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Below-average harvests are expected

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • September 2013
Below-average harvests are expected

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The risks involved in transporting goods, along with limited purchasing power, are resulting in below-average market supply at the end of the lean season, especially in northern and central areas where conflict continues.

    • In these areas, as well as in the east and south, harvests are expected to be below-average thanks to the effects of this year’s conflict, particularly due to a lack of agricultural inputs and the difficulties that households face accessing their fields.

    • Though food insecurity will improve with the October harvest, low production levels will cause poor households in areas heavily affected by the conflict to continue to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

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

    • One-month planting delay; planting activities ended in mid-July.
    • Households will harvest in September instead of August, as in a normal year in these areas

    Mambere Kaedi, Lobaye, Ombella, Ouham

    • Lack of vegetation despite good rainfall (Figure 2)
    • Harvests will likely be below average

    Projected Outlook Through December 2013

    The growing season is progressing differently depending on the region. The slight delay in the April and May rains was less significant than in 2012, when crop production levels ended up being fairly average. However, the normalization of rainfall in most areas is not reflected in the amount of vegetation, which is low, especially in Lobaye, Mambere Kaedi, Ombella, and Ouham. Satellite imagery corroborate hypotheses from the field indicating that the delayed rains, in combination with the effects of the conflict (which began in December 2012) on seed availability, agricultural tools, and access to the fields, are having a significant impact in cultivated areas. In addition, the agricultural production on which most of the population depends for food and/or income will be lower than average and possibly slightly late. In addition to these factors, some producers in the north have abandoned their fields following violence in late August and early September. For this reason, harvests in the northern, central, and some western regions will be below normal, which will likely also negatively affect national production figures.

    Security conditions in the Central African Republic remain volatile. According to OCHA, as of August 21, 225,000 internally displaced persons and 62,714 refugees from the Central African Republic have been registered in neighboring countries since the political and military crisis of December 2012 and the movement of people continues. Despite the unstable security situation, NGOs (Action Against Hunger, Mèdecins sans Frontières, Mercy Corps, Coopération Internationale, International Committee of the Red Cross, and others), United Nations agencies, and their partners are coordinating efforts to assist vulnerable people (refugees and displaced persons) in their respective areas of intervention. In Bangui, the capital, displaced persons are returning to the northern districts of the city as business resumes at the Boeing market.

    Western, Central, and Northern Regions (Bossangoa, Markounda, Bambari Bouca, Paoua)

    In central, northern, and some western regions, the security situation is still tense and people continue to flee into the bush and/or to other communities to escape possible violence. Even now, some displaced persons have not returned to their villages.

    Market supply continues to be lower than the normal seasonal trend due to the very precarious security situation at the end of the lean season (March-September). For example, in the town of Markounda (extreme north), food products are scarce on the market and residents are traveling farther than normal to obtain food. These rare circumstances have caused prices to rise. For example, in the central town of Bambari, a large bowl of cassava that would normally sell for 1,500 XOF in late July and early August was selling for 2,500 XOF in August 2013. FEWS NET is also assuming that demand for agricultural labor, an important income source for poor households, has declined with the expected decrease in crop production. As a result, food access through market purchases is much more difficult than usual for poor and very poor households.

    The results of the joint rapid food security assessment (conducted in May by FAO, WFP, and partners) showed that most households were only consuming one meal a day. Currently, households are barely able to cover their basic food needs, because of both a lack of food stocks and increasing food prices. For these reasons, these areas are classified as facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity.

    Beginning in October, food availability will improve due to widespread harvesting activities in the south and parts of the west. Even if the harvests are below-average, poor households in these areas of the country will be able to meet their basic food and non-food needs and will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between October and December.

    However in northern and east-central areas, the delayed start to the growing season and timid interventions by humanitarian agencies will lead to a below-average harvest. Households in these areas will reduce their food consumption to minimally adequate levels and will spend less than usual on essential non-food items. Therefore, these households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).  

    Figures eMODIS normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (left) and cumulative rainfall estimates (RFE) (right), Lobaye

    Figure 1

    eMODIS normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (left) and cumulative rainfall estimates (RFE) (right), Lobaye

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    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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