Sudan food assistance transition study

from Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project
Published on 31 Dec 2007

This study was designed to assess the impact of stability resulting from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on the most food insecure and nutritionally vulnerable areas and groups in southern Sudan and the Three Areas, and make recommendations about how Title II and Disaster Assistance (DA) resources should be used in addressing the prevailing food security issues. The specific objectives of this review included examining the underlying factors leading to chronic and acute malnutrition, identifying key factors that support and constrain food availability and food access, and determining appropriate food and nonfood interventions to address food insecurity. This information will assist Food for Peace (FFP) and USAID/Sudan to develop options to address food insecurity using Title II and/or DA resources.

To meet these objectives, three teams composed of USAID/FFP and TANGO international staff consulted with a range of stakeholders in Washington D.C., Khartoum, Juba and several field sites. The teams visited southern Sudan from October 2-14, 2007. The states visited were Central and Eastern Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Warab, Upper Nile and Jonglei. One team also visited Abyei. Many of the study areas were recovering from the heaviest floods in nearly a decade. Prior to the field work, the teams reviewed documentation and background information on southern Sudan.

The report provides an analysis of the current situation and identification of key issues related to food insecurity and the high rates of malnutrition. It examines current Title II activities and recommends how to increase their impact on food security and nutrition. The study proposes next steps for USAID/Sudan in addressing food security by leveraging Title II and DA funds in a complementary manner that emphasizes the multiple transitions taking place in the areas of livelihoods, education, health, nutrition, institutions and security. Finally, the study recommends next steps for moving towards developing a food security strategy (addressing food availability, access and utilization) for the Mission that reinforces the interdependency of livelihoods, markets and infrastructure.

Key Findings

Central and Eastern Equatoria

People are on the move - Reintegration has started but is still ongoing with many internally displaced persons (IDPs) yet to depart for their states of origin and many refugees still expected back from Uganda. Households are slowly returning to areas affected by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and have not reestablished sustainable livelihoods.

Area is potentially food secure - With proper investments, food security is possible for many if not most households. Greenbelt and agro-pastoral portions of the two states have many ingredients necessary for economic growth. Soils and rainfall are conducive to productive agriculture. Improved transport would provide ready access to market centers. Natural resources such as forests and wildlife are abundant and population density low.

Transportation/transport is a major obstacle - Major roadways linking Kajo Keji, Nimule and other larger towns with Juba are impassable. Secondary and tertiary roads that might form market links and allow the flow of services to rural areas were unmaintained and impassable to most vehicles. Most every advance or development that might be imagined for the area is currently impossible due to the poor state of the road network.

Agencies unable to monitor adequately - Constraints of access and resources have limited the ability of agencies to monitor food-based programming, resulting in some mismanagement of food and unsuccessful Food for Recovery/Food for Work (FFR/FFW) activities. Developmental uses of food may be difficult if constraints to monitoring cannot be overcome.

Focus on human resources - Given the shortage of experienced local NGOs and weak government structures and budgets at county and payam levels, interventions need to employ a strategy that supports and builds capacity during field work. One key will be facilitated planning exercises with authorities and communities prior to implementation. Other mechanisms, such as managed block grants for counties, should be pushed so that government counterparts gain experience in project design and management.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBEG) and Warab

People feel more physically secure as a result of the CPA - People in the region feel safer to move freely from village to town, and large numbers of displaced people are returning from Khartoum and Darfur. Improved security and improved access to markets has encouraged farmers to produce above subsistence levels.

NBEG has the highest number of returnees - More have returned this year than was expected (over 300,000). This puts tremendous pressure on the food security situation of the host population.

A greater number of returnees in NBEG and Warab are from Khartoum and other urban areas in the north - The livelihood needs of these urban-bred, educated and skilled returnees who can help stimulate the nonfarm economy must be taken into account.

The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) at the county and payam level does not have the human and financial resources to respond to development demands or even to this year's flood needs - Warab is a new state and one of the weakest states in terms of human capacity to manage government institutions and respond to development demands and people's expectations of a "peace dividend."

NBEG and Warab have one of the highest percentages of food insecurity in south Sudan - This food insecurity is attributed to large scale displacement, vulnerability to extreme variations in weather, low-level agricultural technologies and limited access to markets. The floods this year will only exacerbate the situation.

There are relatively few NGOs working in this region in comparison to need - Only a few international NGOs and local partners are implementing livelihood and nutrition programs, providing minimal coverage in a few payams and in selected counties.

The poor road infrastructure, especially during the rainy season, is a significant and recurring challenge to implementation - Many areas are cut off from the main road for more than six months of the year. Food stocks must be prepositioned and are difficult to replenish until the dry season.

Households in the region have the potential to produce adequate food and agricultural surpluses - However, periodic natural disasters will require that capacity for emergency preparedness and response measures be incorporated into food security programs.

Upper Nile and Jonglei

Recurrent tribal hostilities in the region make it one of the most insecure areas in the south and threaten effective food security programming - The CPA has had minimal effect on the physical security of the local population.

This region is the least developed in terms of access to services, infrastructure and presence of international organizations - This region receives few resources from GOSS, and programming initiatives in the field are lacking. For those line ministries that do have staff in place, most are unpaid and do not have adequate budgets for operations.

Because of the lack of capacity and resources, the local government is very dependent on NGOs to provide social services - Unfortunately, very few NGOs operate in the area and there is a serious lack of community-based organizations. The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and FFP, through their NGO partners, have been instrumental in providing access to water, health facilities, schools and agricultural resources and extension. Local government officials are concerned about what will happen to recovery programs if OFDA funds are cut.

The region is suffering from one of the worst floods in recent years, making the area highly food insecure - Chronic food insecurity will continue in this region as long as the area suffers from intertribal conflict, natural disasters, poor access to services and poor access to transport.

Despite the insecurity and recurrent floods, people are starting to move back -

Thousands of people are moving back from Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. The combination of a large number of returnees, flood-affected households and displacement caused by intertribal conflict is making the area more vulnerable to food insecurity.

The poor road infrastructure in the region makes program implementation extremely difficult - Many areas in the region are cut off for six to nine months of the year.


The large number of returnees is hampering the recovery of residents - Food assistance will be needed to reduce food security threats in the short to medium term.

Large numbers of people are settling in an unregulated environment - This has the potential of triggering conflict over land rights and resources. Assistance must be even handed and communicated to all stakeholders in a coordinated manner.

There is a serious absence of a civil administration in Abyei to lead development -

Organizational development and capacity building for local NGOs and other organizations should be a priority for donors and international agencies.

Blue Nile State (BNS)

Insecurity remains the greatest obstacle to development in BNS - Continued militarization of the state along with areas that remain heavily mined make access to the majority of the food insecure difficult.

The future stability of BNS will depend upon economic security and equitable development - Development efforts that show a real peace dividend will be important to preventing potential violence.

Increasing pressure on land and natural resources from returnees and the expansion of mechanized farming onto traditional grazing land could pose a serious threat to the region - There is a need to couple relief assistance for returnees with a rational land policy and much public discussion and negotiation about resettlement.

Southern Kordofan

Security as a whole is problematic - There is an urgent need to build real and functional judicial and law enforcement organizations. Continued dialogue between pastoralist and farming communities should be facilitated.

The CPA divides the political power between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) - This division represents a huge challenge for the governance of these areas, including the delivery of social services.

The expansion of mechanized farming, civil war, displacement of populations and deterioration of services along stock routes has disrupted traditionally respected rules of cooperation between farmers and pastoralists in Kordofan - This has contributed to continued intertribal conflict in the area