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Central African Republic Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
Agriculture is the country's most important industry. However, the production barriers are numerous and the country is not self-sufficient in food. The soil is fertile but outdated cultivation methods and lack of irrigation make agriculture vulnerable to drought. In addition, the development is hampered by political unrest and high transport costs.
The struggles from 2012 onwards (see Modern history) have been devastating for agricultural production. A very large part of the agricultural land is now in decline after almost a million people, including many farmers, have been forced to flee violence and abuse. For several years, the United Nations Food Program (WFP) has distributed food to the needy. With the war, the need has become enormous.
The vast majority of Central African farmers are small farmers who grow cassava and other crops for self-catering. They live in the tropical rainforest in the southwest or on the savannah in the country's northwest and central parts.
Important export crops are coffee, cotton, cocoa and rubber. The coffee was formerly grown on plantations but is now grown by small farmers in the southwest and south.
On the outskirts of the forest areas, mainly in the northeast, small farmers grow cotton, which used to be the country's most important export product. The prerequisites for cotton cultivation in the area are in theory good because cotton is not as sensitive to drought as several other crops, but armed conflicts have made it more difficult to grow cotton on a larger scale.
Livestock breeding, which occurs mainly in the savannas, has increased in importance in recent decades. However, the problems are many: drought, lack of fodder, attacks from the tse-tse fly and land conflicts between livestock breeders and growers. Another torment is militias that expose livestock to theft and blackmail.
The Central African Republic has large forests that have not been exploited commercially on a larger scale, mainly due to poor roads and high transport costs. Only a tenth of the timber can be wasted on the rivers. Illegal logging and smuggling of timber is a major problem. Since 2012, timber harvesting has also been a significant source of income for militias that, through extortion, demand illegal taxes and duties and on timber exports. In 2015, the International Voluntary Organization Global Witness accused European forest companies of stifling fighting in the Central African Republic by paying armed movements for "protection".
Fishing occurs in the rivers in the south, where the various rivers live on a combination of fishing and trade.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
33.9 percent (2017)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
8.2 percent (2016)
New armed group contributes to violence
A new armed group, 3R ("Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation", approximately Return, Recapture and Rehabilitation), formed in 2015 to defend the Fulani people from attacks by anti-Balaka groups, is trying to take control of an area near the border with Cameroon in the northwestern part of the country. The group is accused by the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) for killing some 50 people. Earlier in the fall, the group burned villages and raped women for punishing people who they believe support anti-balaka. According to HRW, 3R consists of hundreds of armed rebels.
Get bright points in new UN report
In a report to the UN Secretary-General who has leaked to the media, UN experts give a bleak picture of the situation in the country. President Faustin Touadéra largely controls only the area around Bangui and has failed in his attempts to get the militia groups to lay down their weapons. Instead, the fighting between former Sélékarebeller and anti-Balaka militia has intensified, as have the conflicts between different Sélék factions. That Jean-Francis Bozizé, son of the former president, returned from exile has also created tensions. According to UN experts, it explains Touadera's decision to create its own presidential guard.
UN: More than 2 million people need relief
More than 2 million people, almost half the country's population, are dependent on emergency aid, according to the UN agency Ocha. However, ongoing unrest, which has claimed hundreds of lives since September, is making the work of relief more difficult. Nearly $ 400 million is needed for emergency aid in 2017, says the UN. Earlier in November, international donors promised $ 2 billion in more long-term support.
Fulani people target for a new outbreak of violence
Struggles break out between two militia groups, the People's Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC) and the Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC), around the city of Bria some 60 miles northeast of Bangui. Clashes must also have taken place in the city of Bambari. According to UN envoy Adama Dieng, FPCR had previously killed some 80 civilians, all from the Fulani people. The violence has also forced 11,000 people to flee. Both militia groups were previously part of Séléka.
French troops are withdrawn
The 2,000 French soldiers are withdrawn from the Central African Republic at the beginning of the month. France says their Operation Sangaris have succeeded in their mission in the country. At the same time, reports show that at least 15 people have been killed in new fighting between former Sélékarebeller and anti-Balaka rebels.
Four are killed in connection with protest against the UN
Concerns erupt when hundreds of people gather near the UN office in Bangui. The protesters throw stones at the UN soldiers, who fire warning shots. Later, a firefight erupts between UN soldiers and armed men who are on the outskirts of the crowd. Four people are killed and 14 injured. Several organizations submitted a petition to the government the week before, demanding that the UN force leave the country and re-arm their own defense forces. A government spokesman then said it was about forces trying to manipulate people to reach their own ends.
Bemba is convicted of bribing witnesses
Former Vice President Bemba and four others, including a member of his legal team, are convicted of bribing witnesses in the ICC trial (see March 2016). 14 witnesses should have received instructions from Bemba's camp about what they would say in court. They risk up to five years in prison for this.
Assault on refugees stops aid broadcasts
Continued violence in the northern part of the country is preventing aid organizations from reaching tens of thousands of people in need of relief. At least 30 refugees are killed and even more injured when rebels attack the city of Kaga Bandoro. Auxiliary organizations are threatened and their stock is plundered. Former Séléka rebels are suspected of being behind the violence.
