Reference Date: 23-January-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable prospects for 2014 crop production in most southern bi-modal rainfall areas
Good yields expected in northern uni-modal rainfall areas, but reduced plantings in conflict-affected areas will lower cereal production
Good pasture availability in general, but livestock movements are severely affected by conflict
High cereal prices in conflict-affected areas exacerbate the precarious local food security situation
Food security outlook likely to deteriorate soon in conflict-affected areas as households’ food stocks are expected to run out by end-January
About 2.5 million people are currently considered as severely food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance
Favourable prospects for 2014 cereal production in most bi-modal rainfall areas
Harvesting of the 2014 second season crops has just been completed in bi-modal rainfall areas and production is estimated at average to above-average levels. Rains have generally been timely, abundant and well-distributed in most cropping areas. According to satellite-based rainfall estimates, a significant water stress was reported in September in Lopa and Kapoeta North counties of Eastern Equatoria State and in Pibor county in Jonglei State, but abundant rains during the first two dekads of October, which caused also localized flooding in low-lying areas, fully reversed the situation.
Below-average production expected in conflict-affected states due to significant reduction in area planted
In northern uni-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of 2014 long-cycle sorghum and millet crops is well advanced and yields are forecast at above-average levels following the favourable rainfall performance along the season. However, cereal production in most conflict-affected areas of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states is expected at below-average levels due to a significant reduction in area planted. Some farmers were not able to plant due to displacements, while others planted plots smaller than usual, close to the homestead, due to insecurity, seed shortages and increased time spent searching for food.
Civil insecurity severely affecting livestock movements in conflict-affected areas
The ongoing conflict is having a significant negative impact on the country’s important livestock sector. The conflict has prompted an unprecedented movement of cattle from conflict-affected states to agricultural areas, outside of traditional grazing areas, with consequent high concentration of animals on small grazing areas, destruction of crops and increasing risk of disease outbreaks. The increased competition for limited grazing resources poses also new challenges to local power structures, with intensification of tribal conflicts and cattle raids.
Abundant rainfall during the rainy season has generally improved availability and quality of pasture resources. Although rains stopped by mid-November, good pasture conditions are still reported in most grazing areas of the country, in particular in central and northeastern states. However, the latest available remote sensing images (second dekad of January) indicate a rapid deterioration of pasture in some southeastern areas of Pibor and Kapoeta East counties, along the borders with Ethiopia and Kenya.
Food security expected to deteriorate in conflict-affected areas due to early exhaustion of food stocks
According to the results of the latest available Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis (September 2014), food security across the country has improved from August to December, following seasonal patterns. The estimated number of people in acute food insecurity and livelihood crisis declined from 3.9 million in July to nearly 1.5 million. The improvement was mainly due to the positive effect of humanitarian response and the availability of newly-harvested first and second season crops for local consumption, with ensuing declines in prices which had a positive effect on food access. Between January and March 2015, the estimated number of people in need of humanitarian assistance (classified as IPC phase 3 “Crisis” and 4 “Emergency”) is expected to scale up to 2.5 million as the below-average production harvested in conflict-affected areas allowed only a partial replenishment of household food stocks which are expected to run out by end-January, two-three months earlier than usual. Over 60 percent of the people in need of assistance are concentrated in the most conflict-affected states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei.
Functionality of most food markets in conflict-affected areas has been seriously disrupted by direct attacks, looting, abandonment by traders, disruption of trading networks and loss of market infrastructure. In Greater Upper Nile, food prices are very high, up to ten times higher than pre-crisis levels in some areas, such as Bentiu and Rubkona.
Since the start of the conflict in mid-December 2013, close to 2 million people have fled their homes, including 1.5 million internally-displaced and about 497 000 now hosted in neighbouring countries as refugees.