Central African Republic faces "dire" food crisis, UN agencies say

The Central African Republic is in the throes of a "dire" food crisis after three years of sectarian conflict that have ravaged agriculture, two United Nations agencies said in a joint report issued Tuesday.

Overall crop production in 2015 was 54 per cent below the pre-crisis average, despite a 10-per-cent improvement on 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said.

"The situation is dire. Half of the population faces hunger," Bienvenu Djossa, WFP Country Director for the Central African Republic, said in a statement.

"It is crucial that we continue helping the most vulnerable, who need emergency food assistance to survive."

Thousands have been killed and more than 500,000 displaced in the conflict sparked by a 2013 Muslim coup against Christian president Francois Bozize.

New leader Faustin Touadera, elected last month, faces the mammoth task of restoring peace and stability.

FAO and WFP found that since the conflict started, the number of cattle had fallen by almost half, the number of goats and sheep had decreased by 57 per cent, fish catches were down by 40 per cent, while prices of groundnut and wheat flour were up by 74 and 28 per cent respectively.

Both agencies appealed for international help.

FAO said it needed 86 million dollars to boost agricultural production, while WFP said it had secured only about half of the 89 million dollars it requires to distribute food aid until the end of July.

Last update: Tue, 01/03/2016 - 17:08

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