GIEWS Country Brief: South Sudan 26-July-2012
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Crops and pasture benefit from favourable rainfall
Prices of sorghum and maize, the main food staples, remain at record high levels
About 2.4 million people, more than double the estimates in end of 2011, are in need emergency assistance
Favourable outlook for crops and pasture
Harvesting of the 2012 first-season cereal crops is about to start in August in bi-modal rainfall areas of Greater Equatoria (Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria states), while in uni-modal rainfall areas crops are still at vegetative stage and harvest is expected to start at the end of October. Seasonal rains generally started on-time in the second half of April, with some delay of about two-three weeks in Eastern Equatoria and southern Jonglei states as well as in some cropping areas along the border with Sudan. So far, despite erratic distribution in some areas of Central Equatoria and Lakes states, rainfall amounts have been average to above average in most agricultural and pastoral areas.
According to satellite based monitoring, the vegetation index (NDVI) of early July 2012 indicates that crop and pasture conditions are good and generally better than the long term average. The latest forecast for the 2012 June-to-August rainy season by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) indicates that rains are expected to be abundant during the remainder of the season, with increased likelihood of floods, especially in flood-prone lowlands of Upper Nile and Unity states. Extreme wet conditions are also likely to trigger outbreaks of several livestock diseases.
Sorghum and maize prices at record levels across the country
Since mid-2011, prices of domestically produced cereals have registered an increasing trend in most markets, reaching record prices in June/July 2012. In July 2012, both sorghum and maize were traded in Juba retail markets at a record price of about SSP 5/kg, with an increase of between 180 and 220 percent year on year. However, in main retail markets in the north of the country sorghum was 18-24 percent more expensive than in Juba, with a peak of 47 percent more in Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal state. Wheat flour, mainly imported, reached a record price of SSP 8.5/kg in June 2012 and slightly decreased in July 2012.
Food security conditions deteriorate as the lean season peaks
As this year’s lean season has started earlier than usual, following the 2011 poor harvest, the estimated number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has been increased from one million at the end of 2011 to 2.4 million people. Major areas of concern are those bordering the Sudan in Northern Bahr el Gazal, Warrap, Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states. The higher levels of food insecurity follow a series of factors including escalation of civil insecurity, inter-communal clashes (mostly related to cattle raiding), diminished cross border trade with the Sudan, increasing number of IDPs, returnees and refugees, fuel scarcity and high food prices. In addition, road access to several rural areas is usually reduced with the onset of the rainy season. Access to conflict-displaced communities in Northern Bar el Ghazal is already limited hampering the delivery of humanitarian assistance, necessitating on-time pre-positioning of supplies.
In May and June 2012, the influx of refugees from conflict-affected areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan has significantly increased, bringing the total refugee population in sites in Unity and Upper Nile states to approximately 178 000 people posing an increasing demand on hosting communities for food, water and health services.