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  Central African Republic

Reference Date: 21-March-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Crop production in 2018 estimated at above-average level due to larger cassava production

  2. Food access continues to be severely constrained by disrupted livelihoods and sharply-curtailed market activities

  3. Food prices above year-earlier levels

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

Cropping season in 2019 started following above‑average 2018 output

Planting of the 2019 maize crop began in March in some areas of the south under favourable weather conditions. Sowing of the other main cereal crops is expected to start in other parts of the country in April and May and continue until June. Persisting civil insecurity continues to hamper crop production as the area planted is significantly constrained by the abandonment of a substantial number of farms.

The 2018 aggregate food production was estimated to be about 1 million tonnes, about 3 percent below the good 2017 output. Production in 2018 was 18 percent above the last five-year average (2013-2017), but still lower than the pre-crisis levels. In recent years (2016-2018), cassava production has returned to pre-crisis levels following an increase in cultivation during the ongoing conflict as the crop requires less maintenance and physical presence in the fields compared to other crops.

Food prices above their year-earlier levels

Staple food prices in December 2018 were above their year‑earlier levels. Price of rice in December 2018 rose by 10 percent from the previous year despite a slight increase in domestic production. The increase in the prices of rice was mainly due to a significant decrease in imports resulting from the disruption of cross-border markets. The average annual inflation rate in 2018 increased to 6 percent from 4.1 percent in 2017 due to a deterioration of security causing disruption in supply and trade.

Acute food security persists due to civil insecurity

Violent clashes and inter-communal tensions that began in December 2012 have persisted to date and resulted in significant population movements within the country and in neighbouring countries. The conflict has progressively increased since June 2018 leading to 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, as of end‑December 2018, the IDP caseload was estimated at about 641 000 people compared to about 608 000 in June 2018. The majority of the displaced population live in host families (more than 412 000), while the rest reside in IDP sites and centres. The conflicts are also restricting the delivery of humanitarian assistance and disrupting agricultural activities.

Since late 2017, the quantity of the food in-take for large segments of the population has been reportedly reduced and the dietary diversity has also drastically worsened through the substitution of more nutritious cereal and vegetable staples with cassava and the sharp reduction of animal proteins in-take. This widespread dietary deterioration raises serious concerns in terms of nutrition and health. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), conducted in September 2018, approximately 1.9 million people (about 100 000 less than in March 2018) are estimated to be in need of urgent assistance (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”) of which more than 550 000 people face IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”. Armed conflict remains the major driver of food insecurity affecting households’ livelihoods and access to food, making it difficult to conduct agricultural and livestock activities.

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 and NGO partners have provided, crop production support to more than 100 000 vulnerable households across the country, distributing food, 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.