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FAO, WFP predict food deficit, potential for South Sudan

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that South Sudan may face a cereal shortage amounting to 340,000 tons this year due to the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees who have returned from the north to vote in the southern independence referendum.

Additionally, Bloomberg News reports that the number of those receiving emergency food aid may climb to 1.4 million in the spring and summer. The cereal deficit at the moment rests at 291,000 tons.

World Food Programme spokesperson Peter Smerdon told the news source that the organization is preparing to accommodate up to 500,000 people, compared to a confirmed 120,000 who have so far returned to their native region.

However, WFP's Sudan country director Amer Daoudi told the news source that if South Sudan achieves independence, it could become a figurative bread basket.

"If we really focus, all of us, the international community, the government of South Sudan, and all things being equal, I don't think we need more than a decade to turn South Sudan," he told Bloomberg.
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