Food Security and Livelihoods

The most vulnerable population has access to life saving food

South Sudan continues to experience widespread decline in food production since the end of 2014, which culminated into declaration of famine in 2017 in parts of the country (Unity State), affecting 100,000 people. 1 million people are at the brink of famine and more than two-thirds of the households across the country are facing moderate to severe food insecurity.

The relatively peaceful greenbelt region of the Equatorias, South Sudan’s bread basket, ceased generating a food surplus once the conflict expanded south. The two broad factors that deprive people of food and livelihoods are mainly the man-made conflict, and climate related phenomena, i.e. drought and floods.

On-going insecurity has stopped agricultural activities and displaced populations. The economic decline generated by the conflict has affected trade and resulted into hiked food prices. The integrated food security phase classification (IPC) report established that by January 2017 4.9 million people were severely food and nutrition insecure. This number is projected to rise to 5.5 million, about 47% of South Sudan’s population by the peak of the lean season in July 2017.

  • SDC supports WFP and ICRC who are investing extraordinary capacities into airdropping lifesaving food into hard to reach locations of South Sudan, i.e. where road access is impossible and when humanitarian agencies are unable to secure access. WFP has further swiftly responded to the declared famine in South Sudan with SDC’s contribution.
  • The South Sudan Food Security and Livelihoods Cluster (FSLC), with support from SDC, is coordinating around 70 partners (national and international NGOs as well as international organisations) in delivering lifesaving food assistance across the country to the neediest.

Producers have become self-sufficient and are capable of placing surpluses on local markets

SDC’s support to multilateral partners (FAO and ICRC) contributes to building resilience by ensuring access to agricultural inputs, advisory services, animal health services and fishing gears. Further support to bilateral partners such as ACTED, Caritas Belgium, CARE or Mercy Corps helps to address wider food security challenges such as helping returning communities to restart agro-production, increasing production, post-harvest handling, seeds production and introduction to semi-commercial and knowledge based group farming, This approach has enabled communities to protect their livelihoods.

Project examples include:

  • SDC’s support to FAO has contributed to increasing production through extension services, seeds multiplication, improved animal health services and natural resource management, through an agro-pastoralist farmer’s field school model. This was achieved in spite of the bad food security situation in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap states. FAO through SDC support also introduced urban farming that has helped to improve supply of vegetables to the urban poor population.
  • Through SDC’s support, Caritas Belgium has started to revitalise semi commercial food production in the green belt of Equatoria. After the July 2016 crisis, the project was reoriented to respond to the emergency food needs of IDPs in Yei and to the refugee response in Uganda.
  • SDC’s support to CARE and ACTED contributed to livelihood protection of IDPs and vulnerable host populations, which allowed the communities to rely on their own production rather than on emergency relief from WFP.

Farmer working in a maize field in Nicaragua
Farmer working in a maize field in Nicaragua ©SDC

In many developing countries, agriculture plays a highly important role in terms of food security and is often a significant contributor to the national economy. By supporting farmers in the areas of production, marketing and the sustainable use of resources, the SDC is making a substantial contribution to poverty reduction.

The SDC's worldwide engagement