NAIROBI, Kenya — Central African Republic faces a “significant” drop in food production because of widespread violence in the country, the United Nations said, as it approved the deployment of troops in the war-torn country.

There is “deep concern” about the growing season that begins in March with 94 percent of communities interviewed by the UN's Global Information and Early Warning System reporting they will have insufficient seeds to plant, the Food and Agriculture Organization said on its website. Farm output, which accounts for about 53 percent of the economy, fell “sharply” last year because of conflict, it said.

A “further and significant decline in agricultural output is very probable,” the Rome-based organization said. “Such a decline would exacerbate the dire levels of food insecurity and severely undermine the economy.”

Fighting in Central African Republic since a coup in March killed thousands of people and forced almost a million residents to flee their homes, according to the UN. The conflict has pitted Muslim members of the rebel Seleka movement that seized power from former President Francois Bozize against Christian militias.


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The UN Security Council on Tuesday approved the deployment of European Union troops in the former French colony. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Jan. 20 that the 500- strong force would probably be on the ground by the end of February and would help secure areas near the airport in the capital, Bangui, where 100,000 people are seeking refuge.

The council also approved expanding sanctions by imposing travel bans and freezing financial assets of individuals for at least a year to help stabilize the country. It didn't identify which indviduals will be targeted.

The conflict in Central African Republic has disrupted crop supplies to markets and resulted in volatile prices, the FAO said. Average inflation rose more than six fold over the past two years to 8 percent in 2013 because of higher food costs, it said.

Central African Republic is the world's 12th-biggest producer of rough diamonds by volume, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The gems, along with timber exports, are the largest source of foreign exchange for the $3.6 billion economy. The country also produces oil and has deposits of uranium, the USGS says on its website.

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