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Good rainfall levels visibly improve agropastoral conditions

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Chad
  • January - June 2013
Good rainfall levels visibly improve agropastoral conditions

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Area of Concern
  • Events that Might Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • Good 2012/13 harvests allowed very poor and poor households to replenish their food reserves. These reserves, which should last one to two months longer than usual, will reduce household dependence on market purchases between May and June. 

    • Market prices across the country are stable or trending downwards. Cereal prices should follow normal seasonal trends but will stay well above the five-year average. Thus, prices will remain stable between now and March before edging slightly upwards as of March/April.

    • Cash income from crop sales and off-farm activities will be normal to above-normal over the next six months. These relatively good incomes will help offset rising cereal prices as of March. 

    • Food security conditions are steadily improving with the rebuilding of production capacity and the replenishment of livelihood assets. Likewise, current price levels are improving food access. Households in all livelihood zones will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between now and June. 

    National Overview
    Current situation

    Agropastoral conditions

    Harvests of rainfed crops are nearly complete (90 percent). Farmers are currently occupied with threshing and, to a lesser extent, cereal storage. In localized areas, they are also active in market gardening and berbéré (flood-recession sorghum) activities. The ongoing off-season is normal with on-time crop development. In general, the area planted this year is up from last year (by 10 to 15 percent) and from the five-year average (by five to 10 percent) due to high water levels and the availability of farm input assistance from food security partners, such as the FAO and the National Food Security Program (PNSA). At border irrigation schemes in the Lake Chad area, the third round of irrigation for corn and wheat crops is just beginning with crops at the tillering stage.

    Pastoral conditions are good due to a good availability of water and pasture. Despite a steady deterioration in pasture quality caused by heat and early brush fires in Moyen Chari, Batha, Guera, and Tandjilé, livestock are in adequate physical condition. No major disease outbreaks have been noted although normal levels of soil-borne diseases have been noted in localized areas of Mayo-Kebbi, Moyen Chari, and Guera. Transhumant pastoralists in the Sahelian zone, where animal watering holes are beginning to dry up, are continuing to move their herds to seasonal grazing lands. Transhumant herds from Batha are now in the Guera and Salamat areas and transhumant herds from northern Kanem are in the Hadjer Lamis and Chari Baguirmi areas. Long-range migratory herds are already in the Moyen Chari area but are unable to continue into the Central African Republic at this time due to reported clashes between the government and the « Seleka » rebel coalition in that country.

    Markets and trade

    Cereal markets are functioning well due to regular and sufficient food supplies from this year's surplus crop production. However due to varying market supply levels, there are reports of localized price fluctuations for certain crops. Prices in Abéché are down slightly from the same time last year (by six percent) but are slightly up compared to the five-year average (up five percent). Maize prices in Bol are down 31 percent compared with last year and 11 percent compared with the five-year average. Millet prices in N’Djamena are stable or trending downwards. However, the current price of millet in N’Djamena is above the five-year average (by 20 percent) due to government restrictions on cereal shipments from the Sudanian to the Sahelian zone that are preventing cereal supplies on rural markets from reaching N’Djamena.

    Sesame prices on the Sarh and Moundou markets are up 44 and 23 percent, respectively, while prices on the Kélo market are stable. Groundnut prices are close to the five-year average in Sarh but up 17 and 50 percent, respectively, in Moundou and Kélo. In addition to the sale of these cash crops, other income sources at this time of year include the sale of firewood, sékos (woven straw fences), straw and wood for use as building materials, wild fruits, and market garden crops. Sales of these products are currently generating a normal to above-normal stream of income, depending on the product in question.

