Food crisis strikes Central African Republic

Humanitarian agencies have warned that a food crisis is imminent in the Central African Republic (CAR). In urban areas – usually least affected by the traditional lean season of April to September – the situation is dire. Food in Bangui’s markets is scarce and expensive; people are borrowing or trading for food. Those with access in peri-urban and rural areas are resorting to hunting and fishing. Farmers have begun to eat the seeds intended for planting.

Africa Business reports: “Women and children are particularly vulnerable. Irene, a 35-year old mother of two, lives in Bangui.

‘I do not remember the last time my children and I had a balanced meal. If you visit the markets, you will see that virtually nothing is being sold there,’ she says. ‘I often put an empty pot on the fire half an hour before the children’s bedtime to make them believe they will have dinner.’

Irene’s husband left in late March when the Seleka rebels took control of Bangui, fearing reprisals as he was associated with the former regime. Irene hasn’t seen him since.

‘We have a small garden behind the house which provides us with vegetables, but we rely on the kindness of other women to provide us with cassava. When we eat, our meals consist of ngoundja (cassava leaves) cooked in salty water and cassava dumplings,’ she says. ‘I see my children losing weight, but there is nothing I can do about it.’ Her only income is around 100 Central African francs per day, about a quarter of a US dollar, from selling garden vegetables.’”

The threat of food insecurity was looming prior to the rebel seizure of the country; it now seems a certainty with urban areas at the centre of the crisis.

For the full story visit Africa Business.

Image via Wikimedia Commons user hdptcar.


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