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An influx of Sudanese refugees is exacerbating the food crisis in the eastern region of the country

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Chad
  • June 2023 - January 2024
An influx of Sudanese refugees is exacerbating the food crisis in the eastern region of the country

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Areas of Concern: Agropastoral and fishing livelihood zone (TD08) in the Lac Province (Figure 4)
  • Key Messages
    • As a result of the crisis in Sudan, there has been a surge in refugees and returnees, coupled with a disruption in the flow of both food and non-food items. The food situation for host populations, refugees, and returnees is steadily worsening due to the strain on food reserves, the competition for job opportunities, and the depletion of natural resources. In the Western Sahel, low income levels in the face of atypical price rises are reducing the volume of purchases on cereal markets and worsening household consumption. In Lac, the drop in the volume of assistance coupled with reduced access to markets is forcing displaced persons and host households to resort to crisis adaptation strategies. As a result, poor people in these areas are facing consumption deficits and are experiencing Crisis acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3). Due to limited access to markets after the early depletion of cereal stocks, very poor and impoverished households in the Sudanese region are compelled to employ adaptation strategies to meet their consumption needs. They have a reduced minimum adequacy food intake; thus, they are in Stressed acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2).

    • The start of the rainfed agricultural season was disrupted by the irregular start to the season, with relatively late rains punctuated by dry spells. Insecurity due to recent inter-community conflicts in the south of the country is disrupting the agricultural calendar. A lack of equipment and restrictions on people's movements have led to a relative reduction in acreage.

    • In most regions of the country, there has been a notable surge in the demand for food products, primarily caused by the rapid depletion of household cereal reserves. However, the vulnerability arising from the erosion of various income sources restricts the access of very poor and poor households to cereal markets, especially when faced with abnormal price increases compared to the usual average. The main contributors to these trends are disruptions to cross-border flows (the Ukrainian crisis, insecurity in Sudan and on the Libyan borders, and seasonal slowdowns in flows) and rising transport costs.

    • Following the Sudan crisis, the influx of Sudanese refugees and Chadian returnees has created intense competition among host households and these displaced populations for livelihood opportunities within the host regions. This is due to the lack of humanitarian assistance. Moreover, the interruption in the supply of food and fuel is causing disruptions in the local economy and significantly impacting the food security of households (refugees, returnees, and host communities). 

       


    National Overview

    Current Situation

    Socio-political context: the political situation is generally calm as the decisions of the National Inclusive Dialogue are being implemented by the government.

    Conflict, civil security and population movements: the conflict between herders and farmers in the Logone Oriental region at the end of April resulted in the loss of livelihoods and the displacement of 16,000 people, who sought refuge in the north-west of the Central African Republic (Alwhida Info). The Sudanese crisis led to an influx of more than 180,000 Sudanese refugees and Chadian returnees into Chad between mid-April and the end of June 2023. These refugees are dependent on humanitarian assistance from local people whose already precarious livelihoods are under severe pressure.

    Rainy season: the start of the season is marked by a few delays compared with a normal year in the Sudanian zone and a more or less normal start in Salamat and Guéra. The spatial distribution of rainfall is not uniform. It is irregular in Moyen Chari and Mandoul, and is punctuated by dry spells of varying length, as in Logone Occidental. With the exception of the 100 mm of rain recorded in mid-June in Sarh and many other places in the province, the cumulative rainfall was negative overall compared with the same period last year.

    2023-2024 agricultural season: disruptions to the rainy season (particularly late rainfall and dry spells) are affecting farming activities, which are slightly disrupted. Intensive ploughing and sowing are dominant in these agricultural provinces. Some hoeing of groundnuts and sorghum has begun on plots planted early. In the Central Sahel, activities are dominated by ploughing in Batha, and sowing in Guéra and Salamat thanks to the good rainfall recorded. In the Western Sahel, soil preparation work is proceeding as in a normal year. In Ouaddaï and Dar Sila, there was a slight increase in acreage thanks to the use of ploughs and tractors. However, in Logone Orientale and Mandoul, there has been a reduction in cultivated land due to delayed rains, insufficient agricultural machinery, limited access to inputs such as fertilizers and seeds, and population displacements in Logone Oriental caused by recent conflicts. In addition, the strike by contract technicians from the Agence Nationale d'Appui au Développement Rural (ANADER) since mid-June has deprived farmers of technical support at the start of the agricultural season.

