FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to South Sudan, 20 February 2014

Mission highlights

• In 2013, despite the impact of floods and insecurity in some areas, generally favourable rains and absence of major outbreaks of pests and diseases favoured cereal crop production in the traditional farming sector of South Sudan.

• Accordingly, total cereal harvested area in the traditional sector increased by about 2.8 percent resulting in an estimated net cereal production of about 892 000 tonnes, about 13 percent above the revised 2012 estimates and 22 percent above the average of the previous five years.

• Net cereal production from the rain-fed large and small scale mechanized sector in Upper Nile State is estimated at a reduced 57 000 tonnes due to a decline in planted area and a late onset of rains.

• Livestock conditions were generally good due to adequate pasture and water availability.

• Prices of locally produced cereals have declined in most markets since August 2013 and were below or around their levels in November 2012. Livestock prices, especially for small ruminants, were stable or increasing during the second half of 2013 in most markets. Terms-of-trade for pastoralists have generally improved.

• With a projected population of about 11.9 million people in mid-2014, which includes about 2 million returnees from 2008, the overall cereal deficit until the next harvest in late 2014 is estimated at nearly 409 000 tonnes, about 60 000 tonnes less than the revised deficit estimate for 2013.

• At the time of the Mission, food insecurity in South Sudan had reached a five-year minimum; just over 3.7 million people (33.4 percent of the population) had inadequate food consumption in October 2013, compared with 40 percent at the same time last year.

• The conflict is reversing these recent gains in food security. By end of January 2014, an estimated 863 000 people had been displaced, of which 123 000 were in neighbouring countries. Military confrontation has been most severe in Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile, states which had higher levels of severe food insecurity, the highest cereal deficits in the country and very high dependency on markets for staple food purchases.

• Preliminary IPC analysis of late January 2014 estimates about 6 million people are in stress, crisis and emergency phases, an increase of 2 million people relative to pre-conflict levels. Of this total, 3.2 million are in emergency or crisis phases. These numbers exclude the 740 000 IDPs within South Sudan.

• Continuing insecurity is affecting trade routes from Uganda, through which food supplies are brought to other wider areas of South Sudan. The impact on markets of this restriction in food supplies is taking place as households exhaust their stocks and enter the period when dependency on markets for food supplies becomes greater. This will affect negatively the food security status of populations even in regions far from direct conflict.