South Sudan officially declared independence on 9 July 2011 to become the United Nations 193rd member state. The country has a total area of 644, 329 square kilometers, and is roughly the size of France or Afghanistan. It has an estimated population of 10.3 million people.
Approximately 90 percent of South Sudanese households depend on crop farming, animal husbandry, fishing or forestry for their livelihoods, but productivity across all these sectors is minimal. It is estimated that only four percent of the arable land is cultivated. Labour and trade opportunities are often limited.
Food insecurity is persistent in South Sudan, with at least 10 percent of the population experiencing severe seasonal food insecurity every year for the past five years, regardless of the performance of the agricultural season.
An estimated 4.1 million people in South Sudan will face pressure on their food security in 2013, including at least one million who are severely food insecure, according to a joint report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The report also warns that increased conflict and economic instability could increase by more than a million the number of people requiring food assistance.
The country is, however, endowed with natural resources, which if well-managed could offer immense opportunities to enhance overall economic and social well-being.
WFP plans to provide food and nutrition assistance to 2.8 million people in South Sudan in 2013. In 2012, WFP reached 2.7 million people in South Sudan through general food distributions, nutrition activities, school meals and food-for-assets projects that strengthen local livelihoods, such as the construction of flood-control systems and roads.