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The upward trend in food prices continues despite the production of flood recession sorghum

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • April 2022
The upward trend in food prices continues despite the production of flood recession sorghum

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  • Key Messages
  • CURRENT SITUATION
  • UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS
  • PROJECTED OUTLOOK TO SEPTEMBER 2022
  • Key Messages
    • Insecurity in Lac province caused by the presence of non-state armed groups (NSAGs) and inter-community conflicts on the border with Sudan are limiting typical population movements. In addition, the attack on the village of Sandana in early February impacted transhumance activities in the area of Moyen-Chari, Mandoul, Logone Oriental, and Logone Occidental, moving the camping grounds of the livestock farmers' transhumance areas to the border with the Central African Republic (CAR).

    • The poor agricultural growing season in 2021/2022 has had a negative impact on stock levels and the availability of food in markets. In addition, the security and health restrictions imposed by the authorities since the beginning of the year in the Lac area have limited food supplies to the markets. The rise in average food prices observed since the beginning of growing season has been exacerbated by the effects of the Ukrainian crisis, the residual impacts of COVID-19 and Ramadan demand.

    • An atypical shortage of pasture has been reported in Sudan. Pastoralist households are being forced to increase their livestock sales at below-average prices, given their poor physical condition, especially in the arkets of Goré and Mbaibokoum, where the ferricks (cattle herders' camps) are located. However, the livestock markets in Barh el Gazel (BEG) and Wadi Fira are no longer being supplied because of the early departure of transhumant herders to pastures in the south.

    • The upward trend in market prices is preventing poor and very poor households from sourcing adequate food supplies, which is contributing to keeping households in the Saharan area in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity. The official closure of the borders with Nigeria is further increasing market prices given the deterioration in livelihoods among people living in the Lac area, placing host populations and displaced persons in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


    CURRENT SITUATION

    Socio-political context and inclusive national dialogue. The socio-political context is characterized by preparations for inclusive national dialogue. However, the pre-dialogue talks between political and military groups ended on April 16 without any published resolution. With regard to civil society organizations, the Wakit Tama citizen coalition suspended negotiations with the transitional government through a communiqué by its Secretary-General.

    Changes in agro-climatic parameters. The rainy season has begun in the southern zone with the first rains in Logone Oriental, Moyen-Chari, Mandoul, and the entire western Mayo-Kebbi area, where people are in the early stages of land preparation, including land cleaning.

    Agriculture. The off-season crops that are now reaching maturity in the Sudan region suggest lower-than-average production, while vegetable crops are currently being harvested. However, preparation activities in this area are beginning (land cleaning, clearing, and plowing) in preparation for the forthcoming rainy season, with the first rains already appearing. It should also be noted that vegetable and off-season crop activities are continuing, with the flood recession sorghum harvest and rice transplantation. In the Lac area, the agricultural situation is characterized by the harvest of beans, fenugreek, and wheat, which are at the maturation stage in modern polders. Maize, conversely, is now fully mature; however, production is below average. In the Saharan area, vegetable crops are below average due to low precipitation levels and high temperatures during the bolting period. This led to early harvesting of off-season crops, especially flood recession sorghum. On the other hand, in Borkou, Ennedi, agricultural activities have been reduced in order to maintain the cold season crops that have already matured (garlic, onions, tomatoes, okra, and cabbage).

    Pastoral situation and livestock movements. Poor rainfall in 2021 had a negative impact on pasture levels due to severe hydric stress, leading to the irreversible drying of grass cover throughout the country and a decline in plant biomass levels. In the Lac area, the relatively low level of biomass has been exacerbated by overgrazing due to the presence of nomadic livestock farmers from the Kanem, BEG, and Hadjer-Lamis provinces. In the central part of the Lac area where the pools have dried up, livestock farmers are covering atypically long distances to find water for their animals to drink. The drying up of pools has reduced the number of watering holes in N’Djamena, for example, where the Chari and Logone rivers are the only source of drinking water.

    In the Ouaddaï region, movements of livestock to neighboring countries are limited due to security disturbances in the border areas of Sudan; transhumance is more akin to moving livestock within the departments, out from the center to the cultivation areas. Insufficient plant biomass in the northern part of the country has prompted transhumant herders to return earlier than in a normal year. Following the conflicts in Sandana, transhumant herders are being forced to move further toward the border with the CAR in search of pasture.

