FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
• Near-average cereal production expected in 2021 in most provinces
• Despite expected slight decline in 2021, inflation will remain high
• About 27 million people estimated severely food insecure in late 2021
Near-average cereal production expected in 2021 in most provinces
Harvesting of the 2021 main maize crop finalized in November in the bimodal rainfall northern provinces, while it is ongoing in the bimodal central provinces and is expected to finalize in January next year.
In most provinces of the country, a near-average cereal production is expected in 2021, following mostly adequate and well-distributed precipitation amounts during the season. However, a below-average crop production is forecast in some areas. In the westernmost Kongo-Central Province, below-average precipitation amounts since the onset of the rainy season in October negatively affected soil moisture levels, likely resulting in a reduced cereal output. In eastern regions, ongoing conflict and displacements, coupled with restrictive measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic, affected agricultural activities and limited farmers’ access to crop growing areas and inputs, with a negative impact on 2021 crop production.
In the southernmost unimodal rainfall areas, planting of the 2022 maize crops, to be harvested from May next year, is ongoing under overall favourable weather conditions. Similarly, planting of the 2022 secondary season maize crop started in November in central provinces and harvesting will begin next March.
Despite expected slight decline in 2021, inflation will remain high
Since mid-March 2020, cash crop exports declined due to the slowdown of trade flows amid the COVID-19 pandemic and resulted in a significant decrease of foreign exchange earnings with consequent depreciation of the Congolese franc and significant domestic price increases. The average annual inflation, which amounted to about 5 percent in 2019, spiked to an average of 11.4 percent in 2020. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), inflation in 2021 is expected at a high level of about 9 percent, a slight decline compared to the previous year.
About 27 million people estimated severely food insecure in late 2021
According to the latest IPC analysis, published in November 2021, about 27 million people (26 percent of the total population) are estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 [Crisis] or above) between September and December 2021. This is mainly due to persisting conflict in the eastern provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri, which continues to cause displacements, as well as to the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In eastern areas, violence has been increasing since early 2021, causing new displacements and leading to the declaration, on 6 May 2021, of a “State of Siege” in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. Since then, the “State of Siege” has been prolonged several times.
The first IPC Acute Malnutrition analysis in the country was conducted in September 2021 in 70 “health zones” (out of the total of 519). According to the analysis, 857 000 children under the age of five are estimated to be acutely malnourished (IPC Phase 2 [Alert] or higher) between September 2021 and March 2022, including 219 300 estimated to be severely malnourished (IPC Phase 3 [Severe] or higher). In addition, about 468 400 pregnant or lactating women are estimated to be in IPC Phase 2 [Alert] or higher, in the reporting period. This is mainly due to acute food insecurity levels, high prevalence of childhood illnesses, such as malaria and diarrhoea, frequent outbreaks of measles and cholera, inaccessibility to adequate sanitation facilities and very limited access to drinking water.