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CAR crisis - Image courtesy of Jeroen Swolfs

Crisis in the Central African Republic

In the Central African Republic, 2.5 million people require immediate humanitarian assistance, and one in five is 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.

''If we miss the planting season starting in April, families will run out of food because of no harvests. We must provide food, so that families are not forced to eat the seeds to survive.''

Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director

Central African Republic crisisThe 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 will be cultivating in the coming weeks to ensure their income and access to food. However, 94 percent of communities report they will not have enough seeds to plant for the next agricultural season, which begins in April.

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. 

At the onset of the crisis, in order to better respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, FAO strengthened its team in the Central African Republic. A multidisciplinary team of experts has been deployed in Bangui and three suboffices have been opened in Bossangoa, Bambari and Bouar to serve the most affected areas of the country.

The Organization has started with the distribution of seeds and tools for vegetable production to displaced people in camps in the outskirts of Bangui, enabling them to harvest in six to eight weeks. In addition, FAO is implementing cash-for-work activities, which provide much needed income to meet affected families' food needs, while rebuilding community assets. 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.

Of the total funds requested by FAO under the Revised Strategic Response Plan (USD 45 million to support 150 000 farming families), FAO has received USD 23 million and pledges for over USD 7 million. With funding received, FAO has been able to procure around 2 000 tonnes of seeds and small tools to assist 80 000 farming families for the upcoming agricultural season in 14 of the 16 prefectures of the Central African Republic. An additional USD 15 million is required to provide livelihood support to the population immediately after the agricultural season. The objective is to build resilience through asset diversification and activities that will generate regular income before the first harvest, enabling families to purchase food from the market. 

As co-lead of the Food Security Cluster, FAO plays a crucial role in food security coordination, as well as needs assessment and analysis, thus enabling timely decision-making. Strategic partnership between FAO and the World Food Programme is essential in order to prevent duplications in the crisis response, ensure a greater impact of implemented projects and increase cost-efficiency of both agencies operating in the country. In fact, people benefiting from FAO's assistance, through distributions of agricultural kits containing seeds and small tools to help them resume their agricultural activities, will also receive food rations from WFP. The goal is to prevent people from eating seeds because of lack of food and ensure that seeds are planted when the rainy season starts (April), which will guarantee that the country has sufficient crops in the near future. Close collaboration in the field will also ensure the overall effectiveness of the response (pace and scale) in spite of insecurity, as well as enhance the capacities of implementing partners to prepare for the future development of the Central African Republic.

Funding

In Million USD

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