SUDAN—UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has made a US$12 million contribution towards a new project to provide emergency agriculture and livestock supplies to thousands of farming and pastoral communities in Sudan, where a decade high of 10.9 million people, are faced with the looming threat of starvation.

The project aims to rapidly reduce dependence on emergency food assistance and to provide a basis for medium and longer-term recovery.  

Assistance covers the provision of crop, legume and vegetable seeds, donkey ploughs and hand tools, veterinary vaccines and drugs, animal feed, as well as donkey carts and productive livestock.  

It also includes provision of cash and the rehabilitation of community assets such as small-scale water infrastructure, pasture and hafirs, or artificial ponds for harvesting rainwater. 

“This generous contribution from CERF means that FAO can urgently provide essential agricultural inputs to vulnerable farming households before the main agriculture season starts in June. It will ensure that they can produce enough food to meet their needs for the months to come,” said Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative to the Sudan.  

Food insecurity threatens to cripple the country, driven by the combined impacts of armed conflict, drought, the COVID-19 pandemic, low production of key staple crops due to infestation by pests and diseases, and economic turmoil.  

FAO also said that the war in Ukraine is causing further spikes in food prices in Sudan as the country is dependent on wheat imports from the Black Sea region.  

Interruption in grain supplies to Sudan will make it harder and more expensive to import wheat. Currently, local prices per tonne cost 180 per cent more compared with the same period last year. 

Additionally, high prices for fertilizers in the global market will also affect imports, and, ultimately, agricultural production.  

While the CERF donation is vital in attenuating the starvation threat, FAO added that another US$35 million is urgently needed to ensure adequate support for two million vulnerable farming and pastoral households in Sudan.

Meanwhile, UN agencies and their partners are calling for a rapid scale up in action to address the looming threat of starvation in East Africa following four failed rainy seasons.

About 16.7 million people in the region currently face high acute food insecurity and figures are projected to increase to 20 million by September, they said, citing data from a regional platform co-chaired by FAO. 

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