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SKBN Coordination Unit Humanitarian Update (March 2021) [EN/AR]

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FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE Staple food prices continued to atypically increase during the harvest period

Blue Nile (Southern Kurmuk County) Farm preparations for the next planting season continued across Southern Kurmuk County. According to the Secretariat of Agriculture (SoA), a total of 360 feddans (373.32 acres) of farmland are expected to be ploughed this year in Chali, Wadaka, and Yabus payams. Out of the 360 feddans, one of the implementing partners will plough and provide seeds for 100 feddans targeting 25 households.

However, the project is constrained by lack of equipment and machinery, including tractors, hoes, and axes.

On the other hand, for the next planting season, farmers chose three types of sorghum that are thought to be resistant to diseases and drought: Wad-Hamad, Mareiba, Najaath, and Arfragadamak.

According to the post-harvest survey, the 2020/2021 yield was recorded at 25 to 40 per cent of average yields (lower than last year), primarily due to pest infestation and a dry spell. As a result, 10 per cent of households had remaining food stocks that would only last through April. As a result of poor harvests, 90 per cent of households depended on markets, while only 10 per cent could afford to buy food in the required quantities. To cope with the low household purchasing power, households increased dependence on income from seasonal agricultural labor provision and traditional gold mining for income.

Market functionality was fully operational in Balila, Yabus Bala, Moguf and Mayak. However, food prices continued to increase, particularly for white sorghum, a staple food crop from South Sudanese Pound (SSP) 600 to SSP 700, constraining household purchasing power. Similarly, there was an increase in fuel (from 200 Ethiopian Birr to 300 Ethiopian Birr), soap, and cooking oil. On the contrary, a decrease in gold prices was recorded in Balila and Mayak markets.