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Near-average national harvests remain likely for 2013/14

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • South Sudan
  • August 2013
Near-average national harvests remain likely for 2013/14

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Continued and evolving conflict along the border with Sudan and in Abyei will result in low levels of informal trade and additional displacement over the course of the outlook period. 

    • Average rains are expected through the remainder of the season(s). Rainfall must continue into early October to allow late-planted crops in the north to mature fully. Near-average national harvests are likely. 

    • Crisis (IPC v2.0 Phase 3 and 3!) food insecurity will continue in parts of Jonglei State due to conflict impacts on access to livestock and markets and assistance.

    Current Situation
    • Approximately one-third of the population displaced from Pibor County is receiving assistance in Pibor, Gumruk and Dorien. Humanitarian agencies are expected to continue providing assistance to this population until the situation improves. Approximately one third of the total displaced are believed to be outside Pibor area, receiving assistance in IDP and refugee camps. The remaining third of the displaced population is assumed to be hiding in the bush with remaining livestock.
    • The atypical presence of Messeriya nomads within Abyei area during the wet season and the diminishing likelihood of the implementation of the referendum in October continue to slow returns to Abyei. Assistance in the area maintains minimum food access despite livelihood restrictions due to insecurity (IPC Phase 2!, Stressed).
    • Flooding of Nile tributaries has resulted in some temporary market disruptions and price effects. No major, widespread impacts of flooding on food security are expected.
    • Prices of staples remain relatively stable, though high, in most markets across South Sudan. Inflation, particularly in Juba and Bor markets, is very high, resulting in nominal staple food prices above 2012 levels. Devaluation of the South Sudanese Pound against the US Dollar is also a significant concern. Seasonal floods have blocked road access to markets causing temporary and localized price increases, as is typical at this time of year. Despite this, the excellent 2012 harvests have resulted in relatively average to good purchasing power, significantly better than the last two years. For example, the national average unskilled wage labor rate-to-sorghum (Juba nominal price) terms of trade have increased about 5-10 percent each year over the past two years.
    • A recent Food Security Monitoring System (FSMS) survey conducted in June 2013 found that food consumption has generally been better this year than last, except possibly in Unity State, where there was significant flooding in 2012 and dryness during the early part of the 2013 rainy season. Acute malnutrition was also generally significantly better than 2012. Acute malnutrition is of greatest concern in Jonglei state. 
    • There is a marked improvement in the vegetation conditions in the pastoral areas. Vegetation conditions have significantly improved in response to the ongoing rains, and livestock have returned to homesteads in Kapoeta.
    • FEWS NET has received reports of significant drops in area planted in mechanized farms of Upper Nile State. Though area planted is expected to be declining for structural reasons related to access to agricultural inputs and fuel, early season dryness also reported in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea is the primary cause.

    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    No significant changes are expected from the outcomes described in the July Outlook report. From the current peak of the agricultural lean season in central and northern unimodal areas in August/September, food security is generally expected to improve with upcoming green harvests in September and main harvests in October. However, in Abyei area, delays to the referendum originally scheduled for October will contribute to increased civil insecurity and displacement over the course of the Outlook period. However, food assistance in the region will enable worst-off households to meet minimum food needs despite a lack of access to former livelihood strategies in Sudan (IPC Phase 2!). The worst food security outcomes between now and December are expected in Pibor County, Jonglei State, where most households have split and/or displaced due to conflict, and where market access is significantly reduced. Households normally rely on milk, fish, and wild foods during the current wet season. The early removal of livestock from the area has constrained access to milk, and conflict increases risks of wild food collection and fishing, leaving households with some slight food deficits despite assistance. Households usually rely increasingly on markets during the dry season beginning in October/November. However, lack of access to livestock and to markets due to conflict will worsen food insecurity compared to current levels. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index trends for Fashooda, Upper Nile State as of August 26, 2013.

    Figure 2

    eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index trends for Fashooda, Upper Nile State as of August 26, 2013.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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