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Unstable security conditions continue to negatively effect food security outcomes

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • December 2014
Unstable security conditions continue to negatively effect food security outcomes

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through March 2015
  • Key Messages
    • With the shortfalls in cereal and tuber production, poor households only have adequate food supplies to meet their food consumption needs for two to seven months this year, compared to a typical four to eleven month prior to the onset of the politico-military crisis.

    • Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people are currently facing “Crisis” (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes, including small to moderate food consumption gaps. IDPs concentrated mainly in the country’s northwestern, central, and southern prefectures account for 50 to 80 percent of this food insecure population.

    • With the premature depletion of cereal stocks and the deterioration in household purchasing power, the lean season will start earlier than usual, between January and March, increasing the scale and scope of food insecurity. Certain food-deficit, resident households, as well as IDPs, will continue to face “Crisis” (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity through March 2015.



    • Large shortfall in crop production compared with consumption needs and pre-crisis years
    • Continued civil insecurity
    • Displaced households across the country
    • A sharp decline in incomes from livestock, fishing, and other sources
    • Closure of the border with Chad
    • Below-average cereal trade flows
    • Depletion of cereal stocks two to four months earlier than in pre-crisis years, or by December 2014/January 2015
    • Higher prices compared with pre-crisis years with the sharp decline in household production and steady growth in demand
    • Continuing below-average cereal trade flows
    • Decline in household food purchasing power
    Displaced populations in Ouham, Ouham Pendé, and Kémo
    • Poor access to humanitarian assistance due to the continuing poor road conditions and persistent security problems
    • Food consumption gaps
    • Food consumption gaps


    Projected outlook through March 2015

    There have been no major new developments in the security crisis in the past month, but the extent of the damage already done and resulting country-wide climate of fear has created troubling food security conditions.

    According to the findings by the joint FAO/WFP food security assessment mission in September/October 2014, the smaller cropped areas caused by certain farmers abandoning their land and the limited supply of farm inputs are responsible for the sharp decline (-58 percent) in 2014 crop production compared with the 2008 – 2012 average. At most, this year’s crop production is expected to meet the food consumption needs of poor households for an estimated two to seven months, compared with the average coverage period of four to eleven months before the start of the conflict.

    While weak household purchasing power kept food prices relatively low for a large portion of the 2013/14 consumption year, price data for July and August 2014 point to recent increases in the prices of certain items. More precisely, the findings by the Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) show a 70 percent increase in maize prices between March and August 2014, or a 24 percent price increase since last year. Similarly, millet prices saw a 36 percent increase in July 2014 compared with figures for the same time last year, and groundnut prices increased 28 percent during the same period. On the other hand, cassava prices for August 2014 were down by 14 percent from last year. The CFSAM report attributed the rising prices of certain items to the resumption of wage payments for certain salaried workers and the return of some IDPs, which helped boost consumer demand. In the coming months, the combination of growing demand and inadequate crop production could trigger an atypical rise in prices, curtailing food access of poor households.

    A SMART survey of resident households in villages and cities across the country conducted over the three-month period from July to September 2014 helped assess the nutritional situation in Central African Republic. The survey results put the global acute malnutrition rate for 2014 in the country below the emergency threshold (10 percent) though still at the warning threshold (5 percent) in all prefectures with the exception of Mambere Kadei, Haute Kotto, and Nana Gribizi. Severe acute malnutrition rates in Ombella Mpoko, Kemo, and Bamingi Bangoram prefectures are at the warning threshold (two percent). Ten of the country’s twelve prefectures still have high crude death rates and under-five mortality rates (above the emergency threshold of two deaths/10,000/day). Homicide is the primary cause of death for the adult population, while diseases (malaria, diarrhea, anemia, and acute respiratory infections) account for most deaths of children under the age of five.

    With the shortfalls in domestic crop production, poor resident households across the country are currently unable to meet their food consumption needs without resorting to atypical livelihood strategies, such as atypically large sales of wood and charcoal. However, these increased sales are still not generating enough income to cover all essential nonfood expenditures, exposing these households to “Stressed” (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity in December 2014. This food insecurity could deteriorate to “Crisis” (IPC Phase 3) levels in the next two months, at which point their small food stocks will be depleted and their incomes will not suffice to cover their food expenditures.

    While a certain number of host households and returnees are currently experiencing more severe food security outcomes, most households facing “Crisis” (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity in December 2014 are IDPs who are completely dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their food needs. In addition, widespread shortfalls in crop production are impeding the normal flow of community assistance in the form of food donations. According to the findings by the joint FAO/WFP crop and food security assessment, these displaced households have poor food consumption scores and are facing both food consumption and livelihood protection deficits. UNHCR estimates indicate that there are 437,395 IDPs across the country.

    With the approach of the earlier than normal lean season, displaced households will receive less community assistance compared with current levels during the harvest period. Deliveries of assistance by the country’s food security partners will also be limited, not only by the current climate of fear and poor condition of road infrastructure, but also by shortages of funding for food and nutritional security programs. This will heighten the food insecurity of displaced populations, which could potentially reach “Emergency” (IPC Phase 4) levels during the long, earlier than usual 2015 lean season (March through July).


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    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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