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Country Briefs

  Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reference Date: 08-August-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Concerns over secondary 2018 season crops due to floods, pests and conflict in some regions

  2. Inflation rates expected to fall in 2018 but will remain relatively high

  3. Food and livestock prices generally at high levels driven by limited supplies

  4. Food security situation continues to deteriorate in regions of Kasai, Tanganyika and in eastern parts of country

Concerns over secondary 2018 season crops due to floods, pests and conflict

In the northern bi-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the second season maize crop was completed in July. In southern uni-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2018 maize crop was concluded in May. According to remote sensing analysis, precipitation amounts in the eastern and southern parts of the country have been above average. The heavy rainfall, particularly in North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika regions, resulted in flooding and consequently damaging of cropland. Weather conditions were generally favourable in the rest of the country with the exception of erratic rainfall in a few localized areas.

Infestations of Fall Armyworm throughout the country have reportedly caused significant losses particularly in maize-growing regions. Moreover, ongoing conflicts in the Kasai, North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri and Tanganyika regions continued to disrupt agricultural activities and limited the available crop-growing areas. Overall, the floods, pests and conflict have raised concerns over the secondary 2018 season crops.

High inflation and low market supply continue to hinder food access

In 2018, inflation is forecast at about 26 percent, well below the 42 percent registered in 2017 but still relatively high due to high Government spending combined with declining export revenues owing to low international prices of the mining sector’s exported commodities. The local currency has depreciated by about 45 percent since end-2016, putting upward pressure on domestic food supplies due to reduced imports from neighbouring countries. Moreover, imported inflationary pressure has contributed to higher food prices and diminishing of households’ purchasing power.

In May 2018, prices of maize and cassava flour were above average in all markets, with the exception of Lubumbashi markets. The price of maize flour fell by 7 percent in the Lubumbashi markets between April and May and was over 23 percent below the five-year average. The low levels of supplies available on the markets, due to the impact of conflicts and flooding on production, is likely to put upward pressure on prices during the lean season. The lean season is expected to have an early onset at the beginning of August.

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 areas, 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, late last year, more than 1.4 million people returned to the country but about 900 000 are still internally displaced.

The total IDP caseload in the country is 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. The country also hosts more than 541 000 refugees from Burundi, Central African Republic, Rwanda and South Sudan. Moreover, an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is ongoing and, as of 11 July 2018, 38 cases have been confirmed.

In the framework of the 2017-2019 Humanitarian Action Plan, FAO has allocated about USD 7.4 million 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 households’ 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’ groups 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.