Reference Date: 29-October-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Mixed production prospects for first season crops in Greater Equatoria Region, while outlook for main season crops in Greater Bahr El Ghazal Region is generally favourable
Significant decline in planted area in conflict-affected Greater Upper Nile Region due to massive displacements and escalating conflict
Food prices reached record levels in most markets
Declining national number of severely food insecure people due to newly-harvested crops and green crop consumption
Alarming pockets of starvation reported in southern Unity State. To avert deterioration of situation into famine, better access is needed to allow urgent delivery of humanitarian aid
Mixed prospects for first season harvest in Greater Equatoria Region
In bi-modal rainfall areas of Greater Equatoria, the first season harvest is complete and production prospects are mixed. According to preliminary results of field assessments, yields are estimated at average levels in most cropping areas of Western and Central Equatoria states. Here, seasonal rains started early in February/March, fostering land preparation and plantings. After some dry spells in April/May that required some re-plantings, rains have been generally favourable for the remainder of the season. In Mundri East, Mundri West and Maridi counties in Western Equatoria State, serious civil insecurity in June caused displacement of farmers, leading to a significant reduction in area planted and disrupting agricultural activities, especially weeding. In Eastern Equatoria State, crop production is estimated at below-average levels in most agro-pastoral areas of Greater Kapoeta, Torit, Ikotos and Budi counties, as well as in northwestern lowland areas of Lafon County, due to erratic and poor rains since end-June.
According to satellite-based remote sensing data, rains resumed at the beginning of September in most bi-modal rainfall areas, favouring the ongoing planting activities of second season crops.
Favourable prospects for main season harvest in Greater Bahr El Ghazal Region
In uni-modal rainfall areas of Greater Bahr El Ghazal, the harvesting of short-cycle main season crops has just been completed, while long-cycle crops are still at vegetative stage and will be harvested at the end of the year. Although rains started by mid-May, with a delay of two-three dekads, production prospects are currently favourable in most areas, as rains have been generally adequate during the season. However, prolonged dry spells in July and August have affected yields in some areas of Aweil West and Aweil South counties in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State as well as Gogrial East, Gogrial West and parts of Tonj North counties in Warrap State.
Significant decline in planted area in Greater Upper Nile Region due to insecurity
In most areas of Greater Upper Nile, remote sensing analysis shows average to above-average vegetation conditions, with localized areas of stressed vegetation in southern Baliet and Panyikang counties in Upper Nile State as well as in Yirol East, Yirol West and Awerial in Lakes state. Very poor and erratic precipitation during the whole month of August affected late-planted crops in Bor South and Pibor counties in Jonglei State.
Despite the favourable vegetation conditions, a significant reduction in planted area is expected in most conflict-affected counties of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states. Following the massive displacements that started in Greater Upper Nile last April/May, coinciding with planting time, it is highly probable that crops were either not planted at all or planting took place only in very small plots, with a high risk that fields have then been left un-attended when farmers were forced to flee.
Food prices at record high levels in most markets
Food prices soared last May/June when the conflict revamped in the country, reaching near-record to record levels in most markets. In August, despite the ongoing first season harvest in the region, prices of grains increased in Juba’s main market by 22 percent for sorghum and 27 percent for maize. Across the country, sorghum is currently traded at about SSP 30‑35/malwa (3.5 kg), more than twice higher than one year earlier, with the highest peaks registered in conflict-affected areas, such as Bentiu in Unity State (SSP 38/malwa) and Malakal in Upper Nile (SSP 52/malwa). In July, unshelled groundnuts were sold in Aweil, Rumbek and Yambio markets at record high SSP 15-25/kg, while during the first quarter of the year the average price was between SSP 4/kg and 8/kg. Similarly, the price of 1 kg of wheat flour, mostly imported from Uganda, more than doubled since the beginning of the year, increasing on average from SSP 10 to SSP 20-25.
Pockets of starvation reported in some conflict-affected areas of Unity State
According to the latest IPC analysis (September 2015), the overall food security situation has improved at national level compared to the past May-July, during the lean season, mainly due to the harvest of first season crops in August in the Greater Equatoria Region and to the availability of green crops in the rest of the country. The current estimated number of food insecure people has declined from 4.8 million at the peak of the lean season in July to 3.9 million people (34 percent of the population). This figure, about 80 percent higher than one year ago, includes people in IPC Phase: 3 “Crisis” and Phase: 4 “Emergency”, plus about 30 000 people in Leer, Guit, Koch and Mayendit counties in southern Unity State in IPC Phase: 5 “Catastrophe”. This situation is likely to quickly deteriorate into a famine if better access to these areas is not immediately granted in order to allow the urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance.
The highest levels of food insecurity are reported in conflict-affected states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states due to widespread displacements, disruption of livelihood systems, loss of productive assets, in particular livestock, and access constrains to humanitarian assistance. Severe problems of access to food are also reported in most counties of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Lakes and Warrap states due to skyrocketing food prices in most markets.
As the harvest progresses until the end of the year, the food security situation is expected to progressively improve in non-conflict affected areas, while in Greater Upper Nile Region it will depend on future access of humanitarian assistance in most conflict-affected areas.
Since the start of the conflict in mid-December 2013, about 2.1 million people have fled their homes, including 1.55 million internally-displaced and about 549 000 individuals currently hosted in neighbouring countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, the Sudan and Kenya) as refugees.