- The national food situation in Chad is reported to be good, only with some below average harvests in minor regions. Thanks to a good 2003-04 growing season, most Chadian low and middle-income households are set to have a good availability on food products this season.
According to the latest Chad report by the US agency Famine Early Warning System (FEWS), "for the time being, the overall food security situation is satisfactory."
Only in the sub-prefectures Am dam, Biltine, Djedda and Haraze Djombo, grain production was reported to be below average, mainly, due to heavy pressure on maturing grain crops from grain-eating birds, grasshoppers and wild animals. As a result, millet was now selling for unusually high prices for the post-harvest period.
The N'djamena Ministry of Agriculture together with FEWS and UN agencies had developed a grain harvest forecasts for the 2003-04 growing season. The forecast put national gross grain production at 1,424,000 metric tons. Commercial imports and food aid was projected at 94,300 tons.
The result is a net grain deficit of 49,000 tons, which is less than last year's figure of 193,000 tons, FEWS reports. "The preliminary total grain production figure for the 2003-04 growing season is up 17.5 percent from last year and 18 percent above the average for the last five years," the US agency says.
Food availability on markets was reported to be good throughout the country, and grain prices are down from last year. "For example, this December, pearl millet has been selling for 139 francs/kg on the Abéché market, compared with 150 francs in December of last year," FEWS reports.
Likewise, the current price of millet on the Moundou market is 75 francs/kg, compared with 150 francs/kg in December of 2002.
In contrast, December prices are up from the month of November in the capital, N'djamena, (3 percent) and Sarh (7 percent). "However, market prices are affordable for local consumers," FEWS commented, "with the good availability of food products on area markets in the wake of recent harvests."
The strong influx of Sudanese refugees in Chad's eastern provinces was not expected to influence the food security of Chadians. If the promised food to the around 100,000 Sudanese refugees was brought in - 14,000 tons of food supplies are ordered and have started streaming in - also the current plight of these refugees would soon be eased.
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