FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE
Food security continues to deteriorate in the Two Areas
Blue Nile (Southern Kurmuk County)
Preparation of farms for the next planting season continued across localities of Southern Kurmuk in response to early food shortages. Around 25 per cent of farmers already planted their fields in April. Primary crops grown included vegetables (okra) and maize. Unfortunately, by reporting time, seed distribution had not yet been conducted, which affected farmers in terms of varieties that could be planted (A total of 10,565 households were targeted for seed distribution 2021).
According to CU County Coordinators, most households in the region have exhausted their food stocks, with approximately less than one percent (<1 per cent) having food stock remains. As a result, markets and rations from refugee camps are the two primary sources of food for around 90 per cent of households (though only around 5 per cent of them can afford to buy from the market). Food shortages were due to a previous poor harvest exacerbated by high food prices, below-average household purchasing power, and an influx of returnees. As a result, by way of example, Wadaka payam (with the highest number of livestock herders), selling livestock was one of the coping strategies alongside traditional gold mining. Other communities dealt with the situation by selling poles, bamboo, and grass as sources of income. Severe hunger was witnessed in Hillat Jadid/Khor Hassan, Moguf, and Oss. Hilla Jadid/Khor Hassan in Yabus payam, in added part due to a presence of returnees (over 200 households were registered in April) from both Ethiopia and South Sudan. In Komo Ganza, wild tubers locally known as “amjogo” are also food for communities.
Meanwhile, 9000 households (5199 led by males and 3801 led by females) were targeted for food distribution. However, as this report was being compiled, pre-positioning had not yet been done.
Major crossline markets were fully operational (Yabus Bala, Moguf, Balila and Mayak). However, in April, market prices of food items (particularly sorghum, the staple for most households) and non-food items across most markets monitored remained high primarily due to transportation costs and a high demand from returnees. For example, in Moguf market, a malwa of sorghum rose from 50 Ethiopian Birr in March to 70 Ethiopian Birr in April. Similarly, fuel prices have increased, and according to the FSMU March Report “high fuel prices in Southern Kurmuk County are likely to have a knock-on effect on other products in the coming months, leading to increased levels of hunger in the future.”