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Humanitarian assistance prevents a sharper escalation of food insecurity

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • May 2015
Humanitarian assistance prevents a sharper escalation of food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2015
  • Key Messages
    • With the below-average 2014 harvest, limited supply of pasture, high prices for cereals, and decline in income from livestock sales, poor households in Lac, Kanem, Bahr El Ghazel, and Hadjer Lamis are having difficulty meeting their basic needs. Continued delivery of humanitarian assistance will prevent a further deterioration in their already Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security situation between now and the upcoming October harvest.

    • The combined effects of the earlier than usual reduction in food stocks (in the Guera,  Sila, and Wadi Fira areas), the atypical decline in the prices of livestock, and the premature start of the lean season for pastoral populations are limiting the access of agropastoral households to an adequate food supply. A suspension of food assistance programs in the southern reaches of Guera would propel these households into Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • Refugees and returnees from the Central African Republic in the Moyen Chari, Logone Oriental, and Mandoul regions of Chad receiving regular delivery of humanitarian assistance are able to easily meet their basic needs. Impacts on resident host populations in these areas are limited, and the presence of these refugees and DPs is not restricting their food access.

    Current Situation

    Farming conditions: Planting activities have started in the southern part of the country with the scattered rainfall in that area. However, without more widespread rainfall, not all farmers are able to begin planting their crops. Maize crops for the third growing season in the Lac area are in anywhere from the tillering to the height growth stage.

    Status of pastoral resources: Pastoral conditions in the Sahelian zone are poorer than usual due to the scarcity of pasture and animal watering areas. Pastoral conditions in the southern part of the country are also unusually poor due to the shortage of water, even with the first rains of the season, and the lack of pasture as a result of the poor distribution of rainfall in 2014.

    Population movements: Farmers in Guera engaged in short-term seasonal labor migration since the end of the 2014 harvest are gradually returning to the area to clear and prepare their fields for the planting of crops. There is an ongoing flow of displaced persons in the Lac region with the latest incursions by Boko Haram on islands in Lake Chad. The current number of refugees and returnees is somewhere around 45,000. The recent attacks by Boko Haram at the end of April triggered a new influx of approximately 11,000 DPs, returnees, and refugees from Lake Chad islands in Niger and Nigeria.

    Household cereal stocks: Household food stocks in most parts of the country are currently at normal levels, though steadily declining with the approach of the lean season. However, food stocks in the Lac, Kanem, BEG, Hadjer Lamis, and Guera areas, parts of Wadi Fira, and the western reaches of the Sila area are low and at below-average levels due to the reported cereal deficit in 2014 and the presence of refugees and returnees in these areas, which is affecting the food access of host households.

    Cereal markets: Cereal markets in the Sahelian zone are well-stocked with supplies from the good crop yields for the 2014/2015 season. The subsidized sales by the National Food Security Agency (ONASA) in Wadi-Fira, Ouara, and Sila (Djourf Al Ahmar) departments are also improving market supplies. There is a slightly lower than usual demand, except in the Western Sahel, where shortfalls in harvests of both cold and rainy season crops and the presence of returnees and refugees have heightened demand. Business on the Bol market has slowed as a result of the security situation in that area. In general, cereal prices are stable, except for the rising price of maize in Bol, fueled by a strong household demand and the presence of refugees and returnees in that area. Thus, the unit price of maize in May of this year was around 225 CFAF/kg, 41 percent higher than in May 2014 and 24 percent above the five-year average. Prices for cash crops such as wheat and beans are lower than usual with the unloading of these crops as a source of income in preparation for the month-long observance of Ramadan (beginning in June 2015).

    There is still a large availability of cereal crops on markets across the southern part of the country with the supplies furnished by households motivated by the need to purchase farm inputs and implements in preparation for the upcoming growing season. Cereal prices in general and prices for sorghum and millet in particular in Sarh and Moundou are unchanged from May 2014, but are 10 percent above the five-year average. As a result, terms of trade for sesame versus millet crops are down from May 2014 in Moundou and unchanged in Sarh.

    Livestock markets: Business on practically all markets across the country is slowing due to low demand and to the poorer than usual physical condition of livestock. These markets are still impacted by the poor security situation in neighboring countries (the CAR , Cameroon, Niger, Libya, and Nigeria) and border areas, though traders are making use of certain trails to export livestock.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected most of the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario presented in the Food Security Outlook for April through September 2015.

    Projected Outlook through September 2015

    The limited availability of pasture and low incomes from livestock sales in the Western Sahel, particularly in the Lac, Kanem, BEG, and Hadjer Lamis regions, are complicating the food security situation, compounding the problems created by the approximately 50,000 refugees, returnees, and displaced persons in these areas frequenting the same markets as resident populations and, thereby, contributing to increased demand and high prices. The decline in livestock prices with the slow-down in exports has weakened household purchasing power. In addition, the competition for on-farm and nonfarm employment has driven down daily wage rates for labor, affecting the incomes of resident populations. Security problems have scaled back farming and fishing activities and the gathering of wild plant products, affecting household food sources. As a result, households have cut back essential nonfood spending and their food consumption will be reduced and only minimally adequate. They will face Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) food security conditions through September 2015, with projected deliveries of food assistance preventing any further deterioration in their situation. On the other hand, poor households in other Sahelian areas and the Sudanian zone will have continued access to food supplies from household food stocks and local markets without any major complications and, thus, will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity. Planned deliveries of food assistance will prevent a deterioration in the food security situation of refugees and returnees from the CAR, who are currently also experiencing Minimal food insecurity. Resident populations of these areas taking in refugees and DPs from the CAR are less affected by the impact of their presence on existing resources, which is not curtailing their food access.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in 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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