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GIEWS Country Brief: Chad 02-October-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Near-average output expected in 2020 due to favourable moisture conditions

  • Above-average cereal production estimated in 2019

  • Prices of coarse grains generally stable or seasonally increased in July 2020

  • Significant increase in prevalence of food insecurity in second half of 2020

Near‑average output expected in 2020 due to favourable moisture conditions

Harvesting operations are ongoing in the Sudanian zone while in the Sahelian zone they are expected to begin in October. Planting of the 2020 coarse grain crops (maize, millet, sorghum and rice) started on time with the onset of rains in the Sudanian zone in May and in the Sahelian zone in June. Throughout most parts of the country, abundant seasonal precipitation amounts since May resulted in normal crop germination, establishment and development (see ASI image). Weather forecasts point to above‑average rainfall until October. These conditions are expected to have a positive impact on crop yields. However, in the regions of Logone Occidentale, Logone Orientale, Mayo‑Kebbi Est, Mayo‑Kebbi Ouest and Tandjilé, crops were affected by long dry periods during the first decade of August, causing crop losses and curbing the production prospects. Similarly, periods of heavy rains resulted in localized flooding in July and August in the provinces of Ndjamena and the Mandoul and in areas bordering Lac Chad, causing human casualties, loss of livelihoods and damage to crops, livestock and infrastructures. Although abundant rains had an overall beneficial impact on the crops, the 2020 cereal crop production is estimated at near‑average levels.

In most pastoral areas of the country, favourable rainfall in August improved natural pasture conditions and replenished water reserves to satisfactory levels, with positive effects on livestock body conditions. However, cross border movements of transhumant herds remain limited due to the persistent insecurity in neighbouring Nigeria, Central African Republic and Libya. Access to natural grazing areas is also constrained by the structural conflict between farmers and pastoralists with high incidences in Kanem and Bahr El Ghazal provinces as well as the high levels of insecurity in Tibesti Province. The animal health situation is overall stable, with just some seasonal outbreaks of epizootic diseases, such as the Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goats and the Foot‑and‑Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle.

Above‑average cereal production estimated in 2019

Favourable rainfall in 2019 benefitted crop development in most parts of the country. Overall, the 2019 national cereal production is estimated at about 3 million tonnes, 7 percent above the previous five‑year average. However, production shortfalls occurred in the provinces of Kanem, Bahr El Ghazal and Hadjer Lamis due to prolonged dry spells in June and early July in 2019, which caused some damages on crops at seeding and tillering stages and favoured pest attacks on re‑planted crops.

Despite the above‑average production in 2019, import requirements for the 2019/20 marketing year (November/October) are expected to increase at above‑average levels due to strong demand by the local traders aiming at replenishing their stocks.

Prices of coarse grains generally stable or seasonally increased in July

Although food availability is adequate in most markets, some field reports indicate a decline in supplies in Bahr el Ghazel, Kanem, Sila and Lake provinces due to civil insecurity and poor road conditions. Household demand remains strong due to a seasonal depletion of stocks. Prices of millet increased in July in most markets, with seasonal patterns exacerbated by the impact of trade restrictions linked to the COVID‑19 pandemic. By contrast, sorghum prices remained stable since early 2020 due to the good levels of market stocks and regular import flows from the Sudan and Cameroon.

Despite the improvement of livestock body conditions in August, prices of live animal remain below average due the increased supply on the local markets following the closure of the borders with Nigeria and Libya (main outlets). The livestock‑to‑cereals terms of trade are generally unfavourable to pastoralists as prices of animals are declining, while cereal prices are increasing.

Significant increase in prevalence of food insecurity in second half of 2020

The COVID‑19 pandemic containment measures continue to slow down the national economy, reducing employment opportunities. This has contributed to a weakening of the purchasing power of the poor vulnerable households, limiting their access to food. In addition, the persisting insecurity in Lac and Tibesti regions continues to disrupt livelihood activities and to cause population displacements. According to UNHCR, as of August 2020, the country hosts about 479 500 refugees from neighbouring countries, including the Central African Republic, Nigeria and the Sudan, affected by persisting civil conflicts. According to IOM, as of August 2020, about 297 000 people were internally displaced due to insecurity in the Lake Chad Province. The above‑average cumulative rainfall amounts in August caused flooding in several areas, mainly in Ndjamena, Mandoul and Lake provinces and affected about 3 800 households (nearly 190 000 people), resulting in displacements, loss of lives and damage to infrastructures. The majority of the displaced people, refugees and host communities are highly dependent on humanitarian assistance to satisfy their basic needs.

According to the March 2020 "Cadre Harmonisé" analysis, the aggregate number of severely food insecure people (CH Phase 3: “Crisis” and above) is estimated at about 1 million during the lean season between June and August 2020, well above the 520 000 food insecure people that were estimated for the period June‑August 2019. However, the situation is worse than previously expected on account of the impact from the COVID‑19 pandemic, including the containment measures that adversely effected households’ livelihood activities and incomes. After the revision of the humanitarian response plan due to COVID‑19, 5.9 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure in August 2020, the peak of the lean season.