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U.N agency says South Sudan conflict fueling famine

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May 30, 2017 (JUBA) – The ongoing conflict in South Sudan is likely to undermine efforts to prevent the outbreak of another famine next year, the head of the U.N Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), said.

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Farmers in Morobo county planting groundnuts in one of the block farms under the FAO-initiated community-based seed project, September 14, 2011 (Photo: FAO/Ogolla.E)

Jose Graziano da Silva said ethnic violence involving forces loyal to President Salva Kiir against those loyal to the country’s former First Vice-President, Riek Machar remains a threat to the agency’s work.

"If they don’t stop the war, what we are doing will be in vain," he said, lamenting the destruction of crops and attacks on the FAO premises and warehouses,” Da Silva told the Associated Press.

"We cannot continue that way. We are wasting money and time if we don’t stop the war,” he added.

He said FAO was trying to provide food, seeds and livestock simultaneously to farmers to take advantage of the rainy season.

An estimated 100,000 people face starvation in South Sudan, where crop production has plummeted since 2013 as the conflict has killed tens of thousands and forced 3.5 million people from their homes.

"This is the time for farmers to plant. They don’t have seeds. They have eaten the seeds. Even the seeds that the FAO provided last month, they have eaten them," Da Silva said during a visit to Brussels, Belgium.

Nearly two million have fled South Sudan due to its ongoing conflict, the worst-ever since it gained independence from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.

(ST)

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