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Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food security in Lac thanks to food assistance

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Chad
  • February - September 2020
Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food security in Lac thanks to food assistance

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The resurgence of conflicts around Lac continues to trigger population movements. Since December 2019, nearly 24,000 displaced persons have been reported (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), February 2020). Displaced households and their hosts in Lac are expected to have minimally adequate food consumption and will be unable to buy non-essential food. As such, they will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • Following the early depletion of stocks in the western Sahel (Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem), households are dependent on markets for their food consumption. However, their access to markets is limited by low income levels. They will have reduced and minimally adequate food consumption. They will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from February to September 2020. Other provinces in the country will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

    • The cereal supply is boosted by the current maize and berbere harvests. The overall demand is below average, except for millet and maize in Lac. An increase in maize prices above the five-year average has been observed in Bol (64 percent), due to insecurity. There has been an increase in cattle prices in Abdi (56 percent) and Abéché (45 percent) due to increased exports to Sudan.

    • A further influx of approximately 17,000 people from the Sudanese province of Darfur was recorded in Ouaddaï as a result of ongoing inter-community violence in Western Darfur. These population movements have been observed since the end of 2019. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is currently transferring these persons to a camp being built 38 km from Abéché.


    Current Situation

    Macroeconomic context: The economic situation in Chad is marked by a profound crisis that has been going on for more than five years. The country’s economy is largely based on oil production, which began in 2003, accounting for 70 percent of budget revenues and 80 percent of commodity exports. Since 2013, the drastic fall in oil prices on the world market has caused the price to fall below US$ 80/barrel; production has fallen sharply by 65 percent (Ministry of Oil and Energy, 2016). This deterioration in the economic situation has had significant impacts, both at the macroeconomic level and on the lives of the population. Despite the slight recovery in the oil sector, with moderate price increases (US$ 50/barrel) on the world market from 2017 onward, Chad’s economy is struggling to recover. Chad’s commitment to the region’s fight against regional terrorism (Boko Haram in the Lac Chad basin, Mali, etc.) is severely affecting the functioning of the State. The ongoing economic slowdown is characterized by the cessation of public and private building projects and the limitation of cross-border flows of trade. Very poor and poor households, whose sources of income and food are derived from the sale of small ruminants, labor, remittances from migrants, imported foods (pasta, oils, etc.), see their livelihoods continually eroded by both the current economic crisis and the continuing security situation.

    Agropastoral situation: Off-seasonal agricultural activities are taking place as normal; they are characterized by the berbere harvests, the transplanting of off-season rice and the development of market gardening activities. The crop forecasts for berbere are slightly higher than the five-year average (20 percent according to the Directorate of Agricultural Statistics) due to the increase in the area sown and good residual moisture. Off-season harvests in Lac are taking place as normal, despite the resurgence of conflicts. At the national level, market gardening crops are being harvested, with an average level of production.

    Household cereal stocks: Household cereal stocks are about average in most regions. They can cover household food needs up to the start of the lean season. By contrast, the cereal stocks of households in Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem are completely depleted because of poor production levels in these areas. Households are depending on markets earlier, from mid-February instead of March or April in a normal year. Household stocks in Mayo Kebbi are slightly below a normal year due to flooding of rice-growing areas. Stocks are reinforced by ongoing berbere harvests. Host households in Lac have average cereal stocks. However, displaced persons continue to depend on aid – which covers on average 72 percent of the daily food requirement – and the solidarity of host households with whom they share meals. In Tibesti, the slowdown in food trade with Libya following the closure of borders continues to limit market supply, despite the lifting of the state of emergency on 26 January 2020. Market demand remains high.

    Institutional stocks: The National Food Security Office (ONASA) has a stock of 5,905 tons of rice donated by China. Ongoing institutional purchases are aiming for 20,000 tons of cereals in order to replenish national food security stocks. These volumes are about 20 percent below a normal year.

