This is expected to help meet the cereal needs of between 13 and 19 million people, but more critical aid is required
By Murimi Gitari, November 15, 2023, Following the outbreak of conflict in Sudan in April 2023, plunging nearly half the population into a humanitarian crisis, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) distributed nearly 10 000 tonnes of seeds to 1 million farming households – or 5 million people – in time for the critical planting season from June to September 2023. This was made possible thanks to the generous support of its resource partners and in collaboration with dedicated local implementing partners.
According to a new FAO response overview released today, this critical seeds support has enabled farmers to produce enough food to meet the cereal needs of between 13 and 19 million people.
It also shares that, according to a forthcoming summer season assessment, the total planted area of all crops is estimated to be 15 percent lower than the annual average during the summer season. In addition to the conflict, farmers reported a swell of challenges, such as high agricultural input prices (seeds, tools) and a critical lack of inputs, finance and extension services.
“FAO’s support to the Sudanese rural communities was immense but the needs are still growing. Agricultural support must continue, and funding is critically needed to match resources to needs,” said Hongjie Yang, FAO Representative in Sudan. “This is an urgent reminder to continue taking action now and show the people of Sudan they have not been and will not be forgotten.”
Support must be urgently scaled up
FAO’s response came as a result of a grave rise in food security needs, where more than 20 million people were assessed to face crisis levels of acute food insecurity. Complicating this picture is an expected rise in animal disease outbreaks due to the lack of veterinary services and vaccines. This could lead to significant livestock losses, and potentially ripple into a decline in meat and milk consumption, driving up malnutrition rates among children.
Acting in advance to prevent this, FAO is providing vital livestock support packages with animal health support including vaccination and treatment for 1.3 million vulnerable households. Agropastoral and pastoral households will also receive milking goats crucial for children under 5 as well as concentrate animal feed and mineral licks to keep their livestock healthy. Moreover, to counteract estimated production losses and a further deterioration of food security and livelihoods, FAO is expected to reach 0.7 million households with a variety of vegetable seeds for the winter season.
As a result, through these interventions, FAO plans to support a total of 2 million agropastoral and pastoral households between November and December 2023.
However, to expand its support, FAO urgently needs $75.4 million corresponding to almost 80 percent of funding required under the revised Humanitarian Response Plan for Sudan from May to December 2023. The funds are needed to respond to ever-growing needs and boost food production and its availability throughout the country to ensure people can restore and maintain their livelihoods.