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Increased rains cause damage but benefit some late-planted crops

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • South Sudan
  • September 2012
Increased rains cause damage but benefit some late-planted crops

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  • Key Messages
  • Updated food security outlook through December 2012
  • Key Messages
    • Although crop conditions are generally good, heavy rains and  flooding have affected several counties in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Lakes states, with negative impacts on crop performance in these areas. A likely mild to moderate El Niño event is expected to result in a wetter-than-normal October to December season in eastern and central South Sudan. This is likely to damage crops in flood-prone areas but benefit late-planted crops in other areas, and to prolong water and pasture availability in pastoral zones.  

    • Food prices remained relatively stable during August, although substantially higher than the five-year average and last year. Prices of sorghum have begun to ease in line with seasonal trends though they remain above average in almost all markets. The highest sorghum price was observed in Bentiu, where the increase was 128 percent greater than last year. Prices are expected to decline from October through December as harvests take place.

    • First season crops have been harvested in Greenbelt and parts of Hills and Mountains livelihood zones, where markets are fully stocked with local products.  In other zones, consumption of green crops has begun, and local production will supply most food at the household level beginning in October. 

    Updated food security outlook through December 2012

    Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity persist in parts of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, parts of Warrap, Upper Nile, Jonglei and Lakes states. However, the food security situation is expected to improve following harvests starting in October, except areas where flooding started earlier than usual during critical stages of crop development. Sorghum prices remained generally high in August in all markets but slightly lower than July prices, reflecting increased food availability following the first harvest in Greenbelt and parts of Hills and Mountains livelihood zones. In Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal regions, the green harvest in October is expected to further reduce market prices and decrease the food insecure population.

    Although crop conditions are generally good, seasonal flooding has affected several areas, particularly Mayom, Leer, Mayendit, Pariang and Panyijar counties of Unity; Uror, Duk, Nyirol and Ayod  Counties of Jonglei; Aweil Center and Aweil South of Northern Bahr el Ghazal; Yirol, Wulu and Cueibet counties of Lakes state; and Gogrial west, Twic and Tonj South of Warrap state. Most of the crops grown in these areas are at vegetative stage while some have already reached maturity. The forecasted wetter-than-normal conditions during the October to December period are likely to aggravate current flood conditions, negatively impacting crop yields in the affected areas. However, above-normal rains will benefit livestock production, and livestock movement to dry season grazing areas will be delayed.

    Western Flood Plain Zone

    Northern Bahr el Ghazal (Aweil East and North); Warrap (Gogrial West and East, Twic, Tonj East and North); Unity (Abiemnhom, Mayom)

    Heavy rains into September continued to restrict movement and trade flows to remote areas, limiting food access for poor and very poor households in this zone, though availability has improved in the state capitals. As in other parts of the country, early flooding has likely impacted long-cycle sorghum commonly grown in western flood plains. However, the floods are expected to improve fishing opportunities through this livelihood zone through December, providing increased food and income sources for poor and middle income households. Crisis levels of food insecurity in the northern part of the livelihood zone are anticipated to continue through mid-October and thereafter remain confined to the northern part of the zone. 

    Seasonal flooding in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, mainly in Aweil Center and South Counties, has submerged crops and displaced people, forcing households to move livestock to higher grounds. An inter-agency assessment is underway to determine impacts on households, crops, and livestock. Heavy rains have significantly reduced access to important income sources for the poor such as sale of charcoal and firewood. More than 20 percent of households in the state are expected to remain at Crisis levels of food insecurity through September.  

    In Warrap state, Crisis levels of food insecurity persist, mainly in Twic, Gogrial East and Gogrial West Counties due to the increased demands related to the presence of displaced populations. The state continues to rely on the alternative trade supply from Juba. In September, increased availability of sorghum was observed in the market but prices are still above average. A slight drop in prices was observed in Kuajok over the last month. However, increased flooding hinders commodity supplies to remote areas, sustaining high cereal prices. Field reports suggest that, due to floods in Tonj North, East and Gogrial East Counties of Warrap state, a below-average sorghum harvest is expected if heavy rains continue. Though pasture and water conditions have improved, strengthening livestock conditions and increasing milk production, livestock disease outbreaks have been reported in Tonj North.  

    Abiemnhom, Mayom, and Leer counties of Unity state have been cut off by floods, and commodity supplies to the area are mainly by barge from Malakal. Crisis levels of food insecurity are expected to persist through the Outlook period in Abiemnhom and Mayom counties due to restricted food access, while the rest of the counties within this livelihood zone will face Stressed levels.   

    Eastern Flood Plains Zone

    Upper Nile (Maban); Jonglei (Uror, Nyirol, Ayod and Akobo counties)

    Most areas in this livelihood zone face Crisis levels of food insecurity, concentrated in Jonglei State. Stressed levels are prevalent in Upper Nile State. The zone has experienced multiple shocks in the recent months, including insecurity earlier in the year, and floods and high prices more recently.

    In Jonglei state (Uror, Nyirol, Ayod and Akobo Counties), floods during late August destroyed crops and displaced about 27,000 households in Nyirol, Duk and Ayod counties. Preliminary reports from inter-agency assessments indicate that fever and diarrhea are common among the population in flood-affected areas, and that assistance needs remain high.

    Food insecurity in Upper Nile began to improve in mid-September, due to the green harvest and increased fishing. However, needs remain high among refugee camps in Doro, Jammam, Yusuf Batil and Gendrasa areas of Maban County, where more than 104,000 refugees have settled. Poor water and sanitation condition are likely to deteriorate, increasing prevalence of disease and malnutrition in the areas. Most areas in the state are at Stressed levels of food insecurity, while Crisis levels are present in the refugee camps.

    Pastoral Zone

    Jonglei (Pibor County); Eastern Equatoria (Kapoeta North, Kapoeta East)

    Food insecurity levels range from Crisis in Pibor County of Jonglei state to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria. In Pibor County, floods and renewed insecurity are undermining the ability of households to recover from the earlier displacement and disruption of livelihood activities. Recent assessment results indicate humanitarian needs are high among the flood-affected populations. Although Jonglei State is generally calm, renewed insecurity related to militia insurgency in Pibor County is threatening livelihood activities including crop production. An estimated 4,500 people have been displaced from Lekuangole following attacks by an armed group. Humanitarian workers have not been able to assess the needs of the displaced people due to insecurity.

    Crop performance was generally poor in marginal areas of Kapeota North and South Counties of Eastern Equatoria state due to excessive rainfall. In Kapoeta East, crop performance is generally relatively good and an average yield is expected, except in Mogos, Narus and Katodori payams. The crops grown include sorghum, maize, groundnut and sesame. However, satellite images show above-average vegetation since August, and conditions are expected to improve further during September-October rainfall.  This is expected to enhance livestock productivity through the end of the year. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    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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