Author Topic: SUDAN: Good rains improve food security  (Read 1190 times)

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NAIROBI, 3 September 2010 (IRIN) - Food security in many parts of Southern Sudan is set to improve after good rains, according to recent crop and precipitation assessments.

Some 2.4 million people in Southern Sudan received aid from the UN World Food Programme in June, during the lean season between harvests.

Now, harvesting of early crops of maize and groundnuts has begun in Eastern and Central Equatoria, Lakes, Warrap, Unity, Northern and Western Bahr el-Gazal regions, according to the Food and Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net), a project of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

“In most parts of these areas, rainfall has been above average and better than in 2009, though dry spells of varying duration or localized flooding have occurred in some areas, with impacts ranging from minimal to moderate,” according to FEWS Net’s latest Food Security Outlook.

“Food security in these areas is expected to significantly improve at the end of September to mid-October, when the main short-cycle sorghum harvest will be at its peak or just concluded in the most food-insecure areas,” it said.

The report warned that while heavier rain improved pastureland and access to water for livestock, it also increased the risk of flooding in some areas. And for the improvement in the food situation to continue through 2011, security in Southern Sudan had to remain stable, notably around the time of a landmark referendum on self-determination, scheduled for 9 January.

Areas that would still remain food-insecure are Aweil West and South Twic East, Awerial and central parts of Jonglei state, Western Equatoria (because of the presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army) and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, where floods have displaced almost 60,000 people.

Recurrent drought, civil insecurity, lack of infrastructure - together with price fluctuations attributed to heavy dependence on imported food products from neighbouring countries - are the major challenges undermining food security in Southern Sudan, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“Introduction of short-season and drought-tolerant crop varieties, improved water-harvesting techniques, and modification of the cropping calendar as per the existing and changing rainfall pattern are some of the adaptation strategies that should be pursued in order to boost crop production in relation to climate change-induced drought problems,” Yergalem Beraki, a food security analyst with FAO, told IRIN.

Agencies such as FAO are promoting improved crop varieties along with tools and improved farming techniques, he added.

In Nairobi in late August, USAID and the Government of Southern Sudan launched the Agriculture Innovation Fund to finance public-private sector agricultural development partnerships that will address some of the key shortcomings of the sector: limited capacity for rural service delivery, lack of research, and a poor investment climate.


 

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