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Agriculture is a major driver of economic growth in Côte d’Ivoire – one of the top exporters of cocoa – and two-thirds of Ivorian households earn a living from it. But recent political unrest, preceded by a decade-long crisis, has made it difficult for most to provide for themselves. Steep prices for food and agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizers have only made matters worse. FAO is helping returnees and communities that hosted refugees and the displaced to kick-start agricultural production – and, in turn, help lower the country’s alarming malnutrition rates.
The post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire ended in April 2011. Since then, the country has enjoyed relative stability, paving the way for the return of a large number of refugees and displaced people, though tensions and violence continue. Fighting and insecurity prevented many farmers from reaching their fields. Others were forced to eat their seed, while others lost everything to looting.
FAO is providing agricultural kits for maize, upland and lowland rice and vegetables so that farming families – particularly returnees and host families – do not miss any planting seasons. FAO is also supporting community-based seed growers to produce quality seed so that farmers nationwide have a reliable source of inputs.
Reviving the local economy
There is a strong push by FAO to create new opportunities for people in Côte d’Ivoire to make a living in agriculture, especially those with little or no land. Helping the most vulnerable earn a decent wage, whether from agricultural processing and marketing or livestock rearing, can go a long way toward the country’s recovery. Likewise, FAO is supporting mothers with malnourished children through village-based nutrition centres.
Reliable information on everything from how crops are faring to malnutrition levels in a community is crucial for timely decision-making. FAO is supporting the country to carry out crop assessments and monitor its food security situation, using analytical tools like the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification and Dynamic Atlas, a software tool to collect and distribute spatial information. FAO also co-leads the Food Security Cluster, working to ensure better coordination among partners in responding to Côte d’Ivoire’s food needs.