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FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE
COVID-19 containment measures are leading to increased staple food prices Blue Nile
Cultivation of staple food commodities like sorghum, maize and okra is ongoing across Blue Nile. Plants grown included sorghum, maize, okra, and pumpkins.
However, farmers have reported lack of seeds due to the previous poor harvest.
In addition, delay of seed distribution has also contributed to lack of seeds.
According to the Secretariat of Agriculture, seed distribution is planned after Ramadan.
In May the region has experienced the highest food shortage and hunger compared to any other area under SPLM-N control. Increase in severe hunger was witnessed mainly in Komo Ganza due to the closure of markets as COVID-19 containment measures. As a result, local communities engaged in alternative activities like selling of poles, grass, honey and wild roots locally known as Amjoko in exchange for food. People in the remote area of Komo Ganza need urgent food support to alleviate malnutrition and severe food insecurity for approximately 3700 people.
Though cross-border markets resumed with only food and emergency items allowed into the region, prices remained high for households. For instance, in Muguf market, a malwa of white sorghum rose from 60 Ethiopian Biir (ETB) in April to 70 ETB, price of a goat increased from 1500 ETB to 2500 ETB, in Balila, bean price rose from 1400 SSP to 1500 SSP, and in Mayak, a piece of soap rose from 150 SSP to 200 SSP.
Farmers are busy on both traditional and mechanized farms. A shortage of seeds is also reported in South Kordofan by host communities and returnees alike.
Closure of crossline markets and borders as COVID-19 containment measures have a detrimental effect on fuel availability for tractors and getting spare parts for these tractors. Livestock is usually sold for food at markets at this point in the season, but this is not possible with the markets now closed; in Dallami County this is having a severe effect and displacing people to Government-controlled areas in search for food.
Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, crossline markets closed affecting families here the most as they entirely dependent on markets in this season for their food. Families are unable to sell their livestock thereby increasing the number of people suffering from hunger.
Food prices increased greatly across the region because of the closure of cross-line markets. For example, sesame price rose from 250 SDG to 300 SDG in May, bean price from 250 SDG to 300 SDG, groundnuts from 120 SDG to 150 SDG, salt from 30 SDG to 45 SDG and a piece of soap from 23 SDG to 25 SDG.