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Côte d'Ivoire: plantations in west made usable again

08-11-2011 News Release

Geneva/Abidjan (ICRC) – Some 13,500 people are benefiting from upgrades to coffee and cocoa plantations in the departments of Blolequin, Toulepleu and Zouan-Hounien, in western Côte d'Ivoire, which were among the areas hardest hit by serious acts of violence during the post-election crisis.

The improvements to nearly 11,000 hectares have just been completed as part of a project, begun by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in August, in which members of the communities concerned were directly involved.

People from rural areas in the west of the country who were displaced by the conflict are gradually returning to their home villages. In many cases they had to leave behind their plantations and their reserves of coffee and cocoa. "Their granaries were looted and their fields overgrown by scrub," said Tuo Dofere, an ICRC delegate. "When they return, these people urgently need to find a way of getting food. Mere survival takes priority over everything else."

"Thanks to the project now being brought to a successful conclusion, households will have more farm income and even the neediest people will be able to get by without outside help. In addition, capital will be pumped into the local economy," said Mr Dofere. "Some of the villagers, including in particular those who needed work, themselves took part in clearing the fields."

Until the next harvest, the ICRC will be keeping tabs on the situation of people whose plantations have been restored to working order.

The ICRC intends to maintain its aid effort in order to cover the most urgent needs of civilians in Côte d'Ivoire. During the conflict, the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire distributed food to more than 28,500 people, mostly in the areas of Abidjan that were hardest hit and in the west of the country.

For further information, please contact:
Layal Horanieh, ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 09 39 94 04
Steven Anderson, ICRC Genève, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50


Photos

 

Bapleu, Blolequin department, Côte d'Ivoire. Workers clear a coffee plantation that had become overgrown.
© ICRC / H. Layal