FAO GLOBAL INFORMATION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM ON FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME

SPECIAL REPORT

CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY SITUATION IN SUDAN

30 April 1997




1. OVERVIEW


An FAO/GIEWS Crop Assessment Mission visited Sudan from 10 to 18 April to forecast the final outcome of the 1997 wheat harvest, review estimates of the main coarse grain crop and revise the cereal supply/demand balance for 1996/97. This mission follows an earlier FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission last December which had provided preliminary estimates of cereal production in Sudan for the current marketing year. The mission visited all major wheat producing areas in the country, including Gezira, Rahad, New Halfa, Northern and River Nile States and White Nile.

For the 1996/97 season, a combination of Government policy encouraging wheat production and expectations of favourable wheat prices encouraged farmers to expand planted area, where possible. As a result, aggregate area under wheat increased from 743 000 feddans (312 000 hectares) in the 1995/96 season to 796 000 feddans (334 000 ha) this year - representing an increase of some 7 percent. Compared to the benchmark average (1988/89 - 1992/93), the area cultivated in 1997 was some 2 percent higher. In addition to an expansion in area planted, losses were lower and the overall area harvested as a proportion of that planted is likely to reach 99 percent compared to between 95 and 96 percent in previous years.

The recommended time for planting wheat is November. Although temperatures during November to the beginning of January were above normal and less than optimal, which resulted in delayed planting particularly in the Northern Zone, subsequent below average temperatures from mid-January to March favoured crops. In addition to the increase in the area planted and harvested and a favourable temperature regime overall, availability of all other inputs needed for production including, fuel, fertilizers and machinery was also adequate. As a result, wheat production for 1996/97 is now estimated at a bumper 650 000 tons, second only to the record crop produced in 1991/92. At this level, output is some 23 percent above both last year and the average for the five year benchmark.

The final estimate of sorghum production for 1996/97 has been revised up slightly to around 4.2 million tons compared to 4.1 million tons estimated by the FAO/WFP mission last year. Overall sorghum production is estimated to be a record, some 41 percent above the benchmark average and 18 percent higher than 1994/95, the last favourable year. Despite the overall surplus in sorghum, however, it is unlikely that prices will drop further than 19 000 to 20 000 SDP/sack prevailing presently. This assumption is based on producers’ expectations that (1) lower prices will not cover costs incurred in production, (2) there is a possibility that the export ban implemented since 1995 may be lifted and (3) continued Government procurement of sorghum for the build-up of security stocks at national and state levels will support prices.

In contrast to wheat and sorghum, the production of millet has been revised down to 440 000 tons compared to 490 000 estimated by the FAO/WFP mission last December. The aggregate production of cereals in 1996/97 is therefore estimated at 5.36 million tons, including a small quantity of maize. This represents an increase over the previous year and the benchmark average of some 59 percent and 42 percent respectively.

Although the overall food outlook for 1997 is favourable, in certain provinces and states the food supply situation remains highly precarious. This is especially so in the six states in Darfur and Kordofan, Red Sea State and the South as a whole, which are estimated to have an overall deficit of around 600 000 tons. Some of the deficit may be met through normal internal trade but, especially in North Kordofan and North Darfur, some sectors of the population will have difficulty in meeting food needs. In vulnerable areas extremely poor production last year means that stocks are negligible and income from cash crops and livestock may be insufficient to purchase enough grain. Although supplies of sorghum are moving from surplus to deficit areas, prices are extremely high and out of the reach of sectors of the population with low purchasing power.

Recent reports suggest that although prices of sorghum around Gezira have now stabilised at 19 - 20 000 SDP/sack, the corresponding price of millet (the main staple) in Kordafan is around 55 000 SDP/sack. Moreover prices have risen appreciably in the first 3 months of 1997, especially in rural areas, due to limited local supplies, increased demand and high transport costs.

Correspondingly, the price of livestock has dropped significantly, due to increased sales to purchase grain, and at present the terms of trade suggest that one sack of millet is trading at 4 goats, compared to 3 in December and one in January 1996. The terms of trade are anticipated to deteriorate further till the next harvest. In addition, wage rates and the terms of trade of other barter goods, (such as grass and firewood) for food have also dropped, further reducing accessibility.

