Combating the Effects of Climate Change on Agricultural Production and Food Security in CAR

Introduction

This project is well aligned with GEF objective related to "Increase adaptive capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change, including variability, at local and national level" through the pursuit of specific project outcomes including: i) Policy, institutional and financial capacities developed and strengthened to plan for and manage climate change risks to the agricultural sector; ii) Adapted agro-pastoral options implemented in key vulnerable areas; ii) knowledge/experiences shared, capitalized and disseminated. 

This project is well aligned with the national priorities defined in the first National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Agriculture development and sustainability is a key issue in the third pillar of the "Rebuild and Diversify the economy" national plan which is designed to address poverty issues in urban and rural areas The main sub programs are related to institutional capacity building to plan, conduct research, and supervise. These sub programs are also linked with goals 1 and 7 of the MDGs. 

Source: UNDP CAR Project Identification Form (November 23, 2010)

Project Details

In recent years, CAR has suffered from political instability and endured recurring internal conflicts. Despite vast natural resources, the Central African Republic is one of the least developed countries in the world (LDC) group. In 2009, GDP per capita was estimated at approximately US$362, which puts the CAR among the bottom five poorest countries in the world. The prevalence of extreme poverty has increased, with a particularly high concentration of poor people in rural areas where inhabitants are unable to meet the costs of food.

In the framework of economic recovery and improvement of social conditions, the Central African Republic seeks to revitalize the food and agricultural sector to contribute to shared, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth and development, provide food and nutritional security, increase employment and income, and measurably reduce poverty. This project is designed as a contribution to the achievement of MDG 1.

As the backbone of the Central African Republic's economy, the agriculture sector is dominated by agro- pastoral production, involving nearly 74% of the active population and representing 45% of GDP. Agricultural and pastoralist systems are found along a bioclimatic gradient running north to south from the dry Sudanian to the humid Guinean zones with the different agricultural systems, including cattle farming, matched closely with rainfall. Due to its geographical situation, the country produces a wide range of crops, for cash (sugar cane, cotton, coffee) and for food (cassava, rice, sorghum, groundnut, maize). Cattle farming are essentially dominated by extensive herding (transhumance).

Despite significant potential, yields are very low and most of the rural inhabitants, as indicated above, remain in extreme poverty. Several factors affect production such as heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture and ongoing practices regarding crop selection, water resource management, and agro-ecosystem and rangeland management. Part of the country is already seriously affected by severe land degradation, especially in the region around Bangui where there's high demand for foodstuffs. Co-existence between herders and farmers have been decreasing over the past years due to mismanagement of ecosystem services and natural resources leading to conflicts over competition for access to diminishing stocks of land and water.

Additional vulnerability drivers are related to (i) diminished public safety affecting a wide part of the country and causing refugee migration; and (ii) a dearth of basic investment in agriculture over the past 20 years (weak support from extension services, no access to credit, limited market access, etc.). On the whole, public services at national and local levels have suffered, and agricultural extension services as well as meteorological support services are therefore very limited. Private sector involvement in the agriculture sector is limited to cash crops, which is the only area exhibiting the use of conventional inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, HYV seeds) though on a reduced level.

Climate Change is an additional threat for agriculture and food security. The Initial National Communication and the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) have clearly highlighted major climate change driven risks. For the past years, it has been increasingly difficult to identify the optimal time to plant crops. In the humid Guinean area (south of the country), the short dry season, previously lasting, on average, one month, has for the past several years exceeded two months. In many regions, reduced soil moisture is considered to be a factor in sub-optimal cereal yields. The increase in temperatures and decrease in rainfall has led to the reduction of the cool period, resulting in increased evaporation and soil desiccation, factors causing disruption in the supply of water to the cotton crop. The phenomenon also affects cassava, leading to slower plant growth and tuber development and a corresponding reduction in production. With sugar, there are phenological and physiological effects with consequent reduction in output.

Over the coming years, climate change is expected to increasingly lead to changes in rainfall patterns with droughts occurring more frequently and lasting longer, and an increase in extreme events. The increase in temperature and the decrease in rainfall will lead to further reductions in duration of the rainy season, increasing evaporation and desiccation of already poor soils and impacting agricultural calendars. The phenomenon will affect food crops such as cassava as well as other crops such as millet, maize or peanuts. It is also likely to have negative impacts on cash crops (cotton, coffee) while during their critical growth periods. Pastoralism, the livelihood for a significant number of rural people, may also be affected by the change in rainfall patterns, as access to water is crucial during transhumance. This, in turn, is likely to exacerbate conflicts with farmers.

