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The below-average, ongoing harvests fall short of food needs

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • August 2016
The below-average, ongoing harvests fall short of food needs

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through January 2017
  • Key Messages
    • The growing season is progressing normally, with maize and peanut harvests in the South and the gathering of wild plant foods in other parts of the country. However, these crops are only marginally improving food and income sources in certain areas due to the limited mobility of households affected by the conflict and the restricted access to farmland. Most households are in the midst of a harsh lean season, with their food reserves prematurely depleted since March 2016.

    • OCHA estimates the number of remaining IDPs as of June 30, 2016 at 383,314, 14 percent less than in December 2015 with the relative improvement in security conditions in spite of the pockets of insecurity in Bangui and southwestern, central, and northwestern prefectures. The poor purchasing power and reported food consumption gaps of host families as well as poor resident households will maintain Crisis (IPC Phase 3) conditions through at least January 2017.


    current ANOMALIES

            projected ANOMALIES




    • Sharp rise in prices for imported foodstuffs
    • Deterioration of livelihoods
    • Contraction in market supplies
    • Atypical reduction in food stocks of poor households with the earlier than usual lean season
    • Confinement of animals to localized areas as a result of the continuing conflict
    • Limited access to farmland and seeds and fewer job opportunities for unskilled labor
    • Restricted humanitarian operations
    • Steady rise in imported food prices
    • Low local demand and poor food access due to weak purchasing power
    • Continued below- average income sources
    • Harsher than usual lean season
    • Smaller cropped areas, with less crop production for 2016/2017 and less income from farm labor
    • Continuing constraints on humanitarian programs

    IDPs, returnees, and host families in  northwestern, central, and southwestern areas of the country

    • Smaller numbers of IDPs, which could continue to further decline with their reportedly strong return intentions
    • Loss of livelihoods and consumer purchasing power
    • Sharp decline in food availability
    • Slow resumption of income-generating activities
    • Steady tightening of market supplies in conflict areas
    • Poor food consumption due to foreseeable production deficits with the smaller cropped areas in these parts of the country

    Projected Outlook Through January 2017

    With the violence committed by armed groups and the ongoing ethnic fighting, the security situation is a continuing source of concern, particularly in Bangui and southwestern, central, and northwestern prefectures. However, according to OCHA estimates in June 2016, the total number of IDPs is 383,314, which has been steadily declining since the beginning of the year as former IDPs, encouraged by the relative improvement in the security situation in their home areas, gradually return home. However, these households will require continuing humanitarian assistance in order to meet their needs.  

    The growing season has been progressing normally since getting underway in April, with rainfall levels above the five-year average promoting good crop growth and development (Figure 1).  Maize and peanut harvests are already underway in the South and are strengthening household food availability and reducing their vulnerability during the current lean season. However, there are below-average income-earning opportunities from wage labor due to the smaller areas planted given that displaced populations were forced to abandon their farms and resident populations have limited access to farmland. This problem has been further compounded by the delays of farm inputs deliveries due to security issues, which could also reduce crop production for the third consecutive year.

    Other income-generating activities such as the sale of wild plant products, livestock, and cash crops like coffee and cocoa and temporary odd jobs are producing below-average income levels due to the disruption of trade channels for these products by road security issues. The combined effects of ongoing security problems and a harsher and longer lean season on consumer purchasing power are limiting income-generation activities such as the sale of wild plant products and hunting. According to data collected by NGOs active in certain conflict-affected parts of Ouaham, Ouaham Pende, Ouaka, Nana-Mambere, and Mambere-Kadei, most households are being forced to increase their consumption of less expensive foods such as cassava leaves, tubers, and wild yams or to reduce their number of daily meals to one or two from their normal three meals a day.

    The nutritional situation in most livelihood zones during the current rainy season is a continuing source of concern, with the disruption of health care services including the nutritional surveillance system posing a high risk of worsening problems.

    Even in the midst of the normal harvesting period, most poor households still have limited  food and income sources given the projected below-average harvests for the third consecutive year, the disruptions in local income-earning opportunities and trade channels, and the deterioration of purchasing power. With the worst-off households facing food consumption gaps, particularly IDPs and poor resident households in Bangui and northwestern, southwest, and western-central regions, there will continue to be Crisis (IPC Phase 3) conditions through at least January 2017. 

    Figures Figure 1: RFE anomalies for the period from April 10th through July 30th compared with the 2006-2015 average

    Figure 1

    Figure 1: RFE anomalies for the period from April 10th through July 30th compared with the 2006-2015 average

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    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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