To meet the needs of vulnerable groups in the country, a total of some 74 000 tons of cereals would be required as emergency assistance in 1997, as outlined in the last FAO/WFP assessment. Of this amount 39 000 tons would be to cover the needs of 2.6 million displaced and war-affected people under Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) and the remaining 35 000 tons as project food aid for rehabilitation projects not covered by OLS. The country also needs limited food aid in certain chronic deficit areas. A contingency plan is suggested which could support people suffering severe food deficits, either by locally purchased grain assisted by donors, or by assistance with transport from surplus producing areas.




2. THE ECONOMY AND AGRICULTURE


Current economic policy aims to encourage growth through private sector development, restrict public enterprises and control inflation. Real growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the order of 2 to 3.5 percent per annum in recent years has been due to increased crop production and favourable commodity prices. This is expected to continue, through exports of gum arabic and stronger prices for cotton in 1998, though the volume of cotton exports will continue to be constrained by lower investment in the irrigated plantation sector.

An estimated 33 percent of the population are economically active, with women forming some 23 percent of the workforce. Agriculture employs some 55-60 percent of the workforce, who earn approximately 44 percent of GDP. In 1995 the public sector employed 650 000 people or roughly 6 percent of the active population. GDP per head in 1995 was estimated at less than US $300.

Wages have not kept pace with inflation and increases in consumer prices have reflected general inflation but additionally have been affected by transport difficulties and the removal of subsidies on some goods. Consumer price inflation is likely to continue at above 100 percent/year in the short term.

The economy is highly dependent on agriculture, which contributes some 44 percent to GDP. The major cash crop is cotton. However, the dominance of cotton in export revenue has declined in recent years due to crop diversification, which resulted in reducing its contribution by half from 65 percent in 1979, to an estimated 31 percent in 1993/94. Although agriculture remains vital to the economy, the total value of production in any year is highly influenced by fluctuations in rainfall and commodity prices

The variety of agricultural zones in Sudan, make it suitable for a wide range of crops, which depend principally on rainfall and irrigation from major rivers, the Nile and Atbara. In eastern parts of the country, however, crops are also cultivated under flood irrigation schemes fed by seasonal rivers.

Current agricultural policy focuses on diverting irrigated land from cotton to the main cereals, sorghum and wheat, and to groundnuts in an effort to attain greater food self-sufficiency. Although this will inevitably reduce export revenue, in the long run if food production rises appreciably it will provide the country greater scope to mitigate the increasing effects of drought and food shortage.

The agricultural sector is made up of four components; large scale irrigated schemes, mechanised rainfed farming; traditional rainfed farming and livestock. Most of agriculture’s contribution to GDP comes from the irrigated sector. Irrigated cropping on just over 4 million feddans (1.68 million hectares) is dominated by large gravity schemes that are mainly managed by the Government though cultivated by thousands of tenant farmers who grow almost all the country’s cotton, most of its wheat, 35 percent of its groundnuts and around 10 percent of its sorghum. Of these types of scheme, the Gezira is by far the most important producing roughly 50 percent of the wheat crop. It covers an area of over 2.1 million feddans (880 000 ha) between the Blue Nile and White Nile south of the capital Khartoum. Some 100 000 tenant households operate the scheme in conjunction with the Government and the Gezira Board, which provides administration, credit and marketing services. The Rahad irrigation scheme dates back to 1977 and is sourced from the Roseires Dam on the Blue Nile. The command area of the scheme covers some 300 000 feddans (126 000 ha). Completion of plans to raise the height of the Roseires Dam and improve the canal system will lead to considerable expansion in command area in the future. The scheme at New Halfa, is supplied by the Khashm al-Girbba reservoir and has a command area of some 330 000 feddans (140 000 ha).

In addition to gravity schemes, pump irrigation accounts for about 25 percent of the irrigated area, producing some wheat, as well as most of the country’s fruit, vegetables, winter legumes and spices.

Mechanised rainfed farming is also a major component of agriculture and the main source of food in the country with most of the area, currently estimated at 11.2 million feddans (4.7 million ha), under this system concentrated in the east. Most mechanised farming is undertaken in the Kassala and Blue Nile Provinces.

