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Good July and August rains improve agropastoral conditions

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • August 2015
Good July and August rains improve agropastoral conditions

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2015
  • Key Messages
    • The rainfall activity since the end of July has improved water availability and pasture levels. It has also helped promote good crop growth and development. In general, crops are in the height growth, flowering, and early heading stages of development. The availability of milk and the better physical condition of livestock in pastoral areas are improving pastoral livelihoods.

    • In the Sahel, the stable prices of cereals and slight downward trend in prices for certain crops on markets such as Abéché are improving household food access. The only exception is in the Western Sahel, particularly in the Lake Chad area where the growing season is disrupted, with lower rainfall levels than at the same time in 2014, a deteriorating security situation, rising prices for staple foodstuffs, and the poor road conditions at this time of year impeding shipments of stocks from N’Djamena.

    • Conditions in the Western Sahel and localized areas in the Central and Eastern regions of the country will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through the end of September, with reduced food consumption by poor households in these areas, which will be forced to limit nonfood spending.


    Current Situation

    Agricultural conditions

    There was widespread, significant rainfall in the Sudanian zone (in the southern part of the country) towards the end of July and throughout the entire month of August. Though, on the whole, rainfall levels were down from the same time in 2014, there was enough rain to help ensure a certain amount of plant growth. The recent mission conducted by FEWS NET in the southern part of the country found mixed cropping progress. The planting of long-cycle crops is practically completed and weeding work for short-cycle varieties of rice and sorghum crops is in progress. Other ongoing farming activities in Western and Eastern Logone, for example, include the ridging of potato crops and the planting of sesame and cowpea crops.

    Despite of the late start of season in the Western Sahel, the rainfall activity in that area since the first week of July enabled farmers to start planting crops, particularly in Bahr El Gazal and Hadjer Lamis. Despite the continued troubling situation in Lac and Kanem, millet crops have been successfully planted in these areas, though nearly three weeks later than usual in areas in and around Bol. Meanwhile, there has been good rainfall accumulation in the Eastern Sahel since the end of July, though cumulative rainfall totals are down from last year and below average. Overall, the growing season in this area is progressing reasonably well. Ongoing farming activities involve weeding and the transplanting of cereal crops.

    Agricultural labor

    Access to farm labor is good across the Sudanian zone with the intensive farming activities underway at this time of year, particularly to meet current weeding needs. Thus, the rate of pay for weeding a row of crops in Bahr Sara department in Béboro ranges from 100 to 250 CFAF, compared with 100 to 150 CFAF last year. Likewise, the pay for weeding a 250 square meter area planted in groundnuts ranges from 750 to 1,000 CFAF, compared with 500 to 1 000 CFAF in 2014. There is a well-above-average supply of labor in the Lac region with the large presence of refugees and returnees competing for work from this source of income. On the other hand, there is a smaller supply of labor In Abéché, for example, where wage rates are up from last year’s average of 2,500 to 3,000 CFAF to between 3,000 and 3,500 CFAF.

    Pastoral conditions

    There are average levels of pasture, tending towards below average. There is an available supply of drinking water for livestock, though not as large a supply as at the same time last year. Seasonal lakes, ponds, and creeks are at two-thirds their normal levels. In spite of the lower rainfall numbers compared with the same time in 2014, particularly in Kélo and Pala, there is available green grass cover and pasture levels have visibly improved, though they are still below-normal. Plant health conditions are stable, bolstered by ongoing vaccination campaigns. Pastoral conditions in most parts of the Sahelian zone are getting better, where the condition of pastures is improving with the regular rainfall activity since the end of July, except in Sila, Ouaddaï, eastern Wadi Fira, and East Batha, where there are lower levels of vegetation than at the same time last year.

    Cereal markets and prices

    Retail markets such as Moundou, Doba, N’Djamena, Abéché, and Sarh are still well stocked with staple foodstuffs, though supplies are less plentiful than they were in previous months. There is average cereal availability, though supplies are tighter than at the same time last year and prices are up slightly in some places. Cereal prices in the Sudanian zone rose in the month of August, which is the height of the lean season. Pearl millet prices, for example, on the Sarh market were up by 13.6 percent from August 2014 and sorghum prices in Moundou were up by 21 percent. Meanwhile, there is still an overall good availability of cereal crops on markets in the Sahelian zone owing to the good crop production for last season, particularly in Abéché. This is keeping the prices of staple cereal crops stable. A comparison with the same time last year shows slightly more supply than demand and a slight decrease in the price of millet, sorghum, and sesame from August 2014 in Abéché. This drop in prices is also attributable to the good yields and consumption of flood recession crops, which has eased pressure on demand for cereal crops.


    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not changed most of the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for July through December 2015, except for the seasonal forecast. Current seasonal forecasts are calling for average cumulative rainfall for the rest of year throughout the country.


    Projected Outlook through December 2015

    Based on the good rainfall conditions through the middle of August, which should continue into September, and the expected average harvests, there should be a steady improvement in the food security situation. Very poor and poor households will be able to easily meet their food needs, consuming own harvests and, thus, be less dependent on market purchase. There will be an improvement in the availability of milk, as well as in food availability and food access in pastoral and agropastoral areas. There will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in most parts of the country between October and December 2015. However, households in localized areas in the vicinity of Lake Chad will continue to face difficulty meeting their food and nonfood needs with the ongoing population displacements as a result of the Boko Haram conflict, which continues to disrupt economic activity, as well as household livelihoods.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    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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