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December 2013 violence in South Sudan had killed thousands and displaced more than 900,000 people. It has also led to a serious deterioration in the food security situation, and some 3.7 million people are at high risk of food insecurity in the coming year. Food partners have so far reached about 865,000 people under the emergency operation between January and April 2014 with most of the food being distributed in-kind.
Oxfam decided to implement a market analysis in Juba, the target being the IDPs living in the UN House IDP camp. The objectives of this market analysis were for Oxfam to explore alternatives to in-kind food aid in its different areas of interventions and to create a market baseline for three critical market systems, including red sorghum, maize flour and soap.
The vast majority of maize flour and red sorghum moving through Juba market normally comes from Uganda by road, while a small portion comes from the South Sudanese production hubs of Yei and Western Equatoria. The crisis in South Sudan has severely impacted the maize flour and red sorghum market chains in Juba. Flows to the States (which use to represent 60 to 70% of the volume of trade) have almost completely stopped, mostly because of insecurity along transport routes and at former delivery hubs. At the same time, demand for maize flour and red sorghum has plummeted in Juba and elsewhere because of the massive displacement of the population, and trade volumes have decreased accordingly. Prices all along the maize market chain have dropped, but they remain stable for red sorghum. Despite the decrease in flows, maize and red sorghum market systems in Juba itself remain well integrated, and they have high expandability. Inside the UN House, the demand for maize flour is very low mostly because of the lack of purchasing power. There is no demand for sorghum inside the camp, since WFP is distributing it in kind.
The crisis has impacted the soap market chain in Juba and resulted in a drastic drop in demand due to displacement and loss of income for the affected population. Despite the decrease in flows, the soap market system in Juba itself remains well integrated and has high expandability. The soap market system would have the expandability to meet the demand of the overall population and of relief operations for the IDP living in Juba. Inside the camp, several of the 150 shops are selling soap, which they stock through periodic trips to bigger markets in Juba. Those shops are selling for quite an inflated price.
This report recommends the following response activities: advocacy for integrating maize flour into the food aid distributed, and procuring both maize and sorghum food aid through Juba vendors; commodity vouchers for soap distribution; value vouchers as a top-up for basic needs; and conducting market analyses in other Oxfam intervention areas in South Sudan.