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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2010: Chad

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2010: Chad
Nov 2009

Years of conflict and instability have profoundly impacted the people of Chad, and lie at the heart of the country’s food security and livelihood difficulties.

Refugees fleeing the protracted crisis in the Sudan’s Darfur Region and insecurity in northern areas of the Central African Republic have joined thousands displaced from their homes in Chad itself by interethnic and political tensions. In the closing months of 2009, the country was hosting over 324 000 refugees – 256 700 Sudanese and 67 800 from the Central African Republic – and 168 400 IDPs.

In spite of a long-standing displacement situation, the absence of any large-scale fighting in Chad in 2009 has been a very positive development. There is general agreement within the humanitarian community that the situation is now evolving away from an acute emergency phase into one, predominately, of rehabilitation. Emphasis is being placed on focusing assistance to meet the needs of those who remain deeply affected by dislocation and instability.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

IDPs, refugees, returnees and their host populations, countrywide, face considerable difficulties in maintaining livelihoods and food security. Overgrazing and desertification have reduced the limited areas that are available for farming in eastern Chad, where water and productive agricultural land is scarce. Competition for these resources, in both the south and the east of the country, has increased tensions among displaced persons and their hosts and prevented many from engaging in agricultural activities. Women-headed households have been particularly affected.

Poor quality storage facilities and lack of access to markets in eastern Chad have discouraged farmers from producing surplus food, and left them highly vulnerable to unexpected events. Reports indicate that up to one‑third of harvests in past years have been lost through insect attacks, fires and other issues related to inadequate storage.

Seasonal floods and drought have increased the vulnerability of hundreds of thousands across the country. Rains that fall between June and November every year have historically restricted access to the east and south of the country by damaging main transport routes. Extreme weather conditions have highlighted the need for fast-growing and highly-resistant crops. Past use of improved seeds has brought remarkable increases in yields, but their availability is very low – the supply sector is non-existent and national capacity to produce them is severely limited.

FAO response

FAO is planning a variety of initiatives to assist IDPs, resettling populations and host communities within Chad to improve their food security and livelihoods, by focusing on issues relating to scarce water, a lack of productive arable land, inadequate storage facilities, poor access to markets, and limited availability of high-yield seeds.

Proposed interventions include the creation and rehabilitation of village wells, artificial ponds and microdams to meet the water needs of displaced people and their host populations in eastern Chad, the provision of carts to farmer groups in the east of the country to give households improved access to markets where production surpluses can be sold and the construction of community warehouses to enable households to store their produce in more secure conditions. The provision of chickens, small ruminants and fruit conservation kits will also enable vulnerable households (four-fifths women-headed) to engage in small agricultural processing activities and improve their livelihoods.

In addition, FAO plans to bolster farming-capacity growth in Chad through distributing adapted food crop seeds to experienced farmers for multiplication, through providing follow-up training and by procuring and distributing locally grown seeds. Overall, FAO plans to enhance humanitarian coordination through the creation of strategic working groups in collaboration with other UN agencies, national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and national authorities. The aim will be to improve communication, strategic planning, and competency transfer among food security actors and Government entities.