Reintegration of ex-combatants in Côte d'Ivoire

In June 2014 I visited the IFAD Projet d'appui à la Production Agricole et à la Commercialisation (PROPACOM). Specifically, I met with a special cluster of the project's beneficiaries: the ex-combatants.

Indeed, the country’s last civil conflict ended in 2011, and nowadays there are around 74.000 ex-combatants that need to be reintegrated into the socio-economic life. Thus, IFAD is assisting the Authority of Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (ADDR) by forming, supporting and installing 2000 ex-combatants into the agro-pastoral sector.

“The project's objective is to integrate ex-combatants, because they had nothing after the two crises. After years of fighting they had to go back to their life,” said Mr Pierre Soro Seydou, coordinator of the PROPACOM team in Bouaké.

With the project, the ex-combatants and their communities receive training to start or to return to work in the agricultural sector. In fact, many of them were already farmers before the first crisis in 2002. Indeed, one of the former fighters said to me:

“I was born in agriculture, before the war I was also a farmer”

Also with the training they learn new techniques to increase the production, such as methods to process cassava into manioc, or shea nuts into shea butter. For them, the formation is essential for many reasons, such as to improve the quality of their production or enhance social cohesion with other people.

“After the formation I have found many things that have helped me to improve my everyday life. Really, the formation have donated me many things, especially techniques in the agriculture,”

Likewise, with the programme they get inputs to start production and they also receive further assistance to connect their communities to markets. For instance,  one of the beneficiaries, got a tricycle to transport the food and sell it in town marketplaces.

This project is an example of the multi-functionality of agriculture, or in other words, that it can solve many issues in rural areas apart from producing food and fibre: it provides employment; it assures social inclusion of the most vulnerable people; and it can even provide social security and protection.

Originally published at the International Fund for Agricultural Development of the UN (IFAD)’s blog