Many dead in new violence
At least six people have been killed in clashes between former Séléka rebels and an anti-Balak group near the northern city of Kaga-Bandoro. Minusca sends soldiers to the area to keep the groups apart. First, the number of casualties is set to 26, but that changes a day later.
French soldiers are taken home in October
French President François Hollande announces that the remaining French force will be taken home in October. France invaded the country in December 2013 and had at most over 2,000 soldiers there. In June, the force was reduced to 350 men.
Bloody factional battles in the north
At least 10 people are killed and 25 injured when rival groups within a faction of the Muslim Séléka movement rally in Bambari, about 30 miles north of Bangui. The report comes the day after the UN Human Rights Commissioner called for an urgent disarmament of militia groups in the country. Over 6,000 new refugees are registered in border villages in Chad and Cameroon.
18 years in prison for Bemba
The ICC sentenced former Congolese rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison for war crimes committed in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003 (see March 2016).
New battles in the northwest
17th of June
Reports say that new violence between Christian militias and Muslim rebels has erupted in the northwestern part of the country. Several people are said to have been killed, houses were set alight and thousands have moved across the border to Cameroon and Chad.
Ugandan military is withdrawn
A spokesman for the Ugandan military announces that Uganda intends to withdraw its forces from the Central African Republic at the end of the year. The reasons for this include the limited international support for the operation. Several other countries would have contributed troops, but have not, much due to armed conflicts at home. AU appeals to Uganda to retain its forces in neighboring countries. According to the UN, the LRA guerrilla became more active during the first quarter of 2016 and attacked larger villages than before. Six civilians have been killed and 252 children abducted.
UN soldiers are accused of serious MRI crimes
UN troops from Congo-Brazzaville are accused of serious human rights violations. It is Human Rights Watch (HRW), which is behind the accusations that soldiers killed 18 people, including five women and two children, when they served the UN and the AU in the Central African Republic in 2013 til 2015. Two anti-Balaka leaders to have been tortured to died, while two others must have been executed in public. A grave with twelve victims must have been found near a military base where the Congolese soldiers were stationed. They were later identified as people arrested by the Congolese soldiers. The Congolese government rejects HRW's report and accuses the organization of bias, but says the case will be examined by a Congolese special commission.
Simplice Sarandji becomes new prime minister
It will be Faustin Touadera's campaign manager, Simplice Sarandji, who will be the new head of government. The President makes the decision via decree on April 2. Later, three of the losing presidential candidates will be given a seat in the new ministry, as well as six people who previously held ministerial positions under Bozizé's rule. Three ministers out of 20 come from the country's Muslim minority.
Touadéra takes over as president
Faustin Touadéra swears presidential speech on March 30.
Bemba is convicted of war crimes
The ICC decides that former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba pleaded guilty to war crimes in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. Bemba, who then led the MLC rebel group, sent a thousand men to the neighboring country to help the then President Ange-Félix Patassé defeat a coup. He is being convicted of numerous murders and rapes committed by his rebel movement. They will be announced later.
LRA kidnaps over 200 Central Africans
Since the beginning of the year, the Ugandan rebel group LRA has carried away 217 people, including 54 children, in the Central African Republic. There is concern that they have been forcibly recruited as soldiers or become sex slaves.
The Constitutional Court approves Faustin Touadera's election victory
The Constitutional Court rejects the petition filed by Dologuelé after the presidential election. Faustin-Archange Touadéra will thus take up his post later that month.
Touadéra wins the presidential election
Ahead of the second round of the presidential election between Faustin Touadéra and Georges Dologuelé, both candidates have pledged to restore security in the country and boost the economy. The candidates meet in a TV debate before Election Day. The media has this time been given a freer role than they had in previous elections. Touadéra wins by almost 63 percent of the vote. The turnout is 59 percent. After the election, Dologuelé accuses Touadéra of cheating. At the same time, the election winners talk about the need to create reconciliation between the parties to the conflict.
UN soldiers are accused of sexual abuse
Again, UN soldiers are accused of sexual abuse against both children and women. The soldiers suspected of the abuses come from Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, France and Georgia. The UN has already announced that 120 soldiers from Congo-Kinshasa will be sent home.
The parliamentary elections are annulled
On 26 January, the Constitutional Court decides that the result of the elections held at the end of 2015 is not valid (see December 2015) and must therefore be redone. As a reason, allegations are made that irregularities have occurred. Over 400 complaints have been filed. Nothing is said about when the election will be held. However, the Constitutional Court has rejected similar complaints from six of the presidential candidates in 2015. It is therefore clear that the second round of presidential elections can be held on February 14.
France reduces its troop strength
French President François Hollande announces that parts of the French squad will be withdrawn after the election.
A death victim in LRA attack on mining village
The LRA guerrilla kills a man and kidnaps about 10 villagers in a mining district some 60 miles east of Bangui.
Complaints about election fraud are handled by the Constitutional Court
Several of the 20 presidential candidates who previously demanded that the vote count be stopped because of irregularities during the election, are now saying they have changed their minds, following a transition from the transitional government. However, some of their complaints must be addressed by the Constitutional Court.