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National elections inspire hope despite the deterioration of agricultural livelihoods

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • February 2016
National elections inspire hope despite the deterioration of agricultural livelihoods

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2016
  • Key Messages
    • Around 600,000 people continued to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity outcomes in February, including 435,000 displaced people. The majority are IDPs, returnees, and host families in the country’s Southwestern, Central, and Northwestern prefectures. In spite of the presidential and legislative elections held in February 2016, the significant deterioration of household livelihoods and poor households’ minimal food stocks will maintain these food insecurity outcomes until at least September.

    • According to preliminary figures from the FAO crop production assessment, food production for 2015 has declined approximately 58 percent from pre-crisis levels in 2013 and is comparable to 2014 production levels. This production decline affects the 75 percent of the population dependent on agriculture, reducing income from the crop sales and farm labor.

    • According to FAO market monitoring data, prices on the Bangui market for the staples maize and cassava have declined. They are currently comparable to price levels prior to the security crisis following the decline in demand due to disruptions in domestic trade and exports. However, beef and fish prices are more than double their pre-crisis levels, fueled by poor supply problems as a result of animal thefts.   

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Deterioration of security situation despite currently stable conditions
    • Population displacements within and outside of the country 
    • Crop and food production declines due to conflict, which limits access to farmland
    • Deterioration of household livelihoods and income
    • Constraints on humanitarian access
    • Sharp rise in the prices of animal products
    • Reduction in cereal trade flows
    • Tightening of market supplies
    • Persistence of intercommunity conflict that could maintain ongoing fighting between armed groups
    • Continuing population displacements
    • Continued below-average volume of cereal trade due to insecurity and poor road conditions
    • Food price hikes driven by contracting supplies due to insecurity disruptions
    • Issues with food access due to high prices in the approaching lean season and constraints on humanitarian access

    Displaced populations, returnees, and host families in Northwest, Central, and Southwest

    • Continued IDP presence in host families and camps
    • Loss of livelihoods and consumer purchasing power
    • Sharp reduction in food consumption
    • Continued IDP presence
    • Contracting market supplies in conflict areas
    • Steady rise in prices
    • Poor food consumption

    Projected Outlook through September 2016

    The presidential and legislative elections held throughout the country inspired new hope, as reflected in the observed improvement in the security situation since the end of December 2015. According to OCHA’s update on the humanitarian situation in February 2016, IDP numbers progressed from 469,300 in December 2015 to 458,000 in January 2016 and 435,165 in February 2016, declines of five to seven percent in February 2016. Humanitarian access to IDPs in enclave areas (such as PK5 in Bangui) and households living outside Bangui is limited due to the armed groups controlling certain area roads and threats leveled against humanitarian actors, several of which have suspended deliveries of assistance to IDPs in certain provinces.

    The security crisis continues to affect food availability across the country. According to preliminary figures from the FAO crop and food security assessment, food production has declined for two consecutive years. The 2015 agricultural season’s performance is comparable to last season’s, which declined 58 percent compared to previous agricultural seasons prior to the security crisis, whereas 75 percent of the population depends on crop production for both their food and income sources. This deficit is reducing household food stocks, income from crop sales and farm labor, and food consumption by poor households. This year’s lean season will begin earlier than usual in March instead of in May/June in an average year. Poor households, along with IDPs, returnees, and host families in particular will have challenges maintaining their food access.

    The civil insecurity across the country, which is disrupting domestic and foreign food trade, is significantly affecting consumer prices. Maize and cassava prices on the Bangui market, which is situated in a farming area for these crops, are starting to return to their pre-crisis levels due to sufficient production of these crops around Bangui and to disruptions in domestic trade and exports. However, groundnut prices are more than double their pre-crisis levels in Bangui. According to the FAO, meat prices are surging given reduced herd sizes as a result of livestock thefts and domestic trade disruptions in animal by-products. This situation suggests normal access to cassava and maize in Bangui and consumption gaps with regards to animal by-products. 

    The findings from the national emergency food security assessment (EFSA) conducted by FAO and WFP in September 2015 indicate that households are growing mostly cassava crops (68 percent), which can stay in the ground without being harvested and, thus, are more practical in times of insecurity and population displacements. The survey also confirms a limited availability of crops in 2016 due to the late start of the rainy season, inadequate access to seeds, and the significant declines in areas planted.       

    Displaced households and host families will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes of food insecurity between February and September 2016 as a result of longer than usual food deficits due to the premature start of the lean season. Other poor agricultural-dependent resident households who lost their livelihoods due to insecurity will also face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity. The security crisis in the Central African Republic is also triggering disputes between farmers and pastoralists over seasonal migratory movements of livestock. Animal thefts as well as disruptions and interruptions of transhumant herd movements through traditional corridors are affecting pastoral livelihoods and reducing their incomes and food consumption. 

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    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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