Skip to main content

Food insecurity expected to rise significantly in the regions of Wadi Fira and Barh El-Ghazel in Chad

  • Alert
  • Chad
  • March 27, 2014
Food insecurity expected to rise significantly in the regions of Wadi Fira and Barh El-Ghazel in Chad

Download the Report

  • Summary
  • Situation

  • Summary

    Below-average and poorly distributed rains during the 2013 rainy season caused significant agricultural production deficits in the Wadi Fira and Barh El-Ghazel Regions. In addition to reducing food stocks and agricultural income levels, these rainfall conditions also caused below-average pastoral conditions. An atypically fast increase in cereals prices starting in February, combined with below-average household food stocks and unfavorable livestock-to-cereal terms of trade for pastoralists will limit household food access in the coming months. Currently, the majority of households are still able to cover their food needs. However, food consumption gaps are likely between April and the end of the lean season in September, driving Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity. Appropriate and well-targeted assistance to poor agropastoral households is needed to prevent these expected food consumption gaps.


    Due to below-average cumulative rainfall totals and a poor rainfall distribution between June and September 2013, crop production, particularly for millet and sorghum, was down 49 percent and 25 percent compared to average in Wadi Fira and Barh El-Ghazel, respectively, according to final crop production estimates released on March 20, 2014. Ongoing harvests of market garden crops are also expected to be below-average due to an early drying of local wadis (temporary rivers). In addition, low rainfall levels have contributed to atypically poor forage and water availability and  below-average livestock body conditions.

    Poor agricultural production caused households to start purchasing food on markets in February, two months earlier than in a normal year. The strong market demand that this has created, along with weak supply, will continue to cause atypically fast cereal price increases in Biltine and Moussoro between now and July. The increase will also contribute to a deterioration of livestock-to-cereal terms of trade for pastoral households and will limit food access for both agricultural and pastoral households in these zones in the coming months.

    Due to limited food access, the lean season will start early in April compared to June in a normal year. Since October 2013, poor households have been engaging in lean season strategies not normally observed during the harvest and post-harvest periods. Examples include the collection of wild foods and the digging up of anthills in search of cereals (Figure 1). Households also started migrating in October, compared to February/March is a normal year, towards large regional centers, such as N’Djamena and Abéché, and towards zones with more intensive off-season agriculture, such as Am-Timan and Sarh, in search of labor opportunities. However, the additional income and food generated from these activities are not expected to completely offset the effects of this year’s poor agricultural production and unfavorable terms of trade.

    Currently, poor households in these two regions are having difficulty meeting their food needs without reducing essential non-food expenditures, such as livestock feed, seeds, health, education, and transportation and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, the ability of these households to significantly expand their coping strategies (animal sales, migration, etc.) beyond currently observed levels will be limited. Crisis (IPC Phase 3), including food consumption gaps, is expected to begin in April and continue until the next harvests in October.

    During the peak of the lean season (June to September), households in the Wadi Fira and Barh El-Ghazel Regions will face some of the most severe food security outcomes expected in West Africa’s Sahel this year. In the absence of projected humanitarian assistance, Chad’s total population facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity or worse will be nearly 2 million people, with about half of this population residing in Wadi Fira and Barh El-Ghazel. This food insecure population will be larger than last year’s levels (an exceptionally good cropping year in Chad) but similar to the five-year average. Appropriate and well-targeted assistance is needed starting in March in order to avoid food consumption gaps and to protect livelihoods.

    Figures Figure 1. Women collecting wild cereals earlier than normal in Wadi Fira, early October 2013

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Women collecting wild cereals earlier than normal in Wadi Fira, early October 2013

    Source: FEWS NET

    FEWS NET will publish an Alert to highlight a current or anticipated shock expected to drive a sharp deterioration in food security, such that a humanitarian food assistance response is imminently needed.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top