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Fuel shortages and rising prices increase food insecurity

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Chad
  • June 2022 - January 2023
Fuel shortages and rising prices increase food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • NATIONAL OVERVIEW
  • Events that Might Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • The onset of the rainy season in April was followed by dry spells, as well as an armyworm infestation. Projections of good rainfall are providing reassurance that the main growing season will result in average production.

    • Following conflict in Tibesti at the end of May, new outbreaks of tension between crop and livestock farmers were reported in the Sudan region, delaying the return of transhumant herders to their home areas in the Sahel. Pastoralist households are taking advantage of the availability of pasture to compensate for the deterioration in the physical condition of livestock due to the atypical pastoral lean season from March to June.

    • Food supply is below average due to the 2021/22 decline in production and reduced trade. Early depletion of household stocks and a limited supply of imported products have caused atypical pressure in cereal markets. Millet and maize prices are up 46 to 68 percent compared to the five-year average.

    • In addition to the atypical price increases, low household incomes in Bahr-el-Gazel and Kanem are limiting these households' access to markets, leading to consumption deficits. They are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Despite reduced food assistance, displaced and host households in Lac region are Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!), as are households in other regions, except Sila, Salamat, and parts of the Sudan region, which are reported to be experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes.


    NATIONAL OVERVIEW

    Current Situation

    Sociopolitical context: Talks between the government and political and military groups have been under way in Doha, Qatar, for over three months. On the domestic front, there has been a lull in demonstrations following the event held on May 14, 2022.

    Conflict, civil insecurity, and population movements: In late May, deadly clashes pitted groups of gold miners against each other in Kouri Bougoudi in the Tibesti region. More than 200 deaths have been reported, according to the Centre d'Etudes pour la Prévention de l'Extrémisme (Research Center for the Prevention of Extremism — CEPE). To counter the intentions of the warring parties, the government ordered the evacuation of all gold miners and other people at the site.

    The start of the growing season and the late departure of transhumant herders from agricultural and agropastoral areas to their home areas in the Sahel is creating tensions between crop and livestock farmers. Pockets of conflict were reported in Berem (Kabbia Province) and Baké (Logone Oriental), resulting in about ten casualties.

    Agriculture: In the Sudan region, the onset of rains in April 2022 enabled widespread sowing of rainfed crops. However, between the second 10 days of May and the first 10 days of June, dry spells lasting an average of 10 days caused the blight of early seedlings following an armyworm infestation. A resumption of rains during the second 10 days of June allowed for replanting. Phenological stages vary from germination to flowering for groundnuts and germination to bolting for cereals (sorghum and small millet). In the rice-growing basin, the off-season between March and May 2022 has been affected by fuel price increases, as well as the delayed and limited availability of fertilizer. The yields of the rice crops being harvested are below average overall. In the Sahel region, the cleaning and clearing of dune soils continues. In the departments of Abdi and Ouara and the polders of the Lac region, there has been dry sowing and sowing followed by irrigation. Although the agroclimatic forecasts are conducive to average production in 2022/23, the reduced availability of fertilizer, higher oil prices — which are limiting movement — and the decrease in state subsidies will impact production.

    Pastoral farming and livestock movements: Many pastoralist households are taking advantage of pastures to compensate for the deterioration in the physical condition of livestock during the pastoral lean season. An improvement in livestock physical condition has been noted in the Sudan region. The first transhumant herders from Mayo-Kebbi were late in settling in the outskirts of N'Djamena.

    Institutional stocks: According to the National Food Security Office (ONASA), there are plans to sell 85,000 tons at subsidized prices this year, depending on the severity of the food security situation. However, initial sales amounting to nearly 11,000 tons of cereals are under way in 22 of the 23 regions.

    Food sources (including purchases, residual stocks, assistance, and wild products): In the south of the country, limited residual stocks, supplemented by market purchases and sales at subsidized prices, as well as the gathering of winter and wild produce, is supporting the consumption of very poor and poor households. In the Sahel, market purchases, sales at reduced prices, the gathering of wild products, and humanitarian assistance are supporting food consumption by very poor and poor households.

    Income sources (including agricultural and non-agricultural labor, remittances, and the sale of livestock and wild products): Overall, household incomes have declined compared to a normal year due to the slowdown in the national economy and disruptions on the roads. Increased security measures in Tibesti are limiting household incomes in the Sahel area (including Bahr-el-Gazel, Kanem, and Wadi Fira).

    Oversupply in the face of stable demand has reduced daily wages by 25 to 30 percent compared to a normal year. Income from other sources (handicrafts, wild products, and so on) is also limited because of the pressure resulting from many households all gathering wild products as a source of income or for their own consumption. This means that small volumes are collected, and consequently income is very low.

    Impacts of fuel shortages on markets: Since the beginning of April, there has been a general shortage of fuel in the country, resulting in higher transportation costs. For example, in Lai and Kélo (the rice-growing basin), prices for a liter of gasoline and diesel varied from 550 XAF and 625 XAF, respectively, in January to 700 XAF for gasoline and 1,250 XAF at retailers. This has disrupted the growing cycle due to a lack of fuel for irrigation, as well as work on the off-season harvest.

