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Country Briefs

  Central African Republic

Reference Date: 13-November-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Unfavourable production prospects for 2017 crops due to generalized decline in planted area as consequence of persisting civil insecurity

  2. Food access continues to be severely constrained by disrupted livelihoods, reduced production and sharply-curtailed market activity

  3. Prices of imported foods and livestock have risen sharply in conflict-ridden areas

  4. Dire food security situation for large segments of population, strong livelihood support required

Below average production prospects for 2017 cropping season

Harvesting of the main 2017 cereal crops will be concluded by late November or early December, while in some areas of the south, the harvest of the secondary crops is expected to start in December.

Favourable weather conditions prevailed during the cropping season in most provinces. Adequate rainfall was received between the months of March until the third dekad of October in southern maize-producing areas and in northern millet/sorghum-growing areas. However, persisting civil insecurity continued to disrupt agricultural activities with a likely negative impact on the final outcome of the cropping season. In fact, there was an overall decline in the area planted due to the poor access to cropland and seeds. As a result, the 2017 aggregate output is preliminarily estimated at below average levels as during the last four years.

In conflict-ridden areas, sharp rise in prices of imported foods and livestock in recent months

In the northwest, southeast and central conflict-affected areas, increased demand of imported foods and livestock, exacerbated by poor market access and below-average local supplies, have resulted in a sharp rise in their respective prices in recent months.

The average annual inflation rate has declined in recent years and is forecast to fall to 3.5 percent in 2017 compared to 4 percent in 2016. The general decline in prices is essentially demand-driven as disrupted livelihoods, reduced employment opportunities and limited availability have severely curtailed households’ purchasing power.

Food security situation continues to deteriorate, strong livelihood support continues to be required

Violent clashes and inter-communal tensions have continuously increased since last year resulting in widespread disruption of agricultural and marketing activities as well as exacerbated the massive displacements, with a severe negative impact on both food availability and access. According to UNHCR, due to increased violence, the IDP caseload as of the end of September 2017 is estimated at about 600 000, a 12 percent increase since the end of June and almost 50 percent since January 2017.

Four consecutive years of reduced harvests, compounded by access constraints due to market disruptions and declining purchasing power, result in an alarming food security situation across the country. 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. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), valid for the period from February to May 2017, about 1.1 million people (30 percent of the total population) were in need of urgent assistance (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”). Eight out of the 15 prefectures were in IPC Phase 3: “Crisis”. The situation has recently deteriorated due to the increasing displacement and recurring conflict. 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 has provided crop production support to more than 150 000 vulnerable households across the country, distributing seeds and tools.

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