Ongoing harvest of 2020/2021 season continues but with poor crop yields
Covid-19 awareness campaigns continue in the Two Areas despite huge funding gaps Staple food prices continued to increase particularly for sorghum
FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE
Staple food prices continued to atypically increase during the harvest period
The 2020/21 harvest of white sorghum from far farms continued as of January across crop-producing areas. The harvests of sesame and groundnuts are completed. However, crop yields are reportedly lower than usual primarily due to pest infestations and drought as well as heavy rains in some parts of the Two Areas. As a result, field reports indicate a serious food shortage and hunger by the lean season (June-July 2021). Of the more than 70 per cent households with depleted food stocks, 35 per cent were able to depend on markets, whereas the other 35 per cent relied on food rations from the camp in Maban (South Sudan) as an alternative source of food. Food shortages were experienced in Komo Ganza, Wadaka and Yabus Payams. On the other hand, a relatively good harvest was reported in Belatuma, Benamo/Aqontayo, Aleile and Tsunda (Yabus), Soda and Beeh (Chali), Gosha (Komo Ganza).
Market functionality was moderate across crossline markets of Yabus Bala, Moguf and Mayak in January, given the relatively small number of Ethiopian traders present, as a result of tensions with communities due to illegal Ethiopian miners along border areas.
Despite the ongoing harvest, retail prices of the main locally produced staples i.e. sorghum remained high across most main production and consumption markets. The increase in sorghum prices is impacted by low production.
Similarly, prices of salt, soap and gold increased as well as livestock (goats/sheep) in Balila and Mayak markets (Wadaka Payam). The main reason for the increase in livestock prices was the high demand for meat in Maban (South Sudan). The extremely high food prices and below-average household purchasing power will continue driving above-average assistance needs through the lean season (June July 2021).
A continued depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound has resulted in its being rejected in the crossline markets which has complicated trade complicated the terms of trade.