GIEWS Country Brief: South Sudan 14-February-2013


• 2012 cereal production estimated at above average levels

• Prices of sorghum and maize, the main food staples, continue to decline in most markets

• About 2.9 million people are estimated to be in need of emergency food assistance in 2013

Good production estimates for 2012 cereal crops

Harvesting of the 2012 first-season cereal crops is complete. Net cereal production, sorghum and maize, from the traditional small-holder sector is estimated at about 761 000 tonnes, about 35 percent above the 2011 estimates and about 6 percent above the average of the previous five years. Planted area has increased in all states, except in Jonglei where more than 315 000 people have been displaced either by floods or by conflict with negative impact on planted area.

Cereal production from the mechanized sector in Upper Nile, Unity and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states is put at an average level of about 114 000 tonnes.

Sorghum and maize prices continue to decline

Prices of locally produced maize and sorghum have declined in most markets since August/September 2012 following increased supplies of newly harvested crops for markets and households’ own consumption. In main markets, between July and December 2012, sorghum prices decreased between 6 and 40 percent, while prices of maize decreased between 4 and 72 percent over the same period. The sharpest declines were recorded in Rumbek and in Aweil markets, while they were less significant in the capital Juba.

However, cereal prices were still higher than one year earlier, especially in flood-affected areas. Livestock prices, particularly of small ruminants, have risen during the second half of 2012 which, coupled with declining cereal prices, have substantially improved the terms-of-trade for pastoralists and consequently their purchasing power.

Improved food security in parts, but food emergency remains, especially among IDPs and flood affected areas

The supply of newly harvested crops has generally improved household food security. However, higher levels of food insecurity are reported in parts of Jonglei, Unity, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria States that were affected by floods and/or persistent civil insecurity (mostly inter-communal clashes related to cattle raiding) that hampered crop cultivation activities and the delivery of humanitarian assistance. In particular, IDPs in Pibor County in Jonglei State and in Abyei disputed areas are facing crisis levels (IPC phase 3) of food insecurity.

In 2013, food assistance is requirements were estimated for about 2.86 million people, mainly vulnerable people such as under-five children and mothers, children attending schools, returnees, refugees and IDPs. However, in a scenario where a significant increase is registered in the number of IDPs, returnees (with the referendum scheduled for October 2013) and refugees, the total number of people in need of food assistance may reach about 4 million.

As of early January 2013, the total number of refugee from conflict-affected areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan which are hosted in Unity and Upper Nile states is approximately 170 500 people posing an increasing demand on hosting communities for food, water and health services.