    Agricultural and non-agricultural labor:  an oversupply of farm labor has been reported in most agricultural areas, due to a significant drop in employment opportunities on the one hand, and, on the other, the early depletion of household stocks, leading households to sell their labor in search of income to access markets during the lean season. In the Sahel provinces, the oversupply of labor is underpinned by the presence of Sudanese refugees in the east of the country, with government restrictions coupled with civil insecurity in Tibesti limiting the flow of people from BEG, Kanem and Wadi Fira. In Lac, the drop in humanitarian aid has prompted IDPs to sell their labor at the start of the agricultural season. A fall in daily wage levels, ranging from 25 to 35 per cent compared with a normal year, has been observed in most of the country's localities. The non-agricultural workforce is also experiencing an excess supply, primarily due to stock depletion, limited job opportunities, and reduced demand caused by the financial instability of affluent households.

    Pastoral resources and livestock movements: the normal start to the season in Salamat and Sila has led to the arrival of transhumant herders from these areas, where there is a pastoral overload. This overload is exacerbated by the halting of cross-border livestock flows to Sudan as a result of the conflict. An improvement in the pastoral situation was observed, encouraged by the start of the season in the Sudanian zone, thanks to the regrowth of grass and the availability of water sources for livestock. The return of transhumant herders to their home areas is slowed by disruptions to rainfall (irregular rainfall, low quantities or prolonged dry spells) in agricultural areas. Herders are delaying their return to take advantage of the pastoral resources available. In the Western Sahel, despite the end of the pastoral lean season, the arrival of transhumant herders has been slightly delayed. Sedentary herds depend on the leaves of standing thorny plants and oilseed meal. The distances travelled between watering points and livestock stabling sites have a significant impact on the physical condition of the animals in the area. In general, the animal health situation remains stable.

    Household and institutional stocks: last year's poor harvests in the Sudanian zone and in Lac caused a significant depletion of stocks, leading households to become dependent on the markets and to develop coping strategies. These include significant consumption of wild products, reduced ration volumes, and massive sales of livestock in search of income to access markets, among others. The presence of Sudanese refugees in the eastern provinces is causing significant declines in the stock levels of host households sharing their meals with refugees and returnees. The institutional stocks of the Office National de Sécurité Alimentaire (ONASA) are being deployed through sales operations at subsidized prices. Over 1,700 tons of cereals and more than 5,000 20-litre cans of oil were sold in the provinces of Kanem and Hadjer Lamis. 

    Food markets: low availability of local cereals due to reduced production in the Sudanian zone in 2022 and food imports at below-average levels have led to a significant overall fall in supply levels on most markets. Declines in market supply volumes are exacerbated by increases in transport costs due to higher fuel prices following repeated shortages since the end of the first quarter of 2023. As a result, there has been a remarkable increase in demand for all food products, including local cereals. Major cereal flows to the Saharan provinces (Borkou, Ennedi East and West, Tibesti) have been reported following disruptions to the inflow of products imported from Libya. In the east, it is more pronounced due to the influx of successive waves of Sudanese refugees. Rising transport costs have led to atypical rises in prices for basic cereals compared with the five-year average, even though prices have fallen slightly compared with last year. In Abéché, millet increased by 319 per cent and sorghum by 55 per cent, while in Biltine, millet increased by 31 per cent and sorghum by 34 percent in May 2023 (Figure 1). Maize prices are up 47 percent in Pala, while sorghum prices are up 52 percent in Léré in May 2023.

    Livestock markets: market supply varies according to area and species. In the Sudanian zone, it is slightly above normal levels for sheep and goats, particularly in eastern Logone, due to the presence of transhumant herders, whose departure to their home areas is relatively slow. The presence of returning pastoralists from the Central African Republic is also strengthening the local supply of livestock markets. In the provinces bordering Sudan (Ouaddaï, Wadi Fira, and Sila), the halt to exports caused by the security crisis in Sudan has led to an oversupply. In Biltine, sheep prices are between 10 and 15 per cent higher than the five-year average due to stagnant demand (Figure 2). Following an increase in Nigerian demand despite the depreciation of the Nigerian naira and security constraints cancelling cross-border flows with Sudan, a rise in demand is being seen in the Western Sahel and N'Djaména. Sheep prices in Mao (69 per cent) and cattle prices in N'Djaména (18 per cent) as well as in Wadi Fira (12 per cent) are up on the five-year average, despite the oversupply. The markets in Cameroon's border provinces are showing the same price trends. In Lac, humanitarian purchases led to price rises for small ruminants.

