The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Chad

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Chad
Dec 2012

People in Chad struggle to overcome the effects of years of conflict and recurrent climatic events – from severe drought in the Sahel that triggered a major food and nutrition crisis in 2011/12 to localized flooding in the South. Displacement is a major driver of the humanitarian crisis, affecting around 622 000 people across the country. This includes almost 350 000 refugees from the Sudan and Central African Republic, 131 000 people displaced by internal conflict and 141 000 returnees primarily from Libya.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

Around 1.2 million people in Chad are food insecure. Two-thirds of households rely on crop and livestock production. However, a high proportion of families cannot meet their food needs, as displacement, drought and floods have disrupted production, while high prices continue to place food on markets beyond their reach. Supporting the livelihoods of the most vulnerable people is imperative to reinforce their resilience.

Migration flows and population displacement have been a challenge for the past decade. Following the crisis in Libya, more than 90 000 Chadian migrant workers have returned home – primarily to food-insecure areas. Returnees, IDPs and refugees in Chad strain already scarce natural resources, causing tensions with host communities.

Climatic shocks in 2012 have also adversely impacted livelihoods and agricultural production. Drought across the Sahel region in 2011/12 led to low cereal and fodder yields, reduced pasture availability and increased animal losses. While a good 2012 rainy season has resulted in better yields, many parts of Chad have been hit by severe localized flooding. An estimated 560 000 people have been affected and up to 25 percent of cultivated land has been damaged in some areas. As the bulk of food production is carried out during the rainy season and provides food and income for the coming year, the floods will have serious repercussions on food security in these areas.

Even during good harvest years, many households do not produce enough to cover their needs. Once food stocks run out, families are forced to rely more on markets; but, with food prices remaining high and employment opportunities few, they cannot afford to buy the food they need. This contributes to poor dietary intake. Diets consist mainly of cereals, with little consumption of fruits and vegetables. Children often lack the vitamins and nutrients needed to grow. In the Sahel belt of Chad, an estimated 127 000 children under five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, and 300 000 are at risk of moderate acute malnutrition.

Women are particularly at risk of food insecurity, mainly because they do not always have access to land for agricultural activities. They also gather wood and water, prepare meals and take care of children, among other tasks. In times of crisis, many women must sell their few productive assets – such as small ruminants – to make ends meet in the immediate term, further diminishing their livelihood base and leaving them more vulnerable each time.

FAO response

In 2013, FAO plans to support the most vulnerable households that have been affected by climatic shocks and the displacement crisis in Chad, by providing farmers with good quality cereal and vegetable seeds and agricultural tools, so they can produce the food they need for 2013 and well into 2014. FAO will increase access to water by helping communities to improve and build wells and irrigation systems, including providing water pumps.

FAO will provide women with gardening kits (including vegetable seeds and tools) and assist them to build fencing that protects their gardens from animals. Families will also receive support to better process, store and market their produce, including the construction of storage facilities and distribution of vegetable conservation and marketing kits. Training on better food utilization and nutrition will help families achieve more balanced diets, particularly for children.

Women without access to land will receive goats to rebuild their livestock herds. This will also provide their families with a source of food and additional income. In addition, FAO will train community animal health workers to ensure that livestock owners can access these vital services.

Legend: FAO funding requests for Chad from 2008 to 2013

Timely and accurate information is necessary to assess the impact of shocks and develop rapid and relevant responses. The food security monitoring system in Chad is not fully operational, and the few isolated and decentralized information systems are not well coordinated. These critical information gaps must be filled in a country that faces cyclical shocks. FAO will continue to participate in needs assessments and food security monitoring, and strengthen contingency planning, risk analysis and early warning systems. More importantly, FAO will support the Action Committee for Food Security and Disaster Management in transitioning to a national food security coordination system.