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food security

Date Snippet Page
2014/06/14 The Agriculture ministry aims to eliminate food shortages by 2018 using mechanized farming methods. Snippet: The Agriculture ministry aims to eliminate food shortages by 2018 usin....
2014/05/12 The measured malnutrition rate in Doro refugee camp (Maban County) has passed the 'emergency' threshhold. The effect of rain on the roads means that air transportation of supplies will probably be needed. Snippet: The measured malnutrition rate in Doro refugee camp (Maban County) has....
2014/05 1.3 million people are at the last stage of food insecurity before famine, according to the South Sudan Integrated Phase Classification Technical Working Group (SS IPC TWG), representing a consortium of major food security agencies. An additional 2.4 million are at 'crisis' level and a further 3.2 million 'acutely food insecure'. Famine is not declared yet, but urgent action is needed to prevent it. Snippet: 1.3 million people are at the last stage of food insecurity before fam....
2014/05/08 There is severe food shortage in Bentiu, as traders have been killed, and the airport and roads closed due to the conflict, says Unity State's Minister of Information. Snippet: There is severe food shortage in Bentiu, as trader....
2014/05/07 Food rations in refugee camps in Maban County (Upper Nile) are inadequate. UNHCR and WFP blames the fighting between GRSS and rebels for insecurity which hinders the transportation of supplies. Snippet: Food rations in refugee camps in Maban County (Upp....
2014/05/05 A renewed commitment to allow free movement of persons and goods - especially humanitarian aid - is signed by representatives of GRSS (Nhial Deng Nhial) and SPLM/A-IO (Taban Deng). This had already basically been included in the 23rd January Cessation of Hostilities Agreement which has largely broken down. The new document more specifically includes a commitment to 'consider one month of tranquility from 7 May to 7 June' to allow cultivation and movement of aid and displaced people. Snippet: A renewed commitment to allow free movement of per....
2014/05/03 Salva Kiir and Riek Machar both showed lack of concern about the risk of famine, while prioritizing their personal power struggles, says the UN Human Rights Commissioner, reporting to a meeting of the Security Council after visiting both leaders in South Sudan. She warned the leaders that investigations will examine how far they and their colleagues 'either knew, should have known, or failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity'. She points out that UNMISS still lacks agreed funds and personnel which are 'desperately needed'. Snippet: Salva Kiir and Riek Machar both showed lack of con....
2014/05/01 US State Secretary Kerry says he sees risks of both genocide and famine in South Sudan, and was 'frankly disappointed' by the responses of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar when he discussed these matters with them. Snippet: US State Secretary Kerry says he sees risks of bot....
2014/04/29 The UN humanitarian chief in South Sudan, Toby Lanzerh, asks the warring parties to observe a month of tranquility during May. This is to allow disaster-affected people to move more freely, and to allow farming in the crucial cultivation period. Snippet
2014/04/16 President Kiir launches a South Sudan Food Security Council (FSC), comprising 15 members of existing government institutions. (He had ordered the FSC's creation back in May 2012). In view of fears of under-production in the coming rainy season (due to the rebellion crisis), he suggests ways of increasing production: banning games of cards and dominoes; suspending local courts; suspending other activities on Saturdays so that people may cultivate. He also announces his donation to the agriculture ministry of 1,000 tractors for distribution in all of the states. Snippet 1818
2014/03 Famine is likely within five months unless enough food aid is positioned before the rains, says UN Special Representative Hilde F. Johnson. Securing relief food may require assistance from UNMISS, but implementation of the agreed increase in UNMISS troop numbers is 'very slow'. Snippet
2014/03/20 52 member of the US Congress sign a letter to State Secretary John Kerry urging US pressure and assistance in establishing hybrid courts to try perpetrators of gross human rights abuses in South Sudan. They also urge resumption of USAID work, particularly in supporing food security in order to avert famine. Snippet
2014/03/17 The European Union (Foreign Affairs Council) discusses the crisis in South Sudan. Among its conclusions it expresses alarm at a 'significant risk of famine', it encourages further investigations into the causes of the conflict and the perpetrators of crimes, and says it 'stands ready to consider targeted restrictive measures against individuals obstructing the political process'. Snippet
2014/03/13 The World Bank mobilizes USD 44m in view of the current crisis. USD 35 million is for the Health Rapid Results project in Upper Nile and Jonglei. USD 9 million is for an Emergency Food Crisis project. Snippet
2014/03 Food rations are reduced to 130,000 refugees in Maban County (Upper Nile) due to the effect of the rebellion on supply routes. Meanwhile cases of severe malnutrition in very young children appear to be increasing. Snippet 1577
2014/03/05 UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator Toby Lanzer fears that 'by the end of the year South Sudan will have collapsed' unless there is an effective ceasefire so that people can cultivate. Snippet
2014/02 Prices of food and water have soared in Juba since the 15 December rebellion, resulting in acute hardship for many, and secondary violence as people rob and loot for food. Snippet
2013/10 Eastern Equatoria State Government launches a concept paper on food security in Kapoeta region. Snippet
2013/07/05 Germany and South Sudan sign an agreement under which the former will provide USD 40 million in aid over two years, focusing on ‘Decentralisation and Accountability’, ‘Urban Water and Sanitation’ as well as ‘Food Security and the Development of Agricultural Markets’. Snippet
2013/08 The annual humanitarian Consolidated Appeal for South Sudan is one of the better-funded ones worldwide, but it still needs USD 439 million to meet the request of USD 1,050 million. A food crisis has been predicted for the second half of 2013. Snippet
2012 In early 2013 the government of EES highlights food insecurity in the three counties of Greater Kapoeta, attributed to erratic rain and flooding in 2012. (SCRN, 18 Feb 2013) Snippet 720
2012 to 2013 Payinjiar County is reportedly badly hit by floods in 2012 causing hunger and stress migration in 2013. (Bonifacio Taban/The Niles, 24 January 2013) Snippet 625
2012/08 USAID deputy administrator meets SS ministerial delegation (including MoFEP and Oil) re food security and government transparency (ST 27 Aug) Snippet 575
Reference Mini-review
Michael Medley, 2014/05/22. Bibliography item: Michael Medley (2014/05/22) "May Awakening: South Sudan famine raises memories of 1998". (Article). African Arguments. [Article] African Arguments. Accessed online.

