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Household food consumption improves as a result of harvests despite low incomes

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • December 2020
Household food consumption improves as a result of harvests despite low incomes

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Given the good level of residual moisture, off-season crops, especially berbéré, are growing normally throughout the country. However, there are outbreaks of armyworms in East Mayo Kebbi. In Guera, a decrease in berbéré sowings has been recorded due to the dry spells that have affected the nurseries.

    • However, the supply to grain markets continues with below-normal volumes due to the increase in transport costs throughout the country. At the Lake, the health and safety state of emergency is restricting internal flows, especially those to the Bol market. In Tibesti, a slight improvement in cross-border flows, favored by the relative calm in in terms of security, is helping to improve market availability.

    • Transhumant herders continue their journey towards the Sudanian area, causing damage to the fields during harvests. This provoked brawls between herders and farmers that resulted in three deaths and two missing in Koumogo (Middle Chari) and one death in Bouna (Mandoul). These tensions have also led to deaths and the displacement of people in East Mayo Kebbi.

    • Many households in almost every part of the country have improved food consumption thanks to the new harvests, although some are having difficulty accessing essential non-food items and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for food items. The displaced persons and host households at the Lake, supported by food assistance, are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!).



    Impacts of COVID-19: To cope with COVID-19, the government of Chad has implemented a series of measures, including a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., the mandatory use of masks, a ban on groups exceeding 50 people, the closure of land borders, and limits on the number of passengers on urban and inter-urban traffic vehicles. These measures have the effect of reducing employment opportunities (masonry, domestic jobs), affecting sources of income. Livestock exports to Nigeria are also affected, causing a decrease in livestock prices and limiting market access for pastoral households whose sale of small ruminants is an important source of income. Travel restrictions have led to an increase in the cost of transport. Income from seasonal migration is declining because of the difficulties migrants face in moving between rural and urban areas. This also affects the flow of cereals from high production areas to other areas. For example, the transport of millet from Bongor to N'Djaména, over a distance of almost 240 km, used to cost 2,500 CFA in a normal year. Now it costs between 3,000 and 3,500 CFA.

    Agricultural situation: The off-season cold campaign is taking place as usual in different areas of the country. At the Lake, sowing in the polders is underway and should be completed soon to reach the level of a normal year. The main crops in the countryside are fenugreek, wheat, and cumin. Market gardening areas are marginal, however, due to the low marketing potential and conservation difficulties. In East Mayo-Kebbi, attacks by armyworms on the berbéré are reported by the province's phytosanitary services. A density of about 10 individuals per square meter is reported on nearly 22,000 ha of bérbéré, or 31 percent of the total area.

    Agricultural labor: Restrictions on transport cause a decrease in income from seasonal migration. The costs of transporting people limit the mobility of migrants to off-season production areas (Guéra, Salamat, Lake) to offer their labor. As a result, the labor supply is slightly lower than in a normal year. The decline in income for affluent households due to the economic downturn reduces employment opportunities on farms during the off-season campaign. The supply varies from normal to below normal depending on the area. In Mongo, one of the main berbéré production areas, the workforce is principally family. At the Lake, the influx of new displaced persons is putting pressure on the labor supply. Moreover, the demand for labor during this off-season campaign is low, as family labor is preferred.

    Non-agricultural labor: Given the impacts of COVID-19, which have exacerbated the economic crisis linked to the decrease in oil revenues over the past five years, employment opportunities for poor and very poor households are reduced. Facing the combined effects of the crises mentioned above, households do not have normal access to unskilled part-time jobs such as masonry and domestic work.

    Pastoral situation: The availability of fodder crops coupled with the good level of semi-permanent ponds contribute satisfactorily to livestock feed. In most agropastoral areas and in the transhumance zones, livestock travel short distances for grazing and watering. However, disputes between farmers and herders have been reported in Middle Chari, Mandoul, and East and West Mayo Kebbi.

    Conflicts and population movements: In East Mayo-Kebbi, population movements were recorded following conflicts between farmers and herders between late November and early December. According to the departmental branch of the Red Cross, more than 6,000 people have fled areas of tension to seek shelter in safe localities in Gounou Gaya (2,700 people), Pont Carol (2,500 people), and Gaya Ngambi (1,200 people). Deaths have also been reported in East Mayo-Kebbi with more than 22 deaths, three deaths in Middle Chari, and one in Mandoul. At the Lake, persistent insecurity continues to spawn population movements. More than 336,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were registered by the humanitarian community according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) data at the end of November 2020.

