The security context in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains of concern, causing repeated population displacements. In 2020, the country experienced the worst food crisis globally with 21.8 million people facing high levels of acute food insecurity. Prior to the pandemic, over 70 percent of the population was already living below the poverty line and the situation has worsened due to the impact of COVID-19 which led to increased food prices, reduced income opportunities and economic decline.
Renewed violence perpetrated by armed groups on several fronts is affecting people's lives and livelihoods in particularly hard hit areas such as Ituri, the Kivus, Tanganyika and the greater Kasai region.
Considering the high risk of further spikes in violence throughout 2021 and the already dire food security situation, FAO launched an anticipatory action project in early 2021, with the support of the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium.
The project aims at mitigating the immediate consequences of conflict-induced displacement on food security by distributing crop seeds and tools to 5 600 households. This helps to boost their food production and prevent a rapid food security deterioration among displaced people, returnees and host communities. In order to ensure the timeliness of the intervention, strategic stocks of agricultural inputs have been pre-positioned in the areas where new episodes of violence or conflict are likely to occur, and distribution will be prompted by near real-time early warning information available at sub-national level, linked for example to episodes of violence and displacement.
This is a pilot initiative in the field of anticipatory action to mitigate the immediate consequences of conflict. FAO's goal is to establish clear trigger mechanisms and operating procedures for this new avenue of the anticipatory action programme. The aim is to prevent the adoption of negative coping mechanisms by households, alleviate tensions and prevent the further increase of humanitarian needs.