It is estimated that some 55-60 percent of the population are still engaged in subsistence agriculture, with approximately a quarter of these in the south. Central and Western parts of the country also house a large number of subsistence farmers. The climate in these areas has resulted in a system of farming that is based on shifting cultivation and the use of traditional low yielding varieties and no fertilizers. In these areas, increasing animal and human population have put considerable pressure on land, water and vegetation. As a consequence, the period of fallowing has fallen, leading to problems of soil infertility and degradation. The principal crops grown under this system of agriculture include millets in areas with lighter soils and sorghum on heavier soils. Given poor resource and rainfall conditions, productivity is extremely low and it is estimated that only about 6 percent of the country’s sorghum production comes from the traditional sector.




3. WHEAT PRODUCTION.


Wheat is Sudan’s second most important cereal in terms of both consumption and, in most years, production. In recent years, there has been a trend towards increased planting. The crop is almost entirely irrigated, with a negligible quantity (< 2 percent in 1996/97) produced under traditional rainfed conditions. In the current season, a combination of Government policy, encouraging wheat production and expectations of favourable wheat prices encouraged farmers to expand planted area where possible. As a result, the overall area under wheat increased from 743 000 feddans in the 1995/96 season to 796 000 feddans this year, representing an increase of some 7 percent. Compared to the benchmark average of 782 000 feddans for the period 1988/89 to 1992/93, the area planted was some 2 percent higher. Moreover, compared to previous years losses were lower and the overall area harvested as a proportion of that planted is likely to reach 99 percent compared to between 95 and 96 percent in previous years.

In addition to the increase in the area planted and harvested, all other factors of production this year were generally favourable. As most of the crop is irrigated, important determinants of production are temperature and irrigation supplies.

The optimum time for planting wheat is November, though temperatures during this period remained higher than average. Although in the Gezira this did not result in significant delays in planting (90% planted in the optimum period) in the north planting spanned November to the beginning of January. Had these high temperatures continued, it is conceivable that the overall wheat crop would have been severely affected. However, uncharacteristically below-normal temperatures in the period mid-January to March greatly assisted crop development. The overall weather situation was therefore favourable for production.

The effectiveness of irrigation is determined by the availability and supply of fuel for pump irrigation and the degree of siltation in canals for larger schemes. In general both of these were not constraining in 1997 and farmers were able to provide crops with between five and eight irrigations.

The fertilizer situation was also satisfactory throughout the country, though a slight shortage of super-phosphate in Gezira reduced applications to 0.8 units of phosphate instead of the recommended 1 unit per unit area. Nonetheless, this did not appear to have a significant impact on yields.

No significant outbreaks of pests and diseases were reported and what little occurred were comfortably controlled by limited use of pesticide.

The favourable weather and input situation overall, therefore, resulted in a noticeable gain in productivity this year. Average yields are estimated at around 825 kg/fd or roughly 1.96 tons/ha. In comparison to 1996 and the average this represents an increase of 11 percent and 18 percent respectively.

As a result of these factors a bumper wheat crop is expected this year, second only to the record crop produced in 1991/92. Aggregate output is estimated at 650 000 tons, which is slightly higher than estimated by the FAO/WFP mission in December last year and 24 percent higher than both the 527 000 tons produced in 1996 and an average of 526 000 tons respectively.

As the consumption requirement for wheat is estimated at a little less than one million tons per annum, the import requirement this year is estimated to be around 320 000 tons. Estimates of 1996/97 wheat production by zone are indicated in Table 1.

3.1 Situation by Production Zone

3.1.1 Gezira & Managil

The total area under wheat in the Gezira scheme was approximately 390 000 feddans (163 800 ha), representing some 50 percent of total area in the country. Due to land set aside for fallow, the area planted was some 10 000 feddans or 2.5 percent lower than 1995/96. In common with all wheat producing areas in the country, temperatures from mid-November to the beginning of January were above normal. Nonetheless some 90 percent of the crop was planted within the recommended period by the end of November. Mild and cool temperatures from mid-January to early April, however, greatly favoured crops.

Table 1 - Estimate of Wheat Production 1996/97

Zone Area (000’ Ha)1 Production (000’ Tons) Yield (Kg/Ha)
Gezira 164 287 1 750
Rahad 17 21 1 250
White Nile 14 21 1 511
New Halfa 27 39 1 472
River Nile 34 73 2 147
Northern 63 196 3 092
Other 12 13 1 111
Total 331 650 1 964


1 Harvested area, rounded to the nearest thousand

The fertilizer situation was reported to be generally favourable, with adequate supplies of urea being available on time. In contrast, although there was a slight shortage of super-phosphate, with a dose of 0.8 P being applied against a recommendation of 1 P per feddan, yields were not greatly affected. Overall, 96 percent of crop area received an application of 2N per feddan with 85 percent receiving 0.8 P per feddan.