    Trade flows are relatively normal for this time of year. However, cereal shipments from the Sudanian to the Sahelian zones are down from the same time last year due to good cereal harvests in the Sahel (86 percent above the five-year average) and atypical restrictions (by the governors of Western Logone and Mandoul) on the sale of local food crops outside their jurisdictions. These measures are designed to prevent outside demand from driving up cereal prices in these regions. However despite of these bans, a few illegal cereal traders have been spotted in villages in the Sudanian zone. In any event, urban markets are still well-stocked with foodstuffs. The closing of the border between Chad and Libya back in mid-December is sharply tightening market supplies in Borkou, Tibesti, and Eastern and Western Ennedi (chronically food deficit areas), where nearly all food supplies are imported from Libya. Small quantities of foodstuffs are still coming across the border through informal trade channels, but the closure of the border has disrupted trade and has reduced inventories of imported products from Libya as many food products sold on the Biltine, Faya, and Fada markets normally come from southern Libya (Sebha and Koufra). During a recent FEWS NET mission to Biltine (on December 19-21, 2012), local residents reported that their food stocks were below-average and expressed concerns about market shortages of certain items, such as macaroni, rice, spaghetti, flour, and fuel. Food prices on these markets are up by five to 10 percent from December. Institutional procurements began earlier than usual and are still underway in the Batha and Lac areas and parts of Moyen Chari.

    Prices on livestock markets have been stable since the end of the year holidays in December (Christmas and New Years). Demand for livestock from Libya has declined to some extent, but has not affected prices due to the increasingly large shipments of animals from Batha and Guera to Nigeria, via N’Djamena, and to Sudan since the last quarter of last year with the larger presence of exporters in these areas.

    Food security situation

    Unlike last year, there are presently no complaints by very poor and poor households of poor food availability or of poor food access. The situation of household food security is good in all parts of the country, with food availability sustained largely by the good harvests and carry-over trader inventories. There are adequate on-farm food stocks, even in flood-affected areas. The growing of market garden crops as an income-generating activity has significantly reduced out-migration in certain areas (N’Djamena, Abèché, Moundou, and Sarh). The more plentiful than usual supply of fish and fish products, due to atypically high water levels in rivers, streams, and lakes this year is helping to improve food security conditions in certain flood-affected areas like Eastern Mayo-Kebbi, Western Logone, Salamat, and Batha.

    An important source of household income is the sale of crops. In addition, women are earning extra income from selling processed oilseed products, such as sesame and groundnut oil.

    Food access is improving in pastoral areas, where local households are currently consuming three meals a day. However, the closing of the border between Chad and Libya for civil security reasons is beginning to affect the dietary habits of residents in the BET area, where nearly all food supplies are imported from Libya. Though substituting different types of foods, these households still have normal food access and have not yet changed their eating habits.

    Households are presently able to meet their food and nonfood needs, which places them in Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.


    The most likely scenario for the period from January through June 2013 is based on the following national assumptions:

    • Cereal stocks: Household cereal reserves from this year’s harvests will be above average and larger than stocks at the same time last year, except in deficit production areas where stocks will be near-average. As of February, cereal availability in flood-recession farming and gum-Arabic producing areas will be bolstered by harvests of berbéré (flood-recession sorghum) crops. Cereal reserves in other areas will begin to dwindle by April, but food stocks in flood recession farming and gum Arabic-producing areas will last until the next round of harvests in September.
    • Market gardening activities: Large-scale market gardening activities in the first quarter of the year will ensure a good availability of market garden produce. These activities will generate an above-average stream of extra income for certain household groups, including very poor and poor households.
    • Institutional procurements: There will be a normal volume of institutional procurements. A slightly earlier than normal start for these purchases could put additional inflationary pressure on prices compared with last year. 
    • Closure of the border between Chad and Libya: The border will remain closed for the entire outlook period (January through June 2013), posing a problem for the provisioning of markets in the BET area. Normal patterns of cereal trade with suppliers in Ouaddaï will be stretched to include sources of supply as far away as Batha and Salamat.
    • Markets and prices: There will be regular and adequate shipments of cereals to markets throughout the outlook period, with a normal supply of cereals on all markets except for those normally stocked with imported foodstuffs from Libya. Trade flows from the Sudanian to the Sahelian zone will be in line with normal seasonal trends, though down slightly due to local government restrictions on cereal outflows. Trade will start to slow as of May with the beginning of the rainy season in the Sudanian zone. Cereal prices will follow normal seasonal trends but will stay well above the five-year average. Prices will remain stable through the end of March, edging slightly upwards as of April. The price of pearl millet on the N’Djamena market will drop by approximately 20 to 30 percent as of February. Cereal markets in the BET area will get their supplies from sources in Wadi-Fira, Ouaddai, Batha, and Salamat. Prices for imported foodstuffs from Libya will continue to rise and could be up by as much as 10 to 20 percent by March.
    • Pastoral conditions: Livestock feeding and watering conditions between now and June will be normal despite the normal depletion of pasture resources in May. The physical condition of livestock could improve with the first rains expected sometime around May or June, depending on the area, which will promote new pasture growth and help restore water availability in animal watering holes. There will be a normal incidence of soil-borne diseases throughout the outlook period and a normal pattern of seasonal migration southwards by transhumant livestock. However, herd movements towards the border with the Central African Republic (CAR) will be cut short by the civil security problems in that country. Livestock prices could begin to rise as of February with the high demand from Nigerian and Sudanese exporters.
    • Rainy season: The rainy season will get off to a normal start in April in the Sudanian zone and in June in the Sahelian zone.
    Most likely food security outcomes

