South Sudan

South Sudan: Yambio County Food Security and Livelihoods Brief (February 2019)



The Yambio food security and livelihoods (FSL) brief was conducted as part of GIZ’s (The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) Food Security and Agricultural Development programme (2017-2019) and funded by BMZ (German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development). The programme’s main objective is to improve food security for populations affected by conflict and malnutrition. The overall aim is to improve the productivity of farms and reduce reliance on food aid. In the long term, surplus production can be used to supply markets, increasing resilience and income generating activities.

As a result of an increase in insecurity during the 2018 planting season, understanding food security in Yambio County has been a concern. According to OCHA data, approximately 18,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were in Yambio county due to insecurity in the first half of 2018, resulting in higher vulnerability to shocks, including unexpected reduction of local resources and high market prices, as many have less assets and resources to access food. Additionally, the influx of IDP likely placed added pressure on local resources.

To better understand the level of livelihood disruption and food insecurity related to the insecurity, the brief analyses information from REACH Area of Knowledge (AoK), focus group discussions (FGDs), and preliminary food security and nutrition monitoring system (FSNMS) data from the World Food Programme (WFP). In December 2018, FSNMS teams collected a total of 104 randomly sampled household (HH) surveys from nine enumeration clusters. In addition, AoK data for Western Equatoria state in January 2019, consisted of 125 key informant (KI) interviews from 122 unique settlements. To better contextualize the data, two FGDs were conducted along with direct observation from REACH field teams.

Key Findings

• The combination of insecurity during the 2018 planting season, March through April, and short dry spells throughout the growing season, May through August, likely led to a below average harvest and decreased HHs’ ability to rely on their own food stocks between harvest periods.

• According to preliminary FSNMS data, the combination of high market reliance and market price volatility has resulted in HHs in Yambio county being exposed to unpredictable market shocks. More than half, 52%, of HHs stated that markets are the main source of cereals after food stocks are depleted. Additionally, 34% of HHs reported unusually high food prices, suggesting that the combination of a below average harvest, supply chain disruptions and an earlier than normal increase in demand is already affecting market prices.

• According to FSNMS data, nearly half of the HHs in Yambio have poor food consumption scores (FCS) and low household diet diversity scores (HDDS), suggesting an overall poor diet diversity. However, 40% of HHs reported experiencing little hunger according to the household hunger score (HHS) and 84% engaged in stress food consumption coping, as per the reduced coping strategy index (rCSI), reinforcing the notion that HHs have sufficient a quantity of food.

• Findings indicate that insecurity disrupted livelihoods and had a negative impact on HH agricultural productivity which has had a spillover effect on HH food consumption. Direct food outcome indicators suggest that HHs have relatively poor food quality, however are consuming a sufficient quantity of food. Market dependency is expected to increase in the coming months as HHs deplete remaining food stocks and switch to markets as their primary source of cereals, however, price volatility is expected to decrease financial access to food.