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Country Briefs

  Central African Republic

Reference Date: 11-October-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Below average production prospects for 2017 crops due to overall decline in cropping area under cultivation because of deteriorating civil security situation

  2. Food access severely constrained by disrupted livelihoods, reduced own 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 crops

Harvesting of the main 2017 maize crop in the southern bi-modal rainfall areas is ongoing and will be completed in November. In the uni-modal northern areas, where sorghum and millet are predominantly grown, harvesting of crops will be concluded in late November or early December.

According to remote sensing analysis, favourable weather conditions prevailed during the cropping season in most provinces. The FAO Agricultural Stress Index (ASI) data indicates that adequate rainfall was received between the months of March until the first dekad of September in southern maize-producing areas and in northern millet/sorghum-growing areas. However, despite favourable weather conditions, civil insecurity continues to disrupt agricultural activities and have a negative impact on the final outcome of the cropping season. As a result of the poor access to cropland and overall decline in cropping area under cultivation, 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

The average inflation rate declined in recent years and is expected to continue this downward trend in 2017. The average inflation rate is forecast to fall to 3.5 percent in 2017 compared to 4 percent in 2016. The decline in prices is essentially due to the decreasing purchasing power of households, caused by disrupted livelihoods, reduced employment opportunities and limited availability of income.

In the northwest, southeast and central conflict-affected areas, increased demand of imported foods and livestock, exacerbated by tight local supplies from a reduced 2016 output, have resulted in a sharp rise in their prices in recent months.

Dire food security situation, strong livelihood support continues to be required

The civil unrest in the country has resulted in widespread disruption of agricultural and marketing activities and caused massive displacements, with a severe negative impact on both food availability and access. As a result of recent violence, between April and July 2017 about 100 000 people have been displaced in the northwest, southwest, southeast and central areas (Ouham Pende, Nana Mambéré, Basse Kotto, Mbomou, Haut Mbomou and Haute Kotto). According to UNHCR, the IDP caseload as of end of August 2017 is estimated at about 592 000, 54 percent more than a year earlier.

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 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 fifteen prefectures are in IPC Phase 3: “Crisis”. 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.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.