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Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Household food consumption in the Sahel deteriorates during the lean season

June 2018

June - September 2018

La zone pastorale et le nord de la zone agropastorale sont en phase 3. Une partie de la zone de maraichage à l'est est en phase 2, ainsi qu'une partie du sud du pays. La zone du lac est en phase 2! grâce à l'assistance humanitaire. Le reste du pays en pha

October 2018 - January 2019

La zone du lac est en phase 2! grâce à l'assistance humanitaire. Le reste du pays en phase 1.

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

  • Poor harvests in 2017–2018 in the Lac, Kanem, Barh el Gazel, Batha, Wadi Fira, Guéra and Hadjer Lamis regions have caused depletion of stocks earlier than usual. This has brought about an early lean season and prolonged dependence on the markets. Household incomes are below average due to the financial crisis, meaning that the consumption deficit cannot be covered.

  • The pastoral situation has suffered greatly owing to a scarcity of pasture in the regions of the Sahel. Animals are showing poor body condition, resulting in a significant drop in prices, which have fallen below average. This, in turn, has caused a deterioration in the terms of trade for livestock/cereals, limiting access to the market. The price of cereals remains relatively close to the average. 

  • Une assistance humanitaire en cours, vise à apporter une réponse aux déficits céréaliers enregistrés en 2017. Ces interventions pourraient durer quatre mois, de juin à septembre 2018, pour tout le Sahel à l’exception du Wadi Fira qui bénéficiera de cinq mois. Elles toucheront environ 379 016 bénéficiaires, classées en phase 3 et plus de l’IPC (Cadre Harmonisé, mars 2018).

  • Current humanitarian assistance is attempting to respond to the cereal deficits of 2017. The intervention is expected to last four months, from June to September 2018, for the entire Sahel region, except for Wadi Fira, where it will last for five months. It will reach an estimated 379,016 people classified as being in IPC Phase 3 and above (Cadre Harmonisé, March 2018).

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current Situation

Economic crisis: Chad is hugely dependent on petroleum resources. The economic and financial crisis began in late 2013/early 2014, following a fall in oil prices on the international market. Investments were pulled from projects that were under way (several construction sites, roads, buildings, etc.), resulting in a loss of job opportunities, a reduction in cash injections in rural areas, the lifting of subsidies on mechanical labor, an increase in transport costs, reduced wages for employees, and so on. The situation was exacerbated by security issues around Lake Chad, which brought exports of livestock to Nigeria to a halt.

Agricultural situation: certain areas in the south had their first rains in April, but the rain eased off in June. At the moment, most areas with high agricultural potential, such as the southwest of Mandoul, Nya Pende and Logone Occidental, are suffering due to the late arrival of the rainy season. Since the rainy season has only partially begun and rainfall is unevenly distributed, current sowing estimates are at a mere 10 to 15 percent, compared with 25 to 30 percent in a normal year. Sowing is continuing and should be completed by around mid-July.

Pastoral situation: the pastoral lean season, which started early due to the severe fodder deficits in 2017, has reached its peak in most regions, resulting in a deterioration of animal body conditions. This is impacting prices, which are continuing to fall, as is the income of pastoral households. Fresh grass has started to grow in Salamat and Guéra. In Barh el Gazel, livestock farmers are resorting to peanut cattle cake, hay and bran to make up for the scarcity of pasture. In Wadi Fira, the Project for Pastoral Reinforcement (PREPAS) is selling cattle cake at a subsidized rate of XAF 5,000 for a 70 kg sack (compared with XAF 12,500 on the market). Water is scarce and animals have to travel between five and ten kilometers to reach pastoral wells. In Lac region, livestock farmers are starting to return to island locations to avail of the lake water and lakeside pastures. In response to the pastoral crisis, the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS) is helping ten regions, through the subsidized sale of 35,000 sacks (each weighing 70 kg). As with PREPAS, each sack is being sold for XAF 5,000, compared with the market price of XAF 12,500.

Agricultural labor: the demand for agricultural labor is generally weaker than in a normal year due to the economic and financial crisis. Income from labor is therefore lower than normal. Owing to the crisis, the supply of labor is higher than in a normal year, resulting in a reduced day laborer wage in certain areas.

Population movement: the gradual return of seasonal migrants has begun in Guéra, Wadi Fira, Sila, Batha and Ouaddaï, as these areas prepare for the agricultural growing season.

Supply and availability of cereals: the principal markets continue to be stocked as in a normal year, even in regions that experienced significant deficits in 2017, with the exception of Lake Chad (Bol and Bagassola), where insecurity is affecting trade and markets, despite the current bolstering of stocks from hot off-season harvests. Market supplies of foodstuffs manufactured in Nigeria are slowing down and being diverted through Diffa, in Niger.

Demand for cereal products: this is falling, even in regions with poor availability, due to the economic crisis. Budget difficulties have prevented the replenishment of government food stocks in 2017–2018. This has contributed to an unusual fall in demand in areas with surpluses. Demand among traders and households has also dropped, following a reduction in their purchasing power and owing to low levels of incomes.

