Tuesday, 29 November 2011

MALNUTRITION: SOUTH SUDAN: Clement John Kandang, “We can’t bring more goods because of the mines”

BENTIU, 29 November 2011 (IRIN)

 Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Clement John in his shop in Bentiu
Violence in Sudan’s breadbasket border states such as South Kordofan has blocked food to South Sudan since just before it gained independence in July. In the new nation’s northern states such as Unity, heavily mined roads have compounded the problem of closed trade routes. Clement John Kandang, 43, who sells sorghum, the state’s staple food, in the capital Bentiu, told IRIN that massive price hikes as shortages increased meant many people were going hungry.
“Prices have gone up because the border has been closed and there are no trips between north and south. Before, we were being supplied by the north.
“It cost 130-150 South Sudanese Pounds [about US$40] for a sack of sorghum; now it’s 400-450 [about $120].
“Right now, things are becoming expensive and some people cannot afford to buy and the business is slowing down.
“Sugar, sorghum, flour and salt are the most expensive things in the market, and you can’t find fruit or vegetables. Meat and eggs are expensive too - it’s [affected] everything, just everything.
“Some of the people are now staying home, begging their relatives to assist them as they can’t afford to buy.
“Things are very expensive because of the separation of the countries and taxes. Things are being imported secretly, and when they [illegal tax collectors] get you on the way, they are charging you half the price you bought the item for from the north, meaning you will not get any profit.
“The landmines are a very big threat to people because all the routes are being blocked. Although we were smuggling things in, now we can’t bring more goods because of the mines. They end up hitting the vehicles on the way and we can’t bring in more goods.
“I grow food myself but due to unsuitable rains, even the crops that grow in the garden, did not harvest well.”

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