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Food security conditions improve and Stressed and Crisis levels have ended

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Chad
  • October 2012 - March 2013
Food security conditions improve and Stressed and Crisis levels have ended

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Area of Concern
  • Events that Might Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • The food security of households dependant on rainfed cereal crops has improved in October. In addition, there should be a good availability of market garden crops during the outlook period. Household food stocks are currently being rebuilt due to the combined effects of the good harvests, market gardening activities, and flood recession agriculture. This has brought food insecurity levels down from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to None/Minimal (IPC Phase 1), where they will remain throughout the outlook period.

    • Severe flooding was reported in almost ten regions between August and September, affecting approximately 466,000 people and nearly seven percent of the cropped area (255,700 hectares). This flooding has reduced rice production and has made access to areas away from major paved roads in Tandjilé and Mayo-Kebbi more difficult.

    • There are reports of relatively large locust populations in Bahr El Gazal, Ouaddaï, Kanem, the BET area, and along the border with Sudan (around Adré). So far, the groups of winged locusts seen in these areas have not threatened crops and the situation is under control. Treatment efforts have been effective in reducing locust numbers and the potential threat to crops and pasture.

    • The food security of agropastoral households in Guera has improved with the new harvests and the return of livestock herds, which are providing milk (a source of both food and income). Conditions should continue to improve through March 2013, thanks to good harvests and the expansion of self-employment opportunities (market gardening activities and the gathering of firewood, charcoal, and gum arabic).


    National Overview
    Current situation

    Agropastoral conditions

    The 2012/2013 growing season has been better than last season due to above-average rainfall levels and an approximately 21 percent increase in the area planted in crops compared with last year. The flooding of crops, primarily rice and sorghum, between the end of August and the middle of September has affected between five and seven percent of the total cropped area.

    This year’s good rainfall significantly improved the availability of pasture and water in almost all areas of country. Permanent and semi-permanent lakes and ponds used as animal watering holes are nearly full and there is better than normal pasture availability, which is improving the physical conditions of livestock.

    There are no major livestock disease outbreaks anywhere in the country, except for localized outbreaks of soil-borne diseases (in Mayo-Kebbi, Moyen-Chari, Tandjilé, Guera, and Batha), which is relatively normal.

    Locust and grain-eating birds

    In August, the Plant Protection Service (DPVC) reported the presence of locusts and grain-eating birds in the Wadi-Fira, Ouaddaï, and Tandjilé regions. DPVC estimates that the damage to crops, particularly to crop leaves, is between 10 and 15 percent. In addition, canvassing teams deployed by the National Locust Control Agency (ANLA) reported the presence of desert locust hopper bands in the vicinity of Fada and Kalaït on September 19, 2012. The situation is under control and there is no major damage to crops. 

    Casual labor

    The introduction of 1,100 tractors to farmers across the country increased the area of land under cultivated this year, and has led to increased casual labor opportunities. The good, ongoing harvests have also created a need for more agricultural labor compared to normal. Meanwhile, labor supply has remained at normal levels as members of poor and very poor households are also occupied with cultivating their own land. Thus, the cost of weeding a hectare of groundnuts in Guera, for example, is 100,000 FCFA this year, compared with 55,000 FCFA in a normal year. In Biltine, households used tractors to plow larger areas of land than could be managed with family labor, and are therefore resorting to the use of outside labor, which is becoming increasingly in short supply. As a result, costs have increased from 12,000 FCFA/ha to 15,000 FCFA/ha. This high demand for farm labor will increase household income and food access.

    Markets and trade

    Grain markets are functioning normally and market supplies are normal in all parts of the country. Early harvests are starting to be observed on certain markets and market supply is generally adequate. This normal availability of cereals has kept prices stable or, in some cases, has caused prices to fall on certain markets (Abéché, Bol, Kélo, and Mao) between September and October. Despite decreasing prices, the price of sorghum in Abéché is still higher than in 2011, 2008 (an average year), and the five-year average. Sorghum prices in Bol are stable compared to 2008 and the average, though lower than last year.

    Trade between markets in crop collection areas and assembly markets has picked up since the lean season (June through September) with the harvests of early crops. Thus, there are signs that trade is resuming from the Sudanian zone towards the Sahelian zone after a slowdown during the rainy season. However, the main destination for these shipments are markets in the capital (N’Djaména), and shipments at this time consist mostly of groundnuts since groundnuts are harvested earlier than grain crops. Trade flows between markets are more or less normal for this time of year. 

