SOUTH SUDAN – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed two contributions totalling around US$9 million from the Government of Japan aimed to aid the world’s largest humanitarian organization tackle food insecurity in South Sudan.

The contribution is timely as hunger is deepening in South Sudan with more than 7.74 million people severely food insecure, including around 1.3 million children and 683,000 pregnant and lactating women who are expected to be malnourished this year.

According to WFP, the first grant of JPY400 million (approximately US$3 million) will be used to procure 1,500 metric tons of rice that will assist 41,500 people facing severe food insecurity.

The second contribution of US$6 million that has also been approved will enable WFP to procure cereals, oil, and pulses to assist around 234,000 people later in the year.

The contributions will help support up to 300,000 people through 2022, with main focus on emergency programmes targeting vulnerable individuals or groups (women, men, girls and boys) in crisis-affected areas, as well as refugees and internally displaced populations.

“These two generous grants come at a critical time when the unprecedented food insecurity situation in South Sudan is deteriorating even further.

“While humanitarian needs are increasing sharply across the region and globe, we are grateful to see that Japan is maintaining its attention and commitment to supporting the people of South Sudan,” said Makena Walker, WFP’s Acting Country Director in South Sudan. 

The Government of Japan has been funding food assistance to developing countries since 1968 and has supported WFP’s work in South Sudan since 2013, contributing more than US$44 million.

Climate hazards, the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the war in Ukraine have exacerbated the food crisis threat that has long loomed over South Sudan, which has not been food self-sufficient since 2009.

More than 70% of the population, received humanitarian aid in 2022, which according to the World Food Programme, is 600,000 more people than in 2021.

To ease the straining circustance, the African Development Bank Group has approved a US$8.1 million grant to South Sudan to fund its Emergency Food Production Programme.

The financing will boost agricultural production and productivity in the country through facilitating access to improved seeds, fertilizer, and extension services for farmers and strengthen the institutional capacity of the agricultural sector.

Specifically, 498 million tonnes of sorghum seeds, the same amount of cowpea seeds, and 10 million tonnes of rice seeds will be distributed to farmers, who will also receive 30 million tonnes of fertilizer, as well as training on good agronomic practices.

Once completed, the project will result in higher incomes, and, improved quality of life for farmers and will also help promote climate-smart agriculture and enhance the country’s food security.

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