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Below-average harvests in northern areas

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • November 2013
Below-average harvests in northern areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through March 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Harvests in the northern and central parts of the country are expected to be below-average despite receiving normal rainfall levels. This is due a late start-of-season and the effects of conflict since December 2012/January 2013 on the availability of agricultural inputs, such as seeds and farming tools.

    • In addition, the conflict is limiting cereal availability and incomes for households in northern and central CAR. Low incomes, in turn, are restricting food access for poor households who are currently unable to afford certain nonessential expenditures. These households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes between now and March 2014.

    • In the south, harvests have been less affected by the conflict and cereal availability is currently average. Households in these regions will continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes through March 2014.





    Reduced incomes from the sale of cotton and groundnut crops due to production shortfalls

    • Weaker than usual household purchasing power

    Mambéré-Kadeï, Lobaye, Ombella, Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Kaga, Bandoro, and Sibut

    Below-average harvests

    • Below-normal food stock will cause households to be more dependent than usual on market purchases
    • The lean season will begin one to two months early and will be more difficult than usual


    Projected outlook through March 2014

    Security conditions in the Central African Republic are still marked by a climate of uncertainty, with an increase in the number of looting and theft cases, particularly in the Bossangoa, Bambari, Kabo, Bozoum, Bandoro, Kaga, and Obo areas. Insecurity is also regularly triggering population displacements. According to the UNHCR, there are approximately 400,000 internally displaced persons within the country, including 37,000 in the city of Bossangoa who have been displaced during the past two months. The failure to definitively restore peace continues to interfere with the work of humanitarian organizations, who are increasingly becoming the targets of armed groups, and is further heightening the vulnerability of impacted populations. Nevertheless, despite these unstable security conditions, NGOs (Action Against Hunger (ACF), Doctors Without Borders, Mercy Corps, COOPI, the Red Cross, etc.), U.N. agencies, and their partners are working together to assist at-risk groups within their respective service areas.

    Harvest levels vary from one part of the country to another. In the south, harvests are average while in northern and central regions, harvests are below-average, despite receiving normal rainfall levels. Factors contributing to these poor harvests include 1) a late start-of-season and 2) the effects of the conflict ongoing since last December on the availability of seeds and farming tools and on access to local fields. This, in turn, dramatically affected the size of the land area planted in crops this year. A number of farmers were also forced to abandon their fields due to violence in late August and early September. In addition, flash floods in the city of Ndélé in late October and early November destroyed more than 100 hectares of crops. Disruptions to farming activities have reduced the earnings of poor households who depend on farm labor wages as a major income source. Likewise, sales of cash crops (groundnuts and cotton) are producing below-average incomes due to both poor harvests and unfavorably low producer prices.

    In general, cereal availability ranges from poor to average depending on the area. In the south, household cereal stocks are average and, in certain areas such as Basse Kotto, are even above-average. On the other hand, the situation for farmers in northern and central regions is not nearly as good, where security problems severely disrupted the growing season. Household food stocks in these areas are below-normal for this time of year.

    Business on markets is brisk with the marketing of fresh crops by agricultural households, though market supplies are still lower than usual for this time of year due to the impacts of conflict on crop production and trade between different areas. However, the combined effects of the arrival of recently harvested crops to local markets and a sharp decline in household purchasing power compared with seasonal norms have caused food prices to fall since September.

    In general, supplies of fresh crops from ongoing harvests and the large availability of tuber crops, particularly cassava, have slightly improved the food security situation compared with the previous two months. In the south, the west, and parts of the east, households are currently relying on their own crop production to meet food needs and should experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through March 2014.

    The outlook for the northern and central regions of the country hard hit by the combined effects of the politico-military crisis and disruptions to the growing season is less favorable with very poor and poor households likely to face food shortages in the coming months due to below-average food availability and problems with food access. According to a food security assessment conducted by the WFP, ACF, FAO, UNOCHA, UNICEF, and ICASSES in September of this year, poor households are starting to sell productive assets to meet basic food and nonfood needs. In these areas, households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes between now and March 2014.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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