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Food security declines due to civil insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • January 2013
Food security declines due to civil insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Due to wet weather conditions that delayed harvests in certain areas, households were still harvesting their crops in mid-December when civil insecurity escalated. Many households fled their farms and/or suffered damage or theft to crops still in the fields. As a result, household food stocks in conflict areas will deplete earlier than usual this year.

    • Prices in Vakaga and Bangui increased 20 to 30 percent compared to last month due to weak market supply and crime. These high prices have limited food access via market purchases for very poor and poor households.  

    • Current household food stocks are below-average levels and difficulties accessing food on local markets are pushing certain households to resort to irreversible coping strategies. These households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between January and March and risk declining into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between April and June. 

    AREA

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Civil insecurity, which has escalated since December 10, has displaced thousands of people and prevented many households from finishing their harvests.
    • The cease-fire signed on January 11 stabilized the security situation in CAR. However, crime and looting activities are continuing.
    • Market food stocks are below-average due to crop losses and transportation disruptions. Staple food prices are increasing at markets across the country.
    • Household food stocks will deplete earlier than usual. Local seed shortages are expected to hamper crop production during the upcoming growing season.
    • Security conditions will stabilize, but crime and looting will continue.

     

    • Market food stocks will continue to be low compared to normal season trends. Food prices will continue to rise.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    The escalation in fighting since December 10, 2012 between the Seleka rebel coalition and the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) has temporarily shut down humanitarian aid programs and has caused population displacements in conflict-affected areas. While the exact number is still unknown, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that thousands of people have been displaced to either other parts of the country and to neighboring countries. As of January 17, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated that they had identified 34,102 IDPs, mostly from the area near Bria. These IDPS have abandoned their food stocks and livelihoods, and are at higher risk for acute food insecurity. The cease-fire signed on January 11, 2013 by the rebel coalition and the government has stabilized security conditions but crime and looting continue.

    In general, rainfall levels for the peak rainy season (May through September) were above-average, fueling expectations for average to above-average harvests with a delay in certain high production areas due to flooding. With the escalation of fighting in mid-December, many households fled their farms and/or suffered damage or theft to crops still in the fields. As a result, these households lost a portion of their crop production, resulting in below-average food stocks for this time of the year.  

    Forecasts for the start of the next rainy season in March-April-May indicate no major anomalies (ECMWF, IRI). Therefore, FEWS NET is assuming an average start-of-season for the 2013 rainy season.

    Market food supplies in conflict areas have been below-average for this time of year and poor households are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their physical and financial access to food. Internal food flows are relatively limited as crime and road blocks disrupt road travel. In general, prices are trending upwards. Ground reports from Vakaga show that food prices have increased 20 to 30 percent between December and January. In addition, the World Food Programme (WFP) is reporting that December prices in Bangui were up 27 percent. These price increases, attributed to the shutting down of warehouses for fear of looting, are reducing household food access. Over the next several months, market food supplies will remain below-average and prices will continue to increase due to low cereal availability relating to last season's crop damage and continued crime.

    The food security situation in conflict areas remains unstable, characterized by atypically low food stock levels for very poor and poor households and generalized cereal prices increases. Very poor and poor households should continue to be able to meet essential food needs through the end of March but will be unable to meet basic non-food needs without resorting to atypical coping strategies. To this effect, households are currently facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes.

    The April and June period will be marked by deteriorating food security outcomes in conflict-affected areas. Food stocks will be depleted and households will be dependent on market purchases to meet their food consumption needs. In addition, rising food prices will sharply limit household food access. Without emergency humanitarian aid, these households could decline into Crisis (IPC Phase 3). 

    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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