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EMMA on the sorghum market: A report for the December 2013 Crisis

Abyei Administrative Area, Nothern El Ghazal and Western Bahr el Ghazal
March, 2014

On December 15, 2013, fighting broke out in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, and the conflict quickly spread to other areas of the country. Nearly 709,000 people were displaced within the country, leading to a food security crisis and extreme insecurity.

Mercy Corps, Goal and SPEDP organized this EMMA assessment between February and March 2014. Sorghum was selected as a critical market system for the assessment given its importance for food security for the local households. The target population included the most vulnerable households in Abyei Administrative Area, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Northern Bahr el Ghazal. Populations in all three areas consist of hosts, returnees and IDPs.

The sorghum market system in the baseline year was affected by the influx of IDPs and returnees and the closure of the border with Sudan. Population movements have greatly increased demand for sorghum and other goods in in recent years. The market is also affected by poor transportation routes and infrastructure, which make many major markets inaccessible during the rainy season.

The emergency year was not only affected by the crisis, but also by a severe flood that occured in August 2013. It was discovered that the flood had an even greater impact on the sorghum market than did the conflict. During the current crisis, the former illegal trade route from Sudan has become more difficult to navigate. Households have switched from relying on their own production for their household consumption to solely depending on purchases from the market.

This assessment recommends in-kind provision of sorghum to increase food availability; cash transfers to increase purchasing power; commodity vouchers for extremely vulnerable households; and direct distribution of seeds and commodity vouchers for tools during the upcoming planting season.

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