SUDAN* (11 February)
The first week of January 2005 brought some optimism as a peace deal was signed to end the war in southern Sudan. Since 1983, more than 2 million people have died and another 4 million have fled their homes. With a large number of returnees expected in the following months, the humanitarian challenges and rehabilitation and reconstruction needs of the shattered economy and infrastructure will be enormous. The continued crisis in Greater Darfur, where fighting has forced more than 2 million people from their homes and farms, is another huge humanitarian challenge. Reports paint a grim picture where the conflict has engulfed almost all parts of Greater Darfur, making it very difficult for agricultural activities and humanitarian assistance.
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) to southern Sudan in October 2004 reported a decline in current seasonís cereal harvest compared to the previous year. In central and northern Sudan, a below average cereal production is forecast due to erratic rainfall and civil unrest. Current estimates for 2004 put total cereal production in Sudan at about 3.9 million tonnes, more than 12 percent below the average for the previous five years.