WFP to cut southern Sudan food aid

By Skye Wheeler

Juba - The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations will cut food aid for southern Sudan by 19 percent after an assessment indicated that the need has declined, a WFP official said on Monday.

"Last year we distributed some 133 000 tons and this year we plan on only 108 000 tons," said Justin Bagirishya, WFP head in South Sudan.

A 2005 peace agreement ended 21 years of civil war between north and south Sudan, and the ensuing peace has led to greater food security, Bagirishya said.

"We have seen a four percent increase in food production in the south," said Bagirishya, who added that the opening of markets and trade roads and an increase in cultivated land had led to the adjustment in planned assistance.

"But the major change is not so much in terms of tonnage but a change in activity emphasis," said Bagirishya. Generalised food distribution would drop by almost 40 percent, he added.

Some of the food will be used instead to feed up to 450 000 children in school feeding programmes. Thousands of returnees to the south and demobilised soldiers will each receive a three-month food supply.

The WFP had also prepared a contingency stock in case of discrepancies in their projections, given South Sudan's volatile circumstance, Bagirishya said.

While in the past food was given for free, Bagirishya said the WFP was planning new approaches such as a "food for recovery" plan in which community members would be given food in return for fencing farmland, maintaining a clean village or agreeing to farm a certain area of land.
Published on the Web by IOL on 2007-04-02 23:25:53
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  • Guest - Tom Dai

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