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Libyan Newswire

FAO GIEWS Country Brief on South Sudan (03-November-2014)

Reference Date: 03-November-2014


  1. Favourable prospects for 2014 crop production in most southern bi-modal rainfall areas

  2. Good yields expected in northern uni-modal rainfall areas, but reduced plantings in conflict-affected areas will lower cereal production

  3. Good pasture conditions across country

  4. High cereal prices in conflict-affected areas exacerbating precarious food security situation

  5. Significant improvements in food security outlook since August following harvests and humanitarian aid, but serious concerns remain for food security conditions in early 2015

  6. About 2.2 million people are currently considered as severely food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance

Favourable prospects for 2014 cereal production in most bi-modal rainfall areas

Harvesting of the 2014 first season crops has been completed in September in bi-modal rainfall areas of Greater Equatoria and production is estimated at average to above-average levels. Rains have generally been timely, abundant and well-distributed in most cropping areas of Western and Central Equatoria states, with some moderate water deficit levels in April in southeastern agro-pastoral areas of Greater Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria State that affected crops development and pasture conditions.

Production prospects for the 2014 second season crops, to be harvested from early December, are generally favourable. According to satellite-based rainfall estimates, a significant water stress was reported in September in Lopa and Kapoeta North counties of Eastern Equatoria state and in Pibor county in Jonglei state, but abundant rains during the first two dekads of October, which caused also localized flooding in low-lying areas, have reversed the situation.

Below-average production expected in conflict-affected states due to significant reduction in area planted

In northern uni-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of 2014 short-cycle crops has been completed, while harvesting of long-cycle sorghum and millet crops is expected to continue until the end of the year. Yields are forecast at above-average levels following the favourable rainfall performance along the season. However, cereal production in most conflict-affected areas of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei States is expected at below-average levels due to a significant reduction in area planted. Some farmers were not able to plant due to displacement at planting time, while others planted plots smaller than usual, close to the homestead, due to insecurity, seed shortages and increased time spent searching for food. About 40 percent of planting reduction is also reported in mechanized farming areas of Renk county in Upper Nile state.

Good pasture conditions across country

Abundant rainfall since the beginning of the rainy season has generally improved availability and quality of pasture resources. However, the latest available remote sensing images (second dekad of October) indicate a rapid deterioration of pasture in some northern and western areas of the country, particularly in Warrap and Unity states.

Significant improvements in food security due to recent harvests and humanitarian aid, but serious concerns remain for early 2015

According to the results of the latest Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis (September 2014), food security across the country has begun improving in August and is expected to continue on a positive trend through December 2014, following seasonal patterns. The estimated number of people in acute food insecurity and livelihood crisis declined from 3.9 million in July to nearly 2.2 million. The improvement is mainly due to the positive effect of humanitarian response, the consumption of green maize in most uni-modal rainfall areas and the availability of first season crops in Greater Equatoria states, with ensuing declines in prices which had a positive effect on food access. For instance, according to FEWSNet, in Juba prices of sorghum declined by 17 percent between August and September, when they were 53 percent lower than 12 months earlier, due to increased domestic availabilities, imports from neighbouring countries and food aid distributions. Over 60 percent of the people in need are concentrated in most conflict-affected states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei. At county level, the worst conditions are reported in Robkona, Guit, Kock and Leer (Unity), Bailet (Upper Nile) and Duk (Jonglei).

Until the end of the year, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is likely to further decline, up to 1.5 million, when the main season crops will be harvested. However, serious concerns remain for the beginning of 2015 as household food stocks are expected to be only partially replenished in some areas due to a below-average production, and most vulnerable households may have exhausted their coping mechanisms. In addition, there are concerns that the conflict may revamp at the end of the rainy season in November as roads conditions improve allowing better movements of people. Between January and March 2015, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is projected to scale up to 2.5 million.

Since the start of the conflict in mid-December 2013, close to 1.9 million people have fled their homes, including 1.4 million internally-displaced and about 470 000 now hosted in neighbouring countries as refugees.