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An Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis study Market Support in South Sudan

2012 — By Carol Brady // EMMA

Abyei is a relatively small and disputed area of land on the border of North and South Sudan that has, in recent years, experienced much turmoil. Historically, both the governments of South and North Sudan have claimed Abyei and tensions that have existed since before the first Sudanese Civil War (1956-1972), have periodically bubbled up to the surface.

In anticipation of the July 2011 referendum on South Sudanese independence, tensions again began to mount. From October 2010, Southern Sudanese people began to return from their homes and jobs in the north.

As of early July 2011, the total number of returnees to South Sudan was 315,000, with many settling in Twic Country, south of Abyei in neighbouring Warrap state. As a result, the inhabitants of Twic County were struggling to accommodate a large increase in the population, many of whom were extremely vulnerable.
In May 2011, following violent skirmishes, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) sent troops into Abyei seeking to push out the Southern forces. The resulting occupation of Abyei town and the land north of the river Kiir directly led to the large scale displacement of most of the population of Abyei town, and outlying areas, into Twic County and to Agok in southern Abyei. Within 48 hours there was a second displacement of people from Agok as fear spread of further SAF advances in the south.

In conjunction, these two displacements meant that a large proportion of Abyei area residents had fled into Twic County in Warrap State. United Nations (UN) agenciesi estimated the number of those displaced to be 113,000, spread throughout Warrap State, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Wau. Compounding the pressure and instability caused by the numbers of both the returnees and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the North had blocked trade routes to the South – main supply routes for the South – in the midst of the traditional lean season. Livelihoods in North and South Sudan have traditionally been strongly linked and communities have become co-dependent on each other for trade, commodities, transhumance movement and the exchange of labour. The blockade of the roads meant that up to 3000 trucks were on the border, waiting to head south, bearing key food stuffs.

The combination of these factors had a significant impact on food security in both the short and medium term. In Wau, prices for Northern Sudanese goods were 35% above their five year average and prices for staple foods, such as sorghum, had increased by 40%. Food prices in Abyei had also increased dramatically and a wide range of commodities had disappeared from the market as traders struggled to find alternative supply routes.

Moreover, due to the displacements, the land, both North and South of the Kiir had not been cultivated during the primary planting season. IDPs returning home faced the loss of agricultural assets, including their seed stores and their tools for cultivation. Prior to the crisis, agriculture met about 40-50% of the local populations’ food needs and provided approximately 19% of household income. With restricted supplies, increased prices of staple foods and uncultivated land, the hunger gap was predicted to continue into the 2012 planting season.

The international community sought to address the immediate needs of the crisis affected population of Abyei and beyond, through the distribution of essential food and non food items. However, in addition to the need to provide immediate relief, solutions needed to be found that addressed the loss of agricultural assets. Without this component, many households would have struggled to cultivate in the 2012 season, thereby failing to protect their food and income security.

In this context, Mercy Corps and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) decided to conduct an EMMA to look specifically at the feasibility of market based interventions to assist with improving food security and access to shelter.

This case study presents the EMMA that was conducted jointly by Mercy Corps and the NRC between the 20th and 28th of June 2011, approximately four weeks after the start of the crisis. Data was collected between the 23rd and 25th of June by four teams, including the core participants and forty enumerators, covering Wunroc, Turalei, Agok and Wau. Prior to the data collection, 12 Mercy Corps and 6 NRC staff received training in the first steps of the EMMA process, including the selection of critical markets, delivered by a Mercy Corps EMMA trained facilitator. There was then an additional two days of training after data collection in which results were shared and recommendations discussed.

This case study gives a global overview of how the EMMA was lead and analyses its successes and lessons learnt.