South Sudan + 5 more

GIEWS Country Brief: South Sudan 22-July-2022



  • Dire food security situation, with almost two‑thirds of total population (7.74 million) estimated severely food insecure between April and July

  • Cereal production in 2021 estimated at about 840 000 tonnes, 4 percent down from 2020 output and well below pre‑conflict levels

  • Below‑average precipitation amounts during first half of 2022 cropping season

  • Exceptionally high food prices constraining access to food for large segments of population

Dire food security situation due to multiple shocks

Since early 2022, the seasonal deterioration of the food security situation has been compounded by protracted macroeconomic challenges resulting in high inflation, insufficient food supplies and livelihood losses due to consecutive years of widespread floods and intercommunal violence.

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, about 7.74 million people (almost two‑thirds of the total population) are estimated to face IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or worse levels of acute food insecurity during the lean season between April and July. The highest prevalence of food insecurity is reported in Lakes, Unity and Jonglei states and in Pibor Administrative area, where 60 to 80 percent of the population is estimated to be severely food insecure, with about 87 000 people facing IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe) levels of food insecurity.

After the cease‑fire signed in 2018, the security situation has generally improved and about 574 000 displaced people returned to their places of origin, including more than 74 000 between January and May. However, the situation remains volatile and, since 2020, organized violence at subnational level increased, resulting in new displacements, with armed clashes forcing almost 23 000 people to leave the country between January and May.

Currently, about 2 million people remain internally displaced and 2.36 million refugees are residing in neighbouring Uganda, the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Reduced cereal production in 2021 due to weather extremes

According to the findings of the 2021 FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM), the aggregate cereal production is estimated at about 840 000 tonnes, 4 percent down from the 2020 output, and well below the pre‑conflict levels. The year‑on‑year decrease in cereal production was mainly driven by reduced yields due to widespread floods and prolonged dry spells. The overall cereal deficit in the 2022 marketing year (January/December) is estimated at about 541 000 tonnes, about 16 percent above the near‑average deficit estimated in 2021.

Below‑average precipitation during first half of 2022 cropping season

In southern bimodal rainfall areas of Greater Equatoria Region, harvesting of first season crops is currently underway and will be completed in August. Although cumulative rains between March and June were 20 to 25 percent below average, they were generally sufficient to satisfy the water requirements of maize and sorghum. However, reported outbreaks of Fall Armyworm and African Armyworm are expected to result in localized crop losses.

In central and northern unimodal rainfall areas, where 2022 crops will be harvested from September, after a timely onset in April, the rainy season has been characterized by below‑average amounts and an erratic temporal distribution of rains, except in Upper Nile State and in most of Jonglei State in the east. As a result, vegetation condition is average to below average in most central and western areas, with poor conditions recorded in Warrap State, southern parts of Unity State and westernmost areas of Jonglei State.

According to the latest Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) weather forecast, the June‑September seasonal rains are expected to be above average across most of the country, with a likely positive impact on water‑stressed crops. However, the abundant precipitation may contribute to raise the levels of the White Nile, Sobat and Baro rivers, already higher than average, with a high risk of widespread flooding.

Intercommunal violence along the border between Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria states as well as in Unity and Warrap states is disrupting agricultural operations and will likely result in localized crop losses.

Food prices at exceptionally high levels

In the capital, Juba, prices of maize and sorghum moderately increased by 7 to 8 percent between January and June, as upward seasonal trends were partly offset by the downward pressure of an 18 percent appreciation of the national currency on the parallel market. In central and northern areas, where significant cereal production shortfalls were recorded in 2021 due to floods, food price increases have been sharper due to a rapid depletion of the meagre stocks. Between January and June, prices of sorghum increased by almost 70 percent in Bor market in Jonglei State and more than doubled in Gogrial market in Warrap State.

Overall, prices of maize and sorghum in June were at exceptionally high levels across the country. In Juba, they were 12 percent above their high year‑earlier values and almost twice their levels of two years earlier and in Gogrial they were almost 90 percent higher than 12 months earlier.

Underlying the high prices are insufficient supplies and the continuously difficult macroeconomic situation due to low foreign currency reserves, the weak national currency and high fuel prices inflating transport costs. As the country heavily relies on imports of food and fuel, there is concern that high international prices linked to the war in Ukraine may contribute to worsen households’ access to food and to increase production costs.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The dashed lines represent approximate borderlines for which there may not yet be full agreement. The final boundary between the Republic of the Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan has not yet been determined. The final status of the Abyei area is not yet determined.