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The official increase in hydrocarbon prices has led to a surge in the price of other products

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • February 2023
The official increase in hydrocarbon prices has led to a surge in the price of other products

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  • Key Messages
  • Current and Projected Anomalies
  • Projected Outlook Through September 2023
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Key Messages
    • Households affected by flooding last winter in the country’s far north, particularly in the Vakaga and Ouham prefectures, have lost almost all of their production and assets. Given their limited access to food and income, these households face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity. In the eastern region of the country, households face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to acts of violence by armed groups on local populations, preventing locals from going about their business and accessing their sources of income and food.

    • In southwestern and central areas of the country, where the security situation is calm and stable, production in the 2022/2023 agricultural season is generally average to above average due to favorable rainfall. Households in these areas are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) because their livelihoods are still deeply weakened by a decade of conflict despite having sufficient food stocks.

    • Ongoing insecurity, resulting from the continued presence of armed groups throughout the country since 2013, perpetuates the negative impacts on already precarious livelihoods and unreliable access to food for thousands of affected households, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and refugees. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), despite an overall downward trend in the number of incidents and casualties in the country from November 2021 to January 2023, the situation remains unstable in some locations. For example, in the northwest, the Central African Armed Forces have faced increased attacks by armed groups since mid-December 2022.

    • Since the beginning of 2023, the end of the government subsidies on the sale of hydrocarbons has caused prices of petroleum products to rise, immediately increasing transportation costs and the prices of imported foodstuffs. As a result, the government has sought to regulate transport rates by allowing an average increase of 50 percent. However, poor households in urban areas will have limited access to adequate food as they rely primarily on markets for their food and informal sector sources of income like petty trade, non-agricultural labor, and craft activities.


    Current and Projected Anomalies
    ZoneCurrent AnomaliesProjected Anomalies
    National
    • Despite the relative calm observed throughout the country, there were local attacks and ambushes by armed groups against positions of the National Armed Forces (FACA) and their allies, particularly in the North, North West, North East, and East. Looting, robberies, acts of violence by these armed groups, and the presence of explosive devices continue to limit population movement and access to fields and usual sources of food and income.
    • The resumption of transhumance movements is contributing to increased conflict between farmers and herders, especially in the Mbomou, Kemo, and Ouaka prefectures. The seasonal transhumance between December and March frequently leads herders with tens of thousands of heads of livestock in search of pasture and water to deadly conflicts with farmers, sometimes resulting in the internal displacement of populations and disruption of the flow of goods. As a result, household access to usual sources of food and income will be negatively affected.
    • Food prices are rising because of the 50 to 60 percent fuel and transportation cost increase. Poor urban households, which depend exclusively on markets for their food, will have difficulty accessing markets. The high costs of living will limit food access, as well as lower than average household incomes due to the difficult economic context marked by low job opportunities. 
    • Heavy rains cause flooding in August and September each year. 
    • Clashes between rebel groups and the Central African Armed Forces (FACA), acts of violence by the rebels against populations, and conflicts related to transhumance movements are likely to continue at relatively low levels until the end of the dry season in April/May. Insecurity levels will be similar to those observed from December to January and will result in population displacement, negatively impacting their livelihoods.
    • Campaigns for local elections scheduled for July could see a rise in socio-political tensions before or after the results are announced, leading to unrest. This conflict could lead to population displacement for fear of reprisals. Fleeing populations would be deprived of their usual sources of food and income.
    • Household food stocks will continue to deplete gradually as the lean season progresses. Poor households will increasingly turn to markets for their food in the context of high prices.
    • Flooding is recurrent in the Central African Republic and seasonal forecasts, which predict a normal rainy season, suggest that flooding during August and September will destroy the livelihoods of households along some rivers. These households will likely lose their usual sources of food and income and will be exposed to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity.

     


    Projected Outlook Through September 2023

    An atypical increase in imported and local food prices will be observed throughout the country from March to May due to increased transportation costs due to higher fuel prices. As a result, poor households, whose purchasing power has been eroded, will resort to coping strategies, such as the selling of game or gathered fruits to meet their consumption needs.

    A deterioration in the purchasing power of urban households will be observed due to the drop in income from March to September. Poor urban households will be the hardest hit by soaring food prices because of their dependence on income from the informal sector (artisanal fishing activities, petty trade, sale of labor, and casual labor) and food purchases for consumption. As a result, households will be forced to adopt coping strategies, such as reducing the number of meals eaten daily, borrowing food, or relying on assistance from relatives, friends, or other community members.

    The latest seasonal forecast made in January 2023 by the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) calls for an average 2023 rainy season and a normal start during March. This forecast bodes well for a typical 2023-2024 crop year with projected average to above-average crop production. As a result, households will have typical access to food and average incomes from agricultural labor. However, the agricultural lean season, which is expected to begin in April in the South (Sangha Maéré, Lobaye, Manbéré Kadei, and Ombella Mpoko prefectures) and June in the North (Vakaga, Bamingui-Bangoran, and Haute Kotto prefectures), will be more difficult than in a normal year for poor households because of their reliance on markets for food supplies. As a result, households will be confronted with higher-than-average prices. In addition, insecurity in these prefectures, if it persists, could impact the incomes of households that depend on agricultural labor. Household members will be forced to adopt crisis coping strategies earlier, such as limiting non-food expenditure, withdrawing their children from school due to the associated costs, or selling animals at a level that compromises the sustainability of their livestock.

    Despite some positive trends, livelihood recovery remains limited. Deteriorating road networks, insecurity, and high fuel prices contribute to poor market supply and high food prices in landlocked areas. In addition, localized flooding has caused crop losses in the Vakaga and Ouham prefectures during the 2022 winter. As a result, food assistance needs are expected to increase from February to May 2023 as poor households deplete their food stocks and food prices begin to rise seasonally, especially in areas most affected by flooding and insecurity.

    In eastern, northeastern, and central regions (Vakaga, Ouaka, Haute-Kotto, Basse-Kotto, Mbomou, and Haute-Mbomou), households have been affected by conflict and flooding, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity is expected during the lean season from June to September. Food availability will be low as household and commercial food stocks gradually decline. In addition, low purchasing power and conflict will limit access to food. The availability of wild foods, as well as food assistance, should make a significant difference. Still, impassable roads during the rainy season will make food assistance deliveries more difficult and inconsistent.


    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    seasonal calendar for typical year

    FEWS NET. Central African Republic Remote Monitoring Update February 2023 to September 2023: The official increase in hydrocarbon prices has led to a surge in the price of other products, 2023

     

    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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