GIEWS Country Briefs

Democratic Republic of the Congo PDF version    Email this article Print this article Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS  Share this article  

Reference Date: 06-June-2014


  1. Overall favourable vegetation conditions for the secondary 2014 season crops despite below average rainfall in some areas

  2. High and volatile food prices observed in conflict-affected areas in eastern and southern DRC

  3. Civil insecurity continues to hamper food access in conflict-affected areas

Overall favourable vegetation conditions for the secondary 2014 season crops despite below average rainfall in some areas

Harvest of the second season maize is about to start in the northern provinces of Equateur and Oriental crops, while it is almost complete in the centre and in the south.

In several provinces of the Centre/East (Bandundu, Bas Congo, Kasai Occidental, Kasai Oriental, Maniema) and in the northern Equateur province, abundant rainfall in January/February was followed by reduced precipitation in March/April. In the rest of the country, adequate and well-distributed rains were received during the cropping period. Overall, by the third dekad of April, immediately before the start of harvesting operations, the FAO satellite-based Agricultural Stress Index (ASI) indicated favourable vegetation conditions in most cropping areas.

Food prices remain high in conflict-affected areas

Prices of cereals have remained generally high and volatile since late 2012 in conflict-affected eastern and southern areas. In March 2013, prices of maize increased by 10 percent in Bunia, in the eastern Ituri province, following seasonal patterns, while they declined by 5 percent in Lubumbashi, in the southern Katanga province, as the 2013 main harvest, completed in February 2014, increased supplies. However, in these markets maize prices in March 2014 were still about 60 percent higher than in Kisangani, Mbandaka, Bandudu and Zongo markets, located in non‑conflict areas of the country.

In the capital Kinshasa, prices of major staple food crops, for urban consumers, such as rice, wheat flour and cassava have been generally stable in recent months and in March they were around or below their levels of 12 months earlier.

Civil conflict continues to limit access to food

Persistent insecurity continues to restrict access to land and agricultural inputs, limiting households’ productive capacity, while high food prices in eastern and southern provinces are exacerbating food insecurity for poor households.

According to the latest available Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) food security analysis, conducted in December 2013 and valid for the period December 2013-June 2014, the number of people in acute food insecurity and livelihood crisis (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and Phase 4: “Humanitarian Emergency”) was estimated at about 6.7 million as of December 2013, with a 5 percent increase compared to June 2013, when it was estimated at 6.4 million.

The areas most affected by severe food insecurity (IPC Phase 4: “Humanitarian Emergency”) include parts of Maniema and Oriental provinces in the east and parts of Katanga province in the south, where the escalation of civil conflict during 2013 severely damaged local livelihood systems and caused massive displacement.

As of May 2013, the total number of IDPs was estimated at more than 2.6 million. Conflict-affected North and South Kivu and Katanga provinces account for about 80 percent of the total IDP number. According to UNHCR, around 80 percent of the IDPs are hosted by families and communities. This is a huge challenge for host communities who are facing already chronic poverty, limited livelihood opportunities, social services (health, sanitation, education) and are likely to be further pushed into unsustainable coping mechanisms and livelihood strategies.

In addition, DRC has received about 56 000 refugees from CAR since early 2013 and about 120 000 and 50 000 forced returnees expelled from the Republic of Congo and from Angola, respectively. In April 2014, flooding in Bukama and Kasenga Territories in the Katanga province affected about 30 000 people.

In response, the international community launched in late 2013 the 2014 Strategic Response Plan. The food security cluster, led by FAO and WFP, plans to assist 4.8 million beneficiaries for a total cost of USD 256 million, providing food assistance to severely food insecure populations and supporting the agricultural sector by improving access to essential agricultural inputs including seeds and tools.

Relevant links:
 As of Oct 2014, included in the list of "Countries Requiring External Assistance for Food"
 Cereal Supply/Demand Balance Sheet
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2000, 1998
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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