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Civil Conflict Disrupts Agricultural Activities

07 August 2013

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - The main 2013 maize harvest is currently underway in the southern bimodal rainfall area, while in the unimodal northern area millet and sorghum crops are being sown for harvest in October.

The cassava crop, the principal staple, grown across the country with the exception of the northeast, was sown in May/June and will be harvested in December/January, reports the FAO.

Although overall growing conditions have been favourable so far, with above average rainfall across the country, crop production is likely to be reduced and harvests will be delayed in several parts due to deteriorating civil insecurity, which disrupted agricultural activities and caused input shortages.

Several assessments in April and May found that large numbers of households lacked seeds for planting due to looting and/or used for household consumption. According to a joint FAO/WFP Rapid Food Security Evaluation conducted in May, production prospects were particularly poor in the North (Ouham-Pende, Ouham, North Nana-Grebizi, Bamingui-Bangoran, Vakaga, Haute Kotto).

The likely decrease in agricultural output will severely undermine the economy at large, as agriculture accounts for around 53 percent of the national GDP and a large share of employment.

The expected decline in farmers' income is expected to impact private consumption, contributing to heightened levels of food insecurity. Agricultural exports, especially timber, cotton and coffee (the largest source of foreign currency, together with diamonds), will also be reduced.

Food prices and inflation increasing in 2013

Market supplies are tight across the country and food prices are at high levels, due to the severe and widespread market disruptions caused by the deterioration of civil insecurity.

Prices of food in May were between 10 and 35 per cent above a year earlier, and the average inflation rate, which surged from 1.3 per cent in 2011 to 5 percent in 2012, is forecast to rise further in 2013 to 8 per cent. In the last several years, inflation rose significantly from 1 per cent in 2007 to 9.3 per cent in 2008 but declined to 3.5 per cent in 2009 and to 1.5 per cent in 2010.

The food security situation continues to deteriorate

The civil conflict in northeastern provinces, since December 2012, escalated from late March 2013, when armed skirmishes spread to the capital Bangui and to the whole country. About 1.6 million people are estimated to be at risk of food insecurity, with up to 600 000 individuals being severely food insecure.

Overall food insecurity has been exacerbated by widespread displacement, with the IDP caseload estimated at 206 000 by UNHCR in late March; however, the current number is most likely be higher, since displacement continued in the following months, but information is limited owing to restricted humanitarian access.

In addition, about 17 000 refugees, mostly Congolese and Sudanese, reside in CAR, and an estimated 5 000 people were displaced from Sudan’s Darfur into CAR following tribal clashes in April and May 2013.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

TheCropSite News Desk

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