CAR

The transitional government and the United Nations’ agencies tackle the food crisis by strengthening of the agricultural sector in the Central African Republic

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(Mbaïki, March 7, 2014) - The transitional government in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the United Nations’ agencies have officially launched the Agricultural Campaign for 2014-2015 in the Central African Republic in Mbaïki, 95 kilometers away from the capital, Bangui.

The ceremony was organized ahead of the approbation of the Emergency Response Project in response to the food crisis and the relaunch of the agricultural sector in the Central African Republic (CAR) and mobilized hundreds of people in a festive atmosphere, including agricultural group members, who showcased their local products.

The World Food Programme (WFP) gave food supplies for two weeks to 200 of the most vulnerable people identified. These people also benefited from the help of FAO, receiving distributions of agricultural kits containing seeds and small tools to help them start their activities. The goal is to prevent people from eating their seeds because due to lack of food and to ensure that crops are planted swiftly before the coming rainy season to start in April which will guarantee the country has sufficient crops in the near future.

“The agricultural sector employs 76 per cent of the population in the country and contributes to 52 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and to 42 per cent of exports. The potential of the agricultural sector is high, with 15 million hectares of cultivable land, but only 800,000 hectors are cultivated equal to 5,3 per cent of the cultivable areas”, said the Deputy Special Representative for the UN Secretary General, Resident Coordinator for the United Nations System ad interim, Georg Charpentier, who underlined the necessity to support the relaunch of the farming sector, which is heart of the country’s economy.

Currently 2.5 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance in the CAR and one person out of five is internally displaced.

In this context, the common Emergency Response Project in response to the food crisis and the relaunch of the agricultural sector in the Central African Republic must not only meet the needs of the population affected by the crisis in terms of emergency assistance, but also increasingly contribute to the strengthening of people’s resilience. The project will be financed by the World Bank who have contributed $20 million USD, and put into place jointly by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

The project’s goal is to reach 76.000 households through the distribution of seeds and farming tools for the upcoming agricultural campaign.

The launch ceremony for the 2014-15 agricultural campaign was presided by the State Minister in charge of Rural Development, Mrs Marie-Noëlle Koyara, representing the Prime Minister and chief of transitional government, André Nzapayéké who was unavailable, and it mobilized five government members. The ceremony was also attended by the UN Secretary General’s Deputy Special Representative, interim resident Coordinator for the United Nations System, Georg Charpentier, as well as UN agencies’ chiefs and members of the diplomatic corps and media.

For more information, please contact:

Franck Bitemo (Coordination), email: franck.bitemo@undp.org ; cell. : +236 75011241. Justine Texier (FAO), email: Justine.Texier@fao.org ; cell. : +236 72032535. Melissa Cheman (WFP), email: melissa.chemam@wfp.org ; cell. :+236 72187595.