No serious problems were reported in the supply of irrigation water allowing farmers to apply between 5 and 8 irrigations during the season. The mission estimates, however, that whilst all the area planted received at least 5 irrigations, less than half (40 percent) received the optimum of 8.

Apart from mild attacks of aphid, no serious pest or disease problems were reported.

Harvesting in most areas began at the end of March, though in some limited parts it began some 7 days earlier. The supply of combine harvesters was adequate and harvesting is expected to be completed by the end of April.

In view of the generally favourable conditions, average yield in the Gezira scheme is estimated at 736 kg/fd or roughly 1.75 tons/ha and total output at 287 000 tons.

3.1.2 Rahad

Some 40 000 feddans (16 800 ha) of wheat were cultivated in Rahad in 1996/97, similar to last year. The crop is cultivated in 8 out of the 9 administrative units within the scheme. Although the supply of urea was adequate, there was some shortage of super-phosphate. Irrigation supplies were reported to be satisfactory throughout the season. Almost the entire area was planted with the Kandour variety.

Due to a lack of finance and the late arrival of fertilizers at the beginning of the season, planting was delayed somewhat. However, like other parts of the country cool temperatures in the later stages generally favoured crop development.

Harvesting began in the last week of March and is expected to be completed by the end of April. No shortage of combine harvesters was reported. In the first week of April, an estimated 40 percent of crop area had been harvested at an average yield of 586 kg/fd. The overall yield is expected to be around 525 - 530 kg/fd (1 250 - 1 260 kg/ha), giving an output of around 21 000 tons from the scheme. The average yield this year is estimated to be some 10 -11 percent lower than in 1995/96, which is attributed to the shortage of finance at planting which restricted fuel supplies and consequently led to late sowing in some areas.

3.1.3 White Nile

The target area for the White Nile was 40 000 feddans, though approximately 33 600 feddans were planted. Although, this represents an increase of 17 percent over the previous season, compared to the benchmark average, the area is some 59 percent lower. Most of the wheat is cultivated in the northern part of the state.

Overall, it is estimated that no more than 10 percent of the area received the recommended dosage of urea per feddan, whilst 60 - 70 percent received half the dosage. Super-phosphate was only applied over a negligible area. The main varieties grown were Kandour, (90 percent), with Debaira accounting for 8 percent and Giza 155, 2 percent.

Harvesting began in the last week of March and is expected to extend to the end of April. The average yield this year is expected to be in the region of 635 kg/fd some 5 percent and 2 percent lower than last year and the benchmark average respectively. Lower productivity is attributed to general problems of finance, a shortage of improved seeds and fertilizer especially at the beginning of the season and above normal temperatures in early sown areas. Total production is expected to be around 21 000 tons.

3.1.4 New Halfa

The total area planted to wheat in the New Halfa scheme was 63 000 feddans (26 500 ha), of which 2 800 feddans were administered by the private sector.

Almost the entire area in the scheme received the recommended dose of 2 units of Nitrogen. The application of super-phosphate is not recommended in the area. The overall pest situation was calm notwithstanding minor attacks by aphids which were controlled by spraying.

The main variety grown was Kandour, though in some areas a very limited amount of Debaira was also planted. Planting was undertaken mostly within the recommended period in November, though in some pockets it was extended to the middle of December.

On the whole irrigation supply was satisfactory with all areas receiving at least five irrigations, some 40 percent receiving six and 20 percent seven. Weather conditions throughout the season were similar to those prevailing in the Gezira and Rahad schemes, where cool temperatures in the later stages of the season favoured crop development.

Harvesting began at the end of March and is expected to extend to the first week of May. The number of available combine harvest machines is 37, though the estimated number needed is 62. However, the bottleneck is likely to be alleviated somewhat through the provision of harvesters from Rahad, on completion of harvest operations in that scheme. As of the 9th of April an estimated 23 percent of the planted area had been harvested, at an average yield of 620 kg/fd. The overall average is expected to be similar, giving total production of around 39 000 tons.

