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Country Briefs

  Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reference Date: 03-May-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Overall favourable prospects for 201 7 season crops

  2. Crop diseases, armyworms, floods and population displacements resulted in localized crop losses

  3. Inflation rates forecast to slightly increase in 2017

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

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

Good start of 2017 cropping season

In the northern provinces of Equateur and Oriental, planting activities of the second season crops to be harvested from June were completed in March and precipitation levels have mostly been average to above average. In southern most uni-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2017 maize crops is currently underway and will be completed in May, while in central/southern and northern bi-modal rainfall areas the 2017 secondary season maize crops will be harvested from May and June, respectively. According to satellite images, vegetation conditions at the start of the 2017 second cropping season were generally favourable (see ASI map).

Abundant rainfall benefited crops in 2016, but floods resulted in localized crop losses

Harvesting of the 2016 main maize crops was completed in November in northern bi-modal rainfall areas, while in central/southern bi-modal rainfall areas it has been recently concluded. According to remote sensing analysis, nearly average rainfall was received in most cropping areas. However, crop diseases, armyworms, floods and population displacements affected the growing season in parts. As a result, a below-average 2016 maize output was estimated.

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. 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 March 2017, the IDP caseload was estimated at 2.2 million, 300 000 more than the previous estimates in late September 2016. Most of the displaced population is located in North Kivu, South-Kivu, Maniema and the former Katanga Province.

Over 1.5 million IDPs are hosted by local families and communities, putting added strain on their limited resources with high risk to further push them into unsustainable coping mechanisms and livelihood strategies. Moreover, as of late February 2017, the country hosts 104 000 refugees from the Central African Republic, 71 000 from South Sudan and 36 000 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, 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 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 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.