On 14 May 2010, the Southern Sudan Council of Ministers made key food security policy decisions including:
- eliminating taxes on essential food items, such as grains and animal products; and
- allocating USD $35 million to help ease the food emergency.
Detailed food security information collected with support from the FAO-SIFSIA programme, helped the ministers understand the current situation and policy options. This information was gathered through:
- food security assessments conducted by FAO-SIFISA in collaboration with the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), WFP and UNICEF; and
- a Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM), conducted by FAO-SIFSIA and WFP, in November 2009.
This information has been collected in a series of food security bulletins available at:
Key resolutions taken included:
- Allocating US$ 35 million to respond to the current food crises: US$ 70 million was originally requested. However, due to budget constraints, only half of the requested amount was allocated.
- GOSS will make an appeal to the international community for the remaining US$ 35 million.
- The Council declared essential food commodities exempt from tax. This is expected to spur trade and bring prices down for consumers. The Council pointed out that the Crop and Livestock Market Information System (CLIMIS) developed by FAO/SIFSIA should be used to monitor prices changes resulting from the tax exemption and other policies.
- Achieving food security with only 1.8 % of the budget going to the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry and the Ministry of Animal Resource and Fisheries is nearly impossible. These ministries were thus asked to prepare a policy note with a detailed budget for boosting food production and enhancing food security in Southern Sudan.
- A Secretary General for the Food Security Council shall be appointed immediately.
- The Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) shall be involved in the distribution and monitoring of food aid.
FAO AND SIFSIA’S CONTRIBUTION
FAO in Southern Sudan has been closely working with GOSS partners, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries to advocate for an institutional framework, including a Food Security Council at the highest level of government, to facilitate food security policy decision making in Southern Sudan. The two Ministries, with SIFSIA technical support, have recommended a tax exemption on essential food items to mitigate the prevailing food insecurity.
The resolutions made by the Council of Ministers on 14 May 2010 show that FAO’s capacity building and advocacy efforts have had an impact.
The Sudan Institutional Capacity Programme: Food Security Information for Action (SIFSIA)
The Sudan Institutional Capacity Programme: Food Security Information for Action (SIFSIA) works with national institutions in Sudan to strengthen their capacity for generating, analyzing, and disseminating food security information. SIFSIA promotes the use of this information for policy making, research, and programming. It is funded by the European Union.