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The food security situation remains precarious in the regions of Bahr El Ghazel and Wadi Fira

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Chad
  • July - December 2014
The food security situation remains precarious in the regions of Bahr El Ghazel and Wadi Fira

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Current situation

The poorer than usual distribution of rainfall in June in southern areas of the country delayed planting activities and caused localized replanting of crops in the Sudanian zone, particularly in Mayo Kebbi, Tandjilé, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, Moyen Chari, and Mandoul. The main agricultural activity at this time is crop maintenance work (weeding and field clean-up). This is creating labor opportunities and is strengthening income sources for poor households.

In spite of the delay in the effective start-of-season in the Sahelian zone, there has been normal widespread rainfall since the beginning of July in the Sila, Guera, Salamat, Ouaddaï, and Batha Ouest regions. Crop planting activities have started up and expanded across all agricultural areas.

There has been normal levels of new pasture growth and animals who were previously in poor condition are gradually putting on weight, as is normal for this time of the year. In addition, there will soon be milk on local markets. At this time, water availability is not an issue as there are plenty of livestock watering holes. Animals are currently in good health and transhumant households are currently moving northwards with their herds, in line with the normal seasonal calendar for transhumant movements.

Since the beginning of July, markets in the Sudanian zone have been well-stocked with all types of cereals from wholesale trader inventories and ONASA (National Food Security Agency) reserves. This should meet consumer demand until the first harvests of early crops at the end of July. These cereal stocks are further bolstered by plentiful supplies of wild plant foods, “winter” vegetables, and tuber crops (taro, sweet potatoes, and cassava) on local markets from ongoing harvests in southern areas. The consumption of these foods is improving household food security during the ongoing lean season and is reducing demand for cereal crops. Price trends in the Sudanian zones are seasonally normal with sorghum prices on the Sarh market, for example, up 11 percent from June 2014.

There is also a seasonal upward trend in staple cereal prices in the Sahelian zone attributable in part to the ongoing lean season, as well as to the high demand from deficit-producing areas and for the observance of Ramadan. For example, July cereal prices in Mongo were 19 percent above the five-year average due to increased demand from traders from Biltine who are buying most of their supplies in Mongo.

The closure of the country’s border with Libya has had an effect on supplies of pasta products, oil, sugar, and rice in the BET area. However, there are larger than usual daily shipments of cereal from Abéché northward, via Biltine, to fill the void created by the lack of imports from Libya. There are also normal levels of informal cereal trade from the border area of Tissi (Sila) to Amdoukhoun (Sudan), Addé (Sila) to Farbaranga (Sudan), Adré to El-Geneina (Sudan), and Tiné (Northeast Biltine in Ennedi) to Koulbousse (Sudan) in 20-ton vehicles and carts. These cereal transfers to Sudan are driving up prices on the Abéché market, which gets its supplies from these same primary markets. More precisely, millet and sorghum prices in Abéché are above the five-year average by eight percent and 14 percent, respectively, which is eroding the purchasing power of poor households in the area. There has also been a seasonal normal, large flow of cereals from the southern part of the country to the Sahelian zone during the ongoing lean season.

Most livestock at this time is domestic, with foreign trade restricted by the conflicts in Nigeria and the CAR and the closure of the border with Libya. Certain southern markets, as well as certain markets in N’Djamena, had unusually large supplies of animals in July due to the influx of livestock from the CAR. This drove down prices on certain markets such as Moundou, where goat prices are 23 percent below the five-year average. However, June livestock prices on markets in N’Djamena were 32 percent above-average, fueled by high demand for meat during Ramadan.

Poor households in the Batha, BEG, Wadi Fira, Kanem, and northern Guera regions depleted their food stocks by April/May, two to three months earlier than usual, due to last year’s below-average crop production. They are also facing higher cereal prices compared to last year’s levels and below-average livestock prices for livestock. This is weakening the purchasing power of poor households and is making it more difficult than usual for them to maintain their food access.

The first wave of returnees from the CAR late last year arrived in small groups. Many stayed with host families before continuing on to other major resettlement areas, where they have been housed at new camp sites since January/February 2014. There are currently six such camps in the country’s three southern regions (Moyen Chari, Mandoul, and Logone Oriental) accommodating roughly 106,000 returnees and refugees. These households are currently receiving sufficient supplies of food and nonfood assistance from the WFP, FAO, and other humanitarian organizations to meet their basic needs.

In general, the nutritional situation is stable in the south, where children are being fed cassava, cowpeas, wild fruits, nuts (shea nuts), and guinea fowl eggs. On the other hand, the FEWS NET monitor visiting the Doba Regional Hospital on July 19th reported that many children of returnees are hospitalized for common seasonal illnesses such as anemia, malaria, and diarrhea.

Food security situation

With the earlier than usual depletion of household cereal stocks due to a poor 2013/14 crop production, below-average agricultural incomes, and above-average cereal prices, poor households in southern Bahr El Ghazel and Wadi Fira are currently facing food consumption deficits and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!). Poor households in Batha, the northern BEG, Kanem, and Guera are also feeling the effects of the below-average 2013/14 crop production and poor pastoral conditions, though not to the same degree as households in Wadi Fira and Bahr El Ghazel. With their food consumption reduced but still minimally adequate, their food security situation is Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). Households in the rest of the country are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

 

For more information on the national-level assumptions over this outlook period and the analyses for the areas of concern, please download the full report.

Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

Figure 1

Seasonal calendar for a typical year

Source: FEWS NET

Current food security outcomes, July 2014

Figure 2

Current food security outcomes, July 2014

Source: FEWS NET

Figure 3

Source:

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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