GIEWS Country Brief: Central African Republic 20-August-2012
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Erratic and insufficient precipitation at the start of the 2012 cropping season
Agricultural recovery continues to be hampered by persistent civil strife
Erratic precipitation at the start of the 2012 cropping season
Harvesting of the 2012 main cropping season maize crop, which is predominantly grown in southern regions, is about to be completed.
Following a prolonged dry spell at the beginning of the season (March-April), generally favourable rainfall was received in May and June.
Despite overall average cumulative rainfall levels over the entire cropping season (March-June) the erratic distribution of rains may have negatively impacted yields, limiting production.
Persistent insecurity disrupts agricultural production and undermines food security
Although the country has a very high agricultural potential with 15 million ha of arable land and high rainfall levels, agricultural output remains low with only 4 percent of the arable land cultivated each year. In addition, persistent civil conflict and insecurity deprive several households of their livelihoods and puts additional pressure on already limited resources.
According to OCHA, as of late July 2012, more than 100 000 individuals were affected by internal displacement, while the number of returnees from neighbouring countries was put at about 11 000. Nearly 27 000 persons are newly displaced in 2012 in south-eastern parts of the country as a result of internal conflicts, banditry and attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army. In addition, there are about 17 000 refugees from Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries, located mainly in the Bambari area, the south-east (Zemio and Obo) and the south (Mongoumba, Bangui).
During the first half of 2012, significant progress was made towards political peace negotiations between the Government and the country’s two main rebel groups. The official dissolution of the Armée Populaire pour La Restauration de La Démocratie (Popular Army to Restore Democracy/APRD) in May, the country’s largest rebel group, marked a genuine step forward in the country’s peace process. In addition, the security situation improved in the north-east following the cease-fire agreement signed between the Convention des Patriotes pour la Justice et la Paix (Patriotic Convention for Justice and Peace/CPJP) and the Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement (Union of Democratic Forces for Unification/UFDR) rebel groups enabling humanitarian access to previously isolated populations. Further negotiations for a lasting peace continue between the Government and these groups.
Despite these positive developments, the security situation has deteriorated in the Kabo-Batangafo-Kaga-Bandoro triangle in the north–center following a joint military operation organized by the Chadian and Central African army against the Chadian rebel group Front Populaire pour le Redressement (Popular Front for Reconstruction). This operation led to the destruction of villages and farms and the displacement of over 2 500 people in the area. In addition, attacks perpetrated in the south-east by the Lord’s Resistance Army increased during the first quarter of the year.
Reported levels of malnutrition and food insecurity are alarming. About 40 percent of children under the age of five classified as malnourished while 10 percent are underweight. The global acute malnutrition (GAM) is estimated at 7.4 percent at national level, but in four prefectures (Lobaye, Vakaga, Bangui and Ouham) the GAM rates have exceeded the emergency threshold of 10 percent set by the World Health Organization. According to a recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) conducted in May 2012, the entire population of Central African Republic is food insecure, while more than 776 000 Central Africans outside the capital Bangui (close to 20 percent of the total population) are in a food crisis. Overall, 1.92 million of people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. To tackle the current food insecurity situation, a joint effort was launched by the government, the United Nations and the humanitarian community, which by mid August has received about 54 percent of its required funding of USD 134 million.