Food insecurity remains persistent due to conflict: FAO

The worsening food insecurity across the country is largely persistent due to conflict and insecurity, according a new report released on Wednesday by the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Meshack Malo, country representative for United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

By Simon Deng

The worsening food insecurity across the country is largely persistent due to conflict and insecurity, according a new report released on Wednesday by the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“From the report, it is clear that one of the main consequence why South Sudan is food insecure has nothing to do with land and water, it is about conflict and it is about lack of peace,” said Meshack Malo, the Country Representative for FAO during the release of the report titled “Conflict on Food Security and Livelihoods” in Juba.

He said that the situation could be turned around if peace prevails across the country, adding that this would enable South Sudan to reduce overreliance on humanitarian assistance.

The report conducted from September to October 2023 covers Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity State and Western Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap State including Pibor Administrative.

 Malo revealed that Jonglei State is among the most food insecure States with food production at 15 percent compared to Yambio whose food production stood at 130 percent in 2022.

“It is not that all the States in South Sudan are food insecure, Yambio in 2022 harvested 130 percent that means they have 30 percent of the food they need to export, South Sudan has no reason being in the food aid business,” he said.

“The current food deficit when we go to cereals is about 600,000 metric tons, with a need of about 1.5 million metric tons, we are still at about 900,000 metric tons, there are certain areas that are 80 percent food deficient,” Malo disclosed.

The Undersecretary for the National Ministry of Peacebuilding, Pia Philip Michael said that the government is working to ensure that more effective interventions are undertaken to secure peace.

“It is very clear that the driver of food insecurity in South Sudan is inter-communal violence, the more we continue to fight among ourselves, we will remain food insecure,” said Michael.

He said that peace is not a package that government must deliver on a silver plate, adding that building social cohesion will bring about food security in the country.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) conducted in September and October 2023, estimated that about 7.1 million (56 percent of the population) will be severely food insecure from April to July 2024.

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