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More than 80 percent of the Central African Republic’s working population relies on agriculture, but years of conflict and instability have stifled economic growth and reduced crop and livestock production. Despite some progress towards peace, the security situation remains uncertain as violence continues to displace people. Others have returned to their villages, only to find their homes and farms in ruins. FAO is working to revitalize the country’s agriculture sector – from helping farmers supply markets with fresh and nutritious food to equipping young women and men with new skills in agriculture.
Boosting production and incomes
Insecurity and challenging living conditions have caused many people in the Central African Republic to leave their villages. The difficulties of earning an income in urban areas – not to mention pressure on already limited resources – make for an even more precarious situation. Many people living on the outskirts of cities, particularly women, grow vegetables or raise small livestock; however, the lack of training, organization and financing keep these activities from being profitable. FAO is working to increase vulnerable households’ access to quality seed, tools and training and to assist them them to organize into value chain groups – a move designed to expand their marketing opportunities.
Providing new skills in agriculture
Helping people affected by conflict find gainful employment is vital for any country’s recovery. FAO is doing precisely that in the Central African Republic by providing young women and men living in post-conflict zones with agricultural skills. Through various apprenticing centres, farmers are learning best practices for growing vegetables suitable to local conditions as well as raising small livestock such as pigs or goats. These skills not only boost their income potential but also ensure a supply of good quality produce in the markets.
Pinpointing food and nutrition insecurity
Malnutrition rates in the Central African Republic are high. In some areas, the global acute malnutrition rate exceeds the emergency threshold of 10 percent set by the World Health Organization. Having a clear picture of food insecurity throughout the country – being able to answer such questions as where, how severe, who and how many people affected – is crucial. FAO has been working with partners to improve food security analysis and decision-making in the country through the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification. Such analysis contributes to timely, more effective and strategic responses to the country’s food security needs.