GIEWS Country Briefs

South Sudan PDF version    Email this article Print this article Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS  Share this article  

Reference Date: 15-September-2014


  1. Mixed prospects for 2014 crop production reduced plantings in conflict-affected areas, while good rains boosting yield prospects in others

  2. High cereal prices in conflict-affected areas exacerbating precarious food security situation

  3. Despite a slight improvement in food security outlook following green harvests and humanitarian aid, serious concerns remain for food security in early 2015

  4. About 3.9 million people are considered as severely food insecure

  5. Scaling-up the humanitarian response is urgently needed to mitigate the humanitarian crisis

Mixed prospects for 2014 cereal production

Harvesting of the 2014 first season crops is well advanced in most bi-modal rainfall areas of Greater Equatoria and production prospects are mixed. Rains have generally been timely, abundant and well-distributed in most cropping areas of Western and Central Equatoria states, with some moderate water deficit levels in April in southeastern agro-pastoral areas of Greater Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria State that affected crops development and pasture conditions.

Planting of the 2014 second season crops, to be harvested from early December, is underway. Satellite-based rainfall estimates in August (see maps) show moderate water stress in some areas of Central and Western Equatoria states, Lakes, southern Warrap and southern Western Bahr el Ghazal. By contrast, abundant rains since mid-August in Greater Kapoeta have improved vegetation and pasture conditions, allowing livestock to return from dry season grazing areas. Since end-July, heavy rains caused localized flooding in low-lying areas of Jonglei and Upper Nile states.

Despite the favourable rainfall performance, planting activities in conflict-affected areas of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei States have been severely disrupted. Some farmers were not able to plant due to displacement at planting time, while others planted plots smaller than usual, close to the homestead, due to insecurity, seed shortages and increased time spent searching for food. On the other hand, in the bi-modal rainfall areas of Western and Central Equatoria States, planting of first season cereal crops was completed under normal circumstances with no discernible negative effects on timely access to farmland.

High cereal prices in conflict-affected states

In markets located in areas not affected by the conflict, prices of white sorghum increased in July in Wau and Aweil by about 10 and 15 percent, respectively, following normal seasonal patterns. In Juba, prices of sorghum continued the declining trend of recent months (-40 percent from January to July) as a result from the availability of imports from neighbouring countries, remaining stocks of long cycle crops and food aid distributions. In Juba, prices of wheat and maize, mostly imported, were stable at around the same levels of July 2013. By contrast, in conflict-affected Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei States, despite the recent start of the green harvest, civil insecurity and seasonal deterioration of road conditions continued to disrupt both domestic and cross-border trade leading to scarcity of staple food commodities and relatively high prices.

Food security improves in some areas due to green consumption and humanitarian assistance, but serious concerns remain for food security in early 2015

In May 2014, the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis estimated that about 3.9 million people (over 30 percent of the total population) were in acute food insecurity and livelihood crisis (IPC Phases 3, “Crisis” and 4, “Emergency”), more than double than one year before. About 2 million severely food insecure people are concentrated in the three most conflict-affected states of Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity. The major factors driving the dramatic deterioration in food security conditions included large population displacements, disruption of local livelihoods and reduced income opportunities, losses of assets and food stocks, malfunctioning of markets leading to high food prices, exacerbated cattle rustling and difficulties to deliver humanitarian aid due to insecurity. Since the start of the conflict in mid-December 2013, over 1.75 million people have fled their homes including 1.3 million people internally-displaced and about 450 000 people that are now hosted in neighbouring countries as refugees.

As the green harvest of maize and sorghum started in August in most cropping areas, ending the lean season, food availability and access is generally improving. The updated July/August IPC has concluded that food assistance programmes have mitigated food security conditions, from Emergency (Phase 4) to Crisis (Phase 3) level, in some counties of Unity state (Rubkona, Leer, Panyijiar and part of Mayedit) as well as in major IDP concentrations. Although a full revision of the IPC analysis has been carried out at the beginning of September and its results are expected to be soon released, the expected reduced harvest in some areas, the significant disruptions of trade flows and market activities and the exhaustion of coping mechanisms by most vulnerable households raise serious concerns for food security conditions in early 2015.

Humanitarian access is limited by unstable security conditions and check points with limited coverage by NGOs. The delivery of humanitarian assistance is also very expensive due to impassable roads during the rainy season and increasing reliance on air-lifting/dropping, including for emergency livelihood kits (crop seeds, vegetable seeds, fishing gear and veterinary kits). In addition, humanitarian assistance capacity is limited by the number of aircrafts and barges against competing needs by different humanitarian actors.

Relevant links:
 As of Jul 2014, included in the list of "Countries Requiring External Assistance for Food"
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2014, 2013, 2012
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

Email this article Print     Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS Subscribe GIEWS RSS Share this article  Share it

GIEWS   global information and early warning system on food and agriculture