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Elevated levels of food insecurity due to conflict

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • July 2014
Elevated levels of food insecurity due to conflict

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Poor food availability, below-normal seasonal incomes, and weak household purchasing power are contributing to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity in areas worst affected by the conflict (Ouham, Ouham Pende, and Nana Mambere).
    • Some households, particularly IDPs, in conflict zones may have significantly below-average to no harvests this year. The effects of conflict on their crop production and incomes, as well as on humanitarian access, will continue to limit food access for these households. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity will continue through December, despite it being the typical harvest period.
    • Beginning in July, the consumption of freshly harvested crops will improve food security in areas less affected by the conflict (ex. Sangha and Basse Kotto). However, many households in these areas will still experience below-average incomes due to the disrupted economy. As a result, these households will continue to have difficulties meeting their essential nonfood expenditures and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity through December.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    Below-average incomes from most sources

    In general, income levels will remain below-average as long as the conflict continues

    Limited access to fields and seeds, lack of animal traction with the theft/slaughtering of livestock, and fewer job opportunities due to the security situation

    The reduced land area planted this year will result in below-average 2014/15 crop production levels and farm labor incomes (July-September)

    530,300 IDPs due to continuing insecurity

    The movements and typical livelihood strategies of displaced households will be restricted

    Ouham, Ouham Pendé, Kémo

    Border closure with Chad due to the continuing conflict

    Below-average food availability on local markets

     


    Projected Outlook through December 2014

    Despite the deployment of international peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic, civil insecurity is a continuing source of concern. According to OCHA, as of July 10th, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) within the country was 530,300, with the majority concentrated in Bangui and Ouham. For this population, the ongoing conflict is continuing to restrict their movements and impede their normal livelihood strategies. While some IDPs will be unable to cultivate this year due to their displacement, others have received land and farm inputs to grow crops, although their production levels will still likely be below average. 

    According to analyses of satellite imagery (Figure 1), average to above-average rainfall fell across most of the country between April 1st and June 30th. The exceptions to this are central regions of the country where small to moderate rainfall deficits were observed compared with the five-year average, with no major effects on seasonal progress. Good water availability is helping to spur the growth and development of crops in agricultural areas of the country.

    However, 2014/15 crop production in conflict-affected areas (ex. Ouham, Ouham Pende, Nana Mambere, Kémo, and Ouaka) is expected to be below average due to limited access to fields, a lack of animal traction and farm inputs, and population displacements caused by the conflict. These disruptions to agricultural activities could negatively affect typical food and income sources and limit labor opportunities for poor households, both now and after the harvest season. Earnings from other sources of income, such as small-scale craft-making, nonfarm labor, and petty trading, are also lower than usual due to the unstable security situation in these areas. However, in areas farther south where security conditions are relatively more stable (such as Sangha and Basse Kotto), the growing season is progressing normally with assistance provided by various humanitarian organizations.

    Most local markets are seeing a growing volume of internal trade, as well as cross-border trade with Cameroon and the DRC. As a result, prices were generally stable and, in some cases, in decline between May and June. However, groundnut prices in Nana Mambere and Ouham rose by 11 percent and 27 percent, respectively, with the border closure and resulting suspension of imports from Chad. In addition, a 34 percent increase in maize prices was observed in Ouham Pende and was attributed to limited flows of this cereal from Bangui due to conflict along the main trade route. Compared to June 2013 prices, lower demand caused by the combined effects of weak household purchasing power and ongoing humanitarian operations (ex. the distribution of 3,300 metric tons of food by the WFP to 283,000 recipients in June) has driven prices for locally grown crops, such as maize, rice, and cassava, on major markets down by more than 20 percent.

    The weak purchasing power of poor and displaced households in conflict zones (such as Bangui, Ouham, Ouham Pende, Nana Mambere, Kémo, and Ouaka) is maintaining Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity, with households facing a poorly diversified diet (ex. cassava leaves, tubers, and wild yams) and food consumption gaps. For certain households, particularly IDPs, who have below-average or no harvests this year, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will continue through December, despite the normal harvest period, due to the effects of disrupted livelihoods and below-average household food stocks and incomes.  However, the crisis in southern areas (ex. Sangha and Basse Kotto) is expected to ease with the availability and consumption of freshly harvested crops. Nevertheless, the security situation in these areas will prevent local households from generating their normal levels of income (ex. from crop sales) to meet nonfood expenditures due to the poor economic climate. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will continue in these areas through December.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Cumulative RFE anomalies for April 1st through June 30th compared with the 2009-2013 average

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Cumulative RFE anomalies for April 1st through June 30th compared with the 2009-2013 average

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 1

    Source:

    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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