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Food security continues to improve with the ongoing harvest

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • South Sudan
  • November 2012
Food security continues to improve with the ongoing harvest

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outcomes through March 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The 2011/2012 harvest is expected to be near average, but higher than the 2010 and 2011 harvests. Due to increased food availability, most areas now face minimal levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1), though Stressed levels (IPC Phase 2) are present in Jonglei and areas bordering Sudan. In Abyei, Pibor County (Jonglei State), and Pariang County (Unity State), Crisis levels (IPC Phase 3) will be present during most of the remaining Outlook period.

    • Food prices continue to decline in line with seasonal trends, aided by the ongoing harvest, increased informal flows of food from Sudan, and stable fuel prices. However, insecurity in South Kordofan State of Sudan over the last month caused white sorghum prices to rise by 23 percent in Unity State.

    • Earlier in September, South Sudan announced plans to resume production of oil, but the Government of Sudan has insisted that a border security deal must be finalized before oil exports can resume. 

    Current Situation
    • Staple food prices: Prices of staple foods continued to decline in November, though they remain above average. In border states, increased informal trade has reduced commodity prices. However, in Unity state, sorghum prices increased in October due to the escalated fighting in South Kordofan (Sudan). In Abyei, markets have started to function normally though commodities are still scarce. Prices have reportedly declined significantly due to the increased inflow of goods from Sudan.
    • Security: Despite a significant decline in inter-ethnic tensions and cattle raiding following peace conferences and disarmament over the course of the year, cattle raiding was reported in November in Nyirol county of Jonglei State and Tonj South county of Warrap State. The earlier onset of cattle raiding signals the likelihood of increased cattle raids and inter-ethnic reprisal attacks during the dry season when resources are scarce. The situation will be aggravated by the presence of armed militia in Jonglei.
    • Harvests: Overall, this year’s harvest is expected to be average, and better than the 2010 and 2011 harvests. This is due to favorable rainfall this year and increased area cultivated in states not affected by conflict earlier this year. According to field reports, flood waters have receded and long-cycle sorghum crops are progressing very well, mainly in the Eastern and Western Flood Plain and Nile-Sobat livelihood zones. Increased soil moisture due to excessive flooding this year has encouraged ratooning of the harvested short- and medium-cycle sorghum crops. Harvests from the ratoons are expected to provide supplementary stocks in the Nile-Sobat and Eastern Flood Plain livelihoods zones, where reliance on ratoon crops is not uncommon.

    Updated Assumptions

    Below are adjustments to assumptions outlined in the October Outlook report through March 2013. If not noted otherwise, the assumptions noted in the October Outlook remain valid. 

    • Security/conflicts: As discussed in the October Outlook report, security along the border areas is likely to remain stable following the agreement between the two countries. Internal conflicts due to cattle raiding and armed militia activities are expected to increase as the dry season approaches. Given the early cattle raiding reported in parts of Jonglei state and Warrap state, FEWS NET expects that cattle raids and inter-ethnic reprisal attacks are likely to increase with the onset of seasonal migration in January 2013, slightly earlier than in a typical year.
    • Sudan/South Sudan agreement: The agreement is expected to improve bilateral relations, security and trade along the border. Earlier in September, South Sudan announced plans to resume production of oil, but the Government of Sudan has insisted that a border security deal must be finalized before oil exports can resume. Therefore, the impasse on reaching a deal on the security arrangement is expected to maintain the status quo longer than anticipated.

    Projected Outcomes through March 2013
    • As projected, the harvest will continue to improve food security and most households are expected to rely on own crops at least through February. Poor households, returnees, and IDPs will supplement their food stocks with market purchase and increase reliance on wild foods as early as March.  Areas of concern include Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states and Abyei. In refugee settlements in Unity State, where about 2,000 refugees arrived in the third week of November, significant food consumption gaps are expected during the January to March period as the influx of refugees is expected to continue, and newly arriving refugees are expected to be in poor conditions. . In Maban (Upper Nile), Stressed levels of food insecurity are expected to persist among refugee populations throughout the scenario period with the support of humanitarian assistance among refugee populations.  The current refugee population is double the number of residents in the county, posing numerous problems for food access and livelihoods protection.   
    • Given flooding and recent insecurity, food insecurity is expected to deteriorate earlier than expected in Jonglei State and Warrap State during the January to March period, and poor households in Pibor, Uror, Ayod, Nyirol and Akobo counties of the state will experience food shortages as early as February. While households in Pibor will be able to marginally meet their food needs through increased livestock sales, households in Uror, Ayod, Nyirol and Akobo will minimally meet their food consumption needs through alternative sources such as wild foods and other coping strategies. Significant food consumption gaps exist among IDPs in Pibor as insecurity prevented humanitarian access since displacement in October. Poor households and about 10,000 IDPs in Pibor will therefore face Crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) through March. Stressed levels of food insecurity will persist throughout the scenario period in the other parts except Twic East and Pochalla counties. 
    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: 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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