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Country Briefs

  Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reference Date: 27-June-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Overall, favourable vegetation conditions for secondary 2017 season crops

  2. Inflation rates forecast to slightly increase in 2017

  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 vegetation conditions for secondary 2017 season crops

Harvesting of the second season maize crop is about to start in the northern provinces of Equateur and Oriental, while it is almost complete in the centre and in the south. Overall, rainfall was adequate and well-distributed during the cropping period resulting in favourable vegetation conditions in most cropping areas, as reported by FAO satellite-based Agricultural Stress Index (ASI).

Inflation rates forecast to slightly increase in 2017, food prices remain 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 2017, inflation rates are forecast to continue to grow to about 2.7 percent.

In Goma market, located in the northeastern North-Kivu Province, prices of cassava flour, the main staple in northern and central areas, declined between August and October by 10 percent. Subsequently, prices increased by 19 percent between October and January, when they were still 38 percent higher than 12 months earlier. In March 2017, cassava prices increased by 7 percent compared to February 2017.

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 February 2017, maize prices peaked and were 143 percent higher than 12 months earlier, mainly due to reduced imports from neighbouring Zambia. The Zambian border was re-opened during the peak of the maize harvest resulting in an increase in supplies and downward pressure of food prices despite the continued depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar. In March 2017, maize prices decreased by 11 percent compared to February 2017.

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 May 2017, the IDP caseload was estimated at 3.7 million, of which more than 1.3 million are in the Kasai Region.

A significant portion of IDPs is 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 April 2017, the country hosts 103 000 refugees from the Central African Republic, 71 000 from South Sudan and 37 000 from Burundi.

According to the latest available IPC analysis, conducted in 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, nearly 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 2016 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 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.