FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Average cereal production expected in 2017
Prices of coarse grains declining
GDP growth expected to remain negative in 2017
Continued assistance required to improve access to food and protect livelihoods of food insecure and vulnerable people, including refugees and returnees
Average harvest expected in 2017
Harvesting of the 2017 maize and millet crops was completed in October, whereas those of rice and sorghum will be completed by the end of November. Following the timely onset of the first rains in April, the 2017 cropping season benefitted from abundant precipitations above the level observed in the previous year, albeit with considerable regional variations. Many regions in the Sahelian zone of the country (notably Kanem, Lake Chad, Wadi Fira, Batha, Hadjer Lamis and Bar El Ghazal), were affected by periods of dryness in July and August, whereas abundant rains in the Sudanian zone caused several floods, particularly affecting crop production in Mandoul and Moyen Chari regions.
Isolated cases of infestations by caterpillars, grasshoppers and Fall Armyworms have been reported throughout the country, but the phytosanitary situation is judged to be under control with limited impact on crop production. The 2017 cereal production is forecast at about 2.8 million tonnes, 3 percent below the levels in the previous year and similar to the five-year average. Sorghum accounts for the largest share of total production, with about 30 percent, followed by millet and maize which account for about 25 and 15 percent, respectively.
Prices of coarse grains decline, following seasonal patterns
Prices of locally-produced coarse grains began their seasonal decline in most markets in September, as the newly-harvested crops enhanced supply. The steep depreciation of the local currency in neighbouring Nigeria and the re-opening of the border with Libya, which was closed in January this year, also supported the increased cereal import flows to the country. Prices of livestock have declined significantly in recent months, driven by reduced exports to Nigeria and shortage of pastures, causing a significant deterioration in the purchasing power of pastoralists.
GDP growth expected to remain negative in 2017
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country's economic performance in 2016 was the worst in almost two decades, with a contraction of 7 percent in real GDP. A combination of falling oil production volumes and a continued decline in international prices led to a 50 percent drop in the country’s oil receipts (oil accounts for around 60 percent of the fiscal revenue), which has forced the Government to introduce an emergency action plan to cut spending. As a result, the Government’s social protection schemes have been reduced, negatively affecting vulnerable households’ access to food. Although oil prices have recovered slightly in 2017, real GDP growth is expected to remain negative.
With more than 20 million livestock heads, the country has one of the largest herds in the Sahel Region and the sector contributes to about 18 percent of the GDP. Civil insecurity and difficult macroeconomic conditions in neighbouring Nigeria due to the steep depreciation of its local currency and reduced oil receipts in recent years have dampened Nigerian demand for livestock imports from Chad. Similarly, due to insecurity, local pastoralists face difficulties in trading across borders with other major trading partners, including Libya and the Central African Republic. A pastoral crisis was declared by the Government in June 2017, due to the unusual deterioration of livestock conditions and increased mortality in pastoral areas.
Food security affected by reduced livestock revenue and civil insecurity in neighbouring countries
The country hosts a large number of refugees due to the continuing civil conflict in neighbouring countries: the Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria and the Sudan. The ongoing civil insecurity due to Boko Haram led to large population displacement, compromising the food security amongst refugees, returnees and host communities in the whole Lake Chad Region. According to OCHA, as of November 2017, about 104 000 people were internally displaced due to insecurity in the Lake Chad Region, down from about 112 000 a year earlier. In addition, the number of refugees increased to 407 000 compared to 387 000 a year earlier, while about 97 000 Chadians have returned to the country. Deteriorating terms of trade have negatively affected food security in most pastoral and agro-pastoral zones of the country. The economic downturn amplified the impact of these various factors. According to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, between June and August 2017, about 900 000 people (compared to 941 000 a year earlier) are estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above, and are in need of urgent assistance across the country.