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Security conditions disrupt markets

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • June 2013
Security conditions disrupt markets

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • In the northern, eastern, and central areas of the country, food stocks have been depleted earlier than normal and affected households are not able to access food due to atypical price increases and weak purchasing power. Households in these areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between now and the end of the lean season (at the beginning of September).

    • Households residing in southern and western areas of the country that were less affected by conflict are currently experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity due to food access difficulties and an inability to make effective use of their livelihood assets due to an unstable security situation. These households will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity until the beginning of September.  

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

     

     

     

    Areas affected by the conflict since December

    (Bamingui, Kemo, Haut Mbomou, MBomou, Basse Kotto, Ouaka, and Vakagua)

    • Prices for staple foods (ex. cassava and coarse grains) are above last year’s levels.

     

    • Planting activities, which normally get underway by the middle of April, are currently behind schedule. 
    • Prices will remain unusually high until the next round of harvests in September.

     

    • Households will harvest their crops one to two months later than usual, causing the lean season to be prolonged.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    Security conditions within the Central African Republic remain volatile. As a result, an estimated 30 percent of people who were displaced by conflict have not yet returned to their villages and are still hiding out in nearby forests. Those who have returned to their homes are restricting their movements and working their fields with trepidation. Humanitarian NGOs (ex. Doctors Without Borders, Mercy Corps, COOPI, the Red Cross) are starting to provide assistance to at-risk populations within their respective service areas, although access to basic social services in provinces affected by conflict in December/January is still limited. This is heightening the vulnerability of local populations in these areas.

    There are mounting concerns over the food security situation, as it is contingent on the country’s security conditions which have not yet significantly improved. Food security is steadily deteriorating in the northern and central areas of the country where households lost their livelihood assets to looting and/or theft during the conflict in December/January. Access to typical sources of household income (petty trade, hunting, craft-making, wage labor, etc.) has also been limited by widespread insecurity. This lack of income has consequently prevented households from replacing farm implements and/or equipment that households lost while they were displaced. A shortage of seeds could also undermine the performance of the ongoing agricultural season.

    Markets are slowly starting up again although supplies are below average due to the effects of last year’s poor harvests and traders’ concerns about security at local markets. As a result, staple food prices (ex. maize and cassava) are above last year’s levels. For example, according to a joint rapid food security assessment conducted by the FAO, WFP, and partners in May, as well as a separate food security assessment conducted by COOPI (Cooperazione Internazionale), food prices in May were 10 to 35 percent above May 2012 levels, on average, due to tight market supplies.

    Weather forecasts (ECMWF, IRI, NOAA) for the rainy season show no major anomalies and as a result, FEWS NET is expecting the rains to be normal. However forecasts for the 2013-2014 harvest, created as part of the FAO, WFP, and partners joint rapid food security assessment, are predicting varying outcomes depending on the region of the country, with poor harvests in northern areas and good harvests farther south. The reason for the poor harvests in northern areas is a delay in the start of the growing season, caused by a loss of farm inputs (seeds and farming implements) and security threats that have limited farmers’ access to their fields. Due to assistance from the humanitarian community and U.N. agencies, planting activities have now started in certain areas of this region although these activities are approximately two month late. Security conditions in the south have been comparatively better with the growing season starting on-time near the end of April and the beginning of May. However, in the extreme western regions of Central African Republic, cassava harvests are continuing to be compromised by volatile security conditions in that area.

    Food security conditions in many northern and central areas are still poor, marked by the tightening of market supplies, a sharp rise in staple food prices, and unusually high market demand for food due to the depletion of household food stocks approximately two to three months earlier than normal. These indicators, together with the erosion in household purchasing power, have destabilized the food security situation and have affected consumption patterns. For example, the frequency of meals consumed has been reduced with households currently consuming one meal per day, at times with difficulty, compared with three meals per day before the conflict. There is also insufficient food intake with most meals consist solely of cassava leaves, tubers, and wild yams. As a result, these areas are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity. In southern areas, on the other hand, the definitive start of the rainy season has helped ease the severity of the crisis as it has enabled households to consume both cultivated and wild vegetables. Still, security conditions are preventing households in these areas from making effective use of their livelihood assets. As a result, households in these areas are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    By mid-September, upcoming harvests will improve food availability in southern and western areas of the country and incomes from harvest-related wage labor will strengthen household purchasing power. This should enable poor households in most areas of the country to meet their basic food and nonfood needs, bringing food insecurity down to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels. However, households in northern and east-central areas, where the start of the growing season was delayed and humanitarian assistance has been limited, will only be able to meet their basic food needs and will still face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity.  

    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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