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Good rains improve the food situation in agropastoral areas

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Chad
  • October 2019 - May 2020
Good rains improve the food situation in agropastoral areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In the absence of assistance, nearly 200,000 people would currently be experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity. Displaced persons from Lake Chad are most vulnerable. The situation in Tibesti could deteriorate at any time. Food insecurity in these areas is primarily due to conflicts which have led to limited food availability and poor employment opportunities. However, assistance to the Lac region is helping to alleviate this situation.

    • The 2019/2020 agropastoral growing season began slightly early in Chad. However, the western Sahel regions experienced dry spells of between 10 and 15 days. Preliminary results from the agricultural survey estimate cereal production at around 3 million tons. This is above the five-year average (+8.7 percent).

    • The latest harvests are building up residual stocks and will enable poor households to hold on until May 2020, except in certain areas affected by dry spells such as Kanem, Barh El Gazel, Wadi Fira, Moyen-Chari, Mandoul and Logone Occidental. These areas have recorded low per capita cereal production and stocks can only cover between three and eight months on average.

    • The results of the 2019 Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) survey show that the situation remains a concern at the national level and in some regions. Of the 23 regions nationwide, 18 are in an alarming situation, nine of which are in emergency situations with global acute malnutrition (GAM) above 15 percent, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) classification. The results also show that the nutritional situation has worsened in the southern regions.


    Current Situation

    Agriculture: The good rains recorded from June to October were average to above average and have contributed to crop development. Cereal harvests are above average and improving the consumption of poor households that experienced food difficulties during the lean season. Stock levels are sufficient for poor households in most regions to meet their needs until the beginning of the lean season, with the exception of areas that have recorded low cereal production, such as Kanem, Barh El Gazel, Hadjer-Lamis, Sila and Mandoul. However, excessive rains in October affected almost 19,600 households in Mandoul and Moyen-Chari. In total, more than 200,000 hectares of crops were destroyed by flooding (source: Southern Zone Food Security Sub-Cluster). This situation remains a concern for these households, which continue to face food difficulties during the lean season.

    Agricultural markets: With the exception of conflict zones (Lake Chad and Tibesti), most markets are operating with above-average supplies of sorghum, pearl millet, maize and local rice, among others. Imports of rice and manufactured food products such as macaroni and spaghetti have declined due to import restrictions, as well as the state of emergency covering the Ouaddaï, Sila and Tibesti regions followed by closures of the borders with Sudan, Libya and the Central African Republic. However, demand for local and imported products is low due to good harvests. Prices for local basic food products are falling in almost all regions of the country, with the exception of Tibesti. For example, the price of pearl millet is 20 to 50 percent below the five-year average in all markets monitored, except Tibesti. The prices of imported products are slightly above the five-year average in most markets.

    Pastoral conditions and livestock markets: Cumulative rainfall by 30 September, estimated to be average or above average, has led to improved pastoral conditions and water availability. Semi-permanent ponds continue to retain 80 to 90 percent of their capacity, which is slightly higher than in a normal year. Animals travel short distances ranging from 1 to 3 kilometers to reach agropastoral areas for watering, and from 3 to 5 kilometers in pastoral areas; these distances are typical for this time of year. Some transhumant farmers observed between Ngouri and Massakory in September are starting their descent to the Hadjer-Lamis area, where they will stop for a while before continuing their migration to the south of the country, which is typical at this time of year. The animals are in good physical condition. With pasture and water nearby, milk availability is improving, resulting in lower prices for and access to milk. The downward trend in livestock prices observed over several years has begun to stabilize in some markets in recent months, and even to increase in others.

    Agricultural labor: The availability of agricultural labor is slightly above average due to the planted areas (in the Sahel area and in the south), which are slightly (2–3 percent) larger than the five-year average. For example, many able workers are moving from Kanem to Lake Chad for the maize harvest, more than in a normal year. Payment is often made in kind, at a rate of up to 12.5 kilograms per 100-kilogram bag. In addition, income from this cash-based activity allows poor households to buy cereals to meet their minimum food needs.

    Humanitarian assistance: The number of people facing food insecurity and in need of food assistance at the national level has fallen to around 230,000, a 60 percent decrease compared with the peak lean season (August 2019).

    Nutrition: Nationwide, 18 of the 23 regions are in an alarming situation, nine of which are in an emergency with GAM above 15 percent, according to the results of the SMART 2019 National Nutrition Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and its partners between July and August 2019. The same results show that, at the national level, GAM prevalence is 12.9 percent (12.1–13.7) compared with 13.5 percent in 2018. This explains why the nutritional situation in Chad is stagnant and has not changed much overall. However, GAM prevalence decreased slightly in Ouaddaï, Wadi Fira, Batha, Hadjer-Lamis, Kanem, and Ennedi-Ouest. The southern regions are beginning to experience malnutrition, which is atypical. The situation is becoming very difficult for the Sahel regions. Levels are critical (15.0 to 23.9 percent) among livestock farmers and agropastoralists, and serious in the pastoral zone of Ennedi-Est (23.9 percent).

    Current food security: Thanks to good ongoing harvests, good residual stock levels, income from agricultural labor and good milk availability, most households in agricultural, agropastoral and pastoral areas are able to meet their basic food and non-food needs and are not facing acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Lac region continue to receive food assistance to meet their basic food needs. However, they cannot commit themselves to non-food expenditure due to the disruption of their livelihoods following conflicts and are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity. In Tibesti, despite ongoing conflicts, households are under pressure regarding their food situation (IPC Phase 2) due to low incomes and very high prices. The nutrition situation at the national level appears to have stabilized compared with the last two years, although with high prevalence in conflict areas.


