Chad - Food Security Crisis

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Chad is located in central northern Africa (see Image 1).

~87% of Chad’s population is living below the global poverty line, with a population of 14 million; about 12 million are in severe poverty.

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The population relies heavily on agriculture and livestock for sustenance and income, however due to the arid land in the majority of the country and unpredictable weather patterns, farmers are unable to grow sufficient amounts of food to feed themselves, as well as their families.

The unstable weather in the region is largely due to a phenomenon called El Niño, which is caused by warmer water in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Winds push the warm surface water towards South America, and as a result, there is less cold water on the surface due to the large increase in warm water. While not directly affecting the African continent, it affects the global climate, the warmer air descending on the Southern American coast often leaves areas like Australia and Africa in unpredictable dry spells with only small amounts of rainfall. On top of this lack of a stable climate, Chad has little access to clean natural water sources, the small amount of lakes and rivers in Chad are polluted by excrement and waste from nearby villages. Most towns rely on a small amount of shallow wells for the entirety of their water, which provides barely enough to drink and not enough for sustainable agriculture. The countries distance from the ocean also makes desalination an unreasonable option. We should also take into account that most of the country is located in the Saharan desert making farming almost impossible

A large amount of immigrants does not help the sustainability of the countries resources. People fleeing conflict in West Sudan, Eastern Chad and parts of the Central African Republic often find refuge in southern and eastern Chad (see Image 2 for detail). Due to Chad’s government focusing on the conflicts, Large amounts of human trafficking happen under the radar, while not directly a major contributor to the food crisis, it is part of a larger picture.

Organisations like UNICEF are supplying many communities in Chad with clean water delivery systems, while the water they provide is not enough to use for agriculture, it allows the locals to use the well water for agriculture instead of drinking water.

The water they provide is sourced through deep wells and pumped via the use of solar power to water tanks for public use.

Unfortunately, the wells are not a very efficient way of sourcing water for the population. These wells can only be placed in a few very specific spots that have high amounts of clean ground water.

The only communities with access to the wells and water tanks are small towns around N’djamena, the capital of Chad near the western Border.

The efforts in supplying Chad with water seems to be a temporary solution to a larger problem. They can only provide a finite amount of water from these very specifically placed wells. The majority of the country still struggles with sustainable water sources and unicef does not have the technology to create wells that can accommodate all of the different levels of ground water in a cost or energy efficient way.

Unfortunately, UNICEF is the only large organisation attempting to aid chad’s food and water shortages currently as all eyes are on the conflicts happening on the west Sudan border.

Efforts could be directed towards developing a more resilient and efficient grain or crop to grow in the harsh conditions or more efficient means of transporting food from more sustainable areas in chad to the more arid areas and ways to help communities maintain and control the system, which would also provide many with jobs.

The country will need a large boost in its economy for the process to begin, but the system may allow a more sustainable way to provide food to the large majority of the country.

Since Chad’s food insecurity is a result of so many large problems that we have no control over, it seems impossible for it to ever have a properly developed agricultural sustainability. The simplest steps to take would be to change what we can, problems like refugee migration, lasting conflicts, and distribution of food are all things that we can change, and it would be much more valuable to try to solve these problems than to focus on the large problems like weather and arid landscapes which we have no control over.

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