Remote Monitoring Report

Security conditions disrupt the agricultural season

May 2014
2014-Q2-1-1-CF-en

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

  • Many households have lost their food stocks as a result of damage inflicted by the conflict or population displacements. Most poor and displaced households in conflict areas are unable to meet their basic needs due to their unusually heavy market-dependence for their food supplies and below-average incomes and, thus, are facing Crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3).

  • Households in conflict areas have planted smaller areas in crops this year due to 1) limited access to their fields resulting from the ongoing conflict, 2) critical shortages of seeds, farm implements, and farm inputs, and 3) continuing population displacements. This is likely to translate into below-average crop production levels for the 2014/15 season.

  • Ongoing programs by humanitarian agencies across the country are helping to ease the crisis conditions faced by certain groups of households. However, the repeated acts of aggression and attacks perpetrated against these organizations are forcing them to suspend or scale back their humanitarian operations.

ZONE

CURRENT ANOMALIES

PROJECTED ANOMALIES

National

Below-average earnings from most income sources

Persistent below-average incomes will limit the food access of poor households.

Shortages of seeds and farm inputs

Below-average levels of crop production for 2014/2015, with fewer on-farm employment opportunities and less wage income for poor households in rural areas between May and September

Official closure of the border between the CAR and Chad in May, except for Chadian repatriates, restricting population movements into Chad

The border will remain closed for the next few months on account of the continuing security problems in the CAR.

Civil insecurity impedes humanitarian operations

Civil security problems will continue to hamper humanitarian programs across the country. This will limit the ability of international forces to deploy assistance.

Ouham, Ouham Pendé,

and Kémo

Atypical decline in cross-border trade flows from Chad due to the closure of the border and the continuing conflict in border areas

Poorer than usual food availability on local markets

Limited staple food access for most poor households

 

Projected outlook through September 2014

Though civil security conditions are comparatively more stable than in the past few months, they are still marked by repeated attacks and acts of violence in the Bangui area and the northwestern and central-western reaches of the country (Ouham, Ouham Pendé, Kémo, and Ouaka), in a climate of crime and ethnic tensions. This is continuing to trigger population displacements and is forcing certain households into refugee camps around the country. According to UNOCHA estimates as of May 7th of this year, there were a total of approximately 567,600 displaced persons in the Central African Republic, concentrated largely in Bangui and Ouham. The civil conflict is restricting their movements and limiting their income-generating activities and food access.

The rainy season, which got off to a normal start in March/April, is still ongoing. Rainfall levels and the distribution of rainfall are more or less normal, except in a part of the east close to South Sudan, which has been receiving well above-average rainfall levels (Figure 1). Forecasts for the rainy season (ECMWF, IRI) are showing no major anomalies and FEWS NET is predicting an average rainy season.

However, large numbers of households in conflict areas where crop planting activities got underway in April/May have planted smaller areas in crops this year due to 1) their limited access to their fields as a result of the continuing conflict, 2) critical shortages of seeds, farm implements, and farm inputs, and 3) continuing population displacements. This is likely to translate into below-average levels of regional and national crop production for the 2014/15 season. While households in these areas are engaged in income-generating activities, such as market gardening, casual labor, land clearing work, farm labor, and petty trade, their sources of income are more limited and less diversified than usual and are not allowing them to earn enough to maintain adequate food access on local markets to meet their needs.

For southern areas of the country less affected by the civil conflict (except for areas in and around Bangui), preparations for the upcoming growing season are continuing as usual and regular sources of income are providing normal incomes for poor households.

The stabilization of civil security conditions has helped bolster the gradual revival of business activities and trade flows from domestic and cross-border markets in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Bangui. As a result, food supplies on most markets have improved since March compared with supply levels in January/February, helping to stabilize prices for maize and cassava on the Bangui market between March and April. However, security conditions on roads leading to Chad, as well as Kémo and Ouham (Figure 2), are still volatile and have been sharply limiting trade flows. This triggered recent sharp price increases on certain markets in rural areas, such as the steep 30 percent jump in the price of cassava in Ouham between March and April. However, prices for both cassava and maize on the Bangui and Ouham markets are down from April 2013 by more than 20 percent due to the decline in demand with the weak purchasing power of local households and continuing humanitarian assistance programs for poor and displaced households. This suggests that household food access is still very limited since, even with these lower prices, households still do not have enough cash with which to buy adequate food supplies on local markets.

Humanitarian assistance efforts continue, particularly in Bangui and rural areas of the country, to prepare for the upcoming growing season and to help displaced households maintain their food intake. Close to 200,000 beneficiaries received food assistance from WFP in April in the form of resettlement rations, school meals, and special nutrients for children suffering from malnutrition or hospitalized in pediatrics wards. FAO is also in the process of distributing seeds for the growing season already in progress. However, the repeated acts of aggression and attacks perpetrated against humanitarian organizations are causing them to scale back or suspend their operations, as in the case of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which lost three staff members at the Boguila hospital on April 26th.

In spite of ongoing humanitarian assistance programs, food security conditions in Bangui and the northwestern and central-western areas of the country will remain precarious. Households in these areas will face food consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity throughout the lean season. However, with the first harvests in July in the south and in October in the north, the consumption of vegetables and other early crops could help ease the severity of the crisis. Even so, large numbers of households whose below-average incomes will prevent them from engaging in essential nonfood spending will continue to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), particularly poor and displaced households in conflict areas.

About Remote Monitoring

In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work 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 28 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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