This article was last updated on May 26, 2022
“The food security crisis in South Sudan is now worsening and spreading westward to areas previously less affected,” Dan Gustafson, Food Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) Deputy Director-General for Operations recently told a humanitarian pledging conference for South Sudan in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
“This trend is set to continue unless farmers can plant their fields, and herders can access their traditional grazing areas,” Gustafson warned in a press statement issued on Wednesday.
The two-day conference co-hosted by Norway and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) was to galvanize support for the conflict-stricken South Sudan.
Some 3.5 million people in South Sudan are now experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, the global standard for measuring food security conditions.
During the conference, the central message re-emphasised that peace; security; stability and unhindered humanitarian access remain the most critical factors in preventing a famine and supporting affected populations.
Gustafson praised donors who have already given US$42 million to help FAO provide emergency livelihood support to 1.3 million people but appealed for more $66 million to scale up operations for the rest of 2014 and the first few months of 2015.
FAO has been working in very challenging conditions in South Sudan caused by both by conflict and seasonal flooding to provide the worst affected communities with means to produce food by distributing fishing nets, improving animal health and providing vegetable and crop emergency livelihood kits.
FAO is now scaling up its operations in conflict areas, working with humanitarian partners to reach vulnerable communities in remote locations by airlifts and trucks, to ensure maximum production from all of the nation’s farmers, pastoralists and fishing community.
“Our purpose is to mobilize maximum resources to address the dual imperative of tackling the critical food and nutrition crisis while also supporting the livelihoods of the viable but vulnerable producers in other parts of the country,” said Gustafson.
According to the press statement, to date, FAO in South Sudan has distributed 64 500 emergency livelihood kits, and another 110 000 kits are scheduled for distribution over the next two weeks.
The crop and vegetable seed kits help families capitalize on any access to land, even small plots, to plant different types of seeds and diversify their diets, while fishing kits provide the means to fish from the rivers and swamps for a source of protein that can be dried, smoked and preserved.
Since the armed internal conflict broke out late last year, over a million people including farmers and pastoralists have been displaced from their homes, a situation that inhibits them to plant their own food crops, rear animals and carry out other farming activities for livelihood.