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Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

The food security situation is improving, but pastoral conditions are disrupted

October 2017

October 2017 - January 2018

February - May 2018

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The national cereal production – expected to be average at approximately three million metric tons, and the seasonal decline in cereal prices will lead to an improvement in food access and food consumption of poor households. Except for the 131,000 residents of the Lac region (Source: UNHCR) facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity outcomes due to the conflict, the rest of the country will continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through January 2018. 

  • The replenished stocks from ongoing harvests will help households until the lean season (May 2018), except in certain areas affected by dry spells with low cereal production, where food stocks will be depleted by February or March of 2018. 

  • Pasture resources are insufficient to meet livestock needs through next March-April, as in a normal year, due to localized dry spells. Thus, the lean season for pastoral populations (in Wadi Fira, Batha, Bahr-El-Gazel (BEG), Kanem, and Lac) will get off to an early start, by February, due to the deterioration of pasture conditions. Seasonal herd movements by transhumant livestock started in September instead of November. 

  • The floods in Moyen Chari and Mandoul departments have affected 4,200 households, destroying close to 12,778 hectares of crops (Source: ANADER (National Rural Development Agency), Moyen Chari, September 20, 2017) and reducing yields of millet and sorghum. On the other hand, these floods are helping livestock (body condition and milk production) and creating good growing season conditions for off-season crops (berbéré and market garden crops). 

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current situation

Agropastoral conditions

According to National Rural Development Agency (ANADER) technicians, with the higher cumulative rainfall totals as of September 30th in most regions of the country compared with last year, well above the historical (1981-2010) average, ongoing harvests of rainfed crops will yield near-average levels of cereal production However, the Sahelian zone has been particularly hard hit by dry spells, mainly in the Kanem, Lac, Wadi Fira, Batha, Hadjer Lamis, and BEG areas. In contrast, production levels in other regions such as Salamat and Logone Occidental are expected to outstrip the five-year average by at least approximately five to 10 percent.

The plentiful rainfall in the Sudanian zone created major river flooding problems, particularly in Mandoul and Moyen Chari, reducing maize and sorghum production in Mandoul and sorghum yields in Moyen Chari. There are also reports of floods in Tandjilé and Mayo-Kebbi Est, but there are still no signs of major crop losses. This flooding in plain and lowland areas is creating good growing conditions for off-season crops (berbéré and market garden crops), which could bolster stocks of rainfed crops and household incomes. The transplanting of berbéré crops in the Baguirmi, Haraze Al–Biar, Mayo Kebbi Est, Chari, and Dagana areas continues. Farmers have planted smaller areas in food crops in general and cereal crops in particular on account of the flooding problems, the higher cost of labor, and the late payments for cotton crops. Thus, the size of harvestable areas is down from 2016.

Phytosanitary conditions are generally stable, with a few isolated pockets of armyworm infestations reported in Chari Baguirmi and the Lac region, which are nowhere near warning levels. The presence of pearl millet head miners in Wayi department in the Lac region has disrupted the harvests of certain farmers in that area.

Pastoral conditions 

Supplies of fresh grasses and crop residues are responsible for the current adequate pasture availability. However, existing supplies of pasture will last only through February, after which there will be shortages in certain pastoral areas such as Kanem, Lac, Wadi Fira, BEG, Hadjer Lamis, and Batha. There are reports of earlier than usual herd movements to southern areas of the country. With the massive influx of herds from the Central African Republic and with Chadian returnees, overgrazing problems and pasture deficits could trigger ethnic conflicts in receiving areas for transhumant pastoralists and their livestock (Mandoul, Moyen Chari, Logone Oriental, and Salamat). In spite of the current near-average availability of pasture, most transhumant pastoralists left their home bases in the month of September to head south.

Farm labor 

There is currently a high seasonal demand for farm labor for the intensive harvesting of cereal, oilseed, and tuber crops prompted by the early departure of transhumant herds and the reported presence of crop pests, particularly grain-eating birds (in Batha Ouest) and armyworm (in Chari Baguirmi). Ninety-five percent of pearl millet crops in the BEG and Kanem areas have already been harvested, except for crops whose growth cycle has been delayed still in the maturation stage. There are ongoing harvests of peanut and cowpea in all crop-producing areas and these crops have already made it to market. Most day laborers are being paid in kind on account of the poor economic conditions in the country. In the Lac region, for example, workers in the maize harvest are receiving 12 kg of maize as in-kind wages for a day’s work, the equivalent of approximately 2,000 CFA francs, which is considered a normal rate of pay. This in-kind mode of payment is a disincentive to engaging in farm labor. In the past, workers were attracted by the idea of being paid partly in cash and partly in kind to enable them to cover some of their expenses.

