FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to South Sudan, 8 February 2012

FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to South Sudan, 8 February 2012
Feb 2012

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) visited South Sudan from 16 October to 10 November 2011 to estimate cereal production and assess the food-security situation.

Highlights:

  • National cereal production in South Sudan in 2011, estimated at 562 600 tonnes, is about 19 and 25 percent below the previous year’s output and the average of the last five years respectively. 
  • Despite early favourable rains, a dry period set in from June, which was protracted over most of the northern states of the country. Rainfall resumed a more normal pattern towards the end of July. 
  • Reflecting 2011’s seasonal rainfall patterns, much of the north and north-east parts of the country has seen significant output reduction whereas production in the south, and particularly in the south-west, has been similar to, or better than in, 2010. 
  • Given the large influx of returnees in 2011, natural population growth and a reduced harvest, the country is left with a national cereal deficit of approximately 473 700 tonnes, about 180 000 tonnes larger than in 2010. 
  • Livestock and pasture conditions are generally satisfactory. 
  • Grain prices rose steeply in 2011 and remained higher than levels of the previous year, though modest declines were observed since October 2011. Livestock prices have also increased but at a slower pace than cereal prices since mid-2011 leading to a deterioration of the terms of trade (ToT) for pastoralists. However, the weakening of cereal prices in October and the continued increase in livestock prices have resulted in slight improvement of the ToT in favour of pastoralists. 
  • The depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound and rising fuel costs have contributed to a general escalation of food and commodity prices in general during 2011. 
  • Trade restrictions between South Sudan and Sudan have significantly reduced the availability of food commodities, especially for communities in border States. 
  • Civil insecurity, in the form of armed cattle rustling, inter and intra-communal conflict and militia attacks, continue to hamper the country’s production capacity, particularly limiting the potential expansion of cropped area in many parts of the country, as well as hindering access to markets for farming inputs and food commodities. 
  • The lower than usual household food stocks, continuing insecurity and higher market prices experienced in 2011 combined to impede food access and availability, and aggravated food security conditions in 2011. The situation is anticipated to deteriorate further starting from the first quarter of 2012, particularly in the states of Upper Nile, Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria. 
  • An estimated 4.7 million people will be food insecure during 2012 in South Sudan, of which 1 million severely food insecure. This compares to 3.3 million people in 2011, of which 900 000 were severely food insecure. 
  • It is estimated that up to 185 000 tonnes of food will be required to assist the most food insecure rural households, vulnerable children, IDPs, refugees and returnees.