Food Security Outlook Update

The availability of harvests and animal products help improve food security

November 2013
2013-Q4-1-1-TD-fr

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

  • Cereal production for the 2013-2014 growing season is up 12 percent compared to the five-year average. However, despite of this overall gain, certain regions (Kanem, Wadi-Fira, Barh-El Ghazel, and Hajer Lamis) have been reporting large production shortfalls of approximately 50 percent due to a late start-of-season, poor rainfall distribution, and an earlier than normal end to the rainy season.

  • Ongoing cereal harvests, together with the availability of dairy products and market garden crops, are bolstering food stocks and are improving food security. Affordable food prices are also making cereals accessible to market dependant households. Under these conditions, most very poor households are able to meet their basic food needs and, thus, will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least December 2013.

  • However between January and March 2014, households in the North Ouara, Wadi–Fira, Kanem, Barh-El Ghazel, Hadjer Lamis, North Guera, and North Batha regions will be more dependent than usual on market purchases. This, along with atypically high food prices, will make food access more difficult. As a result, poor households will likely face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes during this period.

  • During the peak of the 2014 lean season (June to September), households in Wadi–Fira and Barh-El Ghazel will likely face food consumption gaps. During this time, acute food security outcomes are expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels.

Current situation

  • 2013-2014 crop production: The growing season continues with harvesting and threshing activities, primarily for coarse cereals, as well as off-season farming activities for market garden and berbéré or flood-recession sorghum crops. Cereal production for this growing season is estimated at 2,561,605 metric tons based on the results of farm surveys conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (

    MAI) and the joint CILSS/WFP/FAO/MAI/FEWS NET pre-harvest assessment mission. This national production estimate represents a 12 percent increase compared to the five-year average but a 19 percent decrease compared to last year’s levels. In the Sudanian zone, cereal production has increased 35 percent compared to the five-year average due to good rainfall conditions and a 15 percent increase in land area planted in cereals this year compared to average. On the other hand, in the Sahelian zone, cereal production is similar to average (+1 percent), with pockets of large production shortfalls (of approximately 50 percent) in Kanem, Wadi-Fira, Barh-El Ghazel, and Hajer Lamis. These localized deficits are due to poor spatial-temporal distribution of rainfall and an unusually short rainy season in affected areas. Income levels from farm labor are average in the Sudanian zone, but are below-average in the Sahelian zone.

  • Pastoral conditions: In general, pastoral conditions are still rather good compared to normal. However, animal grazing and watering conditions in localized areas of the Sahelian zone are deteriorating due to an earlier than usual end of the rainy season. With the normal availability of animal products, agropastoral households are currently able to diversify their food and income sources. Nevertheless, there are reports of earlier than usual herd movements by transhumant livestock towards the Sudanian zone due to pasture shortages and the premature drying up of seasonal lakes and ponds in livestock-receiving areas. These early movements could trigger disputes between farmers and transhumant pastoralists and could potentially cause damage to crops that are not yet harvested.
  • Markets and prices: Business on cereal markets is currently brisk with regular shipments of newly harvested crops ensuring adequate cereal availability. This good market supply has stabilized prices since October and, in certain localized areas, has caused prices to decrease. Sorghum prices, for example, have dropped nine percent in N’Djamena, 36 percent in Abéché, and 18 percent in Sarh since October 2013. Meanwhile, compared to the five-year average, prices are seven percent above-average in N’Djamena and similar to the average in Abéché and Sarh. Current price levels are further strengthening cereal access for very poor households.
  • Population movements: Seasonal labor migration by residents of certain regions of the Sahelian zone (Wadi-Fira, Ouara, and Kanem) to large urban areas is beginning two months earlier than usual. This atypical migration pattern is attributable to fewer post-harvest employment opportunities in this part of the zone this year. As a result, wage income levels in urban areas will be slightly below-average as the larger numbers of migrant workers increase competition for available job opportunities.

Updated assumptions

The current situation has not affected most of the assumptions used by FEWS

NET in establishing the most likely food security scenario for October 2013 through March 2014. However, the following assumption has been updated:

  • Crop production: Cereal production at the national-level will exceed the five-year average. However, there will be numerous areas with production shortfalls in the Sahelian zone and surpluses in the Sudanian zone.

Projected outlook through March 2014

The current food security situation is relatively stable due to the good availability of cereals, market garden crops, and, in certain localized areas, fish products. Most households are currently living off their on-farm production and price levels are helping to improve food access for very poor, market-dependent households. The availability of animal products is also accounting for a sizable share of food and income for agropastoral households. At a national level, household food availability is currently adequate and sufficiently diversified and should remain so through December (and through February/March 2014 in the Sudanian zone). With most very poor and poor households able to meet their basic food and nonfood needs, current acute food security analyses show that all parts of the country are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

However, food stocks in the North Ouara, Wadi–Fira, Kanem, Barh-El Ghazel, Hadjer Lamis, North Guera, and North Batha regions will begin to deplete in January (one to two months earlier than normal) due to cereal production shortfalls, causing local households to be much more dependent on market purchases than usual. Moreover, an atypical rise in cereal prices during this period could threaten cereal access for very poor and poor households. In response, this group of households will increase their typical livelihood strategies (labor migration, the gathering of wild fruits and nuts, craft-making, etc.) to above-average levels in an attempt to bridge the gap. However, these strategies will not be sufficient to entirely offset the effects of the poor harvest and high food prices, and food consumption by poor households will be minimally adequate at best. In response, households in the North Ouara, Wadi–Fira, Kanem, Barh-El Ghazel, Hadjer Lamis, North Guera, and North Batha regions will reduce spending on essential non-food items and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes between January and March 2014 (Figure 2). Later next year, particularly during the peak of the lean season (June and September), households in Wadi–Fira and Barh-El Ghazel will likely face food consumption gaps and will decline into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity.

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. 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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