Reduced yields expected in South Sudan
afrol News, 29 October - Preliminary assessments generally indicate a poor crop performance, with a significant reduction in yields expected in most parts of South Sudan. This was a result of erratic rains in the July-August period when the main crop, sorghum, was flowering. Meanwhile, the Sudanese government upholds its ban on humanitarian aid to the region.
According to the last Sudan report by the US agency Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net), a reduction in yields expected as harvest now begins in Sudan. Areas deemed critical in terms of the poor state of crops so far are in the Upper Nile region. This was also "where households are highly dependent on own crop production to meet their food needs."
In the Upper Nile region, a combination of erratic rains and conflict significantly has affected crop production this year, FEWS says. This had been more evident, particularly in Bieh and Liech states, for the last four years.
The Eastern Equatoria region also presented "a poor food security scenario next year due to a combination of fighting and rainfall deficit this year." Of particular concern were Torit and parts of Budi County, where the performance of crops, which normally are the main source of food in this area, had been "very poor."
The food security situation in Western Equatoria remained "stable as expected," despite insecurity experienced in September after some soldiers deserted from the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA). As a result, development activities had been disrupted in the province and agencies were evacuated from the area.
Meanwhile, the movement of livestock to dry-season grazing areas had started two months earlier than normal as a result of poor vegetative conditions in some areas. This had been particularly noted in parts of Upper Nile region. In the more arid areas such as Kapoeta, livestock did not move to wet-season grazing due to lack of water and pasture and warfare.
Prospects of a poor harvest in most areas suggested that "food interventions may continue to be required in the most affected areas even after the harvest is concluded." The World Food Programme (WFP) however expected to scale down its food aid interventions as of November, when the harvest is concluded.
WFP had appealed for 93,278 metric tonnes of food for an estimated 1,390,000 beneficiaries for the year 2003. This was significantly more food for fewer recipients than this year's 63,104 tonnes for 1,558,545 beneficiaries. The rationale for the increase requested was delivery cost effectiveness for both WFP and the beneficiaries, who must walk further to collect food as access to many areas is increasingly denied.
Although WFP has requested food for fewer recipients in 2003 compared with this year, it was likely that the figure would increase to include areas that are affected but were previously food secure. This was to be more conclusive when a needs assessment is completed in November.
Sources: Based on FEWS and