Central African Republic - Situation update 13 January 2016

Central African Republic - Situation update 13 January 2016
Jan 2016

As the security situation gradually stabilizes, agriculture offers the most opportunities for economic growth, particularly among the youth and returnees who are seeking work and can engage in agricultural activities to rapidly generate an income, while contributing to rebuilding the country’s economy.

FAO's response

For the 2015 main agricultural campaign, FAO partnered with over 25 international and national Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). During the first cycle of the agricultural campaign, FAO distributed about 3 900 tonnes of crop seeds to 128 900 crisis-affected households ‒ of the 150 000 identified ‒ to cultivate 0.5 ha of land. This contributes to meet their food needs for up to nine months, reduce dependence on humanitarian assistance and stabilize their incomes. Each family received 31 kg of crop seeds (cereals and pulses) and three hoes to plant in time and produce their own food. FAO is also assisting about 50 000 households with vegetable seeds and tools during the off season (October 2015 – March 2016). Finally, a vaccination campaign for 1.5 million heads of cattle and 600 000 small ruminants against pest of small ruminants and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia is ongoing.

In order to strengthen household resilience, FAO developed a comprehensive approach called caisses de résilience that enables families to strengthen agricultural techniques, financial capacities and governance structures at community level. Participating families are engaged in the production of quality seeds; to boost their communities’ capacities and improve their savings, support to school gardening and feeding, nutrition surveillance and cash transfer initiatives will be provided. These activities are coupled with the distribution of small processing machines, allowing for food and seed reserves to be established. As they are not dependent on the rainy season, resilience measures provide opportunities for households to accumulate, diversify and protect assets year round as well as increase knowledge. About 150 national and international NGO staff members, as well as FAO staff members and government technical officers, have been trained on the caisses de résilience approach, specifically on savings and loan schemes and farmer field school techniques; throughout 2015, 35 450 households have received support. FAO has identified 125 000 households to be assisted for the caisses de résilience approach in 2016. FAO has signed Letters of Agreement with 29 national and four international NGOs.

As youth unemployment is a major concern, usually resulting into criminal activities and social unrest, supporting youth is one of the Organization’s main priorities. FAO has already assisted 2 100 youths through labour intensive work initiatives, garden schools, peri-urban agriculture, cash for work and development of agribusiness. Moreover, through the Youth Initiative, FAO is currently supporting the Government, NGOs and other partners in formulating a youth programme specifically aimed to reduce unemployment and boost agricultural production.

Food Security Cluster

The Cluster, co-led by FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP), provided coordination support to implementing partners and the Government from the early stage of the crisis (December 2013). The Cluster was instrumental during the planting season by promoting joint FAO/WFP/NGO interventions. While FAO provided agricultural inputs, WFP provided food protection rations and partner NGOs were in charge of distributing both food and seed commodities to the same beneficiary households to limit the risk of planting material consumption. The Cluster is currently preparing the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan which will build upon 2015 joint FAO/WFP/NGO programme experience. Thus, life-saving food assistance (WFP) will be carried out together with livelihoods assistance (FAO) in the framework of longer-term programmes aiming to save and strengthen livelihoods and build resilience, based on the asset protection under the caisses de résilience approach.