    Income sources. Given the decline and depletion of household cereal stocks and the projections for the start of the agricultural growing season 2022/2023, many laborers are offering their services to earn income. This is creating an oversupply of agricultural labor in parts of the Sudan region. Demand for agricultural labor is down compared with a normal year because of the decline in purchasing power driven by the overall drop in incomes. In other areas, such as western Mayo-Kebbi, work in the off-season rice-growing areas is proceeding as normal and providing an important source of household income. The labor supply for transporting bricks and water is low, with households favoring gold-panning activities instead, resulting in an increase in daily wages from 1,500 XOF to 2,000 XOF in Ouaddaï and Wadi Fira. Moreover, movements of permanent migrant workers have decreased and are now uncommon because of the unstable security situation on the border with Libya. In response to the fall in demand for labor, people in Mayo-Kebbi are increasingly turning to gold panning and working in ginning plants that provide a real source of income to maintain their earnings during the lean season. Households in Wadi Fira have stepped up their mutual assistance system to cope with the impact of rising prices and the scarcity of imported food.

     Conflict, insecurity, and population movements. The massacre perpetrated by armed individuals in the village of Sandana on February 9, 2022 led local populations to request the dismantling of the Sandana ferricks. As a result, the ferricks around Sandana were relocated to sites near Goré and Mbaibokoum in Logone Oriental province. Moreover, robberies and assassinations of Indigenous people by refugee groups from the CAR have been reported in the Moyen-Chari area. Community conflicts were reported in Ouaddaï and Wadi Fira. Security conflicts on the borders with Nigeria in the Lac region are limiting population movements and therefore livelihood activities. The security restrictions in Ngouboua have prevented significant maize production, with crops consisting of lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, onions, garlic, and hot peppers mitigating the decline in trade in various markets in the region.

    Household cereal stocks. In most areas of the country, significant declines in household stocks are being reported as a result of low output compared with a normal year of flood recession sorghum in Guéra, Salamat, and Mayo-Kebbi. A complete depletion of household stocks in the Western Sahel is forcing households to depend on the markets earlier than usual to meet their consumption needs.

    Institutional stocks. Given the poor cereal harvest (in both the rainy and off seasons) in 2021/2022, but also the use of stocks for seed and other purposes, the overall level of current cereal stocks remains well below the five-year average on the market; the government therefore intends to make stocks available earlier throughout the territory.

    Cereal markets and prices. The supply of cereals into the markets is poor, following the low level of production during the 2021/2022 agricultural growing season. In addition, trade with Cameroon is limited as a result of measures taken by the government to combat COVID-19. Market supplies in the Sudan region have been significantly reduced since the end of March, resulting in an increase in the price of millet of 39 percent in Goré and 25 percent in Mbainamar, compared to the five-year average. The level of market supplies is also low in the west of the country. Off-season crop yields are significantly lower than the five-year average and this situation is compounded by insecurity, which restricts population movements. Prices have increased significantly compared to the five-year average, with the price of maize increasing by 46 percent in Bol market and 33 percent in Nguri. The supply of sesame and wheat is very limited compared to the same period the previous year. There is also strong demand for these products in the markets in BEG, Hadjer-Lamis, and Kanem. Market supplies in Guéra, Mayo-Kebbi, and Salamat are sufficient thanks to the availability of off-season crops (flood recession sorghum). Demand for imported food products such as wheat flour, pasta, and vegetable oils is increasing in all provinces, especially in deficit areas such as Borkou, Wadi Fira, and Tibesti. The strong demand for products, coupled with the effects of the Ukrainian crisis and the Ramadan period, is increasing the price of imported food overall.

     Livestock markets. Cross-border trade with the southern markets of Batha, Borkou, Ennedi, Ouaddaï, and Wadi Fira, is limited following the disturbances on border routes linked to inter-community conflicts 30 km from the border with Sudan. The closure of the borders with Nigeria in BEG, Kanem, and Lac as a result of incursions by NSAGs has led to an oversupply of livestock; however, prices have remained stable. An oversupply of livestock was found in the markets in Nguri and Bol. The supply of small ruminants in the south is low due to the instability of the security situation caused by inter-community conflicts in Moyen-Chari, causing an upward trend in prices compared to the five-year average. There has been a price increase of 17 percent in Danamaji and 55 percent in Lac Iro. A 29-percent price decrease has been reported in Beboro due to the migration of livestock farmers outside these areas following the Sandana community conflicts.

