The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: South Sudan

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: South Sudan
Dec 2012

Despite positive developments in South Sudan in late 2012 – the signing of breakthrough agreements on oil, trade and security with the Sudan – humanitarian needs remain consistently high. Throughout 2012, massive population movements within and into South Sudan posed enormous challenges. More than 170 000 South Sudanese were internally displaced by inter-communal violence, and 132 000 returned from the Sudan.

In addition, the country is now hosting over 175 000 refugees who fled conflict in the Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan States – four times the expected number. Austerity measures caused by the January shutdown in oil production (i.e. 98 percent of national budget) have severely constrained government capacity to support people in need, from displaced populations, to those recovering from decades of conflict and severe flooding in October 2012.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

The food security situation in South Sudan has been exacerbated by insecurity and related displacement, border closures, inflation, natural hazards, insufficient food availability and poor agricultural productivity. As families are displaced, and lose assets and income as a result of these shocks, their resilience plummets and their livelihoods erode. Up to 4.6 million people are expected to be food insecure in 2013.

Challenges related to meeting food and other basic needs increased substantially in 2012 as a result of government austerity measures. This triggered inflation peaks of up to 75 percent, while the South Sudanese pound depreciated by as much as 40 percent. In mid-2012, consumer prices were nearly 75 percent higher than the previous year – the increase was as high as 170 percent in some northern states.

The cumulative effect has been devastating on household food security, as families spend on average 62 percent of their income on food. Access to food has been impeded by low levels of food production. Refugee and returnee arrivals are placing further strain on food availability.

Around 260 000 people were affected by floods in 2012 – three times more than the previous year. The floods hit all ten states and coincided with the main harvest of staple crops, such as millet and sorghum, significantly reducing yields and leading to complete harvest failure in some areas. They also severely threatened livestock production, limiting pasture availability and increasing the risk of livestock disease and death.

Animal diseases and livestock mortality erode the livelihoods, food security and coping capacity of over 70 percent of pastoral households and place over 2 million livestock at risk. Endemic diseases include contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, peste des petits ruminants, anthrax and haemorrhagic septicaemia, and can pose serious public health risks. The threat of disease is exacerbated by large-scale cross-border migration – over 300 000 animals are expected during the seasonal migration in 2013 – and weak veterinary infrastructure and services. Seasonal migrations also strain existing pasture and water resources, and often lead to tensions with local communities.

FAO response

In 2013, FAO seeks funding to help farmers, pastoralists and fishers to increase their food production and income through a wide range of activities. Importantly, as co-lead of the Food Security and Livelihoods Cluster, FAO will continue its work with partners towards a more evidence-based, effective and coordinated response to crises.

Availability and access to quality seeds remains a major constraint to production in South Sudan. In response, FAO aims to scale up seed multiplication at community level, while supporting the development of a national seed policy and the establishment of a national seed certification board. In addition, FAO activities promoting conservation agriculture will enable farmers to increase their production in ways that preserve the environment, particularly soil. Another important focus is boosting vegetable production – a key source of income and nutrition, particularly for female-headed households – by providing families with seeds, among other inputs and training.

FAO will also help families strengthen their fisheries activities, a crucial livelihood source and means to cope during the dry season. Women and men will receive training and supplies to improve production, from catch to processing to sale. This will include fishing gear and support in fish processing, preservation and marketing.

To safeguard livestock assets, FAO will help mitigate disease outbreaks by strengthening disease surveillance, early detection and response, training community animal health workers, carrying out vaccination and treatment campaigns and repairing cold chain facilities. By improving access to water points and pastures, FAO will help families increase livestock productivity, while reducing conflict over natural resources.

Legend: FAO funding requests for South Sudan from 2008 to 2013

Delivery of quality assistance to families most in need lies at the core of Cluster efforts. In 2013, key activities of the Food Security and Livelihoods Cluster include strengthening coordination and collaboration with government counterparts in data analysis and vulnerability mapping, as well as establishing a Cluster Data Analysis Unit. To improve quality of assistance, FAO and Cluster partners will set up technical discussion fora and facilitate the development of minimal technical and operational standards for food security interventions. The progress of interventions will be better monitored through baselines and standardized tools.