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UN agency warns of food crisis in Sudan’s border regions

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October 5, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has sounded the alarm over a looming food crises in Sudan’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, saying it needs 3.5 million USD to save the harvest in both regions.

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A Sudanese farmer harvests sorghum produced from seeds donated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through the "Improving Seeds" project. 11 December 2006 (UN Photo/Fred Noy )

South Kordofan and Blue Nile, which lie on the borders between Sudan and the newly independent Republic of South Sudan, descended into violence as of early June and August respectively after clashes erupted between the Sudanese Army (SAF) and rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) who are aligned with South Sudan.

Fighting escalated in recent weeks amid erratic rainfall, making it harder for media and aid agencies to report on the situation.

In a press release on Wednesday, FAO warned that urgent action is needed to avert a looming food crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

According to FAO’s forecasts, food availability in the two regions have been “significantly reduced” due to renewed fighting.

“At least 235 000 people in both areas need help,” it said.

FAO further warned that the fighting coupled with erratic rainfall means that next month’s harvest season is doomed to fail and prices of food will increase steeply.

“In South Kordofan, people fled at the start of the planting season, so were unable to sow seeds. In Blue Nile, fighting erupted later in the season so seeds were planted but people were forced to abandon their crops,” the Rome-based agency said.

According to FAO, the disruption of seasonal migration in the two states could fuel tension between nomadic herders and farmers over water and land resources in addition to the possibility of an outbreak of livestock diseases due to the fact that large herds are concentrated in small areas along the borders.

FAO said it was seeking 3.5 million for an operation it planned to provide 20,000 households in South Kordofan and 15,000 in Blue Nile with seeds to grow winter vegetables in place of this year’s sorghum harvest.

(ST)

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