    Pastoral situation: There is a marked deterioration in transhumant and agropastoral areas due to the early drying out of pastures and semi-permanent ponds. In the western Sahel (Bahr-el-Gazel, Kanem), pastures have been depleted since January. Small ruminants depend on bush and tree pasture in the provinces of Bahr-el-Gazel, Kanem and Hadjer-Lamis. In Ouaddaï and Sila, animals depend on crop residues from ongoing berbere harvests. In the Sudan region, pasture levels are lower than in a normal year due to flooding in the provinces of Mandoul, Mayo Kebbi Est, Mayo Kebbi Ouest, Moyen Chari, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental. The physical condition of animals is average, and the animal health situation is stable overall.

    Agricultural labor: The labor supply is higher than in a normal year, while demand is average in most regions. In rice-growing areas, labor demand is slightly higher than in a normal year due to an increase in the area planted with off-season crops. In berbere growing areas, demand is slightly higher due to the slightly larger areas sown with berbere (+2.43 percent) compared with the five-year average, and good residual moisture. In Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem, the small areas for market gardening crops mean that demand for labor is low. Around Lac, the influx of displaced persons coupled with the presence of refugees and returnees is putting pressure on employment opportunities in agriculture. In the Sudanian region, the labor force is family-based. In Mayo Kebbi, in the areas planted with berbere and in the rest of the rice-growing basin, the daily labor cost has increased from XOF 500 to XOF 750 per day: an increase of 33 percent over a normal year. By contrast, in January 2020 in Lac, a decline of between 25 and 60 percent compared with a normal year was observed in Yakoua. The daily labor force is being paid XOF 1,500 or even XOF 1,250 per day, compared with XOF 2,000 per day in a normal year because of the oversupply caused by the influx of displaced persons.

    Non-agricultural labor: Due to the continuing economic crisis, non-agricultural employment opportunities (building work, materials handling, street vendors, curbside vendors, market intermediaries, etc.) are limited. Flows of workers to the Tibesti gold-mining zones and the shutdown of public and private building projects are leading to an oversupply. Demand is limited. Income from these opportunities is lower than in a normal year.

    Migration and population movements: In Lac, owing to the upsurge in conflict since the end of last winter, frequent movements of people have been observed. Since December 2019, 24,653 people have been recorded as fleeing hostilities in their villages or as a preventive measure (IOM, February 2020).

    Since early January 2020, nearly 17,000 Sudanese people have reportedly moved into Chadian territory, further to the escalation of violence in their places of origin in the Sudan. UNHCR is currently transferring some 4,000 people to Kouchaguine-Moura, 38 km from Abéché, the capital of the province of Ouaddaï (UNHCR, February 2020).

    A resumption of attacks by armed groups in Tibesti was reported in mid-February, disrupting the functioning of markets and household livelihoods.

    In Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem, an increase in the number of seasonal migrants to Tibesti (gold-mining sites) from Libya and other urban centers within the country is reported due to the depletion of stocks resulting from the production deficits recorded.

    Atypical numbers of young people are leaving the villages of Guéra for large urban centers in search of employment opportunities, following crop losses (due to floods).

    Markets and prices:

