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Country Briefs

  Central African Republic

Reference Date: 21-November-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Concerns over 2016 cropping season due to protracted and widespread insecurity

  2. Food access severely constrained by destroyed livelihoods, reduced own production and sharply curtailed market activity

  3. Alarming food security situation for large segments of the population, strong livelihood support required

Concerns over 2016 cropping season

Harvesting of the bulk of the 2016 cereal crops has just been concluded, while in some areas of the south, the harvest of the secondary season crops will start from December.

According to remote sensing analysis, precipitation has been abundant and evenly distributed throughout the season (April-October) over most cropping areas. Cumulative seasonal rainfall was 10-60 percent above average and, in October, vegetation conditions were generally good across the country.

Despite favourable weather conditions, agricultural operations continue to be severely affected by the widespread conflict, which resulted in large scale displacement, caused input shortages and depleted households’ productive assets. Consequently, a reduced agricultural output for the fourth consecutive year is likely.

Despite declining rates of inflation, access to food is still constrained

The average inflation rate, which surged from 6.6 percent to 11.6 percent in 2014 as the political crisis caused the collapse of the economy and a sharp increase in prices, declined to 5.4 percent in 2015 and is estimated to have further decreased to 4.9 percent in 2016. The decline in prices is partly due to a serious decrease in demand, as purchasing power of households is constrained by disrupted livelihoods, reduced employment opportunities and limited availability of cash.

As a result of these factors, most households are facing serious food access constraints. In addition, not only the quantity of food intake is reduced, but the dietary diversity is also drastically diminished by the substitution of more nutritious cereal and vegetable staples with cassava and the sharp reduction of animal proteins intake. This widespread dietary deterioration raises serious concerns of having a dire effect in terms of nutrition and health.

Alarming food security situation, strong livelihood support required

The acute and complex emergency affecting the country has resulted in widespread disruption in agricultural and marketing activities and caused massive displacements, with a severe negative impact on both food availability and access. The IDP caseload, which declined in 2016 following a relative improvement of the security situation in some areas of the country, increased by about 36 000 in October, when it was estimated at about 421 000. The new displacements have been caused by the resurgence of inter-communal violence in Northern Vakaga and northwestern Ouham-Pendé prefectures.

Three consecutive years of reduced harvests, compounded by access constraints due to market disruptions and declining purchasing power, resulted in an alarming food security situation. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), valid for the period from August to December 2016, about 2 million people (40 percent of the total population) are in need of urgent assistance (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”). Ten out of sixteen prefectures are in IPC Phase 3: “Crisis”, while Vakaga Prefecture, Kabo and Batangafo sub‑prefectures (Ouham Prefecture), Ngaoundaye sub‑prefecture (Ouham Pendè prefecture) and Mbrès sub‑prefecture (Nana-Gribizi Prefecture) are in IPC Phase  4: “Emergency”.

A timely and effective support to the agricultural sector is required to mitigate the extent of the impact of the protracted and widespread insecurity on the agricultural sector.

To help avert a full-scale nutrition and food security crisis in the coming months and to respond to the needs of the crisis-hit farmers, FAO, along with WFP and NGO partners, has provided, as of October, crop production support to 123 600 vulnerable households (618 000 individuals) across the country, distributing 3 311 tonnes of cereal, groundnut and sesame seed and 320 400 tools. In addition, about 850 000 heads of livestock have been vaccinated.