    Humanitarian assistance: Humanitarian assistance for the displaced persons and host households of the Lake continues in December 2020. The rations distributed consist of 450g of cereals, 100g of legumes and 25l of oil. Cash assistance for returnees, refugees, and IDPs ranges from 4,500 to 6,000 CFA per household. Humanitarian assistance in food and non-food items is provided to displaced and conflict-affected people in East Mayo-Kebbi between November and early December.

    Household cereal stocks: Thanks to the latest harvests, households in different areas of the country are beginning to replenish their cereal stocks. At BEG and Kanem, households take advantage of the seasonal drop in prices after the harvests to renew their cereal stocks through purchases.

    Cereal markets and prices: Recent harvests have strengthened the supply to cereal markets in most areas, thus supporting local supply even in deficit areas. In Moussoro, there is a good availability of maize from the Lake, as well as pearl millet and red sorghum from the Hadjer Lamis province. In Bol, despite good local availability from the last rainy season, high transport costs caused by transport auctions as a result of COVID-19, coupled with security difficulties, limit market supply in the face of slightly rising demand. At the end of November 2020, the prices of millet and maize were higher than the five-year average by 22 percent and 18 percent respectively. In Sahelian and transhumance areas, despite crop availability, some cereal markets continue to post slightly above-average prices, due to disruptions in transportation. In the Saharan area, the supply of cereals from the eastern basin (Abéché, Goz Beida) increases the availability of millet in the Faya market. In Tibesti, a slight increase in the local availability of imported food products (rice and pasta, among others) is recorded as a result of the slight improvement in cross-border flows from Libya.

    Livestock markets: In most of the country's livestock markets, an oversupply is reported due to the halt of exports to Nigeria as a result of the security and health emergency and its corollary of border closures. A slight increase in export demand through informal corridors can be noticed in the border areas of Sudan. Compared to the five-year average, upward trends are reported for sheep prices at Am Zoer (37 percent) and Biltine (11 percent). This trend is also observed for goat prices at Abéché (37 percent), Iriba (54 percent), and Am Zoer (79 percent). However, cattle prices remained generally low due to limited exports. In BEG, Kanem Batha, and in most livestock markets in pastoral and agropastoral areas, livestock prices are below the five-year average due to a decrease in demand.

    Current food situation: Cereal availability from harvests contributes to improved household food consumption in most agricultural and agropastoral areas of the country, and the food insecurity in many areas is Minimal (IPC Phase 1). In Tibesti, given the slight increase in flows strengthening the availability of food products on the markets, household access has improved slightly despite incomes limited by the security and health crises facing the province. However, their food consumption has seen a relative improvement compared to the end of November 2020; households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    In BEG and Kanem, throughout the north and parts of the center and south, most poor and very poor households face reduced food consumption and minimal adequacy due to low incomes from the sale of animals, cash transfers, and labor. These limit their access to the market despite the observed declines in grain prices. Their food condition is Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    Households are intensifying their usual activities, including recourse to petty trade in food items, the unusual sale of small ruminants by many poor and very poor households, or the sale of agricultural products from the latest harvests in the Sudanian zone.  

    The newly displaced persons from the Lake, as well as those received among host households, continue to face food difficulties as their access to the market is severely limited by rising prices, despite the new harvests. Deprived of their livelihoods, they depend in part on the community solidarity system and on products from marginal sharecropping areas and the market for newcomers. As a result, the food consumption of most displaced persons and host households is Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) as a result of food assistance.


    The assumptions used in the development of the most likely scenario for the period from October 2020 to May 2021 have been modified as follows:

    The resumption of cross-border flows in Tibesti with volumes slightly higher than in November would continue to ensure the availability of food products on local markets. Supply would thus be increased and household food access improved due to prices close to the average. Household food consumption would be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the analysis period due to low levels of income, which are lower than normal.


    The food situation of households in Tibesti, which is improving, should be maintained thanks to a slight increase in the volume of cross-border flows. Despite low household income levels, household food consumption should remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to the falling prices of imported food products. The food consumption of the displaced persons and host households of the Lake will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) thanks to humanitarian assistance until May 2021. Livestock markets should continue to show a decline in prices with the exception of localities close to the Sudanese border and a one-time increase during the festive season. However, overall prices are expected to remain below the five-year average. Households in some agricultural and agropastoral areas will remain in a state of Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity due to the high availability of products from their harvests.

    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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