- The food security situation in Chad remains stable at a poor level. While the availability of cereals in general still is satisfactory in most of the main markets, insufficient rainfall is causing concern for the forthcoming months.
According to the last Chad report by the US agency Famine Early Warning System (FEWS), released yesterday, food security in the country remained poor during the last months due to insufficient rainfall. This was already forcing some poor households to opt for wild fruits, seeds and roots, the report said.
Although cereals were available at Chadian markets, they were out of reach for the poorest families. In general, the accessibility of cereals for the poor and intermediate households was degraded as the lean period is approaching, FEWS concluded.
Also the situation for the livestock is deteriorating. As pasture gets rare on many Sahelian localities, herders' coping strategies includes drawing up stock of straws in small quantities to feed their cattle. Milk consumption remains negligible for many families and is now limited to the children.
The generally poor situation was a product of successive poor harvests, due to insufficient rains and other natural disasters in the poor Sahelian country, reports FEWS. In addition to a lowered cereal production, also livestock and fisheries had been affected, hampering the survival strategies of poor rural households.
Due to the current deficits, the Chadian government now had to purchase 25,000 tons of cereals on the international market, the Minister of Agriculture recently revealed to the Chadian parliament. The government however awaits a donation of 5000 tons of rice from India and other donators to be distributed for free.
FEWS warns that the Chadian government now relies on timely arrival of international aid to avoid further crisis. Should international aid delay, Chad's national Food Security Agency would have to sell some 13,000 tons of food available in its stocks at an affordable price.
Meanwhile, all the principal markets are reported to be rather well supplied of food staples. Even the price of the main food staple, millet, is reported to have dropped between 4 and 15 percent on the markets of Sarh, Moundou and N'djamena. Still, millet at market prices is out of reach for the poor. Only in markets far north and east, prices have increased, FEWS reports.
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