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Crisis in the Central African Republic

Crisis in the Central African Republic

The Central African Republic is currently one of the world’s most serious humanitarian crises, whereby the magnitude and severity of needs reached in 2017 recall those of the 2013-2014 crisis. The resurgence of armed conflict across the country has considerably undermined peace-building efforts and the return of displaced people, significantly reducing the resilience of the population. One in four people in the country are either internally displaced or refugees, and the IDP caseload doubled in just one year since 2014.

Forced population displacements and the collapse of basic socio-economic structures have prevented families from engaging in agricultural activities, with a 58 percent decrease in agricultural production compared with pre-crisis levels. Five consecutive years of reduced harvests, compounded by access constraints due to market disruptions and declining purchasing power led to the depletion of food stocks, the adoption of negative coping mechanisms and increased dependency on food aid. As a result, the food security situation across the country is alarming, with 2 million people43 percent of the populationestimated to be severely food insecure during the lean season (April‒August 2018) if food assistance is not provided, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis (March 2018).

The outbreak of the crisis has exacerbated tensions between farmers and pastoralists, resulting in increasingly violent intercommunal conflict. This has had disastrous consequences for the stabilization in the border areas with Cameroon, Chad, South Sudan and the Sudan during the transhumance season (October–May). Livestock production, in particular transhumant livestock herding, was severely affected. As resuming regular transhumance movement is linked to the restoration of security in the country, actions promoting intercommunity dialogue and social cohesion are necessary to reduce the risks of transhumance-related conflict.

FAO has developed a five-year strategy requiring USD 50 million to support 100 000 vulnerable pastoralist and agropastoralist households with the overall aim to enhance social cohesion and strengthen the contribution of pastoralism and transhumance to the socio-economic development of agropastoralist communities.

As part of longer-term support to the country, FAO is working to revitalize the agriculture sector and increase farmers' resilience. The Organization continues to implement activities within the framework of the integrated community-centred approach it has developed, called caisses de résilience that helps families accumulate, diversify and protect assets on a regular basis throughout the year. Women's associations and farmers' groups act as a platform for individual and collective actions by linking the use of sustainable agricultural practices to rural finance opportunities, while strengthening social inclusion and solidarity.

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 livelihoods are increasingly at risk. Under the 2017‒2019 Humanitarian Response Plan, FAO seeks USD 49.1 million for 2018 to provide agricultural and livestock support to 1.1 million vulnerable people through strategic partnership with NGOs. Restoring agriculture-based livelihoods is not only key to boost food security, but also to achieve stabilization and peace in the Central African Republic.

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 (WFP) is essential in the crisis response. To maximize the impact of implemented projects, families benefiting from FAO's assistance have also received food rations from WFP to reduce the risk of eating seeds instead of planting them.

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