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Country Briefs

  Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reference Date: 22 November-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Overall favourable prospects for 2016 season crops

  2. Inflation rates forecast to slightly increase in 2016

  3. Food prices at high levels in eastern and southern parts of the country

  4. Serious humanitarian situation in eastern and southern provinces due to persisting civil conflict

Overall favourable prospects for 2016 season crops

Harvesting of the main 2016 maize crop is well underway in northern areas, while crops in central regions are still at the vegetative stage and will be harvested early next year. According to remote sensing analysis, vegetation conditions are favourable in most northern and central cropping areas despite below-average rainfall in October in some central parts.

In southern uni‑modal rainfall areas, planting of the maize crop, for harvest from March 2017, is underway under favourable weather conditions. However, planting operations have been delayed in the southernmost Haut Katanga province by early season dryness. According to the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF), rainfall is forecast at above-average levels from December through March, with likely positive impact on yields.

Earlier in the year, the secondary season maize crops received abundant precipitation over most cropping areas, with a positive impact on vegetation conditions and yields. However, the heavy rainfall, linked to the strong El Niño episode, triggered widespread floods which damaged more than 5 500 hectares of crop land.

Inflation rates slightly increased in 2016, food prices at high levels in eastern and southern provinces

Inflation, which stood at 46 percent in 2009, fell to 1 percent in 2013 and remained stable at this level in 2014 and 2015 as a result of the implementation of economic reforms and tighter fiscal and monetary policies. In 2016, inflation rates are estimated to have slightly increased to 1.7 percent due to a relatively strong economic growth and a loosening fiscal policy which boosted domestic demand.

In Goma market, located in the northeastern North-Kivu Province, prices of cassava flour, the main staple in northern and central areas, increased between April and August by 30 percent. Subsequently, prices declined by 10 percent between August and October, when they were still 33 percent higher than 12 months earlier, partly due to the additional demand from increasing numbers of Burundian refugees.

In Lubumbashi market, located in the southern Haut Katanga Province, prices of maize, the main staple in southern areas, have been highly volatile since early 2016. In October, maize prices were 60 percent higher than 12 months earlier, mainly due to reduced imports from neighbouring Zambia.

Humanitarian situation remains serious in eastern and southern provinces due to persisting civil conflict

The escalation of the civil conflict since 2013, especially in eastern and southern provinces, severely disrupted local livelihood systems and caused massive population displacements. As of late September 2016, the IDP caseload was estimated at 1.9 million, 100 000 more than the previous estimates in late April. About 40 percent of the displaced population is located in North Kivu and the rest mainly reside in South-Kivu, Maniema and the former Katanga Province.

Over 1.5 million IDPs are hosted by families and communities, putting added strain on the resources of host communities who are already facing chronic poverty, limited livelihood opportunities and social services (health, sanitation, education) and are likely to be further pushed into unsustainable coping mechanisms and livelihood strategies. Moreover, as of late October, the country hosts 96 500 refugees from the Central African Republic, 60 300 from South Sudan and 33 900 from Burundi.

According to the latest available IPC analysis, conducted in June June 2016, the number of people in acute food insecurity and livelihood crisis (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”) was estimated at about 5.9 million, about 10 percent less than a year earlier, due to a relative improvement in the security situation in the conflict-affected Tanganyika, Sud-Kivu, Nord-Kivu, Maniema and Ituri provinces, where more than half of the total national food insecure population reside. However, armed clashes in late October-early November in the Dibaya territory (Kasaï Central province) caused the destruction of standing crops and food stocks and affected about 100 000 individuals, thus bringing the food insecure total caseload to

6 million.

In response, in the framework of the 2017-2019 Humanitarian Action Plan, FAO will assist 2.1 million individuals (350 000 households), mainly residing in du North-Kivu, South-Kivu, Ituri, Haut Uélé, Maniema, Tanganyika, Bas Uélé, North-Ubangi and South-Ubangi provinces.

The main activities include:

  1. Support to food production through agricultural, fishing and livestock rearing input distributions.

  2. Cash for work activities.

  3. Promotion of income generating activities, particularly for vulnerable women.

  4. Strengthening household resilience through the implementation of the “Caisses de Résilience”, a community-centred approach which brings together sustainable agricultural practices, improved access to credit and strengthened social cohesion through farmers’ group and women’s associations.