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Irregular rainfall performance in the Sudanian zone could negatively impact crops

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • June 2014
Irregular rainfall performance in the Sudanian zone could negatively impact crops

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Rainfall in May and early June was irregular with slight to moderate/severe rainfall deficits, depending on the area, observed across much of the south. These deficits have already caused crops to wilt slightly and have led to replanting activities.
    • Returnees from the Central African Republic (CAR) continue to enter Chad and are currently facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity due to ongoing humanitarian assistance programs. The usual harvests of early crops in July will improve the food security situation for local households in host communities (Moyen Chari, Mandoul, and Logone Oriental) and will cause these households to return to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between July and September.
    • Prices of staple foods (sorghum and maize) are up in host communities in the south due to high demand from returnees. These high prices are currently making it difficult for poor households in these regions to access food.

    Current Situation
    • Agricultural conditions: Rainfall in most regions of the south started several weeks earlier than usual, in April or May, depending on the region. However, rainfall totals were slightly to moderately below average in June. With the early rains, some crops were planted early this year, although the dry spell in late May and June could adversely affect crop yields. In the Sudanian zone, plowing using tractors and animal power continues, but at below average levels. Planting and replanting activities are also ongoing in areas of the Sahelian zone (Lake Chad, Guera, and Salamat).
    • Pastoral conditions: In the Sudanian zone, pasture conditions have improved with the recent rains, and water availability for livestock has returned to normal, abundant levels. Animals are therefore able to feed without any major difficulties. However, in most of the Sahelian zone, the pastoral situation is marked by poor livestock body conditions due to an early onset of the pastoral lean season, which began in February/March of this year instead of April/May as in a normal year.
    • Population movements: According to OCHA, a total of 101,752 returnees and refugees from the CAR have crossed the southern border of Chad since late December 2013. These new arrivals are putting added pressure on already limited resources, such as wild fruits and plants, pasturelands, water, etc.
    • Household cereal stocks: Despite above-average 2013 cereal production in the Sudanian zone, poor households in areas hosting returnees and refugees (Moyen Chari, Mandoul, and Logone Oriental) have fewer cereal stocks than normal as they are sharing food with returnees in their communities.
    • Cereal markets: Markets are well stocked with cereals and prices are generally stable. However, prices are up 12 percent in Moundou for millet and 53 percent in Biltine compared to the five-year average. Similarly, average sorghum prices in Goré are up 16 percent from the five-year average while maize prices are up 53 percent. These prices increases are the result of above-average cereal demand from returnees in the southern part of the country and greater needs among households in areas where 2013/14 crop production levels were below average.
    • Livestock markets: Prices of animals in good physical condition rose on most markets in the Sudanian zone stretching to Guera. On these markets, cattle prices rose significantly due to high demand, particularly from Nigeria, where market opportunities are beginning to emerge. Sheep prices are also up from the five-year average, particularly on the N’Djamena market (up 53 percent). This is due to increased prices of animal feed supplements (including groundnut cakes, bran, and cotton seed cakes) and high local demand for these animals.
    • Current food security situation: The current food security situation is generally satisfactory in the Sudanian zone with sufficient stock levels and nearly stable cereal prices. All regions in the south are therefore experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity, except for three regions hosting returnees (Moyen Chari, Mandoul, and Logone Oriental), which remain under Stress (IPC Phase 2). In these regions, prices and demand for cereals are atypically high, and food stock levels are below average due to pressure on resources from returnees. In addition, poor households in the regions of Wadi Fira and Barh El-Ghazel have drawn down their food stocks earlier than usual and are depending much more than normal on food purchased on the market. Early transhumant movements have also reduced the period of milk consumption for household members who remain at meeting points. These combined factors are making it difficult for poor households in these areas to access food. They are therefore facing food consumption deficits and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Updated assumptions

    The current situation has had no effect on most of the assumptions FEWS NET used to develop the most likely food security scenario for April through September. However, the following assumptions have been added as an update:

    • Rainy season: With the early onset of rains in southern regions, some crops were planted early and the first early crops could be available on the market by mid-July. 

    Projected Outlook through September 2014

    Returnees from the CAR in the regions of Logone Oriental, Moyen Chari, and Mandoul are buying their supplies on the same markets frequented by host populations, causing increased demand for food crops. This has triggered an unusually sharp rise in cereal prices, which, in turn, has weakened household purchasing power. As a result, households in host communities will reduce consumption to minimally adequate levels and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes until mid-July. However, with early crop harvests in July, the situation will improve from late July through September with these households then experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    The premature depletion of household food stocks and rising prices in the Batha, Kanem, Hadjer Lamis, and Guera areas of the Sahelian zone will negatively affect the food security of poor households in these areas.  Their food consumption will be reduced, exposing them to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes. In the southern BEG and Wadi-Fira areas, where low 2013 rainfall levels had particularly severe effects on pasture conditions and crop production levels, households will continue to face food consumption gaps and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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