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The food security situation of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) households is deteriorating due to COVID-19

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • April 2020
The food security situation of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) households is deteriorating due to COVID-19

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through September 2020
  • Key Messages
    • Following the appearance of COVID-19 in March 2020, the government of Chad initiated countermeasures, including the closure of borders and non-food businesses and restrictions on transport. As a result, the income of very poor and poor households is declining in most parts of the country due to reduced employment opportunities, especially in urban areas. These populations are experiencing reduced food consumption and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Some more affected households are experiencing consumption shortfalls and may be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • In Lac Province there are 272,478 internally displaced persons, 208,382 of whom are internally displaced persons (IDPs). These movements of displaced persons put pressure on the livelihoods of host households. Thanks to humanitarian assistance, their food consumption is minimally adequate, and they cannot spend on non-food items. As a result, these households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!).

    • In Tibesti, a fall in supply as a result of transport restrictions coupled with border closures has led to a moderate rise in market prices. Faced with this trend, low income levels are limiting household access to markets. Their food consumption is minimally adequate, and they are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity.

    • The supply of agricultural produce to markets in most areas of the country is declining due to higher transport costs. There is a reduction in supply, which is compounded by stock retentions by some traders. However, demand is stable and decreasing, despite Ramadan, as a result of falling household incomes.  

    Current Situation

    COVID-19: To limit the spread of the pandemic, the government has introduced several measures, including the closure of borders and non-food shops, transport restrictions and a curfew.  These measures have led to a slowdown in socioeconomic activities across all sectors. This is having a huge impact on the livelihoods of very poor and poor households. Income from different activities (labor, seasonal migration, money transfers, and the sale of handicrafts, harvested produce and small ruminants) is lower than average, especially in urban areas.

    Agricultural situation: The off-growing season normally takes place in the rice basin where the transplanting of off-season rice has begun. In Mayo-Kebbi, COVID-19 measures have banned access to the river islands, which is having a significant impact on the market garden output that feeds the city of N’Djamena. As a result, current harvests are down compared with a normal year, which is likely to affect the income level of very poor and poor households, for whom market produce is an important source of income during this period in a normal year.

    Pastoral situation: This is characterized by the degradation of pasture and the drying up of pastoral wells in western Sahel. Insecurity in the Lac region is restricting access to pasture in island areas for animals in the regions of Lac and Kanem, which is leading to overgrazing on dry land. During this period of the peak lean season, livestock are being fed with preserved hay, groundnut cake and bran. However, livestock farmers are forced to travel long distances of more than 15 km at night in search of water sources for their animals. In the eastern pastoral area, transhumant herders are still in transhumance areas, such as Sila and Salamat and a little further south, where they have access to water sources and crop residues, as in a normal year. The physical condition of the animals is below that of a normal year, though their health is generally stable. The COVID-19 restrictions are not currently affecting pastoral movements.

    Agricultural and non-agricultural labor: Most of the agricultural workforce is made up of family workers during the off-season period. The supply of agricultural labor is the same as in a normal year in rice-growing areas. In Abéché, however, the return of Tibesti gold miners coupled with the pandemic-related measures is creating an oversupply of labor during the off-season growing period. The daily cost here is XAF 1,250 as opposed to XAF 2,000 in a normal year. Some payments are made in kind.

    The non-agricultural workforce has been affected by the impacts of COVID-19 government measures, which have resulted in reduced recruitment opportunities. In Bongor, the daily cost has been reduced to XAF 750 or 1,000 instead of XAF 3,500 as seen in a normal year.

    In the Logone and Mayo-Kebbi regions, government measures have affected non-agricultural sources of income (handling, informal jobs, quarries).

    Household cereal stocks: Household cereal stocks have been depleted in western Sahel areas and households in Bahr-el-Ghazel and Kanem are dependent on the market for their food consumption. In Guéra and in Berber and rice-growing areas such as Mayo-Kebbi, recent harvests have increased household stocks. In the Sudan region, stock levels are average and cover household consumption needs.

    Markets and prices: Market supply is declining due to high transport costs resulting from government measures. Supply on the markets is being provided solely by traders’ stocks, with supplies almost at zero. Overall, demand remains low compared with the five-year average, despite a slight increase during the Ramadan fasting period. However, food prices are generally lower than the five-year average and stable compared with the first quarter of the year. In most areas of the country, low household incomes are limiting households’ access to markets. This is in addition to the ban on gatherings, which is impacting demand and therefore prices. Livestock markets in the eastern part of the country, although still higher than the five-year average, are in decline compared with the beginning of the year due to falling demand as a result of the COVID-19 measures.

    In Bahr-el-Ghazel and Kanem, the availability of manufactured products from Libya is poor, due to the disruption of trade flows (particularly as a result of the conflict), pushing households toward other food items such as millet, the prices of which are above the five-year average. This is having an impact on food access for the poorest households.

