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World Food Day, 16 October 2016

World Food Day in Central African Republic

Central African Republic - 09/11/2016

The capital of the prefecture of Lobaye located southwest of Bangui hosted the 36th edition of the celebration of World Food Day. Chaired by the Head of the Central African State, Faustin Archange Touadéra, the World Food Day 2016 celebration gathered producers in Lobaye and their counterparts in the prefectures of Ombella-Mpoko to Nana-Mambéré, the Mambéré-Kadéï, and Sangha-Mbaéré, who came to exhibit their agricultural, pastoral and market gardening products. 

After the welcome speech by the mayor of Mbaïki Pascal Kiki, the Assistant FAO Representative Alain Constant welcomed the President of the Republic and his Government to the ceremony, on behalf of the FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva. He noted that their presence demonstrated how food security is a matter of priority for the Central African Republic. He added FAO actions in the Central African State are directly aimed at improving the livelihoods of rural people and increasing their resilience to risks, threats and attacks. Not only are adaptation measures employed to increase food security, they are used to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from agriculture, livestock and fisheries. 

The Minister of Livestock and Animal Health Youssoufa Yérima Mandjo took the opportunity to inform the public on Central African animal breeding, and focused on its advantages and difficulties. He stated, "In the absence of external financing, pastoral activities have been sidelined and the struggle is to make producers see it once again as a source of income. This is a basis for improved food security. We are emerging from a crisis and financial and material resources are sorely needed to initiate major reforms. We must combine our efforts, mobilize budgetary resources and count on the support of partners to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on our environment and agro-pastoral production". 

The Minister of Rural Development and Agriculure Feïzouré Honore noted that the celebration of World Food Day aims to draw the attention of policy makers, technical and financial partners, development actors and that of scientific actors to current issues that impact the state of food and nutrition security in the world. Commenting on the 2016 WFD theme, he added, "to address the issue of climate change and transform agriculture in such a way as to ensure food and nutrition security for the population, government policy defines the main actions to be implemented, which are summarized in the slogan: think outside the box, change the method and use modern means". 

Before visiting the stands, the President of the Republic, Faustin Archange Touadéra expressed his pride in experiencing the great resilience of the Central African people. For him, the WFD theme "concerns us all as producers of agricultural and non-timber forest and pastoral products and reminds us of the need to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects in order to safeguard  human and animal life". He added that "the deadline for achieving the Zero Hunger goal is ambitious and cannot be achieved without fighting climate change. It is time to act, more than ever before, and to move our country out of the vicious cycle of food insecurity and malnutrition, caused by recent dramatic events that have plunged our country into this situation of stagnation."

To conclude the event, 15 agro-pastoral groups were awarded with agricultural equipment as well as agriculture and vegetable kits provided by FAO. The orchestra Zokela My Hity Hity and traditional dance groups in Mbaïki performed during the awards ceremony.