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South Sudan

South Sudan

Read more about FAO in emergencies and the crisis in SyriaA thriving agriculture sector is crucial to long-term peace and development in South Sudan. Up to 95 percent of the country’s population depends on farming, fishing or herding to meet their food and income needs. Yet, South Sudan faces one of the world’s worst humanitarian and food security situations.

More than 1.3 million people have been displaced by violence in South Sudan since mid-December, including around 310 000 people who are sheltering in neighboring countries. The signing of a peace agreement on 9 May between the warring parties raised hopes of a return to stability; however, the security situation remains tense with heavy fighting concentrated in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states.

Around a third of South Sudanese are now food insecure, and the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis carried out in May 2014 indicates that food security has deteriorated at an alarming rate since the outbreak of the conflict. 3.5 million people are now facing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity and the risk of famine later in 2014 must now be taken into consideration.

Despite continued constraints to humanitarian access, FAO is scaling up operations to meet the two-fold challenge of responding to urgent needs triggered by the current crisis, while continuing vital livelihood protection and support programmes in less-affected states. FAO is helping to strengthen food security and build sustainable, agriculture-based livelihoods in South Sudan through a mixture of immediate assistance programmes and longer-term support to build the capacity of local, state and national government institutions.

A thriving agriculture sector is crucial to long-term peace and development in South Sudan. Up to 95 percent of the country’s population depends on farming, fishing or herding to meet their food and income needs. Yet, South Sudan faces one of the world’s worst humanitarian and food security situations. Conflict along the border with the Sudan, outbreaks of inter-ethnic violence, flooding, low levels of agricultural production and rising food prices meant that 4.7 million people (nearly half the population) faced food insecurity in 2012 and 1 million were severely food insecure.

FAO is helping to strengthen food security and build sustainable, agriculture-based livelihoods in South Sudan through a mixture of immediate assistance programmes and longer-term support to build the capacity of local, state and national government institutions.

Protecting livestock health, herders’ futures

Livestock, particularly cattle, goats and sheep, are an important social and economic asset in South Sudan. However, endemic diseases (like haemorrhagic septicaemia, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, anthrax and peste des petits ruminants) are undermining livestock production – an estimated one in five cattle die from disease. Local and national capacity to monitor, control and respond to these diseases is severely limited, threatening about 70 percent of pastoral households and 2 million animals. FAO works closely with the relevant ministries and local institutions to ensure a reliable and stable supply of veterinary drugs, vaccines and equipment to safeguard livestock production. Cold chain equipment is provided and regularly maintained to protect these drugs and vaccines, and local community members are trained to provide basic animal health care services.

Improved yields through improved seeds

Levels of crop and vegetable production in South Sudan remain low. As is the case in much of eastern Africa, farmers rely heavily on rainfed crop production meaning erratic or delayed rains can result in poor or no harvests, while heavy rains and flooding can waterlog fields and destroy stocks. Conflict and displacement continue to force farmers from their fields during key times in the planting season. FAO has been working with South Sudan’s farmers to strengthen crop production in spite of these challenges.

A lack of availability and access to quality seeds and planting materials constrain yields. Most farmers in South Sudan use seeds saved from a previous season or acquired through their social networks – from friends and families. FAO works on two fronts to increase the availability of quality inputs. The most vulnerable farmers (particularly those returning from neighbouring countries and households headed by women) are provided, through seed fairs or direct distribution, with quality seeds and tools, along with training in good agronomic practices. At the same time, FAO is promoting seed multiplication in South Sudan. Selected farmers are provided with quality seeds and trained in production, conditioning, storage and marketing. Quality assessment councils are also set up at the local level to ensure the seeds produced are of good quality. These efforts have already translated into better yields for staple crops like sorghum.

Rehabilitating and building basic infrastructure

Agricultural infrastructure, such as water reservoirs, feeder roads and irrigation systems are underdeveloped or non-existent in most of South Sudan. These are crucial to livestock and crop production across the country. FAO interventions are promoting the establishment of community-based infrastructure, including micro-irrigation, fodder harvesting, vaccination crèches and quarantine centres, dykes to contain flooding and storage facilities. Through cash transfer mechanisms, like cash-for-work, FAO is providing vulnerable people with an immediate source of income, while building or rehabilitating the essential infrastructure that will strengthen their productivity in the long-term.

At the same time, access to vital resources, like water, is a key source of conflict between pastoral and farming communities. FAO has been working with local communities to reduce conflicts and contribute to peace building by helping to restore water reservoirs and training local community members to manage and maintain these structures.

 

More about the country

 - Highlights Clashes continue to be reported in parts of the country, despite the signing of a Cessation of Hostilities agreement on 23 January 2014 and a recommitment ...read more
25/07/2014
 - In addition to providing rapid, portable emergency livelihood support designed to help large numbers of people increase food availability, in South Sudan FAO has continued to ...read more
24/07/2014
 - This 2014 mid-year overview provides a snapshot of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) participation in 15 humanitarian appeals. It highlights critical ...read more
19/07/2014
 - Part of FAO’s emergency response in South Sudan is the distribution of livelihood kits nation-wide. In May 2014, FAO and partners distributed crop kits to beneficiaries ...read more
17/07/2014
 - After eight weeks of intensive learning in the field and the classroom, nineteen South Sudanese graduated from FAO South Sudan’s Agro-Pastoral Master Training Course on 7 ...read more
08/07/2014
 - All sides of the conflict in South Sudan have at times become very "fixed, dark and negative" as outbreaks of violence continue. The country needs lasting ...read more
04/07/2014
 - Dr. Sue Lautze, FAO Representative in South Sudan and the UN’s Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator explains the four types of emergency livelihood kit that FAO is distributing ...read more
03/07/2014
 - The full extent of the conflict-driven food security crisis in South Sudan has yet to unfold, warns Sue Lautze, head of FAO operations in the troubled ...read more
24/06/2014
 - After eight weeks of intensive learning in the field and the classroom, nineteen South Sudanese graduated from FAO South Sudan’s Agro-Pastoral Master Training Course on 7 ...read more
23/06/2014
 - To improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods among returnees and their host communities in South Sudan.
19/06/2014