DR Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo | Response overview (December 2021)

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In numbers

+27 million people in high acute food insecurity, of whom 6.1 million in emergency (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, September–December 2021)

+1.3 million people likely to face acute malnutrition in 2022

+5.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs)

57 662 confirmed cases of COVID-19

75% of families rely on subsistence agriculture for their food and income

USD 60.5million still needed by FAO by December 2021

Key points

• The Democratic Republic of the Congo is still one of the world’s most food-insecure countries with one in four Congolese in high acute food insecurity. The key drivers remain violence triggering significant population displacements (mainly in the eastern provinces), the effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and related containment measures, limited infrastructure, the economic decline linked to the currency depreciation and drop in GDP growth, natural hazards (e.g. floods, animal diseases, etc.) and poor harvests.

• Since May 2021, two eastern provinces – the North-Kivu and Ituri – are under a state of emergency, headed by military and police officers in the effort to end the surge of violence.

• Agricultural season A started in August 2021 and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has provided 42 300 households with staple crop seeds and tools enabling them to produce their own food and generate income.

Challenges facing food security and agriculture

Despite the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s immense agricultural and fisheries potential, the country is facing high levels of acute food insecurity. Armed conflict triggering forced population displacements, limited access to certain production areas and markets as well as to agricultural inputs, high food prices, the constant decline in agricultural production, natural disasters, epidemics and economic shocks are some of the main factors that have disrupted the agricultural livelihoods of vulnerable households, driving up food insecurity. Moreover, in some regions (Kwango, Kwilu IPC Phase 3+), the outbreak of epizootics linked to limited veterinary services in rural areas have deprived households of their main source of income. Dilapidated infrastructure and communication routes are also limiting the transportation of and access to foodstuffs. Compounding the situation is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has worsened socio-economic conditions and has significantly affected food systems.

Results of the first ever acute malnutrition analysis conducted in the country (November 2021) indicate that 857 000 children under five and 468 000 pregnant or lactating women are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022. The main causes are poor child feeding practices, high levels of acute food insecurity and inadequate access to health services.

Livelihoods support is crucial for vulnerable smallholder farmers in order to ensure their access to agricultural inputs and tools, allowing them to not only produce enough food to feed their family members, but also sell surplus production to generate income to cover other needs and strengthen their resilience.