Even before the current humanitarian crisis, the poverty rate in the Central African Republic (CAR) was among the highest in the world (62.8% - World Bank ref
) and a third of the population was food insecure (WFP 2012). The country, one of the least developed in the world, never benefited from social stability. Its considerable water, mineral and land resources are underexploited. Wood and diamonds are the main exports and agriculture, mostly subsistence farms, account for more than half the GDP. In 2014, the country's social and economic outlook was uncertain.
The population of 5 million inhabitants lives mainly in the Southern and Western parts of the country. Cassava is the most important staple food crop, constituting 40% of the total crop area planted. Groundnuts and maize are also important crops, following secondary crops such as millet (cultivated in the drier North), sorghum, sesame, rice, and market gardening activities (WFP 2009). The country's forest cover is still significant.
The country suffers from a vicious circle between poor performing smallholder agriculture, low marketability and poor infrastructure, fuelled by social unrest.