This 2,700-word article examines similaries and differences between the 1998 Bahr al-Ghazal famine and the (prospective) famine in 2014. It draws attention to the tendency of political-military events to distract timely attention from likely humanitarian needs, but also for a humanitarian agenda to disguise political-military agendas, interests and outcomes. It warns of the difficulty of controlling the dynamics of camps and relief distributions, and the near-inevitability that much of the relief will be stolen by armed groups and other powerful local actors.

FAO and WFP, 2014/02/20. South Sudan: FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to South Sudan, 20 February 2014 [Report] FAO and WFP. Accessed online.

Finds that cereal production increased nationally in 2013 compared with 2012 and the 5-year average, despite a decrease in the (comparatively small) sector of larger and mechanized farms. Livestock conditions were also comparatively good. Food insecurity was at a 5-year minimum: the proportion of people with inadequate food consumption in October 2013 was down to 33%, from 40% in October 2012. Nevertheless overall cereal deficit is still put at more than 400,000 tonnes.

FAO and WFP, 2013/02/22. FAO/WFP crop and food security assessment mission to South Sudan [Report] Food and Agriculture Organization, and World Food Programme. Accessed online.
FAO and WFP, 2012. FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to South Sudan [Report] Food and Agriculture Organisation; World Food Programme. Accessed online.
WFP and others, 2011. Annual needs and livelihoods assessment 2010/11 - South Sudan [Report] Government of South Sudan; World Food Programme. Accessed online.

Editorial blog, 17 April 2014

Leadership and looming hunger

Last Wednesday (16th April 2014) might go down as the day the government began its anti-famine campaign. For several weeks the voices of aid agencies have been joining in chorus, warning of a potentially devastating food crisis ahead. Around a million people have fled their homes since the civil war started in December. Homes, businesses and government offices have been destroyed and looted; salary payments and imports of food and other basic goods in many places stopped or disrupted. In the growing season just begun, people over huge swathes of territory will be unable to cultivate much.

What did the government do yesterday? It launched a national Food Security Council. While one may be sceptical about the efficacy of a new bureaucratic structure, the inauguration by President Kiir was in itself a significant public signal. Kiir conveyed a sense of urgency by making several eye-opening commands or suggestions. Probably the most practical of these was his instruction to the ministers of defence and national security to dismantle the road-blocks and stop the searching of relief vehicles (Sudan Tribune, 16 April). This seems to indicate a compromise in Juba’s relations with the UN, which for the last few months have been marked by acrimony over the latter’s alleged high-handedness and lack of neutrality amid the government’s struggles against rebels.

More problematic was Kiir’s apparent impromptu banning of domino and card games as time-wasting activities during the vital farming season, and his proposal that local courts should be suspended during this period (Eye Radio, 16 April). Whatever the legal status of these pronouncements (and part of the problem is their status may remain unclear, leaving spaces to justify officials in arbitrary exercises of power), they show a dismissive attitude to ordinary principles of civil liberty and the integrity of grassroots institutions.

These measures would probably not do much to avert the crisis even if they could be implemented. Of the rural people who are lucky enough to be able to cultivate in relative safety, only some have prospects of being able to sell at a worthwhile price what they grow and do not eat themselves. In the clientelist economy of South Sudan, where getting a lucrative opportunity depends greatly on your connections, it might really be less sensible to spend your time in the garden than at the court or the dominoes table.

A good leader (says the book on my shelf) should not need to issue many reactive orders. The role is more about creating an organizational structure and culture in which people can work effectively. This requires longer-term strategic thinking and agenda-shaping. Perhaps the most important thing about Kiir’s emergency food security proposals is not what they are in themselves, but their potential to foster a sense throughout South Sudan’s government and population that the coming food crisis - which will mostly kill people among the youngest and most elderly members of poor families in the areas most affected by fighting - is something which belongs to the whole nation.

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Indicator values are shown in the table below alongside the year for which they were assessed. For further information, click on the source and 'details' text. Put the cursor over the indicator values to see selected comparisons.

Year Indicator Value Details
Cereal production (thousand tonnes, net of losses and seed use)
Stat 903
Pre-harvest cereal deficit (thousand tonnes)
Stat 902
Undernourishment (% of population not consuming enough for an acceptable level of dietary energy)
Stat 882
Food insecure households (as % of all households, 5-year average)
Stat 804
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