Remote Monitoring Report

Higher level of food insecurity affects households in the southeast despite current harvests

October 2021 to May 2022

October 2021 - January 2022

Phase 3 de l'IPC

February - May 2022

Phase 3 de l'IPC

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The security situation in the country remains very fragile, with deteriorating conditions in some areas in September. It has continued to disrupt rural populations’ livelihood activities in areas heavily affected by conflict. On September 30, 2021, the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in CAR was estimated at 722,101, compared with 712,945 in August (Population Movement Commission (CMP), September 2021).

  • Current national agricultural production is considered average, with below-average levels in the northern prefectures due to a lack of seeds. The same below-average production is true in the northwest and southeast prefectures due to the presence of armed groups and limited access to cropland, seeds, tools and other agricultural supplies.

  • During this harvest period (cassava, maize, beans, etc.), food availability is improving at the household levels and in local markets, and is further supplemented by wild harvested foods, fishing and hunting. Prices of local products are down or stable compared to the previous month, while those of imported products remain high, mainly due to high transport costs and disruptions to routes along the Douala-Bangui corridor.

  • The closure of some local markets due to conflict and insecurity, coupled with restrictions on trade corridors, is severely affecting the availability and accessibility of basic foods. As a result, prices of imported goods are high, and the median price of the staple food basket has increased by 20 percent.

  • New harvests are improving food availability for the majority of households, whose food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, IDPs and poor host households will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from October to May 2022. In particular, poor households in the southeastern prefectures and displaced households in the northwestern prefectures will be most affected by food consumption shortfalls between February and May 2022 due to the early depletion of food stocks and low income levels.

NATIONAL CONTEXT

The security situation in the country remained very fragile in September and October due to persistent tensions and/or clashes between members of armed groups and the Central African Armed Forces/bilateral forces, mainly in the west and south-central regions of CAR. The security situation has particularly deteriorated in the sub-prefectures of Kabo, Bozoum, Bocaranga, Ouanda-Djallé, Bangui, Bria, Paoua, Abba and Alindao, where new population displacements have been recorded. In addition, there was a decrease in the number of new returnees in September. Insecurity and fear from violent acts by armed groups continue to limit people's access to cropland, their implementation of livelihood activities, and their access to food and income, as well as humanitarian access. Market supply has also been disrupted. The situation is particularly concerning in the prefectures of Ouham-Pendé, Basse-Kotto, Ouaka and Haut-Mbomou. According to the Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Central African Institute of Statistics, Economic and Social Studies (ICASEES) in August 2021, 75 percent of households surveyed identified insecurity as the main cause of market closures and crop looting.

Population movements: According to the CMP’s report, on September 30, 2021, the total number of IDPs in CAR was estimated at 722,101 individuals, of which 179,767 (25%) were housed in sites and 542,334 (75%) with host families. This increase of 9,156 IDPs (or 1.3 %) in new displacements compared with August 2021 can be explained by localized hotspots of tension and/or clashes. The largest numbers of IDPs are in the prefectures of Haute-Kotto (84,500), Basse-Kotto (97,200), Ouham (75,400), Ouham-Pendé (67,800) and Ouaka (55,200). According to the IPC analysis carried out in CAR in September 2021, these prefectures have the highest percentages of population in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and even in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). The decrease in the number of IDPs between May and July resulted from a reduction in hotspots of tension in the country. However, a resumption of tensions in August and September led to an increase of 30,000 new IDPs (see Figure 1).

Situation in hard-to-reach areas: Road accessibility is one of the major constraints in the country. The hard-to-reach areas surveyed by REACH, as part of the multi-sector needs assessment (MSNA) in 2021, are the sub-prefectures of Haute-Kotto, Haut-Mbomou, Mbomou, Basse-Kotto, Ouham, Ouham-Pendé and Vakaga. In general, the 18 sub-prefectures studied show a worsening trend: 80–95 percent of households are experiencing difficulties in optimizing their agricultural activities during the 2021/2022 season. Large proportions of farmers in hard-to-reach areas have been unable to farm because of insecurity. This is generally no more than 5 percent of farmers in accessible areas (with the exception of Nana-Gribizi, with 22 percent), but in Ouham and Ouham-Pendé it can reach 30 percent or more. These logistical constraints are drastically slowing down transhumance and humanitarian aid delivery in the most affected and isolated areas, including Mbomou, Haut-Mbomou, Basse-Kotto, the south of Ouaka, and Vakaga.

2021/22 harvests and food availability: During this period of widespread harvesting (cassava, maize, beans), food availability is improving for households and is supplemented by wild harvested foods, fishing and hunting. The 2021/22 harvests are estimated to be above average in the central and western prefectures, which are less affected by insecurity and armed conflict. In the northern prefectures, harvests will be below average due to a lack of seeds, which has forced farmers to reduce sowing. Harvests will also be below average in some localities in the northwest and southeast prefectures due to the presence of armed groups limiting access to fields for harvesting, as well as looting by these groups.

