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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2010: Central African Republic

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2010: Central African Republic
Nov 2009

Despite hopes for greater peace and stability in the Central African Republic, this year saw the breakdown of the inclusive dialogue for peace and an upsurge in violence, some of it linked to the likely delay of next year’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

In 2009, the Central African Republic remained on the brink, with further splits within rebel groups and the slow pace of the disarmament, demobilization and reinsertion process exacerbated by ethnic conflict, continued banditry and incursions by the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). An estimated 147 500 people have been displaced in the northeast and northwest of the country and a further 40 000 (including 1 500 refugees that have fled violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in the southeast.

The country remains one of the poorest in the world, increasingly caught up in the conflicts affecting its neighbours in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan’s Darfur Region and Uganda. The current international economic crisis increased unemployment and directly contributed to higher rates of malnutrition among children. Essential activities under the 2009 CAP for the Central African Republic were severely underfunded. Should this continue through 2010, there is a real risk of creating a regional humanitarian crisis.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

In 2009, the food security sector provided basic agricultural inputs and training in improved production to tens of thousands of vulnerable rural households in the country. Despite this, about one-third of the population (over 1.22 million people) remains food insecure according to the 2009 Comprehensive Food Security, Vulnerability and Nutrition Analysis conducted by the Government and the WFP. Over 10 percent of children suffer from global acute malnutrition and 38 percent from chronic malnutrition.

Continued violence has forced rural producers to flee their homes, abandoning their seeds, tools, livestock and food stores and rendering them unable to resume agricultural production. In Vakaga prefecture, three consecutive agricultural seasons have been lost to insecurity, while three-quarters of farmers in Markounda and Boguila regions are unable to access their fields due to attacks by armed groups.

The impact of high food prices is still being felt by households in the north and centre of the country, who spend up to 75 percent of their incomes on food. This has been exacerbated by rising unemployment, which has diminished purchasing capacity, affecting farmers’ incomes and reducing their access to essential agricultural inputs.

As part of the 2010 CAP, the members of the Food Security Cluster aim to facilitate access to food and markets, increase agricultural production and build the capacity of farmers’ organizations and Government institutions.

FAO response

Small ruminants and poultry play an important role in the income, food security and nutrition of vulnerable households in the Central African Republic. In order to support families affected by the ongoing violence, FAO plans to distribute goats and poultry to over 9 000 households. The beneficiaries will also receive appropriate training on herd management and fodder production, as well as basic materials to build shelters for their livestock.

FAO will work closely with WFP and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to improve children’s nutrition and school attendance by supporting the establishment of school gardens. Parents’ associations and teachers will receive vegetable seeds, tools and training in production techniques to enable them to manage the gardens and generate income. The Organization will also distribute vegetable seeds and tools to HIV/AIDS-affected households, that face diminished agricultural productivity, reduced nutritional status and worsened food security.

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 2010 to enable the humanitarian community to better plan response. Support will be provided for the collection and analysis of data, publication and dissemination of a food security bulletin, creation of a subregional IPC working group and regular publication of IPC maps.