The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2011: Central African Republic
The unstable political climate in the Central African Republic continues to impact negatively on security. The national election, initially scheduled for April 2010, has been repeatedly postponed and is now foreseen for early 2011.
CAP 2011 – List of Countries
The peace process remains challenging, with some rebel groups yet to sign the peace agreement and the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration process proceeding at a slow pace.
During 2010, rebel groups both within and outside of the peace process have launched a number of attacks resulting in displacement in the northeastern areas of the country. The Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), initially present in the southeast region, has extended its area of interest in the north and northeast. Persistent attacks in the rural areas have forced villagers to flee their homes and take refuge in the bush and towns near the national forces.
In this context, humanitarian access is subject to restrictions. In the LRA-affected areas, security measures have been reinforced for humanitarian operators to be able to deliver assistance to 25 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, especially in the southeast prefectures. On the other hand, in the northeast, the withdrawal of the United Nations Missions in the Central African Republic and Chad may have negative consequences on humanitarian access.
Moreover, the country remains one of the poorest in the world, increasingly caught up in the conflicts affecting neighbouring countries. Upcoming 2011 political events, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s election and Southern Sudan’s referendum, may also affect the Central African Republic’s security situation, resulting in serious humanitarian consequences in the border areas.
Challenges facing food security and livelihoods
Despite enormous agricultural potential, the food security situation in the Central African Republic remains precarious. The volatile political context, widespread poverty, high food prices and low agricultural production have had a serious impact on malnutrition levels. The number of vulnerable people is estimated at 700 000, which includes 192 000 IDP and 24 690 refugees.
Owing to the continuous conflicts and the insecurity prevailing in the northern and southeastern areas, farmers have limited access to productive capital. HIV/AIDS is spreading from the towns to rural areas, and as a result, the workforce has declined sharply, reducing agricultural production and household incomes. This has left many, particularly the most vulnerable groups, at risk of malnutrition and food insecurity.
The livestock sector is crucial for local livelihoods, but with increased insecurity, it will continue to be severely penalized throughout 2011. Many animals have been stolen, and conflicts between farmers and herders are a recurring problem, with many herders fleeing the country. In addition, herds have been decimated by diseases, jeopardizing the livelihoods of many farming families.
The effects of the global economic crisis have also crippled the purchasing power of entire communities, leaving them with limited access to foodstuff. The diversity of food available in the markets is limited and the price of food and agricultural inputs remains high. As part of the 2011 CAP, the Food Security Cluster aims to ameliorate these problems through better access to food and markets, increased agricultural production and capacity building.
The agriculture and livestock sector plays an important role in the income, food security and nutrition of vulnerable households. Given the vast amounts of unused cultivable land, there is strong potential to grow food and produce seed to mitigate the effects of the country’s protracted crisis, even in the zones where insecurity is still high. In order to support families affected by ongoing insecurity, FAO plans to strengthen the capacity of 5 000 households to grow vegetables and provide safe and quality food to the urban markets. With donor support, FAO will also distribute agricultural tools and seeds to over 4 000 households, and goats and poultry to over 1 000 households. The beneficiaries will also receive training in agricultural production, veterinary support and basic materials to build shelters for animals. In addition, FAO plans to bolster farming-capacity growth through support to local government counterparts.
As the lead agency for the food security sector, FAO will continue its efforts to promote the Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification (IPC) tool in 2011 to enable the humanitarian community to improve planning and response. Support will also be provided for the collection and analysis of food security data, publication of information for partners, reinforcing the national IPC working group and creating IPC subregional working groups.