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Central African Republic: ICRC farm aid for village returnees

30-04-2009 News Release 09/86

Bangui (ICRC) – Through its sub-delegations in Birao, Kaga-Bandoro and Paoua, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has begun distributing 35 tonnes of seed and various farming tools to some 13,000 residents of 40 villages in areas in the north of the country beset by armed conflict.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee clashes pitting various armed groups against government forces. Many families are still displaced. Life is hard for people who return to their home villages: many find their houses burnt down or otherwise destroyed, their livestock taken away and their fields devastated. In addition, many people have to cope with a drop in production and sales of farm produce caused by the armed conflict.

From 2006 to 2008 the ICRC emphasized emergency aid by distributing food and household essentials, but for 2009 it has decided to provide support for people living mainly from farming by boosting agricultural production.

" The aim is to increase seed production and agricultural productivity in order to make available high-quality produce in sufficient quantities, and to enable the population to regain its self-sufficiency by the end of the 2009 crop year, " said Jules Amoti, who coordinates ICRC economic security programmes in Bangui.

The 35 tonnes of peanut, corn, sorghum and millet seed that have been distributed are suited to local needs and climate conditions. Farmers are also being given tools enabling them to expand acreage under cultivation. In agreement with the villagers, a training programme in farming methods based on draught animals and seed multiplication has been organized which also covers the choice of plots, the types and spacing of seedpieces, crop maintenance, and harvest techniques and management.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent organization. It has been carrying out its humanitarian activities in the Central African Republic since 198 3.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Kelnor Panglungtshang, ICRC Bangui, tel: +236 21 611 014 or +236 75 54 72 46  

 Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24