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Good rainfall conditions improve the food security situation in certain regions

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • August 2016
Good rainfall conditions improve the food security situation in certain regions

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through January 2017
  • Key Messages
    • This year’s above-average levels of widespread and early rainfall in farming and agropastoral areas through the month of August have improved the supply of pasture and water availability by filling previously dry wadi beds. These favorable rainfall conditions have promoted normal crop growth and development, with most crops generally in the height growth/early fruiting and sprouting/tillering stages of their growth cycle. 

    • There are increasingly widespread supplies of early crops on certain markets in the Sudanian zone, which has further improved the household food security situation. Harvests of short-cycle maize and peanut crops in the southern part of the country are helping to improve food consumption by poor households. At the same time, the availability of milk and butter and the better physical livestock conditions in pastoral areas are improving living conditions for pastoralists. Thus, most of the country is still experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    • The stable cereal prices and slight downward movement of certain foodstuffs prices on most markets are improving household food access, except in the Western Sahel where the conflict with Boko Haram has created a security crisis. There are already available supplies of “winter” vegetables, market garden crops, and wild plant foods on local markets.

    • Current supplies of early crops and the availability of wild vegetables by the end of September should bring food insecurity in the Sahelian zone to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcome levels. With humanitarian assistance, the Lake Chad area will remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity through at least January 2017 due to the residual effects of the Boko Haram conflict in that area. Food consumption by poor households will remain limited, and they will be unable to engage in any non-food spending.

    Current Situation

    Farming conditions: This year’s early rains and average to above-average rainfall was well-distributed in both time and space in most agropastoral areas, allowing for earlier than usual widespread planting activities in most farming areas and ensuing good crop growth and development. Accordingly, the seasonal progress of crops was ahead of schedule by August. This good rainfall also improved pastoral conditions and filled most dry wadi beds earlier than usual. In general, millet and sorghum crops are in the tillering, stalk elongation, early fruiting, and heading stages, depending on their planting schedule. Maize crops are in the flowering, heading, and seed formation/maturation stages. Oilseed crops and pulses are in the branching and flowering/fruiting stages.

    Farm labor: Farm labor supply in the Sudanian zone is available but relatively expensive due to the heavy demand, given the high rates of agricultural mechanization in this area which has significantly boosted the numbers of farmers (traders, government workers, sedentary pastoralists, and other workers). An average day laborer is earning 1000 to 1500 CFAF/day, compared with 750 to 1000 CFAF/day in August 2015. The Sahelian zone is also reportedly experiencing a similarly high demand for farm labor. Labor costs for ongoing weeding activities currently range from 750 CFAF to 1000 CFAF per person per day in the Chari-Baguirmi and Hadjer Lamis regions (Loug Chari, Dababa, and Baguirmi) and from 500 CFAF to 750 CFAF per person per day in Bahr-El-Gazel (BEG) and Kanem. The large numbers of job seekers in the Lac region, consisting largely of returnees, are keeping the cost of day labor at 1000 CFAF/day during the current intensive weeding period, compared with 1500 CFAF/day in August 2015.

    Pastoral conditions: Current conditions in nearly all pastoral and agropastoral areas are seasonally normal, with plentiful, near-by supplies of pasture and watering holes for animal herds. Livestock are in good physical condition and animal health conditions are normal. Birthing rates are normal, and good market supplies of milk and butter mean affordable prices for consumers in all income groups.

    Cereal markets and prices: Markets are well-stocked with foodstuffs from large trader inventories. Many traders in the Sahelian and Sudanian zones have large stocks of cereal from which they are making regular deliveries to weekly or local markets, triggering localized drops in prices. There are also good cereal supplies in the cereal banks of NGOs, the stores of better-off farmers, and government projects such as PADER-G. What could have been a large demand for cereals in departments experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity following the 2015 cereal deficit and the premature stock depletion in the first quarter of this year is only average due to the availability of early crops (maize, peanuts, cucumbers, wild vegetables, and other wild plant foods) and will continue to lessen between now and September with the growing availability of new and early sorghum crops.

    Staple cereal prices will continue to decline between now and the upcoming harvests in late September/October (with rice prices remaining stable). August 2016 sorghum prices are approximately 12 to 35 percent below the five-year average for that month, except in Mongo, where they are above-average by 24 percent due to the large sorghum deficit in 2015. Pearl millet prices are anywhere from 13 to 25 percent below-average, except in Mongo and N’Djamena where they are average (+/- three percent). The subsidized sales by ONASA (the National Food Security Agency) played a major role in driving down prices and improving household access. The country’s humanitarian partners are continuing to assist vulnerable groups (IDPs, returnees, and refugees) in the West through the distribution of food supplies consisting mostly of cereals, which has reduced cereal prices on the Bol market.

    Updated Assumptions

    The present situation has not affected the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for the June 2016 through January 2017 Outlook.

    Projected Outlook Through January 2017

    Poor households in the Lac, Kanem, BEG, North Guera, West Batha, and Djourf Al Ahmar (Sila) areas will continue to have food consumption gaps through September due to the longer than usual lean season in those areas and, thus, will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). As of October, with the availability of crops from the promising upcoming harvests, very poor and poor households will rely on household crop production. In addition, the availability of milk and butter should also improve food consumption by these households, enabling them to easily meet their food consumption needs. All areas of the country will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between October 2016 and January 2017 with the exception of the Lac region, where poor households and IDPs will continue to have difficulty meeting their food and nonfood needs due to the Boko Haram conflict. Humanitarian assistance will keep these population groups in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity.

    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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