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Côte d'Ivoire: 12,000 farmers given seed to relaunch food crops

08-04-2013 News Release 13/61

Geneva/Abidjan (ICRC) – Some 12,000 farmers from 12 villages in Taï sub-prefecture, in south-western Côte d'Ivoire, are being given seed and farming tools from 8 to 12 April by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire.

"The violence that erupted in the western part of the country in 2012 forced many people to seek refuge in neighbouring Liberia or in the town of Taï," said David Goetschmann, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Guiglo. "When the displaced people, most of whom are cocoa and coffee farmers, returned to their land, they found their grain storage areas looted and their crops destroyed."

The farmers – like the families that in some cases have to play host to them – are having difficulty supporting themselves amid still unstable security conditions. The seed distribution is taking place to meet their needs just before the rainy season.

Farmers in the area between Taï and Para, where the villages of Nigré, Campement Sao, Ziriglo, Ernestkro, Sioblo-Oula, Sakré, Tiolé-Oula, Port-Gentil, Diero-Oula, Paulé-Oula, and Gouléa 1 and 2 are situated, have already prepared their land. They are going to be given hoes and rice and corn seed.

"We will be providing the farmers with support and advice to ensure that they will have seed set aside for next year," said Mr Goetschmann. "It is important that they be able to live in dignity and regain the ability to fend for themselves without depending on help from a humanitarian organization."

In May, another 6,000 people will receive similar aid in Bin-Houyé sub-prefecture, in the same area.

The ICRC has distributed seed every year since 2006 at this time of year. Previous distributions have taken place in Bloléquin, Toulepleu, Danané and Bangolo, a little further north.

The ICRC regional delegation in Abidjan, which covers Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Togo as well as Côte d'Ivoire, continues to deal with the humanitarian consequences of the post-election crisis in Côte d'Ivoire.

For further information, please contact:
Pascal Jequier , ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 09 399 404
Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 49 or +41 79 244 64 05