Agricultural markets 

Compared with the lean season, cereal markets are starting to have large supplies of crops from ongoing harvests. Demand for cereal is picking up slowly with the country in the throes of an economic crisis, except in food-short areas where there is a continued strong demand for the rebuilding of cereal stocks. There is a normal flow of food trade in all parts of the country with the exception of the Lac region, where strict security measures continue to restrict the movement of people and goods. Flooding problems are impeding access to certain secondary markets in Tandjilé. Prices for locally grown crops are falling, in line with normal seasonal trends.

Livestock markets 

There is a larger than average local supply of animals with the slowdown in cross-border livestock trade with Nigeria. This glut is steadily driving down prices on rural markets across-the-board. This trend is noteworthy and involves mainly prices for small ruminants.

Humanitarian assistance  

Chad is harboring 405,844 refugees, returnees, and DPs (Source: UNOCHA, September 2017). The Lake Chad area has been especially affected by recent population movements involving 133,500 people, creating more than 8,500 refugees and 127,000 IDPs. These people are receiving blanket distributions of food rations (DGV) and nonfood assistance (NFI). The WFP and its partners are providing another form of assistance through cash transfer programs. In this regard, the WFP, supported by its partners, is making monthly payments of 6,500 CFA francs per household to families in need. There are also nutritional assistance programs for pregnant and breast-feeding women and children under five years of age.

Current food security situation

The generally average harvests of rainfed crops, combined with good milk availability, and average levels of income from wage labor, are improving the food access and food consumption of poor households, which, with the sole exception of those in the Lake Chad area, are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. In spite of the continued civil security problems engendered by the conflict with Boko Haram, the smaller cereal harvest (for maize and millet), and the market disruptions and disruption of local livelihoods, the situation of poor households in the Lake Chad area is improving, putting them in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of food insecurity. These households are unable to meet certain nonfood expenses (such as tuition and health care costs).

Assumptions

The most likely scenario for October 2017 through May 2018 is based on the following assumptions with respect to nationwide conditions:

  • Agro-climatic conditions: The rainy season will end on schedule. In addition to the 12,778 hectares currently under water, there are other areas at risk of flooding, particularly in Mandoul and Moyen Chari, which will reduce crop yields for the current growing season. The growing season in pastoral areas will also end on schedule, with consistently below-average levels of pasture production in most of the pastoral zone, especially in Hadjer Lamis, BEG, Kanem, Batha, Guera, and Wadi Fira.
  • Insects and other pests: There is a high likelihood of very sporadic insect infestations during the harvesting period, causing limited damage to crops. The grain-eating bird situation, which is currently stable in all parts of the country, could become a source of concern in Guera (Abtouyour department) with the maturation and ongoing harvests of pearl millet crops in that area. This could reduce crop yields and production. Sorghum crops in the Djaya area (in northern Abtouyour) are threatened by the presence of grain-eating birds, which could continue to cause damage to these crops through the month of November.

  • Farm labor: There should be a larger than usual supply of labor for the harvest of rainfed crops in the Sudanian zone (between October and January) with the floods in that area and the downsizing of areas planted in cotton by approximately 38 percent. Affected farmers will be forced to engage in wage labor to make up for their losses. On the other hand, the losses of cropping areas due to flooding problems will reduce the demand for labor. There should be a large supply of labor for market gardening activities in the second half of the outlook period with the losses of areas planted in rainfed crops and the attraction of cotton farmers unable to produce a large enough crop. There will be a normal supply of labor for the growing of rainfed and off-season crops in the Sahel. However, there will be less demand, with farmers resorting to family labor for the harvesting of their crops, which, in the past, would require them to hire seasonal workers.