    Food markets: The overall supply of food in the markets is below average. This limited availability is the result of cereal production deficits from 2021 to 2022, and declines in the volume of imported products (flour, pasta, rice, oil, and so on). In Sahel regions accustomed to consuming imported products (including pasta and imported rice), additional pressure on cereal markets has been observed due to the substitution effect. Millet prices in N'Djamena, Bol, and Ngouri are showing atypical increases of 23, 68, and 91 percent, respectively, compared to the five-year average. In the Sudan region, the same upward trend is being reported for millet in Sarh (39 percent), rice in Bongor (38 percent), and maize in Fianga (40 percent).

    Due to high export demand, mainly from India, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, and China, cash crop prices have risen significantly above average. For example, price increases were observed for sesame in Sarh (72 percent) and groundnuts in Bénoye (93 percent).

    Livestock markets: Livestock markets are characterized by oversupply because of ongoing efforts by pastoralist households to destock in an attempt to earn income to access cereal markets and the poor physical condition of livestock resulting from the pastoralist lean season. On the other hand, some markets in the Sudan region are experiencing lower supply due to the fact that herds are seeking pasture and watering holes some distance away. Security disruptions and the depreciation of the naira are limiting Nigerian demand, despite the smuggling observed in border area markets. Sheep prices have risen in N'Djamena (46 percent), Massakory (44 percent), and Mao (31 percent), due to the cost of livestock supplements following the rise in the price of used in animal feed, as well as transport costs and the remoteness of livestock from these areas.

    Terms of trade: Overall, the terms of trade deteriorated compared to last year and to the five-year average for the same time because of significant price increases in cereal markets in contrast to the prices for small ruminants in livestock markets (Figure 1).

    Internal and cross-border trade: In addition to the seasonal drop in trade, rising transport costs and the impact of the Ukrainian crisis are also having an adverse impact on trade volumes, disrupting cross-border flows. The consequences of the Ukrainian crisis are affecting cross-border flows, which are below average.

    Impact of the war in Ukraine on food markets: The Russian-Ukrainian crisis, which has affected the international food and oil markets and caused a global surge in commodity prices, has had a significant impact in Chad. Despite the use of alternative trade sources such as China, Thailand, and Turkey, where volumes are not sufficient to compensate for traditional trade flows, the availability of manufactured and imported products is below average and prices have increased considerably.

    In addition, difficulties in accessing chemical fertilizers for agriculture have been reported due to higher purchase costs and limited availability. However, Chadian farmers continue to use limited amounts of fertilizer in cotton- and rice-growing areas.

    Current food situation: According to the results of the IPC Acute Malnutrition Analysis conducted in October 2021, the nutritional situation will deteriorate significantly between June and September 2022. The determining factors are the depletion of cereal stocks, rising price trends, the high prevalence of disease (including malaria and diarrhea), and others. In Barh-el-Gazel and Kanem, households face consumption deficits because of their low incomes and consequently limited access to markets. They are not likely to be able to meet their food needs without resorting to extreme coping strategies. They are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In Lac, ongoing humanitarian assistance targeting displaced and poor host households is contributing to limited food consumption leading to Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. In most of the country's regions, with except Salamat and Dar Sila, households' food consumption is poorly adequate. These households are, however, unable to cover some non-food costs without engaging in Stressed coping strategies because their low incomes mean that they can make only limited purchases in cereal markets. They will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In the rice-growing basin, Salamat, Dar Sila, Logone Occidental, and Mandoul, recent off-season harvests and limited residual stocks are boosting household food consumption. These regions are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes.

    Assumptions

    The most likely scenario from June 2022 to January 2023 is based on the following assumptions:

