Reference Date: 03-November-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Early season dryness may have caused delays in planting of main 2014 maize crop, normally completed in October
Favourable weather conditions at start of 2014 second cropping season in February/March benefited both maize and cassava crops
Inflation rates declined in 2014 mainly due to stronger currency and lower global food prices
Serious food insecurity situation is reported among refugees from Central African Republic, estimated at about 20 000 as of late October 2014
Erratic rainfall in September and October affect planting of main season maize crop
Harvesting of cassava, the principal staple in the country, is currently underway. Satellite-based information and analysis indicate that crop growing conditions have been generally favourable. By contrast, the planting of the main 2014 maize crop, normally completed in October, may have been delayed by early season dryness in several parts of the country (see Map 1).
Earlier in the year, the second season maize crop, planted from February, was harvested in June-July. According to satellite imagery analysis, crops benefited from adequate rainfall throughout the growing period (see Map 2).
Average import requirement levels forecast in 2015
Domestic crop production covers a small proportion of consumption requirements, with imports accounting for approximately 94 percent of total cereal utilization, mainly through commercial channels.
In the 2015 marketing year (January/December), the cereal import requirement, mainly wheat and rice, is forecast at around 300 000 tonnes, similar to the previous year.
Inflation rates declining in 2014
According to the IMF, the average inflation rate, which was estimated at 4.6 percent in 2013, declined to 2.2 percent in 2014, mainly due to a stronger currency and lower global food prices.
In the last several years, rates of inflation were very volatile, increasing from 2.6 percent in 2007 to about 5 percent in 2008-2010, then declining to 1.8 percent in 2011 and increasing again to 5 percent in 2012.
Serious food insecurity among the refugees from the Central African Republic
In late October 2014, the number of refugees, which entered the country from the Central African Republic (CAR), was estimated at more than 20 000 and are assisted through international organizations.
About 70 percent of the refugees are registered and settled near the town of Betou in Likouala province and about 20 percent in the capital, Brazzaville; other settlements are in Impfondo and Pointe Noire.
According to the findings of a joint WFP/UNHCR Food Security and Household Vulnerability Assessment conducted in April 2014, an estimated 56.8 percent of the refugee households from CAR are food insecure (46.5 percent being moderately food insecure and 10.3 percent severely food insecure). In addition, the large majority (74.7 percent) of the households has already experienced an extreme loss of livelihood assets, with more than 49 percent of them not possessing basic goods (furniture, machetes, lamps, etc.), and 69 percent of them having lost all their savings. In addition, about 10 percent of the refugee households rely on emergency coping strategies like begging or engaging in illegal activities.
In the framework of the CAR Regional Response Plan launched on 16 April 2014 and revised on 22 July, UNHCR appealed for USD 8.4 million to assist the CAR refugees in Congo. As of late October, only USD 2.2 million was received.
Financial constraints have seriously limited the level of interventions to date. For example, only 47 permanent shelters could be completed out of 200 initially planned at the “15 avril” site in Betou. However, humanitarian interventions resulted in improvements in food security and nutrition. For instance, since the beginning of the emergency, in the Betou area moderate acute malnutrition rates declined from 14 percent to 11 percent and severe acute malnutrition rates decreased from 9 percent to 7 percent.