  • The persistent economic crisis in Chad for more than two years has reduced household incomes with the layoffs of workers by large local enterprises (COTONTCHAD, Compagnie Sucrière du Tchad, etc.) and the shutdown of roadwork projects and construction projects for government and private buildings. The crisis could impact household livelihoods and households will continue to have less purchasing power than usual.
  • Supply and demand 
    • Local supply of crops and livestock: There will be normal food supply for the first half of the outlook period from the latest cereal harvests. As of March, there will be normal market supply from harvests of berbéré (off-season sorghum) crops and the large trader inventories and food stocks maintained by ONASA (the National Food Security Agency), which could be placed on the market. There will be an above-normal supply of livestock for the entire outlook period with the closure of the country’s border with Nigeria. This will keep prices and pastoral incomes below-average.
    • Demand for cereals and livestock: The good levels of cereal stocks will stabilize cereal demand during the first half of the outlook period. There will be a slight seasonal rise in demand in Mandoul and Moyen Chari between February and May 2018, driven by the flooding problems reducing crop yields. There will be a small boost in domestic demand for livestock with the year-end holiday season in the first half of the outlook period and, again, in May, during Ramadan. However, they will be short-lived, with the closure of the country’s border with Nigeria keeping demand lower than usual.
  • Household and institutional food stocks: There will be normal levels of food stocks from ongoing harvests of rainfed crops in most farming areas during the first half of the outlook period, except in areas showing signs of cereal deficits (southern Kanem and BEG, northern Batha, Lac, and Wadi Fira), where food stocks could be depleted by February – March 2018. The rest of the country will have average food stocks meeting household food consumption needs through May 2018. In spite of its financial worries, there will be a normal annual reconstitution of national food security stocks by the country’s National Food Security Agency (ONASA) from a near-average volume of national crop production. Institutional procurements could begin early in the second half of the outlook period (in February 2018).
  • Pasture resources and herd movements: There is currently a below-average availability of pasture resources in the Kanem, Lac, BEG, Hadjer Lamis, Batha, and Wadi Fira regions. As a result, the lean season in pastoral areas will begin earlier than usual (by the end of February instead of April in Batha and by the end of December instead of March in Wadi Fira). Pasture deficits could start to affect the physical condition of livestock by March 2018. This will weaken terms of trade for livestock – cereals in April and May. This regression in terms of trade will affect most markets in pastoral and agropastoral areas, weakening the purchasing power of pastoral and agropastoral households and limiting their food access. As usual, pastoralists are at their regular bases between Ouaddaï and the Wadi-Fira region and BET. They began their seasonal migration southwards two months earlier than usual. 
  • Harvest prospects for rainfed and off-season crops: The good rainfall and streamflow conditions will ensure the good growth and development of rainfed and off-season (berbéré) crops at the ground level. As far as harvest prospects for rainfed crops are concerned, the outlook for the 2017/2018 growing season is for near-average levels of production in most parts of the country, with a limited volume of production in southern areas affected by flooding problems destroying fields and food stocks. The last rains of the season are increasing soil moisture, creating good conditions for berbéré crop production. There will be average levels of food and income from market gardening activities and flood recession crops in most livelihood zones with the exception of the Lac region.

  • Trends in the nutritional situation: Admissions to treatment centers for malnutrition dropped between May and July 2017 in practically all parts of the country. Harvests of early crops in August and September and the main harvest between October and December are helping to improve food access and food consumption. There could be a further improvement in the nutritional situation in the first half of the outlook period. By February, the depletion of food stocks in certain areas and uptick in respiratory infections during the cold season could start to drive up admissions numbers. According to the UNOCHA (September 19, 2017), the nutritional situation across the country is a continuing source of concern, with nearly 250,000 children expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2018, putting the SAM rate at 16.4 percent (Source: Direction de la Nutrition et de la Technologie Alimentaire/Office of Nutrition and Food Technology).

Price trends

  • Millet prices: Seasonal prices for millet in Abéché will be below the five-year average (8 to 15 percent) between October and December, driven down by the ongoing harvests. This price drop will be short-lived, with prices beginning to stabilize in January and starting to move upwards as of February. They will continue to steadily rise through the end of the outlook period, peaking in March at 13 percent above the five-year average.

  • Sorghum prices: Sorghum prices in Mongo will be stable for practically the entire outlook period with the expected good harvests of rainfed and off-season (flood recession sorghum) crops.

  • Maize prices: There will be a steady seasonal decline in maize prices in Bol through the month of November, driven by the ongoing harvests providing a generally average supply of maize crops. However, this will be followed by a moderate seasonal rise in prices between December and February to levels above last year’s numbers and the five-year average. Maize prices could peak in December 2017 (at 190 CFAF/kg, compared with 170 CFAF/kg in an average year) with the expected institutional procurements by ONASA in December.

  • Sesame prices: There will be an atypical decline in sesame prices in Moundou, driven by the good levels of carry-over inventories and the expected good harvests of these crops.

Most likely food security outcomes

Between October and January, there will be available food stocks from ongoing harvests of rainfed crops and carry-over inventories from 2016. A demand for labor generating normal levels of income during the first half of the outlook period will provide very poor and poor households in farming areas with food access during this period. Households in pastoral areas will also benefit from the availability of milk and dairy products and good prices for their livestock with the improvement in their body condition. Most farming and pastoral households with the exception of those in the Lac region, will be capable of meeting their basic food and nonfood needs without resorting to atypical coping strategies. Accordingly, they will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through January 2018. On the other hand, the ongoing conflict will disrupt sources of income for local populations in the Lake Chad area and area markets. Their intensified use of strategies such as ramping up their sales of wood and borrowing will put them in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcome.

Between February and May, households with very small cereal crops (in Kanem, BEG, Batha, North Guera, Hadjer Lamis, Wadi Fira, Moyen Chari, Mandoul, and East Tandjilé) could deplete their food stocks by February/March 2018 and start to become market-dependent. With the fewer available agricultural and non-agricultural employment opportunities (due to the country’s current economic crisis), most households in these areas will be forced to forego certain nonessential expenditures on their children’s education or health services, for example. They will intensify their use of strategies such as the sale of wood and charcoal or migration to the capital (N’Djamena) or other large cities. Their situation is expected to deteriorate into Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes through May 2018. Households in the Lake Chad area are an exception and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) even with humanitarian assistance. 

About Scenario Development

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.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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