Enhancing Food Security in South Sudan: The Role of Public Food Stocks and Cereal Imports uri icon

abstract

  • South Sudan faces serious problems of food insecurity due to low per capita levels of domestic food production, periodic droughts, widespread poverty, political unrest, and since late 2013, renewed armed conflict. Agricultural productivity is low, and the country is highly dependent on private-sector imports of cereals (maize, sorghum, wheat, and rice) from Uganda to supply domestic markets. National household survey data indicate substantial diversity in consumption of cereals across households, and our econometric estimates suggest highly price- and income-inelastic demand for the two major cereals, sorghum and maize. Drawing on a review of international experience and the constraints facing South Sudan, we conclude that a national food security reserve (NFSR) system with a small national food security stock is feasible for South Sudan. Cereal stocks would be kept mainly for targeted safety nets and emergency distribution, and market interventions would be limited in scope, in keeping with a long-run goal of market development. Nonetheless, even with a functioning NFSR, promotion of private-sector domestic and import trade will remain crucial for ensuring adequate supplies of grain and food security

publication date

  • 2015
  • 2015