The Republic of South Sudan attained its independence on 9th July 2011 after two decades of civil war. The 2008 Sudan Population and Housing Survey indicate the population stood at 8.3million people with majority (72%) being under 35yrs. By 2012 the population is estimated at over 9 million people.
The food security situation in South Sudan remains unfavourable and varies across states and over time. The greater Equatoria region is relatively food secure compared to the rest of the country because it receives higher rainfall. Food security situation also varies from year to year. Currently, an estimated 4.7million people are considered food insecure with more than 1 million of them being severely food insecure. Surveys indicate deteriorating status especially in the northern border-states with Sudan.
in 2012 food insecurity is influenced by a number of structural factors and shocks, among them:
1) Low production and poor harvests: the potential productivity of the country has not been fully exploited. Coupled with unfavorable climatic situations the harvests achieved are less leading to consumption deficits;
2). Soaring food and fuel prices. The worst hit areas are northern border-states that were previously served by supplies from Sudan. After the official closure of the boundary with Sudan commodity supplies are obtained from East Africa (Kenya and Uganda) which increases transportation cost;
3). Insecurity and inter-communal fighting lead to human displacement (IDPs). This disrupts production activities thereby contributing to food insecurity. Some of the affected locations include Jonglei state (in 2011), Abyei region, northern border-states following the recent clashes with Sudan forces;
4). Inaccessibility to markets: Road infrastructure is minimal following many years of neglect during the war. Most roads are inaccessible during wet seasons thereby inhibiting the transportation of commodities to where they are needed. Poor status of roads also increases the transportation costs which is transferred to consumers through commodity prices.
5). Returnees’ influx: Being a young nation South Sudan has a sizeable population of its people returning home from other countries. Most lack the resources to jump-start their life. Access to land for agricultural production is also challenging and where possible they lack the resources to engage in intensive agriculture. This results in sub-optimal production even for subsistence purposes;
6). Austerity measures: Austerity measures resulting from the recent oil shut down are likely to increase socio-economic pressure on an already vulnerable population. Analysts indicate that persisting austerity will result in worsening food security and increased poverty.
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