    Figure 1

    Price variations on the Biltine cereals market
    Variation des prix sur le marché céréalier de Biltine.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Price variations on the Biltine livestock market
    Variation des prix sur le marché à bétail de Biltine.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Sources of income: an erosion of most sources of income is reported in the various livelihood zones. Despite the increased implementation and strengthening of diverse strategies such as seasonal migration, labor, gathering and selling dead wood, and handicrafts, among others, the income levels still remain unusually low. Particularly in the Sahel region, the combination of government restrictions, which includes the prohibition of informal artisanal gold panning, along with insecurity at Tibesti sites and the repercussions of the Sudan crisis, is causing a decline in the income of very poor and poor households. In the Sudanian zone, the reasons behind the reduced incomes are the surplus of labor and the decline/depletion of cereal stocks.

    Source of food: market purchases are the main source of cereal-based food for households, due to stock depletion. However, volumes are limited due to low income levels in the face of atypical price rises compared with the five-year average. Households will be looking for wild products, particularly winter vegetables, and many may be consuming foods that are less popular than in a normal year.

    Nutritional situation: low incomes have resulted in limited access to markets and low food consumption, leading to a deterioration in the nutritional situation in most of the country's provinces. Limitations on the flow of imported products consumed in large quantities in the Sahel are contributing to this deterioration, with prevalence rates exceeding critical thresholds in Wadi Fira (17.7 percent), Borkou (16.2 percent), and Ennedi Ouest (15.7 percent), according to forecasts of the IPC for acute malnutrition (AMN) at the end of 2022. Very precarious nutritional status (IPC Phase 4) has a greater impact in areas hosting refugees and returnees from the Sudan crisis. In May 2023, the World Food Programme reported that certain camps experienced a prevalence of over 19 per cent for global acute malnutrition among children under five, alongside 42 percent for chronic malnutrition. Moreover, there was a significant 65 per cent rise in the admission of malnourished children to treatment programs in the eastern part of the country. This humanitarian emergency is all the more worrying given the availability of funding at the start of the lean season.

    Humanitarian assistance: due to difficulties in mobilizing funding for humanitarian operations, food supplies and cash transfers have been reduced. Between April and May 2023, in Lac, humanitarian organizations, including the WFP and its partners, made adjustments to their aid strategies by lowering the assistance quantities to levels that fell below the consumption requirements of both displaced individuals and host households.

    Since the outbreak of violence in Sudan, Chad has been host to 180,000 people (according to UNHCR, 30 June 2023) spread across the country's three eastern provinces: Ouaddaï (123,000), Sila (47,000), and Wadi Fira (6,540). Humanitarian aid operations covered a total population of around 112,000 people in need in Ouaddaï, 34,870 in Sila, and 6,419 in Wadi Fira. The ration distributed between late April and early May 2023 consists of 12.75 kg of sorghum, 3 kg of legumes, 1 kg of oil, and 0.15 kg of salt, supplemented by cash transfers of 40,000 CFA francs per household per month.

    Current Food Security Outcomes

    In the areas on the Sudanese border to the east of Chad (Wadi Fira province, Assongha department in Ouaddaï, and Kimiti department in Dar Sila), the food situation of more than 180,000 refugees, returnees and hosts is deteriorating due to poor food supplies. This is due to the lack of humanitarian aid to cover their basic food needs. In response, they are increasing the pressure on people's livelihoods in the host provinces. This worsening of food insecurity follows the halt in the inflow of food products and the rise in food prices on the markets. This is further exacerbated by the low levels of income and pressure on livelihoods (stocks and employment opportunities) of host households from refugees. Affected households cannot meet their consumption needs without resorting to crisis coping strategies; they are experiencing Crisis acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3). In the Lac region, the fall in the volume of aid is having a negative impact on the food consumption of displaced and host households. Despite using strategies that affect their livelihoods, they are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In the Western Sahel (BEG and Kanem), food access is limited by high market prices compared with the five-year average, coupled with low levels of income, leading to a deterioration in the food situation of households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Stressed acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) is also prevalent in the Sahelian and Sudanian zones as a result of reduced access to food markets due to low levels of income and recent inter-community conflicts, particularly in the south of the country.


