Central African Republic - Executive brief 16 October 2014

Central African Republic - Executive brief 16 October 2014
Oct 2014

FAO’s response

A major food crisis has been contained thanks to timely donor support that has allowed emergency crop production support, saving families from a domino effect of continued losses, as well as preventing farmers from adopting negative coping strategies with long-term effects.

Resilience building

FAO and NGO partners have provided crop production support to a total of 111 750 vulnerable families across the country. For the main planting season, 83 950 families received 25 kg of crop seeds (groundnut, maize and rice) and two hoes each to plant in time and produce their own food. Preliminary results from post-distribution assessments indicate that, despite insecurity, farmers planted a total area of 55 000 ha with an estimated production of 55 000 tonnes, which will contribute to feed each assisted family for up to four months. For the short cycle input distribution, FAO assisted 27 800 families with seeds (beans, maize, millet, niébé, sesame and sorghum) and tools. Furthermore, strategic stocks (vegetable seeds) are being prepositioned in FAO’s field offices for rapid response capacity to support 30 000 IDPs and affected populations with vegetable seeds and tools following the planting season.

This is part of the Rapid Response Mechanism implemented by UNICEF in coordination with NGOs through the Food Security Cluster. In response to the deterioration of the situation in CAR, FAO provided vegetable producers with immediate assistance before the start and during the crop season. Over 450 farmers’ groups, including women’s associations and 880 households received vegetable seeds and tools.

While providing relief and rehabilitation assistance, FAO has forcefully promoted its dual resilience agenda. For instance, FAO developed a comprehensive approach called caisses de résilience that will help families to accumulate, diversify and protect assets by building their capacities in terms of agriculture techniques, financial capacities and governance structures at community level.

This approach has been successfully implemented in crisis and post crisis contexts in several countries in the region. Participating families will be engaged in contractual production of quality seeds and food, support to school gardening and feeding, nutrition surveillance and cash transfer initiatives to boost their community. These activities will be completed with the distribution of small processing machines and the constitution of food and seed reserves. As they are not dependent on the rainy season, resilience measures provide opportunities for households to diversify and accumulate assets on a regular basis year round. Training has been provided to 250 young professionals, including ministry officials, on the caisses de résilience approach, specifically on Saving and Loans schemes and Farmer Fields School techniques. Among the trainees, 25 of them will become trainers of facilitators (150 members of national NGOs)

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 interventions between FAO, WFP and NGO partners. FAO provided agricultural inputs, WFP provided food protection rations, while NGO partners were in charge of distributing both food and seed commodities to the same households to limit the risk of planting material consumption.

The Cluster carried out a vulnerability assessment (September 2014) in the Muslim-majority enclave of PK5 in Bangui where humanitarian assistance has been limited due to security constraints. This assessment allowed to count the number of people in this area for the first time since December 2013, and establish the vulnerability criteria to identify the appropriate food security assistance in response to their needs .