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Good rainfall activity improves food security in the Sahel, though certain areas remain in Crisis

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • August 2017
Good rainfall activity improves food security in the Sahel, though certain areas remain in Crisis

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Food consumption gaps will keep poor households in the Lac, southern Kanem and BEG, and northern Wadi Fira and Guera regions in a Crisis (IPC Phase 3) situation through the end of September. Households in western Wadi Fira, Tibesti, northern Kanem, northern BEG and Tandjilé-Est unable to meet certain nonfood expenses will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions.

    • The average to above-average levels of cumulative rainfall in large parts of agricultural and agropastoral areas are helping to promote good crop growth and development. There are reports of dry spells in Kobé and Megri departments lasting approximately ten days. To minimize the impact of the elimination of the government subsidy for tractor plows, most farmers are resorting to the use of animal traction to plant small areas in crops.

    • The downward trend in prices on most cereal markets continues. However, maize prices in Bol are reportedly up by 10 percent due to the pressure from displaced populations. In addition to Bol, which is an area of concern, there are also reports of rises in sorghum prices (by 15 percent) in Iriba with the low level of household food stocks in that area.

    • Plant health conditions in farming and agropastoral areas of the country are relatively stable. The caterpillar presence in localized areas at the beginning of the growing season after a string of dry spells was limited by the ensuing good rainfall activity in affected areas and will be monitored only if it becomes a source of concern. 



    Farming conditions: There is above-normal rainfall activity in large parts of the Sudanian zone. However, certain farmers were forced to replant crops in rain-short areas like Fianga and Léré (Mayo Kebbi) in the southwest and there are reports of lags in crop growth and development in the Ouara (Ouaddaï), Biltine, Dar-Tama, Megri, and Kobé (Wadi Fira) areas. Cereal crops and, more precisely, millet and sorghum crops in East and West Mayo Kebbi are in anywhere from the stalk elongation to the heading stage, depending on the area and variety in question. Maize crops in the Lac region are in the height growth – flowering stage.

    Farm labor: The Displaced Population presence in the Lac region has created a labor surplus. There is a relatively low demand for farm labor in all parts of the country with the downsizing of areas planted in cereal crops and the elimination of the government subsidy for tractor plows, which is forcing most farmers to resort to the use of animal traction to plant small areas in crops. This has reduced the cost of day labor. The continued labor surplus is keeping the daily wage rate at 1,500 CFAF, compared with the norm of 2,000 CFAF.

    The supply of farm labor in East and West Mayo Kebbi outstrips demand with the smaller cropped areas in rice-growing zones. This is forcing local populations to turn to other types of wage labor. Wage rates are down to 300 CFAF from 500 CFAF in an average year.

    Pastoral conditions: The good distribution of rainfall is improving pastoral conditions by promoting new grass growth and replenishing watering holes in spite of the small rainfall deficits reported in certain parts of the transhumant pastoral zone such as Batha, Wadi Fira, and Ouaddai. Animal health conditions are stable and the physical condition of livestock in all pastoral and agropastoral areas has visibly improved with the good availability of pasture and water resources. There are also reportedly good levels of milk production in these areas. There has been a clear improvement in the food security situation of poor households in northern BEG and northern Kanem.

    Cereal markets and prices: Markets are continuing to get regular supplies from trader inventories of surplus crops from the 2016 – 2017 season. Early harvests of border-irrigated maize crops are bolstering supplies on cereal markets and household food consumption in the Sudanian zone. This good food availability is helping to sustain the downward trend in prices on most cereal markets in the Sudanian zone, with the exception of millet prices in Bongor, Léré, and Pala. The good levels of institutional (churches, UNICEF, OXFAM, and ONASA) food stocks are sustaining cereal availability in the Sahel. There is still little demand for cereals in most livelihood zones. However, there is reportedly a slight relative rise in demand in the transhumant pastoral zone (Wadi Fira), the western reaches of the Sahelian zone (Kanem and BEG), and Abtouyour department (Guéra) with the depletion of food stocks since the first quarter of the year. Demand will start to weaken by the beginning of September with the first cereal harvests and the gathering of wild plant foods such as wild fonio in northern Guéra.

    The downward trend in prices on most markets is gaining momentum, with localized variations in the prices of certain crops. Sorghum prices are below the five-year average by anywhere from 4 to 52 percent, except in a few localized areas like Iriba where they are reportedly up by 10 percent with the total depletion of market inventories after the reported production deficits in 2016 – 2017. In the central reaches of the Sahel, carry-over trader inventories and subsidized cereal sales are facilitating household access to cereal crops by keeping prices relatively low compared with the five-year average. In the Lac region, humanitarian assistance and early harvests are helping to sustain displaced populations and facilitating food access for poor households by reportedly driving down market prices.


    The current situation has not affected the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for the period from June 2017 through January 2018. 


    The food security situation in farming areas will be close to normal between October 2017 and January 2018. The good rainfall activity and expected new harvests will enable poor households to meet their food needs from harvests of home-grown crops. There will be an improvement in the availability of milk and in food availability and food access in pastoral areas. Households in the Lake Chad area will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September. Their situation will begin to improve by October, though they will continue to have difficulty meeting their food and nonfood needs with the pressure from populations displaced by the conflict. Thus, with food assistance programs, the food security situation of these households will be classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) through January 2018.

    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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