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Adequate levels of household food stocks across the country

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • December 2015
Adequate levels of household food stocks across the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through March 2016
  • Key Messages
    • According to the Crop Production and Statistics Bureau (DPAS) at the Ministry of Agriculture, projected national cereal production is 10 percent below the five-year average. Ongoing harvests of rain-fed crops in certain areas of the country are increasing household food stocks and improving household consumption. Harvests of flood recession sorghum crops (berbéré) are getting underway in Aboudeia department (in the Salamat region) and will begin in late January or early February in other major berbéré-producing regions (Salamat, Moyen-Chari, Mayo-Kebbi, Guera, Batha, and Chari Baguirmi).

    • Markets are well stocked with staple foods and, in general, ongoing harvests have reduced cereal prices compared with previous months. Security problems in the Lake Chad area continue to disrupt trade flows, triggering atypical price hikes for food on affected markets. 

    • Ongoing harvests, the downward trend in cereal prices, and the availability of milk and garden produce have stabilized food security conditions. Most households will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through the month of March. Most poor households in the Sahel (in the Kanem, BEG, Batha, North Guera, Wadi Fira, and Lac regions) will have difficulty maintaining their food access between January and March with the depletion of their food stocks and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions through at least the end of March.

    Current Situation

    Agricultural conditions: According to the Government-FAO-WFP food security survey (ENSA) conducted in October 2015, more than one out of every two households have been affected by the rainfall deficit in the country’s Sahelian zone. Nearly half of all crops in Batha and North Guera have reportedly wilted following the rainfall deficit during the month of September. Harvests in these areas of poor crop production this year (Kanem, BEG, Batha, North Guera, Sila, and Wadi-Fira) are nearly completed. Most farming activities in berbéré-producing areas currently involve maintaining crops and growing gardens. Crop planting activities for the cold off-season (for wheat, maize, etc.) in the Lac area are 70 percent completed. However, there is a real fear that security incidents and rising fuel prices will disrupt this growing season.

    Pastoral conditions: The natural pasture lands and animal watering holes of the pastoral and agro-pastoral zones (Batha, Hadjer Lamis, North Guera, and Wadi Fira regions) are facing below-average conditions due to the shortened rainy season and poor rainfall distribution. The pastures will be below-normal quality in most of the Sahelian zone and in Moyen Chari by February/March compared to an average year. Some agro-pastoralists are steadily stockpiling hay (stalks of maize and sorghum crops) and pulses (peanuts and beans) in preparation for the upcoming lean season in pastoral areas. Livestock are currently in a healthy physical condition, but this will start to deteriorate by February-March.

    Agricultural labor: The on-farm workforce has experienced a normal seasonal contraction in the southern part of the country (particularly in Moyen Chari) with the slowdown of harvesting activities for rainfed crops. The supply of labor in the Lake Chad area is still sizeable, if not larger than usual, due to the presence of IDPs and returnees in that area. As a result, the daily wage rate has declined from 2,000 XAF in December 2014 to 1,000 XAF currently. A growing seasonal demand for labor exists in berbéré-producing areas, particularly in Aboudeia department, to maintain crops and prepare for harvesting activities, which will begin at the end of December. Farm workers from North Guera are reportedly already heading to Salamat for the approaching berbéré harvest, with workers from Batha expected to arrive in January-February.

    Household cereal stocks: Most cereal stocks currently consist mainly of recently-harvested cereal crops which, as usual, should generally meet the food needs of most households in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) areas through March 2016. The majority of poor households in areas classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2) will begin to deplete their cereal stocks in January and, thus, will have difficulty maintaining their food access.

    Situation of refugees and IDPs in the Lake Chad area: The state of emergency declared in the Lac area on November 9th was extended through March 22, 2016. The estimated number of IDPs, returnees, and refugees is steadily growing and, according to OCHA, is currently approximately 84,000 people, including 54,000 displaced since July. These IDPs are presently spread among 15 camps in and around the villages of Bol, Baga-Sola, Daboua, Liwa, and Ngouboua (OCHA). Unmet urgent needs exist in all sectors including shelter, food security, water supply, hygiene, sanitation, protection, and health. The insecurity in the Lake Chad area has disrupted the livestock trade, which rural populations depend for their livelihoods, as well as the fishing activities of households living on the shores of Lake Chad.

    Markets and prices: Cereal markets in the Sahelian zone are well-stocked with staple cereal crops from ongoing harvests, which is lowering cereal prices on most markets, except in Kanem, N’Djamena, and Ati where millet prices have increased by 30 percent, 17 percent, and 9 percent respectively. Likewise, sorghum prices have risen 25 percent in Ati and 8 percent in Amtiman. This price hike is attributable to the comparatively smaller cereal production in these areas following poor rainfall distribution earlier in the season. Maize prices are stable compared to the five-year average. The year-end holiday season will contribute to a decline in producer prices as farmers start selling more cereal crops in order to meet their needs. Millet prices in the country’s Sudanian zone are on the rise, while sorghum prices have declined slightly.

    Current food security situation: The ongoing harvests of cereal crops and supplies of other foodstuffs (oil seeds, pulses, and tubers) are sufficient to meet current household needs. Most poor households will have relatively little difficulty meeting their needs given the affordable prices of food crops. Thus, based on current acute food insecurity assessments, all areas of the country will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through the month of January (see Figure 1).

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected FEWS NET’s assumptions used in the most likely scenario for October 2015 through March 2016

    Projected Outlook Through March 2016

    Apart from households in poor cereal production areas in much of the country’s Sahelian zone (Kanem, BEG, Batha, Guera, Sila, and Wadi Fira), the food security outlook is still positive. Good cereal availability at the individual household level will enable households to meet their basic food needs through March without resorting to any coping strategies, which will keep food insecurity conditions at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels. However, over 20 percent of households in the production deficit areas mentioned above will have difficulty meeting their food needs because of premature depletion of their food stocks. The security situation in the Lac area is weakening household livelihoods by curtailing market access, fishing activities, and trade with Nigeria. Accordingly, these households will reduce their food consumption and cut back on certain expenditures and, thus, will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security conditions (see Figure 2) through at least the end of March.


    Figure 1


    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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