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RPCA assesses food situation at start of lean season

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Experts of the regional system for the prevention and management of food crises (PREGEC) met from 9 to 10 June in Abidjan to take stock of the food and nutrition situation in the region at the beginning of the lean season. They also discussed the prospects for the 2016-17 agro-pastoral campaign. The prognosis made at their last meeting in April was confirmed: the food and nutrition situation is satisfactory except in the Lake Chad Basin, which hosts a large number of displaced persons and refugees. Food and livestock watering conditions remain a concern in the area; forage stocks are exhausted and surface water points are drying up. Beyond this risk area, the lean period from June to August is particularly difficult for vulnerable populations; having exhausted their stocks of food from the previous campaign, many households are waiting for the new harvest. Approximately 9.5 million people in the region need food assistance and measures to protect livelihoods and combat malnutrition. Response plans have been developed at the national and regional levels but remain largely underfunded. Regarding the prospects for the 2016-17 agro-pastoral campaign, the experts expect an early start to the season in the centre and east of the Sahel and in the desert locust habitat areas (Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad) and a delayed start in seaside areas of the coastal countries. They recommend that states strengthen protection measures for vulnerable populations and reinforce monitoring in risk areas. They further called for CILSS to strengthen tools for monitoring the agro-pastoral season and keep watch on the regional market. The PREGEC meeting is part of the cycle of regional consultations conducted throughout the agro-pastoral season within the framework of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA). The next PREGEC meeting is scheduled for September 2016.