UN warns of hunger crisis in CAR
March 2, Bangui: At least half of the population or 2.5 million people in the Central African Republic (CAR) are facing a hunger crisis, in a situation that has become dire, the World Food Programme said.
Bienvenu Djossa, WFP country director in CAR, said on Tuesday that the number of people battling hunger had doubled from 2015 and serious interventions had to be implemented to ensure the crisis did not deteriorate.
Three years of conflict and ongoing displacements in the country continue to disrupt agriculture and severely constrain people's access to food, as they struggle with the effects of multiple poor harvests, disrupted markets and soaring prices for many staple foods.
The country's overall crop production in 2015 remained 54 per cent below the pre-crisis average, despite a 10 per cent increase from 2014 mostly due to a rise in cassava production, according to the latest Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM), conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
Cereal harvests continued to decline last year, with production 70 per cent lower than the pre-crisis average. Overall crop production in 2015 amounted to 838,671 tonnes, around one million tonnes less than the average before the crisis.
“The latest numbers are cause for concern not only because people skip meals and cut portions, but also because they opt for less nutritious foods that provide far less of the proteins and vitamins they need,” said FAO Country Representative Jean-Alexandre Scaglia in a press release.
Some 75 per cent of people in CAR depend on agriculture, and with the planting season starting in less than two months, boosting agriculture now is crucial to revitalizing the economy and to stability in the country.
The Oslo Times