World Food Programme South Sudan Country Director, Matthew Hollingworth. Photo by Awan Achiek/Sudans Post
JUBA – South Sudan’s cereal production in 2020 has increased by 874,400 metric tons, seven percent higher than 818,500 metric tons in 2019 amid instability, according to a new United Nations report released today.
The UN attributed the increase in cereal production to favorable rains.
“The marginal gains in cereal production show that where there is peace and stability, the people of South Sudan are able to turn the page on hunger,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP Representative and Country Director in South Sudan.
Hollingworth said the combined impacts of recurring conflict and huge floods in the three states severely hampered agriculture.
“But in a country still battered by years of war and the ravages of climate change, modest improvements are far from enough to end food insecurity, which is the highest ever. Disrupted livelihoods, heavy losses in livestock and other assets, and high food prices are pushing the average family deeper into poverty and hunger,” he added.
“This growth is encouraging, but lasting peace is the precondition to enable communities to benefit from South Sudan fertile soils produce their own food and exit from humanitarian aid,” said Meshack Malo, FAO Representative in South Sudan.
Malo added that “Our priority is to unleash South Sudan’s potential, increase crop production, and to allow communities to contribute to the expansion of the planted areas.”
Food security is a huge challenge to 7.2 million people, 60 percent of South Sudan’s population.
Violence and conflict, competition among groups over resources such as farmland and water, as well as new protracted displacements due to violence and floods both destroyed assets and eroded communities’ resilience.
The UN report stated that of the country’s ten states, only Western Equatoria produced enough cereal for FAO and WFP to purchase locally to feed the hungry in the other nine states.
Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile has the highest cereal deficit levels in the country and therefore account for nearly 50 percent of all food-insecure people. - Sudans Post