Central African Republic - Situation update 21 September 2015

Central African Republic - Situation update 21 September 2015
Sep 2015

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 2 900 tonnes of crop seeds to 96 200 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 (groundnut, maize, rice and sesame) and three hoes to plant in time and produce their own food.

FAO is assisting 32 700 additional households with inputs for the second cycle of the agricultural campaign; 1 045 tonnes of seeds were distributed. FAO will also assist about 40 000 households with vegetable seeds and tools during the off season. The delivery of vaccines for the vaccination campaign starting in October 2015 is ongoing. In order to strengthen household resilience, FAO developed a comprehensive approach called caisses de résilience that enables families to build their agriculture techniques, financial capacities and governance structures at community level. Participating families are contracted to produce quality seeds; to boost their communities’ capacities 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 on a regular basis 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 (S&L) and farmer field school techniques; of the 90 000 household identified, 35 450 will receive support throughout 2015.

FAO has signed Letters of Agreement (LoAs) with 29 national and four national identified NGOs (four LoAs remain to be signed). 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 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. FAO provided agricultural inputs, WFP provided food protection rations, while partner NGOs were in charge of distributing both food and seed commodities to the same households to limit the risk of planting material consumption. The objectives of the 2015 SRP focus on: providing life-saving food assistance; supporting agricultural and gardening activities by ensuring that households have access to productive assets (especially during the lean season); strengthening households’ resilience through agricultural income-generating activities and capacity building; promoting natural resource management through approaches fostering social cohesion; and coordinating partners’ food security interventions and information management and sharing.