    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    seasonal calendar

    Source: FEWS NET

    Assumptions

    The most likely scenario for food security from June 2023 to January 2024 is based on the following fundamental assumptions, in relation to changes in the national context:

    • Agroclimatic situation 2023-2024: according to the Seasonal Climate Forecasts for Sudano-Sahelian Africa (PRESASS), average to slightly higher rainfall is expected in the lower basins of the Chari-Logone and the middle basin of the Chari, and in the Sudanian zone. In pastoral areas, medium to long dry spells may be observed during the season. In the Chari-Logone System Basin, a high probability of flooding is expected towards the middle and end of the season. 
    • Agricultural outlook: there could be a drop in production in the agricultural areas of the south due to inter-community conflicts. The flood risks identified could further reduce the October 2023 rain harvest volumes in the southern zone. 
    • Availability and rates of agricultural and non-agricultural labor: The supply of agricultural labor is expected to be higher than normal during the lean season in the Sudanian and Lac areas and in the provinces hosting Sudanese refugees (Wadi Fira and Ouaddaï). The supply of non-agricultural labour is likely to remain on the rise overall, due to a lack of opportunities and insecurity in cross-border migration zones such as Sudan.
    • Pastoral situation: good rainfall will ensure good availability of pastoral resources (water and grass cover), favoring good body condition for the animals from the end of July 2023 until the end of the scenario period.
    • Household and institutional cereal stocks: households would be dependent on markets for their consumption during the lean period. This dependence would gradually diminish from the harvest period onwards. Institutional stocks will be replenished towards the end of the scenario, between December 2023 and January 2024, with the purchase of between 25,000 and 30,000 tons of cereals.
    • Food markets and price trends: declines in the volume of supplies to food markets during the rainy season are likely to be exacerbated by high transport costs due to rising fuel prices. The supply of imported food products is also lower than normal in most parts of the country, but more significant in the east due to the impact of the Sudan crisis. The upward trend in food prices, compared with the five-year average, which was mainly impacted by low production levels caused by flooding at the end of the 2022 season, is set to continue (Figure 3).

    Figure 3

    Millet price projections on the N'Djaména market
    Projections des prix du mil sur le marché de N’Djaména.

