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Newly independent South Sudan facing food insecurity

Food insecurity is set to plague newly independent South Sudan next year due in part to unpredictable rain seasons, border insecurity and high numbers of returnees who have been residing in the north, IRIN reports.

According to a Rapid Crop Assessment created by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), South Sudan is predicted to produce about half of the required amount of food it will need for next year.

This means that an estimated 1.2 million people will be "severely food-insecure" next year, up sharply from the 970,000 that lacked food security during 2010, Elijah Makhala, an FAO food security specialist told the publication.

Since becoming independent in July 2011 after decades of civil war, production has been slow as more people move out of the north and back into the south. This also means less farm workers in the north, which could also increase the cost of food in 2012, the news outlet reports.

"We made gains in 2010. Right now, all these gains are being reversed, and the two main issues are insecurity and rainfall, causing shortages and price rises in both countries," FAO food security coordinator Mtendere Mphatso told the source.
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