Market situation and price trends: Despite the improved supply of food and other products imported from Cameroon, high transport costs have been observed on the main corridor due to the effects of COVID-19 on the international supply chain. The prices of rice, white beans and frozen food products such as fish are therefore significantly higher than the same period last year. Compared with last month, the price of white beans has increased by 7–25% in several markets, the most affected being Bocaranga (25%) and Carnot (20%), where the security situation remains difficult for farmers and traders. With the first harvests, the prices of locally produced foods such as cassava, maize and groundnut have come down or remained stable in most markets in comparison with the previous month and the last three months. These trends are due to supplies being strengthened by new products arriving in local markets and stock availability at the household level.

Nutritional situation: Malnutrition remains a major concern throughout CAR due to several combined impacts. These include the level of acute food insecurity; conflict and insecurity limiting access to basic social services; coverage of nutritional interventions and humanitarian assistance for people in need; and a high prevalence of childhood diseases (diarrhea, malaria, measles and acute respiratory infections). The results of the IPC Acute Malnutrition (IPC AMN) analysis that was conducted in September 2021 in 68 sub-prefectures and Bangui found that, through February 2022, the nutritional situation is expected to deteriorate in 31 sub-prefectures and Bangui, which are likely to enter Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while the other sub-prefectures are likely to become Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Between March and August 2022, it is likely that six sub-prefectures will move from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) nutritional situations; 21 sub-prefectures will move from Stressed to Crisis; and 25 sub-prefectures and Bangui will remain in the Crisis phase. This situation foresees a deterioration in the nutritional status of nearly 214,000 children under the age of 5 and more than 98,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women, who are likely to become acutely malnourished. Nearly 67,000 of these children are likely to be severely malnourished and in need of urgent care.

  CURRENT ANOMALIES PROJECTED ANOMALIES

National

Production will be above average in the central and western prefectures given the assistance from agricultural groups (kits/supplies, good quality seeds, training in mechanized farming), good distribution of rainfall, and the slightly improved security environment at the start of the growing season (March to June). However, production will be below average in the northern prefectures (with reduced sowing due to low seed availability) and in the northwestern and southwestern prefectures (with the presence of armed groups reducing access to fields).

Food availability will continue to improve for most households through February/March as stocks are replenished and access to cassava, the staple food, is improved.

 

Prices of the main local agricultural products (cassava, maize, local rice, red sorghum, palm oil and groundnut) are down compared with last year because of the above-average harvests in some areas and a slight improvement in the security situation since the beginning of the growing season.

Local food prices will continue their seasonal decline in most regions, helping to improve people's access to food. However, in the areas most affected by insecurity and conflict, prices will remain higher, despite the seasonal decline, thereby limiting access to food for poor and displaced households.

 

Prices of imported food products such as rice, white beans, refined oil, wheat flour and fish have increased compared with last year. The price of a kilogram of beans on the Kaga-Bandoro market has risen from 8,500 XAF in 2020 to 12,000 XAF in 2021. This inflation is due to the increase in customs taxes on food and non-food products from Cameroon, illegally added fees, port and road disruptions and restrictions, the fact that many wholesale traders are suspending road transport on the Bangui-Douala route, and the volatile security situation in the country.

Prices of imported foods will remain high until May due to increased transport costs, illegal fees along trade corridors and the general climate of insecurity.

  The unstable and unpredictable security situation in the country is negatively affecting agricultural activities, local market supplies, and the activities of state and humanitarian agencies. Continual population displacements due to conflict and the inaccessibility of certain areas for humanitarian assistance are putting the poorest and displaced households at a greater risk of food insecurity.  

An early and longer lean season (with an early start in March, instead of April in a normal year) is to be expected in conflict areas with displaced households and difficult access.

    The severe deterioration of roads in the country might contribute to increasing prices for agricultural products and the lack of availability of products in the markets. 

 

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2022

The food situation for most households nationally will continue to improve until May due to average current harvest levels, the increase in household and market supplies, and the reduction in local food prices compared with last year. Thus, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity could prevail in the more secure central and western prefectures between October 2021 and January 2022.

In the northern prefectures, below-average harvests and low incomes (due to market constraints) will expose poor host and returnee households to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between October and January 2022. In the northwestern prefectures, households facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between October and January 2022 could fall into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between February and May due to early stock depletion and low income levels. In the southeastern prefectures, where the strong presence of armed groups is greatly disrupting agricultural activity and especially mining (the population’s main sources of income), IDPs and poor host households are more dependent on the market and on humanitarian assistance. They will remain exposed to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between October and May 2022.

In the areas most affected by insecurity, and where the food situation remains a concern for displaced persons and the poorest host households, the nutritional situation will deteriorate from April/May onward due to low incomes, near-dependence on the market for food, and poor access to health services.

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