This vital support will reach farmers before the rainy season begins at the end of April, after which they will be unable to sow their crops.
The £8.3 million grant will help 390,000 people feed themselves for 12 months. 40,000 families will be provided with either seeds to grow staple crops, nutrient rich vegetables or hooks and lines to catch fish for themselves and others.
It will also provide vaccinations to keep 80 families’ cattle healthy for a month. Securing the health of livestock in South Sudan is important to improving nutrition, particularly for children and infants who rely on milk as a core part of their diet.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
“Millions of vulnerable people caught up in the conflict in South Sudan are at risk of a secondary hunger crisis. British aid will allow families to grow the crops they need to support themselves over the coming months. By acting now we can help families prepare before the rainy season begins.”
DFID’s support will contribute to an appeal from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for £47 million to assist around 2.3 million people in urgent need of support.
Sue Lautze, who heads FAO’s team in South Sudan said:
“Some seven million people are facing the risk of hunger, including nearly one million people who have fled their homes as a result of the fighting and the fear it generates. It is not only people who are being displaced. Over ten million head of livestock have been taken away from their usual grazing routes.
“We have an extremely tight window in which to deliver seeds and other vitally-needed inputs to farmers. It is already starting to rain in some areas. Once the rain comes, it is too late to plant and vast areas become inaccessible.”
The conflict which began in Juba on 15 December 2013 displaced many families, prevented farmers from buying seeds and stopped families travelling to market to buy food.