    • Food supply: Cereal supply is average in most markets, with the exception of Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem due to production deficits. In Ouaddaï and Dar Sila, the markets are slowly beginning to recover after disruption caused by the state of emergency. The availability of imported food products (rice, pasta, oils, sugar) remains below the level of a normal year due to civil insecurity, which is limiting market supplies in the Sahel area. Market supplies in Tibesti remain limited due to the disruption at the Libyan border and ongoing insecurity. New rice and berbere harvests are boosting the supply of cereals in the markets of Mayo Kebbi, Guéra, Salamat and Moyen Chari. In the Sudan region, markets continue to be supplied as in a normal year.
    • Demand for food: The volume of cereals purchased by ONASA is 20 percent down on a normal year. Traders are replenishing their stocks as they would in a normal year. Household demand is generally low. However, demand for pearl millet in Ngouri, Bousso and Massaguet, rice in Am Timan, imported rice in Abéché and maize in Lac is up on the five-year average. These increases are due to the low production of millet and rice during the rainy season. In Lac, the increase in demand for maize is linked to the deteriorating security environment, which is restricting the supply of Bol market. Demand in the Sudan region’s provinces is average due to good levels of household stocks and the availability of tubers, namely cassava, potato, yam and taro, as well as wild products. In Tibesti, however, civil insecurity coupled with border closures continues to increase demand for imported food.
    • Cereal prices: In January 2020, most cereal markets showed a downward trend in prices compared to the five-year average. However, millet shows a moderate increase above this average in Ngouri (29 percent), Bousso (18 percent) and Massaguet (11 percent). In Bol, the price of maize rose by 24 percent as a result of the upsurge in attacks by Boko Haram. In the markets of Abéché and Am Timan, the price of rice increased by 10 percent and 48 percent respectively due to the fall in imports (Sudan, Libya) and crop losses due to floods. The markets in the Sudanian region report a downward trend in food prices due to the high levels of household stocks that are leading to low demand.
    • Livestock prices: An overall upward trend in prices, compared to the five-year average, is observed in livestock markets in the provinces bordering Sudan as a result of increased export demand, despite disruptions at the border. The price of sheep is higher than the five-year average in Abdi (90 percent), Biltine (76 percent) and Abéché (64 percent). The price of goats is following the same pattern in Abdi (85 percent), Goz Beïda (72 percent) and Am Dam (69 percent). Price increases for cattle are reported in Abdi (56 percent), Biltine (55 percent) and Goz Beïda (52 percent).


    The most likely scenario for February to September 2020 is based on the following assumptions at the national level:

