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Country Briefs


Reference Date:15-June-2018


  1. Planting of 2018 cereal crops started on time in southern farming areas under favourable conditions

  2. Above-average harvest gathered in 2017

  3. Prices of coarse grains remain below 2017 levels due to increased supply

  4. Continued food and humanitarian assistance needed, including for refugees

Timely onset of rains favours normal planting activities

Planting of the 2018 coarse grain crops (maize, millet, sorghum and rice), to be harvested from September, started on time in May in the southern part of the country and will continue until July. The agricultural season is progressing normally, with steady accumulation of seasonal rainfall since early May 2018 supporting crop development and growth in the most recently planted areas in the south.

In northern parts of the country, the season has just started with land preparation and first plantings of millet and sorghum crops to be harvested from October. Sowing operations are expected to finalize in July.

Above-average harvest gathered in 2017 due to favourable moisture conditions

The 2017 agricultural season was characterized by some localized dry spells that negatively impacted crop development in Kanem, Lac, Wadi Fira, Batha, Hadjer Lamis and Bahr‑El‑Gazel areas. However, the national cereal production was estimated at 2.7 million tonnes, about 5 percent less than the previous season’s output and 2 percent below the five-year average. Production of sorghum and millet both decreased by 5 and 9 percent, respectively, compared to 2016.

The uneven distribution and early cessation of rainfall had a negative impact on pasture availability and rearing conditions across the pastoral areas of the country. A high concentration of livestock has been observed in the Sudanian zone, the Lake Fitri and the Lake Chad. In these areas, pastoralists are highly vulnerable to lack of pasture as well as depressed prices for livestock products. The situation is unlikely to improve until the end of July unless immediate actions by the Government and its partners are taken to alleviate the situation.

Prices of coarse grains stable, but higher than previous year

Cereal prices in April 2018 remain generally higher than the previous year due to the reduced 2017 harvests in some regions and the decline in the flows of local cereal grains (maize and sorghum) from Lake Chad Region due to the civil conflict. Important increases are recorded in Moussoro market, up to 33 percent for millet and 15 percent for maize in Bol and sorghum in Sarh. Prices of livestock continue to significantly decline compared to the previous months, driven by reduced exports to Nigeria (caused by persisting conflict) and the shortage of pastures, resulting in forced sales, depressed prices and a significant deterioration in the purchasing power of pastoralists.

Food security affected by reduced livestock revenues and by civil insecurity in neighbouring countries

The country continues to host a large number of refugees because of persisting civil conflict in neighbouring countries, including the Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria and the Sudan. In the Lake Chad Region, civil insecurity, related to Boko Haram, continues to limit the access to grazing areas for herders. Limited access to pasture resources is accentuating the loss of body weight and lowering livestock commercial value. The pressure of the displaced populations, refugees and returnees on resources of host communities amplifies the level of vulnerability in some areas. According to UNOCHA, as of April 2018, an additional 170 000 people were internally displaced due to insecurity in the Lake Chad Region. As of May 2018, the number of refugees in the country exceeded 450 000, with an increase of over 40 000 people compared to November 2017. According to the March 2018 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 624 000 people are estimated to be in need of food assistance from March to May 2018, with a significant increase from 318 000 people from October to December 2017. The caseload is expected to increase to 990 000 during the June to August 2018 period, if no mitigation actions are taken.

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.