    Source: FEWS NET

    • Livestock markets: the recovery in livestock exports to Nigeria is expected to continue throughout the analysis period, despite the depreciation of the Nigerian naira. It could even intensify as a result of the halt in exports to Sudan due to the closure of the borders. Throughout the scenario period, exports to Egypt via Sudan will be at a standstill due to the security situation in Sudan.
    • Food sources: during the lean season, market purchases are the main source of food in most parts of the country, as household stocks are depleted. In addition, refugees would also have to rely on humanitarian aid and wild foods, as well as shopping in the markets.
    • Sources of income: agricultural labor, gathering and the sale of wild food products are the main sources of income for very poor and poor households in agricultural and agropastoral areas. But because of the oversupply of labor, incomes remain below average. At Lac, displaced individuals and host households will actively engage in handicrafts, firewood sales, and labor. However, their incomes are likely to remain lower overall than in a normal year because of the pressure these households exert on available resources. From September onwards, mass migrations from BEG and Kanem towards urban centers in the interior of the country (N'Djaména, Sarh, and Moundou) are likely to be observed. However, incomes are likely to remain lower than normal due to the high number of migrants, putting pressure on opportunities. As a result of the depreciation of the Nigerian naira, revenues from the sale of small ruminants to Bol are expected to be slightly up on the five-year average and on last year. In the Sudanian zone, labor income would be low compared with a normal year because of insecurity. From October 2023 to January 2024, the sale of agricultural products should bring in income close to the average in farming localities in the southern zone, due to the increased demand for the replenishment of trading stocks and internal flows to the structurally deficit provinces of the Western Sahel (BEG and Kanem).
    • Inter-community conflict and population movements: the level of inter-community violence is expected to peak at the beginning and end of the rainy season from May to November 2023, when herders move their livestock into agricultural areas. Recurrent cattle thefts and persistent tensions between farmers and herders are likely to lead to clashes in Moyen-Chari during the winter season and at harvest time. In the border areas with the CAR, despite the efforts of the authorities calling for appeasement, inter-community conflicts could intensify between members of the conflicting tribes, leading to population displacements.
    • National and cross-border security situation (CAR, Sudan): major fighting between rebel factions and the government is unlikely in 2023. Although unlikely during the analysis period, cross-border clashes between Central African and Chadian forces, not limited to sporadic cross-border skirmishes, could occur between November 2023 and January 2024 because of the resumption of traffic after the rainy season. The Sudanese conflict could spill over into Chadian territory because of the presence on both sides of the border of the same tribes currently competing in Sudan.
    • Nutritional situation: from June to September 2023, malnutrition is expected to gradually deteriorate to critical levels due to reduced access to food and an increase in diseases linked to the rainy season. This deterioration in the nutritional situation will be more marked in refugee hosting areas in the East and Western Sahel, particularly in BEG and Kanem. Within the Sudanian zone, the combination of stock depletion, limited food access, and forced movements in areas impacted by recent inter-community conflicts will notably exacerbate the nutritional conditions. From June to September 2023, approximately 20 departments and two provinces (Borkou and Wadi-Fira) may encounter a considerable decline in their nutritional situation, as they enter the Emergency phase (IPC Phase 4) due to inadequate food intake and subpar hygiene practices. From October 2023, access to food from harvests and the gradual reduction in the prevalence of water-borne diseases will improve nutritional results until January 2024.
    • Humanitarian assistance: as a result of the current drop in volumes and delay in humanitarian assistance, the food situation of displaced people and host households in Lac could worsen to critical levels between July and September 2023. Sudanese refugees and Chadian returnees, as well as host households in the eastern part of the country, are also likely to face consumption shortfalls. The October harvests are likely to bring a relative improvement in consumption. Sales at prices subsidized by the Office National de Sécurité Alimentaire (National Food Security Office) may not cover household consumption needs because of the small volumes available and low levels of incomes, limiting the purchase of these foods.

    Most Likely Acute Food Security Outcomes

    Between June and September 2023: In the east of the country, competition between host and refugee/returnee households over opportunities, resulting in below-average incomes, is likely to put pressure on the livelihoods of host households. Poor hygienic conditions coupled with low dietary intakes would affect the nutritional status of children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, which would deteriorate further. The insufficiency of humanitarian assistance will lead poor households to develop crisis coping strategies. Therefore, acute food insecurity Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected. Displaced people and host households in the Lac region will also be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to depleted stocks and below-average incomes limiting the volume of purchases on the markets. They are likely to need to compete for available resources but be unable to meet their consumption needs because of the gaps created by the decline in the volume of humanitarian assistance. Food access is likely to be limited due to the upward trend in cereal market prices and the deterioration in the terms of trade between livestock and cereals. Atypical decreases in income levels from most sources (migration, remittances, petty trade, and handicrafts, among others) will likely lead househods in the Western Sahel (BEG, Kanem) to face an acute food insecurity  Crisis (IPC Phase 3) despite the intensification of coping strategies. However, most households in the agricultural areas of the South would have a minimally adequate reduction in food consumption; they will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    Between October 2023 and January 2024: low levels of humanitarian assistance would continue to force refugees to put pressure on the resources of host households. They will continue to use coping strategies and compete with the host community's opportunities and livelihoods. Despite this, households in the Assongha department would not be able to meet their consumption needs and will remain in acute food insecurity Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The availability of harvests will increase food access of households in BEG and Kanem and improve their food consumption. This will result in acute food insecurity Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In the Lac region, despite the harvest period which will increase the availability of foods, insecurity and the reduction in food assistance will have an impact on the food consumption of displaced and host households. Thus, acute food insecurity Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist. In the Sahel, the gradual resumption of internal cereal flows should supplement local supplies and moderately reduce price levels. Despite price trends remaining above the five-year average, household food consumption is expected to improve slightly and to be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to supplies of milk and other harvested products. Products from new harvests would help to improve the situation of households in the Sudanian zone resulting in acute food insecurity Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes.

