DRC : 40% of the Congolese population lives under chronic food insecurity according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Analysis Report

The latest data on chronic food insecurity in DRC reveals that approximately 40.8 million people face moderate to severe levels of food insecurity. A concerted and urgent response is essential to overcome this persistent crisis.

At the request of national authorities and development partners, the IPC Technical Working Group of the Democratic Republic of Congo (GTT-IPC DRC) conducted an analysis of chronic food insecurity to examine and document root causes, and to formulate recommendations for policymakers to address structural factors of food insecurity and curb persistent poverty. Tackling the scourge of chronic food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo requires mobilizing all strategic sectors of society and the economy, necessitating unwavering commitment at the highest levels of decision-making.

This report comes at a time when the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is in the process of updating its national strategic development plan (PNSD) for the next five years. The findings from this report will surely inform the PNSD and the development program of 145 territories led by the head of state and his government.

Following an initial cycle organized in 2016, a new cycle of integrated analysis of chronic food insecurity (IAC) took place in Kinshasa, DRC, in November 2023. Overall, the situation of chronic food insecurity is alarming across the entire national territory, with 40% of the population classified at moderate (Level 3) to severe (Level 4) levels. High levels of chronic food insecurity persist despite the country’s agricultural, livestock, fisheries, mining, forestry, and hydroelectric potential, as well as the efforts made by the government and its partners in combating food insecurity and malnutrition.

Factors contributing to household food insecurity in DRC include conflicts and armed violence leading to population displacement (especially in the eastern part of the country), human epidemics, animal diseases, crop and plant attacks, and natural disasters (floods, landslides, etc.). Additionally, challenges such as poor access to basic social services (bad roads, limited access to drinking water, dysfunctional health services), low agricultural production (deficit in cereal balance), difficulties in accessing quality inputs (seed degeneration, lack of agricultural credit, etc.), currency depreciation against the US dollar (resulting in widespread price hikes), and collapsing household purchasing power amidst widespread poverty exacerbate the chronic nature of food insecurity.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian war have significantly disrupted food availability, fuel prices, and worsened the depreciation of the national currency (the Congolese Franc) against the US dollar. In eastern DRC, the activities of national and foreign armed groups contribute significantly to population movements, leading to abandonment of livelihood activities. Some areas facing high acute food insecurity are still affected by severe or moderate chronic food insecurity due to complex structural factors.

During this cycle, a hybrid approach was adopted, including classification of territories and provinces based on the availability of representative evidence or data.

Overcoming chronic food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo requires mobilizing all strategic sectors of society and the economy, including strong political leadership at the highest levels of government and sustained commitment. Furthermore, it is crucial to consider the following sectoral recommendations, extensively developed in the body of this report:

  • Strengthen national and regional mechanisms for reconciliation and pacification in conflict-affected areas through continuous dialogue among communities, equitable distribution of resources through social programs, and youth empowerment for better employment access.
  • Increase transparency in the use of public resources, strengthen the rule of law, judicial systems, and law enforcement, including combating all forms of impunity.
  • Enhance resources allocated to socio-economic infrastructure to improve market functionality and maintain air, land, maritime, and river transport networks to facilitate economic exchanges, national and regional integration, while ensuring access to energy and clean water.
  • Strengthen government programs for agricultural sector recovery to improve production and productivity of staple foods (based on agro-ecological zones of the country) and ensure households consume nutrient-rich foods.
  • Implement measures favorable to private investments in agriculture, fishing, and livestock sectors.
  • Encourage grouping and structuring of local economic operators to facilitate access to credit through social and solidarity initiatives serving as collateral with microfinance institutions and banks.
  • Strengthen the establishment of formal social protection nets, including social cash transfer programs in areas with persistent and chronic monetary poverty.

Chronic food insecurity in DRC can only be resolved through a holistic approach and large-scale mobilization. The recommendations of this report underscore the urgent need for coordinated and sustained action, involving not only the government and its national and international partners, but also civil society and the private sector. It is imperative for authorities in Kinshasa to promptly respond to these recommendations to ensure a safer and more prosperous future for all Congolese.

By the editorial team

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