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Country Briefs

  Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reference Date: 26-February-2018


  1. Cereal production in 2017 estimated at near-average levels despite localized erratic rainfall and outbreaks of Fall Armyworms

  2. Inflation rates expected to increase in 2018 due to high Government spending combined with declining export revenues

  3. Food and livestock prices generally at high levels driven by limited supplies and market disruptions due to ongoing conflict

  4. Food security situation continues to deteriorate due to humanitarian crisis in Kasai Region and inter-communal conflicts in Tanganyika Region and eastern parts of country

Average 2017 cereal output expected

Harvesting of the main 2017 maize crop was completed in November 2017 in northern bi-modal rainfall areas and has been recently concluded in central bi-modal rainfall areas. Overall, seasonal cumulative rainfall amounts were average, with the exception of some eastern parts of the country that experienced a few dry spells and received below-average cumulative amounts. Aggregate cereal production of the 2017 season is expected to be at about average levels despite the continuing disruption of agricultural activities and reduced planting area in conflict zones of Kasai and Tanganyika regions. Moreover, in North Kivu and Katanga regions, outbreaks of Fall Armyworms, mainly at the sowing stage, negatively affected the maize crop.

In southernmost uni-modal rainfall areas, where the rainfall pattern is similar to Southern Africa, planting of the secondary season maize crop, to be harvested from May, started in January under generally favourable weather conditions.

Hyperinflation and conflict-driven market disruptions hindered food access

Inflation surged to about 42 percent in 2017 from an estimated 18 percent in 2016 as a result of high Government spending combined with declining export revenues owing to low international prices of the mining sector’s exported commodities. In 2018, inflation is expected to increase to 44 percent. The local currency depreciated significantly against the US dollar since the beginning of last year, resulting in more expensive and reduced imports from neighbouring countries and consequent significant upward pressure on domestic food supplies and prices. This contributed significantly to the decline in the purchasing power of the poor households.

There has been an upward trend in food prices in recent months caused by the ongoing conflict in the Tanganyika Region which continues to disrupt the food and livestock markets. The countrywide, cereal prices are generally high, driven by limited supplies. In the Tanganyika Region, since July 2017, there has been a surge of dependence on cross-border flows from the United Republic of Tanzania, resulting in a sharp increase in local prices of maize and cassava.

Food security situation continues to sharply deteriorate due to persisting civil conflict

The escalation of the civil conflict since 2013, especially in eastern and southern provinces, severely disrupted the local livelihood systems and caused massive population displacements. Since September 2016, the Kasai Region is facing a major humanitarian crisis and the conflict has caused the displacement of nearly 2.4 million people. Due to the relative improvement in the security situation in the Kasai Region, as of December 2017, more than 1.4 million people returned to the country but about 900 000 are still internally displaced.

As of February 2018, the total IDP caseload in the country was estimated at 4.5 million. Most IDPs lost their productive assets and face extremely limited access to livelihoods. A significant portion of them are hosted by local families and communities, putting added strain on their limited resources with the high risk to further push them into unsustainable coping mechanisms and livelihood strategies. Moreover, as of late November 2017, the country hosts more than 500 000 refugees from Burundi, Central African Republic, Rwanda and South Sudan.

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), valid for the period from June to December 2017, about 7.7 million people (11 percent of the total population) were in need of urgent assistance (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”). The humanitarian crisis in the Kasai Region and the extension of inter-communal conflicts in the Tanganyika Region and in the eastern parts of the country are the key drivers of the deterioration of food insecurity. In addition, internal displacement and above-average malnutrition rates exacerbated the already aggravated situation and fuelled the increasing food insecurity.

In the framework of the 2017-2019 Humanitarian Action Plan, FAO is expected to assist 2.1 million people (about 350 000 households), mainly residing in 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.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.