali, Bossembélé, Bangassou, Obo, Kaga-Bandoro, Birao, Paoua, and Bria will be the most affected because they have been the scene of violent fighting.


    Figure 1

    Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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