    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Area

    Events

    Impact on food security conditions

    National

    Persistence and intensification of the Sudan crisis

    Overflows into Chadian territory would occur due to porous borders and the spread of rivalries between tribesmen belonging to groups of actors in conflict in Sudan. This would lead to new outbreaks of latent tension that could significantly disrupt the functioning of markets and livelihoods in host areas. Household food insecurity would be exacerbated and reach Emergency critical levels (IPC Phase 4).

     

    Delay/lack of sufficient resources to fund assistance leading to a deterioration in food security to Emergency level (IPC Phase 4).

     

    Renewed and intensified inter-community conflicts

    These conflicts would create insecurity, causing disruption (forced population movements, burning of property, huts and fields, and stoppage of agricultural work) to the progress of the agricultural season. This will result in reduced production, which will affect the food security of households in the affected areas at high levels of Crisis acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3).

     

    Rainfall disturbances

    Prolonged and/or repeated dry spells would disrupt the vegetative cycle of crops and affect yield levels. During the latter part of the scenario period, this situation could lead to constrained supplies and significantly impact the food security of households in numerous localities, including both agricultural regions and areas within the Sahel. This deterioration in the situation will be more pronounced in the Sahel region, which is structurally in deficit and largely dependent on the markets.

     

    Socio-political unrest

    Any resumption of prolonged or violent demonstrations during the scenario would lead to disruption of market operations in the affected areas (south of the country and N'Djaména). Access will be restricted by atypical price rises in the face of incomes that are lower than in a normal year.

     

    Persistence of fuel shortages

    The upward trends, compared with the current five-year average, are reaching atypical levels, limiting household access to food in most areas. This will be even more pronounced in Sahelian zones, particularly in the eastern Sahel.

     

    Civil unrest

    Clashes between government forces and rebel factions on the Libyan borders would significantly reduce trade volumes.

     

    Agropastoral and fishing zone, Lac Province (TD08)

    Resurgence of unrest

    The rainy agricultural season would be disrupted and internal flows would be slowed down. Humanitarian aid would be further restricted by insecurity, limiting the volume of food aid. The food security of displaced persons and households would deteriorate to levels not anticipated in this scenario. They could tip over into Emergency acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 4).

     

    Delay/suspension/discontinuation of funding of aid

    The food consumption of displaced and host households would deteriorate in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) during the lean season and possibly in Phase 3 thanks to harvest contributions from November 2023 onwards.

     


    Areas of Concern: Agropastoral and fishing livelihood zone (TD08) in the Lac Province (Figure 4)

    Current Situation

    Security situation: the overall security situation is stable, with a decline in armed attacks. From January to March 2023, only four security incidents directly attributed to Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) were reported in the Lac region, in line with seasonal trends seen in the past. However, kidnappings, particularly of women, have been reported in recent months. The Lac province is home to around 255,054 displaced people, of whom more than two-thirds, or 204,260 people, are located in the two departments of Fouli and Kaya, the main areas of insecurity (according to IOM).

    Figure 4

    Agropastoral and fishing livelihood zone (TD08), Lac Province
    Zone de moyen d’existence agropastorale et pêche (TD08), Province du Lac.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Agricultural situation: at the end of the off-season, the agricultural situation is dominated by the harvesting of market garden crops (onions, sweet potatoes). However, the season's progress was hampered by fuel shortages, particularly impacting the availability of motor-driven pumps for irrigation, which led to decreased production levels compared to a typical year. As the new rainy season approaches, certain localities are preparing by clearing plots of land, followed by sporadic ploughing in some polders, and repairing faulty irrigation networks.

    Agricultural and non-agricultural labor: the agricultural workforce operates at a slower pace during this period of transition between two seasons; off-season and rainy. Few agricultural activities are currently practiced. Most households use family labor to clean their plots and harvest their vegetables. The non-agricultural workforce is dominated by labor around the market places and bricklaying. The presence of displaced persons coupled with the mobilization of host populations, victims of crop losses due to flooding in 2022, has resulted in an excess supply situation as the demand remains lower than in a typical year. The average daily wage varies from 750 to 1,000 CFA francs, a drop of 50 to 37.5 per cent compared with a normal year.

