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Friday, February 10, 2012

FAO, WFP warn on impending extreme hunger in South Sudan if …

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) had warned that millions of South Sudanese if urgent action is not taken.

A report jointly prepared by FAO and WFP titled "Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to South Sudan," which is based on a research conducted on the agricultural sector of South Sudan and made available to NaijaAgroNet gave this indications.

The report revealed that the national cereal production in 2011 is 19 per cent below that of 2010, adding that the nation also witnessed an influx of returnees in 2011 but on the other hand there is reduction in harvest.

The number of food-insecure people has risen from 3.3 million in 2011 to 4.7 million in 2012, the report stated.

Also, FAO and WFP gave an estimation that the number of people who are severely food-insecure could double if conflicts continue to cause major population displacement and food prices keep rising.

"This is a rapidly approaching crisis that the world cannot afford to ignore. The situation is dire, and we are doing everything we can to be ready, but we are running out of time," the WFP's country director in South Sudan, Mr. Chris Nikoi said.

Equally speaking, the Head of Office, FAO in South Sudan, Mr. George Okeh said there is need to enable household to first have quick access to sate, nutritious food and other basic necessities.

Okeh emphasized the need to break the cycle of increasing hunger and poverty, asserting, "We can do this by helping people to resume the farming, livestock and other activities and other activities that support their livelihoods."

In an effort to reach 2.7million vulnerable people with food assistance, WFP, the acclaimed world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger globally thus seeks donor support to cover the current shortfall of $160 million about N25.5 billion; noting that there will be need for further additional funding if the situation deteriorates.

Also seeking financial assistance for South Sudan is FAO, which is requesting $23 million about N3.66 billion in donor support through the United Nations consolidated Appeal Process.

Part of the actions put in place by FAO is also to provide agricultural support to revive production capacity for the next cropping season.
'Yinka Awosanya/LS
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