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Persistent civil insecurity sustains high levels of food insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • October 2014
Persistent civil insecurity sustains high levels of food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Ongoing and widespread harvests of millet, sorghum, and rice will continue through December. These harvests mark the end of the lean season and are easing food security conditions for poor households. However, below-average crop production levels and persistent civil insecurity are continuing to disrupt normal livelihood strategies.

    • Despite the typical harvest period, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity will continue through March 2015 in areas worst affected by conflict (Ouham and Ouham Pende) due to households’ difficult access to normal food and income sources, as well as reduced food consumption levels.

    • On the other hand, areas less impacted by the conflict (Sangha and lower Kotto) will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes through March, with local households unable to generate sufficient income to meet their nonfood needs. In these areas, household food consumption will be reduced but minimally adequate.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • There are still 410,000 IDPs within the country due to persistent civil insecurity.
    • Displaced households will remain reliant on humanitarian assistance due to restrictions on their mobility and normal livelihood strategies.
    • Harvests, as well as incomes from farm labor, will be below average between October and December.
    • Household food stocks will be atypically low, meeting household needs for only three to four months instead of five to six months as in a normal year. This will cause households to be more dependent than usual on market purchases.
    • The continuing conflict will disrupt land preparation work, which begins normally in February.
    • Disruption of migratory herd movements
    • Reduced meat consumption due to low supplies and high prices

    Ouham, Ouham Pendé, and Kémo

    • Closure of the border with Chad due to continuing conflict
    • Slowdown in trade between the two countries, which could impact market prices, particularly for groundnuts typically traded across this border.

    Projected Outlook through March 2015

    The security situation in Bangui in October remained precarious, as there was a flare-up in violence with a surge in armed clashes and attacks between October 8th and 13th. The violence also spread to Dekoa in the central part of the country, as well as to Bouar in the west. This continued insecurity is limiting the mobility of local populations and interfering with their ability to pursue their normal livelihoods activities. It also displaced 5,946 people in Bangui to IDP camps, considered to be more secure, on October 19th. According to the updated October 10 regional situation report by the UNHCR, there are still close to 410,000 IDPs within the country, including 60,093 in Bangui alone. Moreover, most humanitarian organizations have been forced to limit their activities due to restrictions on their mobility. This is interfering with the delivery of on-site humanitarian assistance to at-risk populations in conflict affected areas.

    Cumulative rainfall between April 1st and October 10th was generally similar to the five-year average, with slightly below-average levels in central parts of the country with no major impacts on the progression of the agricultural season. However, the civil conflict has severely affected the country’s major surplus crop-producing areas (Ouham, Ouham Pende, and Nana Mambere). Farmers in these areas were unable to plant as large an area as usual due to the depletion of their livelihoods, limited access to fields and seeds, population displacements, and the recruitment of able-bodied workers by different armed groups. Thus, harvest forecasts are indicating that national crop production for both the main and off seasons will be below average. According to the results of the CFSAM assessment conducted in September, this year’s crop production will be above 2013 levels by 11 percent but will still fall 58 percent short of the pre-conflict average. This will disrupt normal livelihood strategies, such as crop sales, the fattening of small ruminants, cash availability for petty trading activities, and job opportunities for poor households, both now and during the post-harvest period. Food stocks in these areas will also deplete earlier than usual. However, the growing season in areas farther south (such as the Sangha and lower Kotto regions), where the security situation appears to be more stable, has been progressing relatively normally due in part to assistance provided by humanitarian organizations.

    The civil conflict has also severely undermined other income-generating activities such as livestock raising, fishing, hunting, and foraging, sharply reducing income from these sources and producing atypical prices for these products. For example, according to the CFSAM survey, incomes from large ruminants are down by 67 percent, while incomes from small ruminants and poultry are down by 77 percent compared to 2013 levels. Fish catches are also down by approximately 40 percent from their pre-crisis levels. This drop in income has weakened household purchasing power to below-average levels and is continuing to curtail household food access.

    Even with the start of the harvest season, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity continue, especially for IDPs, returnees, and poor households, in areas especially hard hit by the combined effects of the civil conflict and disruptions in the growing season (Ouham, Ouham Pende, and Nana Mambere). In these areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will continue through the end of March due to the effects of well-below-average food availability for both households and traders, disrupted local livelihoods that will not be rebuilt any time soon, limited household incomes and poor food access. Consequently, households will likely have little dietary diversity (based on a diet of cassava leaves, tubers, and wild yams) and will struggle to meet their food and nonfood needs through normal livelihood strategies, resulting in food consumption deficits. On the other hand, the food security situation in southern areas of the country (Sangha and lower Kotto) is, in general, gradually improving with the availability of new crops for consumption. However, households in these areas will still be unable to generate enough income from their crop sales and their other normal activities to fully meet their needs. They will thus reduce essential nonfood expenditures to atypically low levels and will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes through March 2015.

    Figures

    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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