    Food security situation

    Food security conditions are generally satisfactory compared with the first three quarters of this year and the same time last year. This is due to a good rainy season which is coming to an end, the availability of early crops and wild vegetables, and the beginning of harvests in certain localized areas. In general, households are eating their usual three meals per day without having to resort to any coping strategies. There are no issues of concern relating to food insecurity anywhere in the country, and all livelihood zones are currently classified as in IPC 2.0 Phase 1 (Figure 1).

    Over the past few months, there has been a visible improvement in malnutrition rates for children under five years of age, reflected in the steady decline in the number of children admitted to therapeutic feeding centers. For example, the number of children admitted to the supplementary feeding center in Guera went from 1,795 in June to 1,546 in July and 1,091 in August. Between June and July, similar admissions trends were noted in Kanem (-22 percent), Bahr El Gazal (-16.5 percent), and Batha (-44.5 percent). This is the result of the combined effects of the various programs conducted by humanitarian organizations (blanket feeding programs, distributions of Plumpy nut, etc.), the celebration of Ramadan which provided daily access to porridge, soups, fruits, vegetables, and fritters, and better household food availability from more diversified food sources (early crops, milk, and wild vegetables).

    Assumptions

    The most likely scenario for the October 2012 through March 2013 period is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    • Cereal stocks: Due to the average to good harvests, household and market cereal stocks between October and December will be good. As of February, grain availability in flood-recession farming and gum arabic-producing areas will be bolstered by berbéré (flood-irrigated sorghum) harvests. However, in all other livelihood zones, cereal stocks will start declining by March.
    • Locust situation: The locust situation is under control. Current forecasts are predicting that locusts will migrate towards northwestern Africa and will not move towards Chad's cropping areas. Thus, locusts will cause no major damage to crops.
    • Livestock: Due to the availability of pasture and the current levels of permanent and semi-permanent lakes and ponds used as animal watering holes, livestock will be in good physical condition between November and February. This may cause better than normal livestock-cereal terms of trade for pastoralists.
    • Prices: The good harvests could cause prices to decline between October and December to levels lower than last year at this time. Prices will then begin to increase slowly as of March as the lean season approaches.
    • Market gardening activities: The current water levels of permanent and semi-permanent lakes and ponds will encourage households to intensify their market gardening activities, creating a good availability of market garden crops during the outlook period. Moreover, the increasing size of Chad's urban population has created added demand for market garden crops. Thus, this activity will bring in more income for certain households, including very poor and poor households, and earnings from these activities are expected to be aboveaverage.

    Most likely food security outcomes

    The food security situation will be relatively stable all across the country during the first half of the outlook period (October through December). Households will rely on their harvests without resorting to the use of any coping strategies. The decline in cereal prices during this three-month period will improve food access for very poor and poor households who are dependent on the market for food purchases. There will also be a large availability of market garden crops, which will help boost incomes and improve household food security. In addition, an improvement in nutritional conditions is expected, reflecting the good food availability. During the October through December period, all areas of the country will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity (Figure 2). 

    Good household cereal availability will extend these positive household food security trends through February of next year. However as of March, food and fodder reserves will start to decline with the approach of the lean season and households will become increasingly dependent on food purchases, as usual for this time of the year. In response to this situation, households in farming areas will resort to their usual livelihood strategies (labor migration, the gathering of wild fruits and nuts, the planting of vegetable gardens, etc.) to fill the gap. Pastoralists will increase livestock sales or temporarily engage in labor migration as a source of cash income. This should keep both household groups in Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through March 2013 (Figure 3).


    Area of Concern

    Northern Guera (Central agropastoral livelihood zone)

    Current situation

    Due to the good performance of rains and current livelihood activities that are able to support household food security, the 2.4 million people living in country’s agropastoral livelihood zone, who were classified as IPC Phase 2 (Stressed) or, in the case of the northern reaches of Mangalmé, IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) through the end of September, are presently able to meet their basic food and nonfood needs.

    Pastoral conditions

    Despite a few cases of foot rot, local livestock herds are in more or less good physical condition. Pasture is abundant, animal watering holes are full, and current water levels are better than they were last year at this time. This good pasture and water availability has generated above-normal milk production levels in all agropastoral areas, which should last through the end of December. Between January and March 2013, milk production levels will be low.