    Current food situation: The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of government measures continue to affect households’ food situation. Most households in the country, except those affected by COVID-19 restrictions and conflicts, are managing to meet their food needs through their own stocks. Most regions are therefore experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity. In the Lac region, IDPs share meals with host households, which is putting pressure on hosts’ cereal stocks and leading to competition for resources (agricultural and non-agricultural labor). Thanks to food aid, these households are facing Stressed (IPC! Phase 2) food insecurity. The World Food Program (WFP) and its partners, for example, are providing humanitarian assistance in the form of cash and food to 182,341 people (displaced persons, refugees, returnees). The average ration consists of 325 g of cereals, 72 g of pulses and 23 g of oil. Cash payments range from XAF 3,500 per person per month for the averagely vulnerable to XAF 6,000 per person per month for the most vulnerable. This assistance will continue until December 2020. In Tibesti, the recent resurgence of conflict continues to disrupt flows of goods with Libya and the rest of Chad, with very poor and poor households forced to adopt stressed strategies to access food on the market, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity. In the provinces of Bahr-el-Ghazel and Kanem, households’ food consumption is minimal, and they are therefore in a Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food situation. In Logone and Mayo-Kebbi, the food consumption of most very poor and poor households is minimally adequate. Due to a loss of income because of government measures limiting their agricultural and non-agricultural employment opportunities, these households will not be able to spend money on non-food items and are therefore Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Smaller proportions of households are facing consumption shortfalls in each livelihood zone or are developing crisis strategies and are therefore experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity.

    Updated Assumptions

    FEWS NET’s most likely scenario assumptions for the period February to September 2020 have changed as follows:

    • COVID-19 developments are likely to lead to government measures being maintained. This would affect most sources of income for poor households in a wider part of the country, including cash transfers, agricultural and non-agricultural labor, migration, and the sale of agricultural products, animals and handicrafts. It would result in a significant decline in household incomes in most areas of the country.
    • Institutional stocks: Restoration of the National Office for Food Security’s (ONASA) stocks to the 20,000 to 25,000 tons originally planned has not yet been completed. However, a special fund made available as part of the response to COVID-19 would enable the purchase and distribution of 9,000 tons of cereals.
    • Household stocks: Poor and very poor households will experience gradual depletion of their stocks in several parts of the country, including the provinces of Logone Oriental and Occidental, Mayo-Kebbi Est and Mayo-Kebbi Ouest, between May and August.

    • Food markets and prices:

      • Sesame prices are reported to be falling due to COVID-19 border closures that are limiting exports.
        The flow of food to the regions of Lac and Tibesti and trade with Sudan are reported to be limited due to insecurity in these areas coupled with government border closures.
        In Bahr-el-Ghazel and Kanem, moderate increases in millet prices are expected because of demand, which will remain above average from July. Milk consumption is likely to contribute to the fall in cereal prices.

      • A moderate decline in millet prices compared with the five-year average is likely to be observed in the Sudan region due to low demand resulting from low income levels.
        The supply of food is set to be lower than in a normal year as a result of the slowdown in flows due to government measures.
        Prices in the Lac region are expected to decline until the end of May 2020 due to falling demand resulting from the loss of purchasing power in very poor and poor households, off-season harvests and food aid.

      • Livestock markets and prices: Livestock markets are likely to operate at a reduced pace as a result of restrictions on gatherings of people that will disrupt market operations until these measures are lifted. However, in Bahr-el-Ghazel and Kanem, supply is expected to increase slightly due to households seeking income to access the market. The fasting periods of Ramadan and Tabaski (Eid al-Adha) is likely to produce two moderate, one-off increases.

    Projected Outlook Through September 2020

    In Lac, displaced people will have minimally adequate food consumption thanks to assistance and will remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). In Bahr-el-Ghazel and Kanem, households will increase the sale of ruminants and poultry to access the market. A deterioration in their livelihoods may be observed from July, but the area will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In Tibesti, the limitation of flows, low income levels and transport restrictions will keep prices at a high level, with very poor households remaining in Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    The impact of the measures means that very poor and poor households in most areas of the country will have difficulty meeting their food needs from May 2020 as a result of declining stocks and falling purchasing power. Government measures to tackle COVID-19 will continue to affect household income sources through the limitation of employment opportunities (labor), reduction of cash transfer volumes and fall in prices for small ruminants in more regions as food stocks are depleted in these areas and households begin to depend on the market for their food. They will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between May and August 2020. Some households may face consumption shortfalls or develop crisis strategies between mid-July and mid-August and move into Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Figures Projection of the consumer price of millet on the Moussoro market in FCFA/Kg: Projections between April and December are high

    Figure 1

    Figure 1.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Projection of the consumer price of sheep on the Moussoro market: Projections between April and December are close to the ave

    Figure 2

    Figure 2.

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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