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New case study examines ways to break CAR's vicious cycle of hunger and conflict

Action Against Hunger
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For several decades, the Central African Republic has been plunged into a protracted crisis marked by regular peaks of violence and a critical deterioration of basic social services and economic structures. Hunger fuels conflict and conflict fuels hunger: this is the vicious cycle resulting from the collapse of the country’s structures and the breakdown of its social bonds. The example of agricultural deterioration as one of the vectors of food insecurity, but also of the security problems, is especially relevant in the Central African Republic.

Nearly one out of every two Central Africans is affected by food insecurity. The deterioration of agriculture has led to the abandonment of cash crops and the marginalisation of small-scale farming. This situation, combined with the effects of cycles of violence, has reached a critical point causing smallholder farmers to be pulled into the conflict.

The effective control of the state is limited essentially to Bangui, and 80% of the territory is now controlled by various armed groups. These group extort the population and embezzle agricultural production. Agriculture receives no support from public services, and the country lacks the resources to get out of an economy of survival, leading the population to adopt negative coping strategies that only exacerbate their food insecurity. With its current types of intervention, humanitarian aid in the Central African Republic is unable to address the structural foundations of the crisis. The international community’s priority is treating the high mortality rate of vulnerable groups caused by a lack of access to food and healthcare. The humanitarian space is restricted by violence and attacks of armed groups does not allow the international aid system to respond adequately to this multidimensional crisis, especially since the Humanitarian Response Plan is largely underfunded. It is therefore essential to ensure that any response to break the cycle of hunger and conflict simultaneously addresses the issues of food insecurity, decapitalisation and the orientation towards a wartime economy.

The link between humanitarian assistance, recovery and development aid is crucial in a context such as that of the Central African Republic. Beyond survival, it is imperative for households to be able to recapitalise, to engage in incomegenerating activity to secure their socio-economic environment and increase their resilience.