FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to Central African Republic, 29 October 2014 - Summary

FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to Central African Republic, 29 October 2014 - Summary
Oct 2014

Highlights

  • The unprecedented political and military crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), which started in December 2012, has devastated the country’s overall economy with the Gross Domestic Product falling by 37 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.
  • The agricultural sector, the backbone of the economy, has also contracted by 46 percent in 2013.
  • In 2014, agricultural activities continued to be seriously disrupted with planted area reduced to well below pre-crisis levels due to persistent insecurity and scarcity in essential inputs like seeds and tools.
  • Crop production in 2014, estimated at 762 690 tonnes, is 58 percent lower than the pre-crisis average but 11 percent up on 2013, due to increased cassava production; by contrast, cereal production fell by 54 percent in 2014 compared to 2013.
  • FAO’s support to crop production mitigated the negative impact of the crisis on food production with about 111 750 households being assisted with input seeds (maize, rice, groundnut, sesame, millet, sorghum, cowpeas and beans) and tools, while 100 seed multiplication groups received maize, rice and groundnut seeds. WFP supported the operation by providing seed protection rations.
  • Based on the Mission’s estimates, a cereal import requirement of 134 000 tonnes for the 2014/15 marketing year (November/October) is forecast. Assuming commercial imports at 29 000 tonnes and food aid in stock and pipeline at 48 000 tonnes, the Mission expects an uncovered cereal deficit of 57 000 tonnes.
  • Livestock numbers are currently estimated to have declined by up to 77 percent compared to pre-crisis levels, due to looting and slaughtering.
  • Fish supply declined by about 40 percent from pre-crisis levels, due to insecurity in fishing areas and loss of fishing equipment.
  • The breakdown in market and trade activities has resulted in severe scarcity of commodities, including essential food items, leading to price surges in Bangui, where inflation increased from 3.5 percent in January 2014 to 12 percent in August 2014 thus constraining access to food to many.
  • Prices of maize, millet and groundnuts increased by 30-70 percent between March-April and August 2014. By contrast, prices of locally-produced cassava declined by 13 percent between February and August.
  • The crisis has caused a sharp deterioration of the food security situation. Food reserves in rural areas are estimated at 40-50 percent lower than average following recurring lootings and widespread insecurity, and a decrease in the quantity and quality of meals has been observed.
  • The Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and the isolated populations are facing an emergency food security situation, with about 50 percent of these households having critically low levels of food consumption and high malnutrition risk.
  • For non-displaced groups, continued provision of food assistance is required during the 2015 lean season (April-July). An introduction of safety net facilities is recommended to prevent and treat moderate acute malnutrition.
  • Support to boost food production (through distribution of seeds and tools, promotion of vegetable production, fish farming and small livestock rearing) is urgently required.
  • Strong support to the agricultural sector in conformity to the Programme National d’Investissement Agricole, de Sécurité Alimentaire et Nutritionnelle (PNIASAN) would enable an inclusive economic growth and generate employment and income opportunities.
  • The setting up of an agriculture and food security and early warning information system is highly recommended to provide updates and progressively allow for a timely, accurate and systematic monitoring.