In the context of the above underlying-causes, the performance of the agricultural sector and its capacity to adapt are limited. The CAR Government, with support from a few donors (FAO, EU), tried recently to revitalize the sector through the implementation of baseline activities which include various agriculture and rural development initiatives focusing primarily on stimulating rural economies by improving agricultural productivity (see D and E, below). While necessary for the overall development of the sector, these interventions are insufficient to ensure resilience of the agriculture and food production sector to overcome climate change risks.

In order to respond to the greatest and most immediate threats of climate change, the government of CAR prepared a National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), which prioritized a number of interventions that should enhance the adaptive capacity of the agriculture sector. These include: promoting drought-adapted seeds, rehabilitation of degraded land, establishment of an early warning system. 

Source: UNDP CAR Project Identification Form (November 23, 2010)

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
CAR Ministry of Agriculture
CAR Ministry of Environment
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Source of Funds Pipeline
Location: 
Rural
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
2,780,000 (As of December 30, 2009)
Co-Financing Total: 
5,560,000 (As of December 30, 2009)

Key Results and Outputs

  • Outcome 1: Policy, institutional and financial capacities developed and strengthened to plan for and manage climate change risks to the agricultural sector
    • Output 1.1: Long term planning tools developed to facilitate mainstreaming of climate change into policies
    • Output 1.2: Climate change adaptation and measures and finance options integrated into PRSP, Rural Development Strategy, local development plans, and other appropriate policies
  • Outcome 2: Adapted agro-pastoral options implemented in key vulnerable areas
    • Output 2.1: Strategic Action Plan for the internalization of climate change risks into conservation of Plant Genetic Resource for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) developed (with support from co-financing)
    • Output 2.2: Climate resilient agro-pastoral practice and technologies (e.g. water management and soil fertility, pasture and rangeland management) demonstrated in Bangui and the surrounding regions (ex. Bambari and Sibut)
    • Output 2.3: Appropriate seasonal and other long-term climate change including variability information disseminated to rural farmers and breeders
  • Outcome 3: Knowledge and experiences shared, capitalized, and disseminated
    • Output 3.1: Awareness and capacity built to facilitate the process of integrating climate change risks and adaptation into agricultural strategies
    • Output 3.2: Project lessons codified and disseminated while learning and exchange mechanisms are put in place

Source: UNDP CAR Project Identification Form (November 23, 2010)

Monitoring and Evaluation

Project Start:

  • Project Inception Workshop: will be held within the first 2 months of project start with those with assigned roles in the project organization structure, UNDP country office and where appropriate/feasible regional technical policy and programme advisors as well as other stakeholders.  The Inception Workshop is crucial to building ownership for the project results and to plan the first year annual work plan. 

Daily:

  • Day to day monitoring of implementation progress: will be the responsibility of the Project Manager, based on the project's Annual Work Plan and its indicators, with overall guidance from the Project Director. The Project Team will inform the UNDP-CO of any delays or difficulties faced during implementation so that the appropriate support or corrective measures can be adopted in a timely and remedial fashion.

Quarterly:

  • Project Progress Reports (PPR): quarterly reports will be assembled based on the information recorded and monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Management Platform. Risk analysis will be logged and regularly updated in ATLAS.

Annually:

  • Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period (30 June to 1 July).  The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF reporting requirements.  

Periodic Monitoring through Site Visits:

  • UNDP CO and the UNDP RCU will conduct visits to project sites based on the agreed schedule in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand project progress.  Other members of the Project Board may also join these visits.  A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP RCU and will be circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team and Project Board members.

Mid-Term of Project Cycle:

  • Mid-Term Evaluation: will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed.  It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management.  Findings of this review will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project's term.  

End of Project:  

  • Final Evaluation: will take place three months prior to the final Project Board meeting and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance.  The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place).  The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of global environmental benefits/goals.  The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities.
  • Project Terminal Report: This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved.  It will also lie out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project’s results.

Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

  • Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums. 
  • The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.
  • Finally, there will be a two-way flow of information between this project and other projects of a similar focus. 

Source: UNDP CAR Project Identification Form (November 23, 2010)

Contacts

UNDP
Aline Malibangar
Country Officer
UNDP
Mame Diop
Regional Technical Advisor