    The food security situation in the first quarter of the year will be in line with the norm. The increasingly large availability of coarse grains will suffice to meet household needs. Households in certain areas will continue to rebuild their food reserves with crops from recent harvests and harvests of berbéré (flood-recession sorghum). The availability of market garden crops and of fish and fish products will strengthen food security conditions. The stabilization and/or decline in prices in the first quarter of the year will improve food access for very poor and poor households. The entire country will be classified in Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity throughout this period (Figure 2).

    The national food security outlook as of the beginning of the second quarter of the year is still good, with a few noteworthy exceptions in deficit production or flood-affected areas. By the end of the second quarter, with the lean season underway, household food stocks will be depleted and very poor and poor households will be completely dependent on market purchases. Households will implement normal livelihood strategies to access food on the market but these trends will be reflected in pockets of deteriorating food security outcomes. Normal levels of livestock sales will also improve household food access in pastoral and agropastoral areas.

    The continuing closure of the border between Chad and Libya will make the provisioning of markets in the BET area difficult. This could restrict food access for local households and possibly destabilize the food security situation in that area. However, any food access problems for local households will be resolved by shipments of cereals from Wadi Fira, Ouaddaï, Batha, and Salamat. Thus, all parts of the country will continue to be classified as facing Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity (Figure 3).

    Area of Concern

    Parts of the central agropastoral livelihood zone in Western Batha (Ati and Koundjourou)

    Crop production

    The pre-harvest assessment for the 2012-2013 crop year by the National Rural Development Agency (ONDR) estimated millet and sorghum production in Western Batha (Ati and Yao) at 141,089 metric tons, up 95 percent from the 72,184 metric ton harvest during the 2011-2012 crop year and seven percent above the five-year average. Thus, crop production has not been compromised by the flash flooding in August and September of last year.

    Pastoral conditions

    Livestock feeding and watering conditions are more or less normal. Seasonal lakes and ponds still contain water, which is improving the availability of animal watering holes. Crop residues are also bolstering pasture resources, which are beginning to decline. Livestock animals are producing above average quantities of milk for this time of year due to their good physical condition. Short-range migratory herds are in the Lake Fitri area.

    Animal health conditions across the area are stable. In Ati, there are continuing to be reports of atypically intense tensions between transhumant pastoralists and farmers. There have been several human fatalities tied to these disputes since November.

    Markets and prices

    Markets are presently well-stocked with cereals from recent harvests which are slowing reaching the Ati market. This good cereal availability has driven down the market price of pearl millet by 49 percent compared with the same time last year, putting prices close to the five-year average. Ongoing institutional procurements are progressing normally and there is a larger than usual demand for cereals from N’Djamena and the BET area. The stable November prices for sheep, goats, and poultry were driven upwards in December by demand from Nigeria and Sudan relating to the end of the year holidays. However since January, these prices have started to decline. Terms of trade for pastoralists selling sheep are favorable and are steadily improving with above-average livestock prices and the stabilization or downward trend in cereal prices.