    • Outlook for off-season harvests: The berbere harvest that is under way will vary from average to slightly above average due to good residual moisture.
    • Household cereal stocks: Household cereal stocks will cover household consumption needs up to the lean season in most regions, with the exception of Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem, due to depletion of stocks. Despite the expected reductions in household cereal stocks in Mayo Kebbi Ouest, Mayo Kebbi Est, Moyen Chari, Logone Occidental and Logone Oriental, these stocks could cover household food consumption until the lean season due to the availability of taro, potato or cassava. In Tibesti and Lac, food stocks will be less than in a normal year because of low supply levels due to border closures.
    • Institutional stocks: The replenishment of ONASA stocks that is currently under way will be about 20 percent lower than in a normal year due to financial difficulties. They will be below the levels of a normal year. The agency plans to purchase 20,000 tons compared to 25,000–30,000 tons in a normal year.
    • Pastoral situation and availability of drinking water for livestock: The availability of pasture and semi-permanent ponds will not cover animals’ needs until wintering starts, since grassland is degraded following the end-of-season floods. The pastoral lean season will begin in most areas by the end of February, i.e. two months before its usual start. The movement of transhumant herders to the south that began in October will increase until March. In Lac, livestock converge on the safer areas along the banks of Lake Chad to take advantage of available pasture. This will create pressure on pastureland in the southern part of Lac, affecting the physical condition of livestock until mid-July 2020.
    • Agricultural labor: From February to May 2020, an oversupply of labor will be observed in most provinces. However, in the berbere growing areas, there will be a slight increase in demand. This increase will also be observed in rice-growing areas. The labor force (supply and demand) will be normal during the rainy season between June and September 2020.
    • Food and livestock markets and prices:
      • Food supply will remain average throughout the country, with the exception of the western Sahel (Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem), Ouaddaï, Sila and Wadi Fira due to production deficits recorded in 2019/2020, and the slowdown in cross-border trade with Libya and Sudan. In the western Sahel, households will depend exclusively on the market for their food consumption, with moderate price increases expected. In Lac, the upward trend in maize prices will continue until the end of May 2020 due to continued insecurity and the influx of displaced persons, which would increase demand. Between June and September, the appearance of early crops combined with milk consumption will contribute to a fall in cereal prices. A moderate decline in millet prices compared with the five-year average will be observed in the Sudan region as a result of slight increases in production (7.48 percent, Source: Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (DSA), November 2019). However, in the Sahel region, slight upward trends will be reported in some markets due to crop losses.
      • The upward trend in sesame prices in relation to the five-year average will continue throughout the analysis period due to the increase in export demand. The increase in production recorded (32.7 percent, Source: DSA, November 2019) in 2019/2020 following the increased demand will still fail to meet that demand.
      • Food transport to Lac and Tibesti and trade with Sudan will be limited due to border insecurity.
      • In Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem, prices will continue to rise because of the slowdown in flows with Libya.
    • Livestock markets and prices: The livestock markets in Ouaddaï and Sila are reported to be operating at a slower pace as a result of inter-community disputes that will continue to limit market supply. However, in Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem, supply will be slightly higher because of households selling off animals to gain an income to allow them to access the market. The increased demand for livestock in Ouaddaï, Sila and Wadi Fira will continue to grow in the markets as a result of the community conflicts and rising demand for exports. Livestock prices currently falling in some markets will show moderate increases compared to the five-year average between April and May, due to increased demand during the Ramadan fasting period. A decrease in these markets will be observed between June and July, before a further one-off increase during the Eid al-Adha holiday and due to the satisfactory physical condition of animals. However, the current upward trend in livestock prices in the livestock markets of Ouaddaï, Wadi Fira and Sila will be more pronounced between April and May 2020 and then from June to July, following the Ramadan period, due to the good physical condition of livestock and their increased export to Sudan.
    • Nutritional situation: Due in particular to poor sanitary conditions (access to drinking water, good hygiene practices, etc.) and health conditions (seasonal prevalence of disease), the nutritional situation of children aged 6 to 59 months could deteriorate as early as March, following a seasonal trend.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    From February to May, households in Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem provinces are expected to depend on markets for their food consumption because of the early depletion of their cereal stocks, as early as February for most of them. Despite increased sales of small ruminants, their market access is likely to be reduced. It is expected that they will have minimal food consumption and will not be able to afford certain non-essential food expenditures without the use of coping strategies (IPC Phase 2). Displaced persons in Lac are expected to continue to depend on the assistance and solidarity of host households with whom they will share meals. The allowance provided to displaced persons covers 72 percent of their daily food requirement. It is expected that displaced persons will place pressure on host households’ cereal stocks. Displaced persons and Lac hosts are likely to have minimally adequate food consumption and to develop coping strategies. Despite the increase in the labor force, they will likely not be able to afford non-essential expenditure and will be under pressure (IPC Phase 2!) thanks to food assistance. It is likely that Tibesti households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as a result of reduced market access due to low household incomes, while the other provinces of the country will be Minimal due to average household stock levels and near-average income (IPC Phase 1).

    Between June and September, it is expected that displaced persons and host households in Lac will barely cover their food consumption needs due to the pressure that displaced persons will place on host household stocks. The assistance provided (72 percent of the daily food requirement) will partially cover their daily food needs and be shared with host households. Low levels of labor income would limit their access to markets. The likely influx of newly displaced persons will put pressure on livelihoods because of competition over resources. It is likely that households will barely be able to cover their basic food needs; they will have reduced consumption and will not be able to afford non-essential food expenditures without coping strategies. As such, they will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). Food consumption by households in Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem is likely to be minimally adequate due to stock depletion and low income levels limiting their access to markets, despite price trends in cereal markets. Households may have reduced access to cereals. They may not meet their basic consumption needs or be able to afford certain essential non-food items (health, clothing, etc.) without coping strategies, leaving them under pressure (IPC Phase 2) throughout the lean season. In Tibesti, households are expected to have minimally adequate food consumption because of their low income in the face of expected price increases due to insecurity, which limits cross-border flows with Libya. Households that depend only on markets will likely have minimally adequate food consumption. They will not be able to cover non-essential costs. The province is expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    The other provinces in the country will likely be Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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