People in the Unity State of the mainland South Sudan are in fear as prizes of food items rise up in various markets in state which depend mainly from food supply given by humanitarian agencies.
The state`s director for trade and commerce Mr. Thuok Gai Buong confirmed the recent food increase in his area of operation to Juba Echo and warned that hunger and starvation are looming due to food scarcity chiefly triggered by flooding and delay of humanitarian food aid particularly in Bentiu IDP camp.
The prize increase saw a 50kg of sorghum upsurged from 5,000 to 85,000 South Sudanese pounds an incident that is blamed on delayed humanitarian food distribution especially from World Food Program and prolonged draught which wreaked havoc across South Sudan.
The trade director also told reporters that they discussed the hunger situation with state governor Dr Nguen Monytuil and they resolved to cap sorghum prices from 85,000 down to 40,000 South Sudanese per 50Kg and warned that, any trader who will violate this order will be arrested and prosecuted for contempt of the governor`s order.
While some traders say they raised prices because of taxation from Yida Parieng to unity state coupled with excessive road charges at check points, the State government recently instructed the removal of all roadblocks and a no tax on food items.
“The state government ordered a no check points and no charges on food items since last month, and if traders say, the prizes have gone up because of road charges then, i wonder how as the State have decreed a no tax on food grains.” Gai said.
A 53-year old man, a resident of Bentiu IDP camp Mr. Phal Beliew Thiech told Juba echo that their children and the elderly people are suffering from hunger and starvation the camp due to absence of humanitarian aid which he said have now lasted for two consecutive months.
“The government ordered reduction in food prices but there is no response as yet and we are suffering. Children are only eating fish since all is expensive in the market now.” Mr. Thiech concluded.