    Pastoral situation: in island areas, the late withdrawal of water has reduced the herbaceous cover in invaded island areas, with herds flocking to these areas to take advantage of the regrowth of grasses on the wetlands. On the mainland, particularly in the northern part of the province, the scarcity of pasture at the end of the pastoral lean season means that herders have to buy feed supplements based on hay and oilcake. The unstable security situation in the north of the province, dreaded by herders, has led to a high concentration of animals in the southern part of Lac, which benefits from better grazing and watering conditions.

    Livelihoods: the sale of fish, handicrafts, dead wood/charcoal and day labor are the main sources of income for displaced people and host households. Given the relative improvement in fishing due to the appreciable level of water in Lac, an oversupply of fish has been observed on the markets, leading to occasional falls in market prices. As a result, income levels per household are lower than in a normal year, with falls of 25 or even 45 per cent compared with a normal year. Income from other sources, such as the sale of bundles of sticks, is very low, lower than in a normal year, due to competition from displaced persons, which limits the amount of bundles of sticks collected by each household. The oversupply of handicrafts on the markets also results in very limited income compared to the same period in a normal year. 

    Food markets: internal flows of cereals, already limited by the security context, have been further restricted by repeated shortages and rising fuel prices, which have increased transport costs and reduced market supplies to below average levels. On the Bol, Ngouboua and Bagasola markets, massive influxes of traders from N'Djamena have led to an increase in demand. There has also been additional demand from households and traders in the neighboring provinces of BEG and Kanem. Price dynamics show a remarkable rise in maize prices (15 per cent) compared with the five-year average, given that maize is a staple food, unlike millet, which is not much in demand on the Bol market. The price was slightly down on the previous year but up on the five-year average following an increase in demand. The change to a cash-only assistance system has put additional pressure on cereal markets.

    Livestock markets: there is a high concentration of livestock on the Bagasola market following the security instability in the island localities and those to the north of the province, including Ngouboua. Large purchases of small ruminants were reported on the Bol and Bagasola markets as a result of the humanitarian action. Purchases made by humanitarian organizations for IDPs and host households aim to strengthen household livelihoods through the distribution of breeding animals, mainly goats. This increase in demand translates into higher prices on the markets concerned. On the other hand, purchases of large livestock remain sluggish due to continuing insecurity on the traditional export routes to Nigeria; direct cross-border flows have ground to a halt.

    Cereal-livestock terms of trade in Bol: the terms of trade clearly show that households have little access to maize markets from the sale of goats (Figure 5). On the other hand, there is a positive trend for sheep/millet, which is not the main consumer product in the area. Most farmers prefer goats to sheep because of their hardiness and prolificacy.

    Figure 5

    Terms of trade for small ruminants/cereals on the Bol market
    Termes de l’échange petits ruminants/céréales sur le marché de Bol.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Nutritional situation: at the end of April 2023, nutritional data for the province showed a 67 percent drop in admissions compared with the same period in 2022, with an average of 1,990 cases compared with 2,989 cases during the first four months of the year. This drop is due to the low attendance at nutrition centers observed since the reduction in the distribution of nutritional supplements. Despite this drop in admissions, there has been a deterioration in nutritional status due to difficulties in accessing food as a result of the upward trend in market prices and the drop in humanitarian aid at the end of the first quarter.

    Humanitarian assistance: during the first quarter of 2023, the WFP and its partners provided humanitarian assistance in the form of food to a population of 230,641 people, including 154,283 people during the first round and 76,358 people during the first quarter of 2023. The monthly cash amount per beneficiary was 7,000 CFA francs. In April 2023, no aid was provided to displaced persons due to a lack of resources. In May, cash assistance was provided to displaced persons, before being supplemented by food distributed as part of humanitarian assistance. However, given the current high prices on the markets and the pressure on food resources, particularly due to the drop in assistance, households cannot cover their consumption needs from the cash distributed.