    • The good seasonal outlook is likely to lead to a good growing season. However, normal to long dry spells (from seven to more than 15 days) are likely to be observed in central, eastern, and southeastern Chad, resulting in average to slightly below-average production. Normal to excess rainfall totals could be recorded across the entire agricultural zone.
    • Given the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and the fuel shortage, the disrupted flow of imported products observed since March 2022 is set to continue despite the use of alternative sources (Turkey, China, and so on) and pressure on demand for local products. At the same time, the availability of chemical fertilizers is likely to decrease because of disruptions to import channels. This could reduce rice and cotton production to below-average levels through reduced yields resulting from a lack of fertilizer.
    • Fuel shortages are set to continue to drive up transportation costs and reduce trade volumes. This is likely to result in additional atypical price increases in food markets throughout the scenario period.
    • Demonstrations by political and civil society groups calling for changes to the Transitional Charter may be observed. On the other hand, they are likely to be low in intensity because of reduced traffic in major urban centers during the rainy season and the advance deployment of defense and security forces and/or bans imposed by the authorities. A resumption of these protest movements could still be observed toward the end of 2022.
    • Civil society protests against general inflation affecting basic necessities could occur during the scenario period, especially between November 2022 and January 2023. However, they remain subject to governmental authorization and spontaneous, unauthorized movements could be repressed by law enforcement.
    • Latent sources of conflict between crop and livestock farmers could be rekindled at the beginning of the growing season because of brawling in agricultural areas. The continued presence of pastoralist households returning from the Central African Republic to the agricultural areas of Moyen-Chari, Mandoul, and Logone Oriental is likely to cause clashes between crop and livestock farmers. 
    • The challenging security context marked by the resurgence of inter-community conflict in west Darfur, Sudan, could trigger new waves of refugees to Chad.
    • Due to the slowdown in the national economy following the Ukraine crisis and disruption (harassment, insecurity) on the roads used to export livestock to Cameroon and Nigeria, as well as the depreciation of the naira, most income from various sources (non-agricultural labor, migration, sale of small ruminants, remittances, and so on) is likely to be lower than average throughout the scenario period. Increased security at gold-mining sites and along the migration corridors to Libya are likely to exacerbate this trend.
    • Cereal markets are set to continue to experience atypical price increases, compared to the five-year average, due to the pressure caused by stock depletion and limited availability of manufactured and imported products (pasta, flour, imported rice, and so on) 
    • There is likely to be an oversupply in livestock markets in agropastoral and transhumance areas because of low demand and high transportation costs. On the other hand, prices are likely to increase compared to the average because of smuggling to meet demand (Figure 3).
    • An increase in demand compared to the average is likely to influence price trends, with a peak during festive periods including Eid al-Adha and especially the end-of-year celebrations.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    From June to September 2022, significant declines in stock levels and/or depletion of stocks are likely to lead very poor and poor households to become dependent on cereal markets for their consumption. However, purchases are likely to be limited in volume due to price increases in the markets. During the rainy season, poor households will resort to high consumption at atypical frequencies of wild products, which are not generally preferred in a normal year. A deterioration in nutritional status is likely to be observed in many areas of the country (Batha, Tibesti, Ennedi-Est, Ennedi-Ouest, Kanem, Salamat, and Wadi Fira regions) due to food deficits and the high prevalence of disease (including malaria and diarrhea). Given the depletion of food stocks, rising prices in food markets compared to the five-year average, and atypical recourse to wild products, households in Barh-el-Gazel and Kanem will face consumption deficits. Their access to markets is likely to remain limited because of their low incomes. They will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Thanks to assistance (food and cash transfers), displaced and host households in Lac region will have minimally adequate food consumption but will not be able to adopt coping strategies. They will be Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!). The other Sahel regions (including Batha, Guéra, Wadi Fira, and Ouaddaï) will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) thanks to the Stressed coping strategies adopted, including consuming more alternative products, reducing non-food expenditure, and prioritizing food consumption. Similarly, in the Sudan regions, despite low incomes, the use of residual stocks coupled with winter products will supplement food consumption. These regions will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The regions of Logone Occidental, Mandoul, Salamat, and Dar Sila are likely to continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes, thanks to the resources mentioned above and harvests of crops grown for households' own consumption that are generally available around mid-July and early August.

    From October 2022 to January 2023, the appearance of the first crops in the Sudan regions, starting in September, followed by the general harvest in October is likely to improve household food consumption in most areas of the country. In the Sahel regions, the availability of dairy products should contribute to the consumption of pastoralist and agropastoralist households. In October, the availability of crops supplemented by assistance will mean that displaced and host households in the Lac region will be Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!). Host households have only small, unproductive plots of land on the dunes that are cultivated together (in solidarity) with displaced households. As a result, harvests are generally poor. In contrast, households in Barh-el-Gazel and Kanem are likely to experience an improvement in their food situation thanks to rainfed crops and dairy products. However, they are likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In the rest of the country, food security outcomes will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1).


    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Area

    Event

    Impact on Food Security Outcomes

    National

    Increased sales at subsidized prices or free distributions

    A slight drop in food prices will facilitate good access to food for households and thus an improvement in their consumption.

    Stopping/suspending/disrupting sales at subsidized prices

    Additional price rises due to increased pressure, particularly in the Sahel regions.

    Deterioration of the security situation (demonstrations, conflicts, and so on)

    Disruption of market operations with decreases in trade. Additional price increases could be experienced in markets, limiting household access. This would result in a deterioration of their consumption.

    Disruption of the growing season in conflict-affected areas and reduced production.

     

    Restoration of normal road transport costs

    Improved traffic, increasing the volume of food transport. A moderate decline in market prices could be reported, leading to improved household food access.

    Rainfall disruption (flooding/dry spells)

    Crop destruction and loss of assets (including fields and livestock) could be reported in the event of flooding during the lean season. This would affect rainfed crop production.

    Lingering dry spells would lead to crops drying up during the season, causing production losses in the affected areas.

    Low cumulative rainfall during the season would make the available biomass insufficient. There would be an early departure for transhumance areas and conflicts in host areas because of crop devastation.

    Improved security environment on export routes combined with an appreciation of the naira

    A resumption of exports during the lean season and beyond would increase the demand for livestock. Proportional price increases would be observed, helping to increase incomes for pastoralist households.

    Figures

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Figure 2

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 4

    Figure 3

    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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