    The most-likely scenario for October 2019 to May 2020 is based on the following assumptions at the national level:

    • Agroclimatology: Agricultural production is expected to be higher than normal thanks to the early start to the season and to increases in areas planted with cereals.
    • Phytosanitary situation: Reports of armyworm attacks are likely to remain low, with little impact on crops. In addition, small-scale locust reproduction is expected in northern areas, resulting in a slight increase in numbers. However, significant development of the desert locust in the region is not expected.
    • Rainfed harvest forecasts and prospects for off-season (berbéré) harvests in 2019/2020: Harvests are generally expected to be good and around average compared with cereal production levels in 2018/2019, and above the national five-year average. However, reductions compared with the five-year average could occur in Kanem and Barh El Gazel due to dry spells at the start of the growing season. Between February and May, households in Barh El Gazel and Kanem are likely to experience very low stocks and are therefore likely to start relying on purchases. The dry growing season is expected to be better than usual for the berbéré thanks to heavy rains in October, despite flooding on some plains. In rice-growing areas along the Chari River, rice sowing is expected to occur as usual in January and February.

    • Market availability and supply: An atypical increase in supply is expected with the October/November harvests and carryover stocks in almost all zones, except Tibesti. Given the evolving security environment, a decrease in the availability of imported products from Libya and Sudan is likely throughout the scenario period.

    • Demand for food (institutional purchases) and livestock: Overall, demand is set to be below average in almost all regions except Kanem and Barh El Gazel, where an increase is expected as a result of the depletion of stocks from February onwards, and then Wadi Fira, Moyen-Chari and Logone Occidental at the end of the analysis period (late May). Institutional demand is likely to be lower than normal due to financial difficulties.

    • Livestock supply is expected to be limited in conflict zones (Lac and Tibesti) and in areas where a state of emergency has been declared, including Ouaddaï, Sila and Tibesti.

    • Pastoral resources, transhumance and the physical condition of livestock: The physical condition of livestock and the availability of milk could improve until December/January thanks to good availability of water and pasture in pastoral areas. However, in western Chad, particularly in Kanem and Barh El Gazel, fodder shortages could be observed for the second consecutive year, leading to early transhumance. 
      Conflicts and population displacement: The receding of Lake Chad’s waters from February or March is expected to lead to a renewed upsurge in incursions by Boko Haram, with some isolated incidents that could limit fish farming activities. This would prompt people to move to dry land (between Bol and Bagassola) with the rest of their livestock.

    • GAM trend (SMART surveys): The availability of crops and other food products (milk, market garden products) is likely to produce an improvement in the nutritional situation between October 2019 and January 2020 in most areas of the country, with the exception of conflict zones (Lac and Tibesti). Between February and May 2020, a relative deterioration in the nutritional situation could be observed due to population movements, particularly in the Lac region. The presence of diseases such as measles is expected to increase the number of people suffering from malnutrition in areas affected by these infections.

    • Food sources for poor households (areas of concern and Sahel): The main sources of food for poor households in Barh El Gazel, Kanem and Hadjer-Lamis – their own harvests – are expected to cover needs between October 2019 and January 2020, as in normal years. Between February and May, poor households in Barh El Gazel and Kanem are likely to see their stocks depleted early and they will begin to rely on purchases.

    • Price trends: Current trends are below average for all cereals except imported rice, which is expected to see a significant increase over the previous year. However, the Tibesti market is likely to maintain an upward trend until at least May 2020 due to limited flows. Livestock prices are also likely to fall, with the exception of camels, which are expected to see an increase over the previous year.

    • Food assistance: Food assistance targeting displaced households around Lake Chad is available for implementation throughout the scenario. In view of ongoing profiling to categorize people requiring assistance, assistance is planned, funded and likely to cover even the 25,300 newly displaced persons until May 2020.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Between October and January: At the national level, the supply of agricultural labor is likely to remain at typical levels throughout the rainfed harvest period. With good harvests and adequate residual stocks, relatively stable and below-average prices, and normal income levels, it is expected that the majority of households will not experience food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) until at least January 2020. On the other hand, most households in Tibesti that are in conflict zones and dependent on purchases due to low incomes may be able to cover their food needs, but will not be able to afford certain non-food expenditures and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In the Lac region, displaced households manage to cover almost all of their food needs through assistance, fisheries products and purchases. These displaced persons are likely to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity thanks to assistance.

    Between February and May, households with low cereal production (Kanem and Barh El Gazel) could deplete their stocks from January, barely in line with a normal year, and will start to depend on markets. Households are likely to be limited in their ability to access basic non-food items and will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity from February. IDPs in the Lac region are expected to depend largely on assistance but will not be able to cover certain expenses with their low income. Thanks to assistance, they are likely to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity. Households in Tibesti depend on the food market and are likely to be able to purchase adequate food to meet minimum requirements thanks to income from gold mining, transportation and remittances. However, they are unlikely to be able to meet certain non-food expenses, despite their very limited strategies. In addition, a relatively large number of poor and very poor households in Kanem, Barh El Gazel and Hadjer-Lamis are expected to resort to negative strategies to support their food needs and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity during this period, without changing the classification of the zone as a whole.

    Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario.



    Impact on food security outcomes


    Heavy rains in November in the Sudan region

    Loss of cereal and cash crops stored in fields and flooding of the plains for berbéré replanting are expected to reduce household food availability. This would increase their dependence on the market and tip some locations in the Sudan region into Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity.

    Deterioration of conflicts in Libya

    The slowdown in cross-border trade with Libya would reduce food availability at the national level and raise prices. This would increase the number of households that are Stressed and in Crisis (IPC Phases 2 and 3).

    Figures Le sud du pays présente peu de jours sans pluie, tandis que la bande sahélienne présente des conditions plus sèches.

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    Le prix du maïs à Abéché présente des prix inférieurs à la moyenne.

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    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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