    Current food situation. Host populations and displaced persons in Lac, whose livelihoods have been affected, have limited access to the market due to their low level of purchasing power. The upward trend in prices is preventing poor households with depleted stocks from accessing food, leaving them unable to cover the deficit; as a result, they are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Given the inter-community conflicts and the COVID-19 health crisis, cross-border movements of imported food products (flour, pasta, oils, etc.) from Libya and Sudan to markets in the north (Bardai, Faya, Fada, Biltine, etc.) are limited. An increase in internal cereal movements to these areas has been reported in response. Despite these strategies, most households' food consumption has been reduced to the extent that it is barely adequate. Therefore, they cannot commit themselves to essential non-food expenditures and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).


    UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

     

    • International market prices. Internationally, the widespread rise in food prices as a result of the Ukrainian crisis may cause major disruptions to the international wheat and vegetable oil market (a significant quantity of which comes from the Black Sea countries), along with the rise in global cereal prices and the costs of agricultural supplies and a barrel of oil. This may continue to have a significant impact on import costs and the prices of imported products.
    • Supply prices and agricultural production. Moreover, the rise in the prices of agricultural supplies, of which Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are the main suppliers in Chad and West Africa, could reduce the quantity of government-subsidized inputs and thus reduce production in the next agricultural growing season.
    • Protest movements. Despite having reached its deadline, the Doha pre-dialogue has not yet presented the results of the consultation between the military and political forces. This may be due to a mismatch between the claims of certain groups and suggests that the dialogue itself should be postponed and, in turn, the transition period extended; there may therefore be expressions of discontent in Ndjamena. The Wakit Tama citizen coalition, having put an end to its dialogue with the government, could be a driving force behind future challenges. The ongoing inflationary trend for food products in the markets could drive dissatisfaction through the consumer protection association.
    • Tibesti. Inter-community conflicts on the Sudanese border, as well as insecurity over contraband goods on the Libyan border, could cause disruption in the north, resulting in restrictions on population movements in the area.
    • Lake Chad/Boko Haram. A period of calm has come with the strengthening of the security system and following the lowering of the water level in Lake Chad. It should also be noted that a rise in the water level would be accompanied by an upsurge in attacks by NSAGs, leading to new movement restrictions and impacting the flow of goods between Chad and countries bordering the Lake.
    • Conflict between livestock and other farmers. Delays in transhumant herders moving to their home areas could cause clashes with farmers. Crossing agricultural and agropastoral areas in June leads to the trampling of young shoots and could reawaken underlying conflicts, which need only the slightest friction to reignite.
    • CAR conflicts and population movements. The resurgence of insecurity on the border with CAR could lead to a strengthening of the Chadian security system along the border.

     


    PROJECTED OUTLOOK TO SEPTEMBER 2022

    Despite the current harvests of off-season crops, food availability remains under pressure due to poor production in the 2021/2022 agricultural growing season, combined with insecurity. Poor households are increasingly dependent on the markets for supplies, in a context of below-average income and rising commodity prices. The war in Ukraine, the effects of COVID-19, and border restrictions in the Lac and northern areas are likely to keep prices high during the 2022 agricultural season. Very poor and some poor households in the Lac area are unable to access food because of their low incomes and are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until September 2022.

    Harvests from the forthcoming 2022/2023 agricultural growing season in early September may improve the availability of food in the markets, at least on a seasonal basis, allowing people in deficit areas such as the BEG to obtain more from the Hadjer-Lamis or Lac regions. This would improve the level of cereal stocks in poor and very poor households, allowing pastoral areas such as Borkou and Ennedi to see an improvement in the supply of food from local production. However, security instability on the borders of Libya and Sudan would hinder the movement of imported products and they would therefore be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between August and September. Predominantly agricultural livelihood areas will be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity until September 2022.

    Figures

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar

    Source:

    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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