    Markets and prices

    The Mangalmè market is supplied normally with food from markets in near-by villages (Eref, Chawir, and Baro), and cereal prices have been in decline since July. The current price of sorghum is 160 XAF/kg compared with 180 XAF/kg in July, and millet is selling for 200 XAF/kg compared with 280 XAF/kg in July. However, prices for both crops are well above prices during a normal year (78 XAF/kg for sorghum and 133 XAF/kg for millet).

    Assistance

    Assistance programs by humanitarian organizations in the Mangalmè area are continuing. These programs are designed to facilitate food access for very poor and poor households through general distributions of food aid and blanket feeding programs and to stimulate farming activities (rainfed, flood-recession, and market garden crops) through farm input distributions. These assistance programs are scheduled to stop by the end of November due to the new harvests.

    Food security situation

    Currently, cereal availability for very poor and poor households, as compared to last year at this time, is good. This is attributable to the beginning of harvests of crops grown in border irrigation schemes and of short-cycle crops in September, lower cereal market prices, and miscellaneous ongoing assistance programs. Food consumption by these households has significantly improved since July. This qualitative and quantitative improvement is reflected in the increase in the number of household meals consumed (three instead of two daily meals) and in the diversification of household food sources (early crops, food aid, wild vegetables, and milk). Due to these good conditions, this household group is currently in Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity and is not currently resorting to any coping strategies.

    Assumptions

    The most likely scenario in northern Guera for the October 2012 through March 2013 period is based on the following assumptions:

    • Household incomes: Poor households will have approximately seven percent higher than normal income levels during the outlook period, due to the growing seasonal demand for farm labor for berbéré (flood-irrigated sorghum) crops and due to intensified market garden activities and sales.
    • Food sources: The breakdown of different food sources will more or less be normal, though households will be much more reliant on their harvests which will slightly reducing their dependence on market purchases by 10 to 15 percent between October and January.
    • Food stocks: Food stock levels will begin to decline as of February, with households resorting to their usual livelihood strategies (sales of wood and straw, casual labor, sales of small animals, sales of crafts, and sales of wild plant products) to strengthen their purchasing power as they are become more dependent on the market. These livelihood strategies should function normally.
    • Markets and prices: The Mangalmè cereal market will be well-stocked due to intrazonal flows. Cereal prices, though remaining above-average, will decline between October and December because there will be low cereal demand from Batha due to the average to good harvests there. As demand increases between January and March, prices will rise slightly by three to five percent.
    • Locust situation: Reports from the field of a large presence of solitary mature winged locusts in the Batha region adjacent to Mangalmé department suggests continuing locust breeding activities in that area and an increasing locust population size. However, the locust situation is presently under control and with the locusts migrating towards northwestern Africa, there should be only minimal damage to crops.
    • Grain-eating birds: There are reports of a large concentration of grain-eating birds (Quelea quelea) in Guera. According to farmers interviewed in their fields, there was no major damage as of the beginning of the outlook period. There will be normal levels of crop damage from grain-eating birds between October and the end of November. 
    Most likely food security outcomes

    Thanks to the good growing season, households will begin rebuilding their cereal stocks as of October and will be able to meet their food needs from on-farm production through next February. The decline in cereal market prices during this period will give poor households better access to staple foods and households in this area will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity. 

    In general, the food security outlook for the Mangalmè area is good and most very poor and poor households are expected to be able to meet their food needs during the entire outlook period without resorting to coping strategies. However starting in February, households will need to rely on their usual livelihood strategies (ex. sales of wood and straw, casual labor, sales of small animals, sales of crafts, and sales of wild plant products ) to enable them to remain at Minimal/None (Phase 1 of the IPC 2.0) food insecurity.


    Events that Might Change the Outlook
    AreaEventImpact on food security outcomes
    NationalUnusually severe locust infestation
    • A reduction in pasture and milk availability
    • Difficulty rebuilding fodder reserves
    • Earlier than usual lean season for livestock
    • Food insecurity in pastoral areas
    Agropastoral livelihood zone (Guera)Unusually large swarms of grain-eating birds
    • Smaller harvests
    • Difficulty rebuilding household cereal stocks
    • Limited agricultural employment opportunities
    • Higher cereal prices

     

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, October 2012

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, October 2012

    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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