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Market activity in BET picks up after the reopening of the border with Libya

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • April 2017
Market activity in BET picks up after the reopening of the border with Libya

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Key Messages
    • The reopening of the country’s border with Libya has improved cross-border trade, reviving markets in the North (Borkou and Tibesti) and West (North Kanem and BEG) supplied mainly with processed foodstuffs. These trade flows had slowed in previous months, being limited to authorized corridors. The resumption of trade is expected improve the food security situation of poor households to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • The rice production deficit in East Tandjilé department is pressurin poor households as their food stocks become exhausted earlier than normal. This is affecting five cantons, namely Ninga, Deressia, Kabalaye, Darbe, and Gabringolo. There are continuing reports of atypical migratory movements to other parts of the region. The ongoing harvests of irrigated rice crops is expected to help limit the deterioration in their food consumption.

    • Weak trade flows due to security constraints in the Lac region are contributing to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes despite the good supply of ongoing harvests of off-season maize crops. March prices for rice on certain markets in the Sudanian zone (Kélo, Bongor, Pala, and Léré) were driven upwards by the poor harvests resulting from atypical dryness during the 2016 rainy season.

    Current Situation

    Farming conditions: Harvests of off-season (wheat) crops in the Lake Chad region are winding down. Harvests of maize crops have been underway since the first week of April 2017. This will improve household cereal stocks and bring down maize prices over the next few weeks.

    Farm labor: Farm labor is being used for land clearing and field clean-up work for the planting of new crops in the Sahelian zone and for the levelling of rice fields and the planting of off-season rice crops in East Tandjilé. The daily wage rate for the transplanting of rice crops in Laï (East Tandjilé), for example is 2,500 CFAF/worker, which is in line with what is typical this time of a year. The rate of pay in Mamdi department, and more specifically in Bol, is 1,500 CFAF against the typical 2,000 CFAF seen due to the large supply of labor with the great numbers of displaced persons in that area.

    Household cereal stocks: With few exceptions, there has been a seasonal reduction in the size of household cereal stocks. Food stocks in deficit areas like Kanem, Bahr El Ghazel (BEG), Wadi Fira, and parts of East Tandjilé are reportedly virtually depleted, with local households dependent on market purchases. This premature depletion of their food stocks (by April instead of June) is causing residents of five cantons in Tandjilé to resort to atypical seasonal migration. This is impacting close to 83,612 people in the five cantons.

    Status of pastoral resources: Seasonal pasture has declined quicker than normal. Transhumant herd movements are peaking early this year with the lean season in pastoral areas normally beginning in March/April getting underway by February, and are creating increased competition for pasture and water resources. The lean season for pastoral populations in Wadi Fira, BEG, and parts of Kanem is more pronounced. These areas are more impacted by the resulting effects of low levels of rainfall in 2016. In spite of the generally stable animal health conditions in pastoral areas, livestock are in below-average physical condition.

    Population movements: The flow of IDPs in the Lac region has stabilized with the improvement in the security situation since the beginning of the year. There are approximately 112,600 displaced persons, returnees, and refugees. There have been reports of population movements from five cantons in Tandjilé department to large urban areas to work as paid labor as a source of income. Members of households in Abtouyour department (Guera) engaged in short-term seasonal labor migration since the end of the 2016 harvest are reportedly gradually returning for the upcoming growing season.

    Cereal markets: The low supplies of foodstuffs (pasta, macaroni, spaghetti, oil, sugar, etc.) reported in the BEG, Kanem, and Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti (BET) areas in February with the closure of the country’s border with Libya on January 5th have since improved. Supplies have started to return to near-normal levels, though they are still slightly below-average, particularly since March and the announcement of the reopening of the border. Trader inventories on markets in berbéré (flood-irrigated sorghum) producing areas (N’Djamena, Guera, Batha, Salamat, and Mayo Kebbi) are being reinforced with new harvests.

    March prices for cereals (millet, sorghum, maize, and berbéré) on all markets declined with the good harvests for the 2016/2017 crop year. However, the poor harvests as a result of the reported dry spells in Tandjilé and East and West Mayo Kebbi in 2016 contributed to above-average price increases for rice on certain markets in the Sudanian zone (Kélo, Bongor, Pala, and Léré).

    March prices for livestock (sheep and goats) on markets in the Sahelian and Sudanian zones (except in Moundou) continued to decline for the third consecutive year (by between 14 to 33 percent) with the closure of the country’s border with Nigeria, limiting demand for livestock exports.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not significantly affected most assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for the period from February through September 2017. However, the assumption with respect to cross-border trade between Chad and Libya has been updated as follows:

    The recent reopening of the country’s border with Libya (in early March of 2017) will trade flows, benefiting households in the north of the country (Kanem, BEG, Wadi Fira, Borkou, and Tibesti).


    The presence of IDPs and returnees in the Lake Chad region is continuing to affect the food security situation of the host community. The restricted access to income from farm labor and livestock sales is also contributing to food access constraints. This will maintain current Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes through the end of September. In the Kanem and BEG regions the low levels of cereal production have visibly reduced food stocks. In addition, the falling prices of livestock with the suspension of exports have eroded the purchasing power of poor households. Households in two departments in the Wadi Fira region (Kobé and Megri) and in Abtouyour department (in Guera) have already depleted their cereal stocks following production shortfalls of close to 50 percent from the five-year average. The premature depletion of their food stocks will reduce food consumption by poor households consistent with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity in the BEG and Kanem regions, parts of Guera, and North Wadi Fira between June and September 2017.

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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