Remote Monitoring Report

In addition to the deterioration in food access, conflict is likely to disrupt agricultural activities

February 2021 to September 2021

February - May 2021

June - September 2021

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Population displacements, price increases, declining incomes, early depletion of stocks from self-production, and lack of access to assistance have reduced household food access. Specifically, flood-affected households in the north, IDP populations, and poor host populations in the northwest, east, and southeast are likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes until September.

  •  The blockage of the main supply route with Cameroon, including the continued nationwide curfew and poor road conditions, have decreased market access and supply of local and imported products giving rise to price volatility.  Market supply in the capital is improving due to the movement of produce in escorted convoys. It is possible that isolated blockades of other supply routes may be lifted as rebel groups disperse in several prefectures. Food supply could remain below-average and prices slightly higher than the two-year average until September, particularly for imported products.

  • Continued conflict is likely to disrupt land preparation and planting activities between February and June, while continued declining incomes and difficulties accessing markets will curtail farmers' capacity to access inputs. As such, it is likely that during the upcoming season, there will be less land preparation and planting in the upcoming season compared to the last season.

AREA

CURRENT ANOMALIES

PROJECTED ANOMALIES

National

  • Since mid-December, the country has continued to experience a surge in violence after a coalition of rebel groups opposed the electoral process and attempted an attack on the capital. Between December and January, rebel group activity caused new internal population displacements. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 117,000 people were internally displaced. Another 105,000 people fled to neighboring countries, according to the UN Refugee Agency (HCR). The government has instituted a nationwide curfew and a state of emergency to stave off and occupy rebel positions. Despite de-escalation efforts by security forces (FACA) and allies, and the closure of borders with neighboring countries, rebel groups are still active in several prefectures and continue to disrupt livelihoods and block key roads to prevent the supply of goods to the capital.
  • After the slowdown of incoming trade flows due to restrictive COVID-19 measures, the blockade of the main supply routes, including the Douala-Bangui corridor, by rebels since December is adversely affecting the availability of imported products on markets. Limited road traffic within the country is also affecting trade between production areas and urban areas. Although escort operations have allowed for supplies to enter the capital, prices remain high. In addition, the loss of jobs due to COVID-19 and the national curfew have resulted in decreased incomes and reduced working hours, negatively impacting formal and informal labor activities and limiting household purchasing power.  
  • The current security situation remains of concern and is likely to persist over the next two months. Moreover, the state of emergency has been extended by six months, and in addition, several towns have been recaptured by rebels; these groups are scattered and remain active in every prefecture of the country. The second round of the legislative elections is expected to occur on March 14, and it is likely that rebel groups will attempt to boycott the elections, and inter-communal tensions will give rise. Continued conflict and insecurity will not favor the return of IDPs and could continue to trigger population displacement, disrupt normal market operations, agricultural activities, and humanitarian operations.
  • At a time when households will be more reliant on markets for their food supply, decreased availability will trigger high food prices. This is similar to the price trends compared to the two-year average for local products but above average for imported products. Population displacement and the farmers' limited access to their fields could reduce the amount of cultivated land in the upcoming season compared to last year, which was calmer overall. Likewise, limited market supply will decrease household access to inputs at the start of sowing activities from April/May in the south and west and during June in the north in areas where flooding impacted harvests.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK FOR SEPTEMBER 2021

According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED), security incidents and related deaths increased between December and January, with a monthly average of 49 incidents and 110 deaths, compared to 17 incidents and 27 deaths reported from January to November 2020.  Since December, defense and security forces have been leading attacks against rebel groups blocking the capital's key supply routes in Bangui-Douala for imports from Cameroon; Bangui-Bambari-Bangassou; Bambari-Ngakobo, where a sugar production plant is located; and Berberati-Kenzo, the main supply route for the southwestern regions, from Cameroon. The conflict has increased the number of IDPs by nine percent in December, compared to October, and the continued insecurity has resulted in more significant increases in IDPs in the Mbomou, Nana-Mamberé, and Bamingui-Bangoran prefectures.

In addition to displacement, the conflict is characterized by the looting of property (livestock and agricultural products) and trade. Rebel groups have also imposed illegal taxes on traders and producers who attend local markets. This has reduced market access and limited supply and demand. 

Before this new crisis, flooding in the north (Bamingui-Bangoran) and attacks by armed groups in the west (Ouham-Pendé, Nana-Mambéré) and southeast (Mbomou, Haut-Mbomou, Basse-Kotto) were negatively affecting the livelihoods. This crisis occurred at a time when the flow of imported goods was resuming to normal levels after a few months of disruption due to restrictive COVID-19 measures and health controls at the borders. Particularly, in urban centers, increased prices of imported products decreased household purchasing power.

The blockage of key trade routes, persisting nationwide curfew, poor road conditions, and volatile food prices in most markets limit the market supply of both local and imported products. In February, imported rice prices increased by 34 percent compared to the previous month. Given, rice prices were already high due to COVID-19 restrictions; rice remains 63 percent above last year’s levels. In certain urban markets such as Bangui, Berberati, and Kaga-Bandoro, rice prices doubled. The shortage of imported food products has increased the demand for local products. However, limited inter-urban transport also affects trade between production areas and urban areas resulting in volatile price increases for these products, particularly in urban centers.

Conversely, in production areas, which are inaccessible to buyers, prices have overall decreased by 11 percent for cassava and maize, while sorghum prices remained stable compared to last year. However, compared to last month, maize and cassava prices are rising globally 54 and 30 percent respectively, but have fallen by 13 percent for sorghum. Due to a resurgence in incidents and the illegal tolls imposed by rebel groups on roads, producers are participating less in the market, which has limited supply.

The nationwide curfew has also restricted population movements and reduced market access resulting in decreased income primarily from the sale of agricultural goods, hunting and gathering, agricultural labor, and daily labor. In the capital, the suspension of motorcycle taxi activities has reduced daily earnings and is amplifying acts of banditry and theft. Continued conflict will hamper agricultural activities, including soil preparation, which typically occurs between February and June. This is also likely to limit the demand for labor during this period. Furthermore, the producers' limited access to their fields could exacerbate crop damage by migratory livestock coming from Chad and Sudan. The areas located along the corridor passages are of most concern, particularly prefectures in the north, northeast, west, and southwest.

According to OCHA, in December, the total number of IDPs was estimated at 682,000. Presently, the strong presence of IDPs, low market supply levels, the rise in food prices, and declining income are decreasing household food access. These factors are aggravating existing challenges seen prior to the recent uptick in conflict, particularly the destruction of flooding (Bamingui-Bangoran, Ouaka, Ombella M’Poko, and Bangui prefectures), inter-communal conflict (Vakaga), and limited access to humanitarian assistance (east and southeast prefectures). Particularly, households impacted by flooding, IDPs, and poor host populations in these areas have also reduced the quantity and quality of their meals or reduced the number of meals consumed.

Continued supply to markets in the capital has been possible due to the movement of produce in escorted convoys for carriers along the Bangui-Douala route. However, it is possible that isolated blockades of other supply routes may be lifted as rebel groups disperse in several prefectures. Additionally, between June and September, structural disruptions in supply linked to the deterioration of the road network during the rainy season will keep supply on markets low and prices high due to increased household demand for market supplies with the depletion of their stocks. This will increase the number of populations in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse during this period. Flood victims, IDPs, and poor host populations will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between February and September.

About Remote Monitoring

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.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
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