    Off-season crops

    Berbéré crops: In general, the growing season for berbéré (flood-recession sorghum) is progressing well due to the good soaking of lowland areas by floodwaters There are scattered reports of early harvests (beginning a month earlier than usual) in some areas.

    Market gardening activities: Market gardening activities are continuing normally due to above-average water levels of the Batha River and seasonal lakes and ponds. The scale of these activities is larger than last year and slightly above-normal for this time of year. Market gardening is also an income-generating activity in Batha, where its scale has reduced out-migration by the rural workforce this year.

    Food security situation

    This year's household food security situation is better than the same time last year due to the good cereal harvests, which will meet consumption needs for seven to eight months instead of the usual five to six months, and the stabilization or downward trend in cereal prices. Supplies of fish and fish products, market garden produce, and wild plant foods, as well as good milk availability, are helping to bolster food access which, in turn, is improving food security outcomes for poor households. Households in this area of concern are able to meet their basic food needs without resorting to coping strategies and assistance, which puts them at Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.


    The most likely scenario in the Western Batha area for the period from January through March 2013 is based on the following assumptions:

    • Berbéré harvest: Despite the good levels of rainfall, berbéré harvests will be average as a later than normal recession of the floodwaters prevented farmers from planting additional land areas in crops.
    • Grain-eating birds: There will be normal levels of crop damage from grain-eating birds between January and February.
    • Livestock: There will be normal herd movements southwards through February, in line with the standard seasonal calendar. Livestock will be in normal physical condition and will be in better condition than at the same time last year.
    • Prices: Institutional procurements are already underway and high cereal demand from N’Djamena and the BET area should drive cereal prices up sharply as of April (to 20-30 percent above the seasonal average). This could significantly curtail cereal access (to pearl millet and sorghum) for poor households between April and June (the beginning of the lean season). Livestock prices could rise by 15 to 20 percent between February and June due to strong demand from Nigeria.
    • Migration: There will be below-average flows of labor migration to major employment centers beginning in March after the harvest of berbéré (flood-recession sorghum) crops.
    • Sale and consumption of wild plant products: Good rainfall levels created an abundance of wild plant products. As a result, there will be above average sales and consumption of these products between January and March.
    • Sources of food and income: The breakdown of different sources of income should be more or less normal, with above-average sales of straw and fish products due to good rainfall conditions and high water levels in seasonal lakes and ponds. The breakdown of different food sources will also be normal, but with households much more dependent on on-farm production, fish and fish products, and market garden produce in the first quarter of the year.
    Most likely food security outcomes

    Households will be able to meet their basic food and nonfood needs for the first half of the outlook period (January through March 2013) with on-farm crop production, which should last seven to eight months. This will be supplemented by a plentiful supply of fish and fish products and an above-average supply of wild plant products. Households will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity throughout this period.

    Likewise, households will have no difficulties meeting their food needs early in the second half of the outlook period (April-May). However by June, household food stocks will dwindle and households will become largely dependent on market purchases. Poor households will turn to their normal livelihood strategies and those with small animal herds will sell one or two animals. Households will continue to face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through the end of the second half of the outlook period. 

    Events that Might Change the Outlook



    Impact on food security conditions

    Ati and Koundjourou

    Above-average presence of grain-eating bird flocks between January and February

    • Smaller berbéré harvests
    • Difficulty rebuilding household cereal stocks
    • Fewer wage-earning prospects for farm laborers
    • Rise in cereal prices


    Escalation in disputes between transhumant pastoralists and farmers

    • Losses of livelihood assets (livestock and cereal inventories)
    • Unusual herd movements to other parts of the country


    Late start of the rainy season

    • A prolonged and harsh lean season for pastoral populations towards the end of June
    • Grazing and watering problems for livestock
    • Delays in planting crops
    • Fewer wage-earning prospects for farm laborers




    Recent floods in Nigeria sharply reduce 2012/13 crop production levels in that country

    • Limited cereal trade flows from Nigeria
    • Rising cereal prices as of April
    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, January 2013

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, January 2013

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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