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Food Security Conditions Stable Despite Flooding

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Chad
  • September 2012
Food Security Conditions Stable Despite Flooding

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2012
  • Key Messages
    • Due to the availability of food from the early harvests and steady cereal prices, food security conditions are stable compared to August. Currently, the Sahelian zone is Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and all of the Sudanian zone is classified as IPC Phase 1 (Minimal/None). Beginning in October, both the Sahelian and Sudanian zones will be in IPC Phase 1 (Minimal/None), due to an average harvest occurring from October to December.

    • Flooding, caused by heavy rains, has occurred in the country’s main agricultural regions (Salamat, Moyen Chari, Les deux Logone, Tandjilé, and Mayo kebbi). However, crop damage has been limited and national production levels will not be greatly impacted.  

    • This year’s weather conditions are favorable for the reproduction and development of desert locusts. Immature and mature solitary locusts, as well as swarms, were observed at the beginning of September in the Borkou, Ennedi, Wadi-Fira, and Bahr El-Gazal regions. So far, damage to forage biomass has been very limited although reproduction continues and could be cause for concern at the end of the rainy season.

    Current Situation
    • Due to abundant rains, cereal and tuber crop harvests started early, increasing food availability. At present, food accessibility for poor and very poor households has improved significantly compared to the first half of the year. This improvement can be explained by the harvest of short-cycle crops (maize, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, and cassava), the availability of milk and wild vegetables, various humanitarian aid programs, and the stability of cereal prices during the lean period. In addition, households have not needed to borrow as much as they normally do at this time during a typical year. 
    • In September, cereal prices averaged at about 265 XAF/kg, which is similar to the average price in September 2011 and to the five-year average.
    • Animals have gained weight due to a good availability of forage and water. Milk production is also significant, which has improved both the food sources and purchasing power of agropastoral households. Livestock prices are higher than in a typical year and are about 15 percent above the five-year average. This is due to a strong demand from exporters, especially from Nigeria. Compared to the rest of the year, demand for small ruminants is currently high because the Tabaski holiday is approaching.
    • The number of children admitted to nutritional centers has declined from June to July, reflecting an improvement in the nutritional situation in 10 of the 12 regions of the Sahelian zone. This general decrease can be explained by the short-cycle crop harvests and by humanitarian aid, particularly general food distribution, food for work, and blanket-feeding programs. 

    Updated Assumptions
    • Heavy rains since June, which have exceeded the five-year average, have caused flooding in the southeastern part of the country. Nearly 255,720 ha of crops were flooded, as of the end of August. These floods forced some farmers to harvest their crops before they reached maturity.
    • Migratory herders are nearly back to their host areas, except for a few who were delayed by the rise of the Batha River, which occurred earlier than expected. As a result, conflicts could possibly arise between herders and farmers in the Batha region, although to date no conflicts have been reported.

    Projected Outlook through December 2012
    • Markets will continue to be supplied normally through December due to increasing intra-zonal flows and due to the resumption of cereal flows from secondary markets towards major market centers. This will reduce cereal prices and will consequently improve food access for poor households.
    • The effects of flooding, locusts, and grain-eating birds could possibly reduce food and non-food crop production for some farmers, but national-level production levels will not be greatly affected. Nevertheless, an average harvest is expected due to the early agricultural season, a good distribution of rains, and an increase in the area cultivated this year compared to 2011.
    • A net improvement in food security can be expected beginning in October as harvests allow households to rebuild their food stocks. At this time, the Sahelian zone will transition into IPC Phase 1 (Minimal/None).
    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year and Critical Events

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year and Critical Events

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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