By Mohammed Kandi, with agency report
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization of (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in a new report, found significant decline in agricultural production in the wake of the crisis in Central Africa Republic (CAR), that caused massive displacements and drove hundreds of thousands of people from the country making them to flee across its borders.
In a statement jointly released to over 200 news agencies, it informed while quoting from the Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) report that, production of the main staple cereals and cassava in 2014 (in cereal equivalent) is estimated at about 763, 000 metric tonnes, – eleven percent higher than the poor 2013 harvest but still 58 percent lower than the 2008-2012 pre-crisis average.
The country’s agricultural sector contracted by 46 percent in 2013, it further said.
Negative impacts on food production were tempered by FAO’s support to around 111, 750 households through the provision of seeds and tools ahead of planting to support crop production, accompanied by WFP’s delivery of seed protection rations to limit the risk of planting material consumption.
“While these efforts prevented the food and farming situation from becoming even more desperate, we need additional support to boost food production and the agricultural sector, which is the primary means of survival for many people and the backbone of the Central African Republic’s economy,” said FAO Country Representative Jean-Alexandre Scaglia.
Compared to pre-crisis levels, livestock numbers are estimated to be down by as much as 77 percent, due to frequent raids and cattle-rustling, while the fish supply declined by about 40 percent, owing to insecurity in fishing areas along the country’s rivers and the loss of fishing equipment.
The WFP’s chief economist, Arif Husain said “WFP is particularly concerned about the situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) and isolated communities. Field surveys show about half of these households have critically low levels of food consumption and are at high risk of malnutrition and therefore rely largely on food assistance.”