Nearly 75% of the Central African population depends on the agro-pastoral sector to cover its food consumption and ensure a significant part of its income.
The productivity of this sector has decreased in recent years. Insecurity, including tensions around transhumance, is one of the main reasons for this situation. In addition, climatic conditions and in particular low rainfall have affected harvests for the 2019/2020 agricultural season. The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a major constraint: it has caused delays in the movement of goods and disrupted imports.
Thus, despite the country's abundant natural resources and favourable agro-ecological conditions, more than 1.93 million people are currently food insecure.
For these reasons the Bêkou Fund has made support for family farming one of its priorities. In addition, as part of its support for economic recovery, the Fund has gradually supported promising agricultural sectors with a view to developing entrepreneurship and employment.
The interventions financed aim to support small farmers to develop their production and, ultimately, to improve their living conditions and those of their community.
Priorities for action
After a first programme dedicated to food security, the Bêkou Fund launched a rural development programme at the end of 2017. This programme adopts a sectoral approach intervening at different levels: at the level of producers and breeders (micro), decentralised structures offering support services (meso) and supervisory institutions (macro).
In a very positive way, this support was extended at the end of 2019 to the south-eastern part of the CAR through the RELSUDE programme, in provinces that had previously struggled to benefit from aid due to the deteriorating security situation.
Thanks to the Bêkou Fund, nearly 1 million smallholders are supported. The activities supported are varied, such as: support for agricultural production through quality inputs (seeds, breeding stock, agricultural tools, harnessing chains, veterinary products, etc.); the provision of services, infrastructure and equipment to increase added value throughout the sectors; access to formal financial services (microfinance institutions) but also informal services, with the promotion of "resilience funds".
Particular attention is given to social cohesion and the strengthening of farmers' organisations, unions, associations and other umbrella organisations. The projects also work on community-based conflict management and prevention mechanisms between farmers and herders. The aim is to reduce factors of tension and instability such as those linked to transhumance.
"Before, I used to sell small quantities of my harvest at the market, which only allowed me to solve minor problems. With the resumption of WFP's local purchase programmes, I was able to pay for my children's schooling, build my house and have a better quality of life." - Claudia Ziranone, President of 'Groupement agricole Nzando'
Ongoing projects in 2021
- The project "Integrated support to the development of agro-pastoral value chains for growth and employment (AID-FAPCE)" is implemented by Welthungerhilfe in consortium with Concern Worldwide, ACTED and COOPI. It promotes sustainable growth and job creation through value chains in 3 prefectures (Ombella Mpoko, Lobaye and Kemo) and in the region of the capital, Bangui.
- The "Northern Rural Resilience" project is led by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and 4 other partners (Action Contre la Faim, Concordis, Première Urgence Internationale and Triangle Génération Humanitaire). This project supports 10 promising sectors in the northern prefectures of the country: groundnuts, cowpeas, maize, rice, market gardening, cassava, sesame, sorghum, small ruminants and beekeeping. It includes an important component on transhumance.
- A component of the "Socio-economic Recovery in the South-East of the Central African Republic" (RELSUDE) project is dedicated to rural development. It provides support to 2,500 groups: structuring, advisory support, access to savings, revival of small income-generating trades, etc.
- The Bêkou Fund also intervenes at the macro level by supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Livestock and Animal Health. Two technical assistants accompany them to enable them to fully exploit the potential of the agro-pastoral sector. A third technical assistant also supports the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Water, Forests, Hunting and Fisheries.
1 million smallholders supported
over 2 million animals vaccinated
nearly 4,000 farmer organisations supported (at different levels)
nearly 10 tons of food sold through the WFP P4P project.