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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2009: Chad

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2009: Chad
Nov 2008

The Government of the Republic of Chad has been struggling with endemic poverty and civil unrest for decades. Since 2001, the country has faced a humanitarian crisis resulting from the spillover of the conflict in Darfur, continued insecurity in northern Central African Republic, ongoing friction with opposition armed groups, as well as ethnic clashes in the east. The number of Sudanese that have sought refuge between 2003 and 2008 has steadily increased in eastern Chad, and now amount to some 300 000 people, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Further, southern Chad is now host to over 53 300 refugees from the Central African Republic.

Tensions between the Governments of Chad and the Sudan have also increased in the past year.  Violence continues in the east of the country and accounts for the displacement of 150 000 people. However, it is estimated that some 30 000 IDPs from eastern Chad have spontaneously returned home. The long-term presence of refugees and IDPs has added pressure on the availability of food and scarce natural resources, including water and firewood, hence increasing tensions with host communities.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

The livelihoods of 80 percent of the population are derived directly from agricultural and livestock production, predominantly at a subsistence level. Global acute malnutrition has worsened since 2006 and the nutritional status of refugee camp dwellers has deteriorated throughout 2007 and 2008. The levels of insecurity and vulnerability remain very high in most areas hosting IDPs and refugees and may worsen if internal conflicts continue to proliferate.

Urgent efforts are needed to reinforce activities enabling refugees and IDPs to supplement their food basket and strengthen their livelihoods. Given the shortage of land around the camps, only a small percentage of these households have access to a plot for cultivation. In 2008, a number of them received agricultural inputs and assistance from FAO and other agencies, enabling them to produce their own food. As a result of a good rainy season, the October 2008 harvest is forecasted to provide people that had access to land with self-sufficiency in grain for three to four months. However, as land has acquired a premium value, refugees and IDPs are being charged for rent, often paid with a part of their harvest.

Less than 22 percent of refugees and IDPs own livestock and still need to heavily rely on other activities to secure their livelihoods. The high prevalence of refugees and IDPs has altered the trade environment in the areas around the camps.  Traders from the host population have been outnumbered and markets have thrived inside the refugee and IDP camps, causing local markets to dwindle. Therefore, host communities must be included in relief efforts with the aim of lessening existing tensions and competition for access to natural resources.Other parts of the country have been subject to torrential rains, destroying crops, livelihoods and basic infrastructure. This has brought about severe shortages in local food supply and may cause serious health hazards in the longer term.

FAO response

In 2009, FAO will focus on reinforcing food security and nutrition as well as restoring basic livelihoods for IDPs, refugees and vulnerable host-community members in eastern and southern Chad.Proposed interventions include providing vulnerable households affected by conflicts and floods with farming inputs and training in improved agricultural and livestock practices to increase and diversify their productive capacity. Improved access to markets will be ensured by the rehabilitation of local roads. FAO will also seek to promote income-generating activities for landless IDPs, returnees and host-community women’s groups through agricultural processing and small-livestock activities.

To bring about more sustainable agricultural production and strengthen previous interventions, FAO will support farmers in eastern Chad in revitalizing the seed multiplication sector by providing them with adapted inputs and training.FAO will also create working groups in collaboration with its partners at all levels to strengthen the cohesiveness of interventions and ensure that they are in line with the priorities of the Government and other humanitarian organizations.