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Crisis in the Central African Republic
In the Central African Republic, 2.5 million people require immediate humanitarian assistance, and as of January 2014 one in five are internally displaced. These figures are likely to rise as the conflict puts millions at risk of a full-scale food and nutrition security crisis due to low production in 2013 coupled with a prevailing situation of chronic countrywide malnutrition, extreme poverty and inappropriate sanitation.
The results of the Multisectoral Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and its partners confirm that food reserves are almost non-existent. People are now eating just one meal a day, and communities report that livelihood assets have been lost, either abandoned or looted. The MIRA also indicates that in spite of insecurity, 78 percent of farmers state that they will be cultivating in the coming weeks to ensure their income and access to food. In the meantime, 94 percent of communities report they will not have enough seeds to plant for the next agricultural season, which begins in March.
In a country where agriculture provides the main source of livelihoods and income, it is crucial to respond to the urgent needs of affected farmers, whose vulnerability continues to rise and whose livelihoods are increasingly at risk. In this respect, the newly elected President, Ms Samba Panza, gives hope for national reconciliation, which could in turn allow for the gradual return of displaced people in rural areas and improved access to fields.
At the onset of the crisis and in order to better respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, FAO strengthened its team in the Central African Republic with the deployment of a multidisciplinary team of experts. The Organization is coordinating field missions, as well as opening sub-offices in the most affected areas.
Thanks to the funds mobilized thus far, FAO is supporting food production through the provision of agricultural inputs to around 40 000 households out of the 150 000 targeted under the Revised Strategic Response Plan.
FAO has, in fact, started with the distribution of seeds and tools for the vegetable production to displaced people in camps in the outskits of Bangui, which will enable them to harvest in six to eight weeks. Furthermore, the Organization is working to rehabilitate storage facilities, as well as undertaking cash-for-work activities. Investment in joint social and economic activities among women’s farming groups is also essential to create enabling environments for inter-community social cohesion, which will help reinforce agricultural production. Interventions will foster peace-building dialogue between communities with joint social and economic activities, and will focus on involving women’s groups to showcase the mutual benefits of such activities.
Throughout 2014, FAO is seeking to provide immediate support to 150 000 vulnerable households in order to enable them to produce their own food, protect their scarce natural resources and earn a living. The success of the next maize planting season, starting in early March 2014 in the central and southern regions of the country, and of the sorghum and millet planting season starting in May in the northern region will be crucial for food security.
Nonetheless, FAO is still seeking USD 37 million for the remaining 110 000 farming families in order to provide them with livelihood assistance through resilience building.
FAO, as co-lead of the Food Security Cluster, also plays a crucial role in food security coordination and needs evaluation and analysis thus enabling timely decision-making. Strategic partnership between FAO and the World Food Programme is particularly important to prevent duplications in the response to the crisis, ensure a greater impact on the population and enhance the cost-efficiency of the operations of both agencies in the country. Close collaboration in the field will ensure that the response is of an appropriate type, pace and scale in spite of insecurity, and will build the capacity of implementing partners to prepare the future development of the Central African Republic.
In Million USD