N'DJAMENA, CHAD — Chad’s harvesting of the 2015 main staple crops began in September in the southern part of the country. Most areas experienced a late start of the raining season, which may have affected potential yields, according to an October GIEWS Country Brief from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The first rains were registered in the third week of April in the Sudanian zone (South) and the second week of May in the Sahelian zone. These rains were followed by long dry spells that led to significant rainfall deficit in several parts of the country.

Cumulative rainfall as of late August was below average in most meteorological stations, particularly in the Sudanian zone. According to a preliminary forecast released by national agricultural statistics, a below-average cereal harvest is anticipated this year.

An above-average crop was gathered in 2014. Last year’s aggregate cereal production was estimated at about 2.7 million tonnes, 5% above the previous year’s output and 12% above average.

Coarse grain prices have stabilized in recent months in most parts of the country, notably in N’Djamena, driven by adequate supplies, following last year’s adequate harvest. Although sorghum prices seasonally increased in August (the peak of the lean season), coarse grain prices were still generally below their year-earlier levels, with the exception of sorghum prices in Moundou and Sahr located in the Sudanian zone.

Chad hosts a large number of refugees, due to the continuing civil conflict in the neighboring countries: Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria and the Sudan. The influx of refugees increased dramatically over the past few months following the deterioration of the security situation in Nigeria. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, about 15,000 Nigerians fled to Chad in recent months, while more than 41,000 people have been internally displaced between July and August 2015 in the Lac Region. In addition, as of Sept. over 84,000 refugees from the Central African Republic and more than 295,000 refugees from the Sudan are estimated to reside in Chad. Overall, over 395,000 refugees are estimated to be currently living in Chad, while about 240,000 Chadians have returned to their country. Chad also has more than 567,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). As a result of these various factors, as of August over 660,000 people were estimated to be in need of food assistance according to the last Cadre Harmonisé analysis.