Special Report: FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to South Sudan, 28 March 2018

Mission Highlights

  • The net cereal production in 2017 (after deduction of post-harvest losses and seed use) in the traditional sector, is estimated at 764 107 tonnes, 7.5 percent down from 2016, 14 percent below the average of the previous five years and the smallest recorded output since the start of the conflict.

  • With a projected population of about 11.4 million in mid-2018, the overall cereal deficit in the JanuaryDecember 2018 marketing year is estimated at about 482 000 tonnes, 26 percent above the deficit estimated for 2017.

  • Despite overall adequate rainfall over most of the cropping areas, the 2017 agricultural season had a poor performance, mainly due to the combination of a reduced number of farming households and the lower-than-average area planted per household, following the increase in intensity and scale of the conflict that had disrupted farming activities. The largest reductions in the harvested area have occurred in Central Equatoria (-48 percent) and Western Bahr el Ghazal (-28 percent).

  • In addition to the endemic presence of common pests, Fall Armyworm (FAW) outbreaks, detected in the country for the first time this year, caused mild to average damage on maize and sorghum crops in more than 20 counties.

  • In January 2018, 48 percent of the population of South Sudan (just over 5.3 million) was classified in the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Phases 3 (“Crisis”), 4 (“Emergency”) and 5 (“Catastrophe”).
    This represents an increase of about 40 percent relative to the same time last year. In July, at the peak of the 2018 lean period, this proportion is expected to rise to 63.4 percent (6.9 million people). The most serious situations are in Unity and Jonglei, where the population in some counties is facing famine or risk of famine, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

  • Food insecurity has again reached new highs during the harvest period of 2017: 70 percent of the population were food insecure, with 14 percent severely food insecure, a slight increase from the values registered one year before. Only 20 percent of the households were found to have acceptable food consumption. The coming lean period of mid-2018 is likely to see food insecurity levels rise further.

  • Livestock body conditions were generally good due to adequate pasture and water availability following favourable seasonal rains. As during the previous three years, widespread events of cattle raiding and altered marketing/migration routes occurred in most areas of major conflict/insecurity.

  • Inflation significantly declined from the peak of over 500 percent year-on-year reached in September 2016, mainly due to the winding down of monetary expansion policies, but has remained very high, with the year-on-year inflation rate estimated in December 2017 at 188 percent.

  • Cereal prices declined in the second semester of 2017 as newly harvested crops entered the markets, but in late 2017 they were still up to twice the levels of 12 months earlier and more than seven times higher than 24 months earlier, underpinned by tight supplies, insecurity-related market disruptions, high overall inflation and a weak local currency.

  • The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country stood at about 1.9 million in November 2017. The number of refugees in neighbouring countries was close to 2.1 million, of which over 1.6 million new arrivals were recorded since July 2017, when the conflict spread outside the Greater Upper Nile Region to most areas of the country.

  • Under the 2018 Emergency Response, FAO plans to support 400 000 vulnerable households, out of which 350 000 will receive seeds of sorghum, maize and cowpeas through direct distribution, while the remaining 50 000 will receive crop seeds through seed fairs. In addition, half of the 400 000 households will receive vegetable seed kits while the rest (50 percent) will receive fishing kits. The livestock vaccination and treatment campaign is targeting approximately 8.7 million heads for 2018.

  • In 2018, WFP plans to assist over 4.8 million people in South Sudan with nearly 310 000 tonnes of food assistance. This includes emergency food assistance for around 4 million people most affected by acute food insecurity and the support of almost 1.1 million people (refugees, Abyei displaced, other vulnerable South Sudanese) with recovery and development-oriented activities such as school meals, cash and food assistance for assets and Purchase for Progress (P4P).