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Sunday, January 5, 2014

C.A.R: FAO warns on potential food security crisis

The continuous security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is giving the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) some nightmares, hence it warned on the potential food security crisis in the country.

NaijaAgroNet reports that FAO says that despite security challenges in half of the prefectures, farmers in the Central African Republic are counting on the next agriculture season to restore their food production capacity to avoid risks of famine and malnutrition.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that since last year when they had to flee the violence, farming communities had to abandon their fields along the main roads to replant deep in the bush.

This disruption, experts say has led them to produce much less than previous years with a major impact on their food reserves that will last till February instead of July 2014.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that FAO of the United Nations is already working to provide farmers with seeds and tools for the next campaign however more funds are needed for the food security component of the 100-day response plan.

According to NaijaAgroNet, the initial assessments conducted in the past weeks indicated a deteriorating situation in terms of low food stocks, widespread disruption to village food markets and a lack of purchasing power overall among other issues.

Acting FAO Representative in the Central African Republic, Alexis Bonte, who recently visited Bossangoa revealed to NaijaAgroNet that the combination of food shortages and poor sanitary conditions in the camps and deep in the bush, as well as extreme poverty, risk triggering serious malnutrition.

The success of the next planting season Bonte noted is crucially hinging on the return of farming families to the fields, stressing that families who are unable to plant in March will have to wait one whole year before they could hope to harvest again.

“Failure to help these families will have dramatic consequences on the food security for a quarter of the Central African population. The low production perceived from the last harvest coupled with a prevailing situation of chronic country-wide malnutrition is setting the stage for a full scale food and nutrition security crisis should the next planting season fail, reports the Organization today,” FAO official said.

Ayo Omidele/GEE
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