Cereal flows and prices: there has been a slight reduction in cereal flows from areas in surplus to those where production has fallen since the financial crisis began, due to a slump in sales. The mechanisms of the National Food Security Agency (ONASA) normally responsible for overseeing distribution of cereals have been drastically reduced. This year, lower cereal flows are not having a big impact on cereal prices, which have generally remained stable during this lean season. Most cereal markets witnessed a degree of stability in June, compared with the five-year average, including those in areas in deficit. This stability is mostly due to the ongoing economic and financial crisis, and the resultant poor demand.

Livestock prices: in spite of Ramadan (mid-May to Mid-June), livestock prices have remained low as a result of the economic crisis and lower demand from Nigeria. In June, the price of small ruminants remained low, at 55 and 47 percent below the average in the markets in Oum-Hadjer and Massenya, respectively.

Humanitarian assistance: a food assistance program lasting four to five months is currently under way in eight Sahelian regions (Batha, Barh el Gazel, Kanem, Lac, Guéra, Ouaddaï, Sila and Wadi Fira). The intervention comes in the wake of the cereal deficits recorded in 2017 and aims to provide a response during the lean agricultural season. In total, an estimated 379,016 people classified as being in IPC Phase 3 or above, according to the Cadre Harmonisé of March 2018, are benefiting from the program, which includes general food distribution, cash transfers and vouchers, as well as the distribution of nutritional supplements. The assistance will only cover a small number of targeted households, and will therefore not change the phase classification, except in the Lac region.

Current food situation: Kanem, Barh el Gazel, Nord Guéra (Mangalmé), Nord Hadjer Lamis (Dagana), Batha and Wadi Fira have seen early stock depletion and a fall in earnings. As a result, they can barely meet their own food requirements and are registering a consumption deficit, putting them in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). However, humanitarian assistance around Lake Chad is improving food security for households that are experiencing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity. There are also some isolated areas under pressure, such as Ouaddaï and Djourf Al Ahmar (Sila). This is due to highly difficult pastoral conditions, resulting in poor livestock body condition and thus lower prices. In the south of the country, parts of Moyen Chari, Mandoul and Tandjilé are experiencing lower food consumption, and households are not allowing themselves to spend money on certain non-food items. As a result, they are also facing Stressed outcomes. However, the other areas of the country remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity, thanks to good cereal harvests from the 2017–2018 growing season.

Assumptions

The most likely scenario for June 2018 to January 2019 is based on the following assumptions at the national level:

  • Climate forecasts for the 2018–2019 growing season: cumulative rainfall will be normal to slightly above average across the country (Source: National Meteorological Office). This is corroborated by the predictions of the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME)/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (Figure 1).
  • The 2018–2019 agricultural growing season: the early rains forecast and average water availability could result in rainfed, off-season and market garden crop harvests around average levels.
  • In most regions, food and income sources from own production will also be average.
  • Agricultural labor outlook: income from agricultural labor will be lower than average in the transhumance zone, during the period in question.
  • Outlook for pastoral resources and the movement of livestock: the early arrival of the rains could improve the regeneration of the grass cover and biomass from mid-June, naturally leading to a high conception rate and good milk availability from mid-August. Transhumant herders will return as usual, with a slightly early start.
  • Foodstuffs and livestock supply and demand and prices: the reduction in agricultural output at the national level in 2017–2018 is limiting supply on certain markets. Demand for dry cereals will remain low in the various markets, including in regions where there is a deficit, due to the economic crisis and the reduced purchasing power of both pastoral and agropastoral households, stemming from a reduction in livestock prices. In most markets, the price of cereals will be slightly higher than last year during the lean season, but stable or slightly lower than the five-year average. 
  • Prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) during the scenario period: according to the median GAM rate based on the historical series of Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) surveys from 2010 to 2016, which was between 10 and 15 percent, the nutritional situation will remain typical, but concerning at the national level from May to September 2018. Improved pasture and food availability from September, along with humanitarian interventions, will help maintain the nutritional situation at the national level (GAM of 10 to 15 percent).

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

For the period from June to September 2018, most poor households in the six regions (Lac, Kanem, Barh el Gazel, Guéra, Ouaddaï and Wadi Fira) – agropastoral and pastoral zones – will have exhausted their food stocks and, because of the pastoral crisis, will not have sufficient income to protect their livelihoods. They have already started adopting crisis strategies, such as selling unusually high numbers of animals at a particularly low price. These households may have just enough food and cash to cover their basic food requirements until mid-August. Their food consumption might improve slightly from mid-August onward, thanks to newly available food sources, therefore gradually progressing from Crisis to Stressed (IPC Phases 3 and 2) food insecurity.

In certain areas of the Sahel, such as Ouaddaï and Djourf Al Ahmar (Sila), and in the south of the country (part of the Moyen Chari, Mandoul and Tandjilé regions), difficult pastoral conditions, together with the depletion of stocks, will result in lower food consumption between June and August. Households are having difficulties to afford certain non-food items and are therefore under pressure. In the Lac region, humanitarian assistance will improve food security. Households will experience Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity. The other areas of the country will remain at Minimal (IPC Phase 1), thanks to good stock levels.

For the period from October 2018 to January 2019: with the rainfed harvests expected in October and an improvement in the pastoral situation, poor and very poor households will be able to cover their basic food and non-food needs without employing any adaptation strategies or experiencing a livelihood protection deficit. Their food consumption will be normal, resulting in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity in all livelihood zones except for Lake Chad, due to the conflict and the presence of displaced persons there.

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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