When Food Prices Spike: Restoring Normalcy in the Central African Republic

Our teams manage and prevent malnutrition in the Central African Republic by improving food access
Women in CAR
Women in the Central African Republic collect nutritious crops. Photo: ACF-Central African Republic, B. Cichon

After a coup last month, the Central African Republic is still experiencing violence, and food prices, which are typically unstable, have been made more volatile by recent events. The recent upheaval has not helped the high rates of malnutrition and food insecurity typically found in the Central African Republic. So in addition to responding to immediate needs after the violence, Action Against Hunger continues to work to provide long-term solutions for communities faced with chronic hunger and seasonal malnutrition.

Creating a Food Secure Future

Our teams work to manage and prevent malnutrition through various means. We help families start their own home gardens, giving people who previously didn’t have access to fresh food the opportunity to grow their own. We educate and assist farmers in producing crops that are more diverse, nutrient-rich and plentiful so they can have a more balanced diet as well as more crops left over to sell. We also conduct informational sessions for mothers to teach the importance of breastfeeding and proper nutrition for their young children. All of these initiatives aim to create sustainable solutions to hunger in the communities we serve.

Immediate Help in the Lean Season

It is particularly important that we continue our lifesaving nutrition and food security programs in the coming months. Before the next harvest in July, many families will experience a “hunger gap,” which means their food intake will be severely limited—sometimes to just one meal a day. But with the recent upheaval ahead of the lean season making many families’ situations more unstable, our work is even more important.

“The coup is exacerbating an already precarious situation for a country marred by chronic poverty and food insecurity. Within a month we’ll be in the lean season, and food prices will surge even higher.”

—Clement Cazaubon, Central African Republic Country Director, Action Against Hunger

In response, we’re racing to help people through the lean months of May and June through a range of programs, like providing families with provisions of staple foods like rice and beans that help shield families from greater exposure to severe malnutrition.

And these initiatives have already proven successful: we have seen a significant jump in the number of breastfeeding mothers, children who are eating three meals a day, and families that are better educated about nutrition. We will continue to help restore stability and provide support for the people of the Central African Republic.

Tell Us What You Think

Is it possible for aid groups to provide temporary assistance without creating dependency? What tactics might be used to provide needed emergency support while helping communities return to self-sufficiency?