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The Central African Republic: evaluations on food security have started

The Central African Republic: evaluations on food security have started

03/09/2014

FAO and its partners started a series of analyses on food security at the national level that will allow to better respond to the needs of farming families. The Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) requested by the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR) will evaluate the agricultural production, as well as the availability and access to food among vulnerable populations.

The Food Security Cluster teams (FAO, the World Food Programme [WFP] and the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development [ACTED]) cross the high green grass 22 km north of Bangui to reach plots cultivated by a women’s group, which had received 50 kg of maize during the initial input distributions to ensure agricultural production.

“Despite the late start of the rainy season, we planted everything, and we’ve already harvested and sold part of the production”, proudly announces Ms Marie-Thérèse Boubanda, head of the Action pour la compassion en Centrafrique (ACC) that coordinated the distribution of maize seeds with five farmers’ and women’s groups in the area.

The conflict had a major impact on agricultural production. Farmers lost their tools, their food reserves and livestock have been looted and their fields have been destroyed. They were not able to cultivate enough plots this year. Nevertheless, the impact of the crisis on food security seems to have been mitigated. Indeed, the seeds distributed by FAO, over 2 800 tonnes in total, have almost all been planted.

The rural population has adopted short-term survival coping mechanisms before the first harvest by planting cassava, as well as gathering and hunting forest products, namely caterpillars. However, it seems that the country has been unequally affected by the crisis; the southern areas seem to have been less affected compared with urban, peri-urban and areas of population displacement.

About 40 researchers were trained to set up over 200 community discussion groups across the country from 1 to 10 September. The CFSAM results should be published at the end of September/beginning of October. “The major trends that will emerge will allow for the readjustment of the strategy to fight food insecurity in the country”, underlines Mr Jean-Alexandre Scaglia, FAO Representative in CAR.

At the national level, other food security assessments are being conducted or are planned, such as the Emergency Food Security Assessment, currently carried out by FAO, WFP and partners, as well as the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, planned for November 2014.     

In addition, FAO and the Ministry of the Development of Rural World (Ministère en charge du développement du monde rural) have created two joint teams and are currently preparing to monitor and assess the 2014 agricultural campaign in CAR, as well as the impact of the seed distributions on production.

Furthermore, Dieudonné Bobo, the secretary general of ACC, thanks FAO teams, underlining that the close collaboration of the Organization with the people is really appreciated and necessary to respond to the needs of farming families.

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