S. Sudan among countries facing possible famine – report

S. Sudan among countries facing possible famine – report
Photo: FAO.org

South Sudan treads the red line of food insecurity and is at the precipice of “serious famine risk”, a report by the World Bank has revealed. 

The World Bank Food Security Report dated September 15, 2022, indicated that there is an exposure of 7.5 million to food insecurity in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

“There is also high risk of food insecurity in other countries, including up to 7.5 million each in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan, with risk of famine in the latter two; 5 million in Zimbabwe; 2.5 million each in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Uganda; and up to 1 million in Burundi,” the World Bank Food and Security Update read.

It further stated that Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan were facing staggering inflation as a result of low food production attributed to drought, high fuel and fertilizer prices.

“Staple food prices increased in most markets because of a decrease in stocks and other local characteristics, including in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and South Sudan (FEWS NET),” it continued. 

“Maize prices increased atypically because of below-average production, which was a result of drought and high fuel and fertilizer prices, for example, in DRC, Mozambique, and Tanzania.”

It also noted that high commodity prices were a result of currency depreciation and low hard currency reserves.

Alarms raised

In January 2022, the head of the department of economics at the University of Juba, Morris Madut, raised an alarm over the inflation rate, which he said was high in 2021 but remained stable.

According to Madut, the stable prices resulted from relative peace across the country, adding what seems like a prophecy that the country could face food insecurity in a year due to the repercussions of floods and destruction of crops.

“We expect that despite the challenges that we are still experiencing with Covid-19 being one of them and flooding being another, we expect that at least according to the focus by the IMF, the real GDP growth for the financial year 2021/2022 is projected to be at least 1% and this will be boosted by a little bit higher oil prices, so there is a significant increase in the oil prices globally,” he said.

 “I believe that towards the middle of 2022, there will be a general stabilization of prices because you have seen the current Minister of Finance has really continued with the reforms already started by his predecessors so, I believe if he continues implementing such reforms, then we will for sure experience some growth into the new year given the relatively increasing oil prices which right now stand at about 76.5 dollars per barrel,” Morris said.

 “There is seemingly a strong will to continue implementing the reforms that are laid out in the peace agreement, so, if we continue implementing the peace agreement as it is, then we will have a little bit stabilized economy going into 2022.”

He advised the government to prioritize agriculture to salvage the situation.

“The government has to think about investing in agriculture. As you know, 84% of our country, is good for farming. I believe if we put more money into agriculture, then it will help relieve the food insecurity across the country,” he said.

Kiir takes lead

On Saturday, President Salva Kiir Mayardit called on citizens to embark on farming to liberate themselves from food insecurity upon touring his farm in Luri.

“If every household across the country does this, we would have sufficient food, and we would not be complaining of food shortage and hunger,” he said according in a statement shared by the office of the president.