The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) began on Wednesday its distribution of vegetable and other seed crops as well as farming tools to some 3,780 farmers who were affected by the consequences of the May 2001 coup attempt by former Central African Republic leader Andre Kolingba, an official told IRIN on Thursday.
FAO consultant Nicolas Bokossi said that the farmers were grouped in 189 cooperatives in five of Bangui’s eight districts and in villages along the road from the capital, Bangui, to Mbaiki, 107 km southwest of the capital.
He said the distribution would continue until February, with the farmers receiving hoes, machetes, spades, wheelbarrows, watering cans, sprinklers as well as vegetable, yam and groundnut seeds.
"Most tools were looted during the coup attempt and fields were devastated by fleeing people," Bokossi said.
He added that only a few people had resumed work on their vegetable farms. He said the 100 million francs CFA (US $190,000) assistance programme for horticulturalists had been set soon after the coup attempt and was scheduled to last one year, but due to the repeated crises that followed, the programme was not implemented until this year.
The coup attempt provoked hardships among the residents of Bangui’s southern and eastern suburbs as well as those in villages along the road to Mbaiki, where most of the displaced stayed for over two months. FAO has already provided these villagers with high-quality cassava cuttings to help them recover from the long displacement.
In November 2003 and in January 2004, the agency also distributed fishing materials and canoes to fishermen and fish farmers who were also affected by the failed coup.
As the coup attempt victims receive help, those of the two other conflicts - the 25 October 2002 rebel incursion and the 15 March 2003 coup that brought Francois Bozize to power - have also began to receive inputs and livestock farming equipment. A total of 7,900 farmers are due to benefit from this programme.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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