    Assumptions

    The most likely scenario for food security from June 2023 to January 2024 is based on the following fundamental assumptions, in relation to changes in the national context:

    • Civil unrest and movements: taking advantage of the rising waters and other grasses used as camouflage, elements of armed groups could make incursions, leading to an upsurge in insecurity. Attacks on the population, military positions and kidnappings could be observed, as well as new waves of internally displaced people.
    • Agricultural production: flooding due to overflowing water from Lac at the end of the season could lead to a drop in agricultural production. 
    • Food trade flows and prices: the security situation could disrupt trade flows during the rainy season. Recurring fuel shortages are expected to limit the volume of flows, which will gradually pick up again from November onwards. However, the volumes of these flows are likely to remain below average because of security constraints. Heavy dependence on markets for household food, particularly during the lean season, would favor upward trends in cereal market prices compared with the five-year average (Figure 6).

    Figure 6

    Maize price projections on the Bol market
    Projections des prix du maïs sur le marché de Bol.

    Source: FEWS NET

    • Livestock markets and flows: Cross-border livestock flows (Nigeria, Niger) would be at a standstill due to the continuing impact of insecurity (border closures). Humanitarian purchases would increase the price to levels above the five-year average until the end of the scenario.
    • Source of income: Most of the income from various sources (fishing, labor, sale of firewood, handicrafts, and petty trade) is down on a normal year. These declines are thought to be the result of competition between fishermen, coupled with security restrictions, oversupply of labor, and low volumes of deadwood harvested. Income from petty trade such as the sale of basic necessities (soap, sugar, and food ingredients, among others) would be very marginal for poor households.  Current levels of humanitarian aid in the form of cash transfers will not be enough to compensate for income disparities due to funding difficulties.
    • Food sources: During the lean season, market purchases are the main source of food. However, volumes are likely to remain below normal due to low levels of income in the face of atypical upward price trends on the markets. The appearance of the first crops, followed by harvesting from late September to early October 2023, would help to reduce dependency on the markets between October 2023 and January 2024. Fishing catches are expected to remain very low, below normal levels, during the winter season due to the rise in water levels in Lac. This will be exacerbated by the safety constraints that will continue to limit deep-water fishing. Between July and September 2023, displaced households and hosts would make greater use of wild foods during the winter, but volumes would remain low due to pressure on resources. Payments in kind would support the consumption of displaced and host households from harvests, but in small quantities due to the high numbers of seasonal workers during the rainy season.
    • Nutritional situation: The depletion of stocks coupled with limited access to markets during the lean season will lead to a deterioration in the nutritional situation. Due to worsening hygiene conditions, which include the consumption of surface water, improper handling of food with unclean hands, and limited food accessibility during the rainy season, the nutritional status is expected to decline further. The prevalence of water-related diseases follows a seasonal trend.  As a result, high morbidity rates would be reported. Finally, the resurgence of insecurity through attacks by non-state armed groups resulting in forced population movements would limit access to care and treatment for cases of malnutrition.
    • Humanitarian assistance: Seasonal assistance will begin in June for four months and will cover the winter season until September 2023. FEWS NET does not have detailed information for the post-harvest period.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    From June to September 2023: due to the atypical increase in the price of maize, a staple food, combined with the decline in the majority of income sources, both displaced individuals and host households are likely to face limitations in accessing cereal markets. Household food consumption will deteriorate further due to reduced volumes of aid due to funding difficulties for humanitarian action. Most households would develop crisis coping strategies (reducing spending on health and education) in order to allocate more of their income to food, but even after doing so, their income levels would remain below normal. The influx of new waves of displaced people would exacerbate global acute malnutrition due to poor hygiene practices, insufficient food intake, lack of livelihoods and resources, and pressure on host communities. Households would have a food consumption deficit and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    October 2023 to January 2024: although this period facilitates access to food thanks to the availability of harvests, payment in kind products, and slight falls in market prices, households will not see any significant improvement in their food consumption. There will be a slight improvement in incomes between October 2023 and January 2024, but the overall amount will remain below average. Despite these more slightly favorable conditions, the persistence of insecurity and the disruption of food assistance mean that their basic food consumption needs cannot be met, and they would be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

     

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Chad, Food Security Outlook June 2023 to January 2024: The influx of Sudanese refugees worsens the food situation in the east of the country, 2023

    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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