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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

CAR, IFAD to promote smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate change - NaijaAgroNet

Nearly 30,000 vulnerable households will be better equipped to deal with the fragility created by past conflict and the impacts of climate change thanks to a US$29 million project announced today that aims to improve food and nutrition security in four sub-prefectures of the Central African Republic, reports NaijaAgroNet.

With support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a financing agreement for the Project to Revitalize Crop and Livestock Production in the Savannah (PREPAS) was signed earlier by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Félix Moloua, Minister of Planning, Economy and Cooperation of the Central African Republic.

Financing for the project includes a grant from IFAD ($12.4 million), as well as funding from the Government of Central African Republic ($0.9 million) and the beneficiaries themselves ($3 million). A financing gap of $12.6 million will be covered by future IFAD resource allocation cycles for Central African Republic.

In the Central African Republic, the livelihoods of 74 per cent of the population are dependent on the agropastoral sector, which also accounts for 52 per cent of the GDP. The humanitarian and security crisis between 2013-2015 and continued conflicts have had a devastating effect on the economy, impacting food security and increasing the country's fragility today. As a result, poverty affects about 67 per cent of the entire population.

The main causes of poverty include the poor performance of the agropastoral sector, the impact of the conflicts on the economy, lack of roads, infrastructure and public services in rural areas, vulnerability to climate change, floods and droughts, as well as scarce economic opportunities, especially for the young people.

PREPAS will target agricultural producers in the sub-prefectures of Baoro, Bossemptélé, Bouar and Yaloké, with possible expansion to Bozoum after the project's mid-term review. At least 50 per cent of the participants will be women, 30 per cent young people and 10 per cent heads of the most vulnerable households.

The project aims to strengthen the production, processing and marketing of maize, cassava, groundnut, red beans, poultry, goats, sheep and pigs. It will promote sustainable practices that help famers adapt to climate change conditions, particularly to droughts and floods. Household members will also be trained in good dietary practices, nutrition and hygiene. Increasing the availability of highly nutritious foods will be among project goals. In an attempt to reduce tensions and promote long-term sustainability, the project will also focus on encouraging dialogue between farmers growing crops and livestock producers. 

In addition, the project will establish 800 agricultural, agropastoral and market gardening groups while developing market gardens equipped with solar irrigation devices. Furthermore, 12 product warehouses and eight input storehouses will be constructed, and 450 young people will receive training in processing, marketing or services within the value chains of selected crops and livestock.

Since 1979, IFAD has financed eight rural development programmes and projects in Central African Republic at a total cost of $160.9 million, with an IFAD investment of $71.6 million. These projects and programmes have directly benefited 123,350 rural households.

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