3.1.5 River Nile State

The total area planted is estimated at 82 000 feddans (34 000 ha), with the following distribution in the five provinces of the state; Abu Hamad 31 000 fd, El Damar 22 000 fd, Barbar 13 000 fd, Shendi 9 000 fd and Matma 7 000 fd.

The overall fertilizer situation was favourable, with all areas receiving the recommended dose of two units of Nitrogen per unit area. The application of super-phosphate is not recommended in the area. In the fertile islands located in the river fertilizer is not normally applied.

The main varieties grown during the season included Kandour, Wadi, Elneel, Debaira and El Nilein. Fifty percent of the area was planted from mid to the end of November, whilst a further 45 percent was sown in December. Planting on the remaining 5 percent was completed in the beginning of January. The average number of irrigations applied was six and no pest attacks were reported.

Harvest operations began in late March. Although harvest machines are available, it is estimated that 50 percent of the area will be harvested by labour. The highest yields are expected from Abu Hamad and El Matima.

3.1.6 Northern State

The total area planted this season is estimated at 151 000 feddans (63 400 ha), making it the second largest area of wheat in the country after Gezira, representing some 19 percent of the total. Within the state the largest concentration of wheat is in Dongla, which accounts for 62 percent of the area, with the remaining 38 percent cultivated in the provinces of Merwi (14 percent), Halfa (14 percent) and Daba (10 percent).

The main varieties grown were Wadi, El Neel, Debaira and El Nilein. Approximately 50 percent of the area was planted between mid-November and mid-December, a further 45 percent by the end of December and the remaining 5 percent at the beginning of January.

The input situation was generally satisfactory, with an estimated 90 percent of the area sown receiving the recommended dose of 2 N per unit area. Super-phosphate is not recommended in the Northern State. No serious problems with irrigation were reported and on average 6 irrigations were applied in most areas. The pest situation was also reported to be calm and no applications of pesticide were necessary.

Harvesting began in late March and is expected to extend into late April/early May. Although some of the harvest operations will be undertaken using harvesters, most of the threshing is expected to be undertaken manually. As a result of fertile conditions, yields in the Northern State are expected to be the highest in the country averaging around 1300 kg/fd (3092 kg/ha). The highest yields are expected in Halfa, followed by Daba and Dongala provinces.




4. CEREAL PRODUCTION 1996/97



4.1 Review of the 1996/97 Coarse Grain Harvest

In the 1996/97 season the area of sorghum planted increased considerably, by some 30 percent over the previous year, as a result of high prevailing prices at the time of planting, satisfactory supplies of fuel and fertiliser and increased use of high potential cultivars. Although rainfall was good early in the season, a dry spell in June/July in the main producing areas reduced potential yields at a critical time in the crop cycle. In some areas crops were not planted until the dry period ended and were open to attacks by sorghum midge. Moreover, in parts of Renk rainfall ended prematurely in early October, leaving late planted crops suffering moisture stress during the grain-fill stage, resulting in smaller grains and lower yields. Pest and disease attacks on sorghum were, however, lower than average throughout the country. Lack of credit for weeding resulted in some crops suffering from high levels of weed competition.

The final estimate of sorghum production for 1996/97 has been revised up slightly to 4.179 million tons compared to 4.104 million tons estimated by the FAO/WFP mission last year. At this level output is estimated to be a record, some 41 percent above average and 18 percent higher than 1994/95, the last favourable year. Sorghum will be in surplus even after an assumed increase in consumption and build-up of stocks. While an export potential of around 600 000 tons seems likely, sorghum exports will depend on prevailing prices and government policy. Despite the overall surplus in sorghum it is unlikely that prices will drop further as farmers perceive that, (1) there is a possibility that the export ban implemented since 1995 may be lifted and (2) continued Government procurement of sorghum for the build up of security stocks at national and state levels will continue to support prices.

As millet is mainly produced in the northern half of Darfur and Kordofan, where rainfall was poor and uneven last season, it has faired poorly compared to sorghum. All areas in the west, north of 13° latitude experienced long dry periods in August-September which badly affected crops, traditionally planted in the sandy "goz" soils. In addition, grasshopper damage to early crops in North and West Darfur necessitated replanting which suffered badly from poorly distributed rain later in the season. Although the total area planted to millet was reasonable, it is estimated that more than half the crop was unproductive. Crops were also subjected to attacks by millet headworm, further reducing yields. Although overall production is better than reduced output last year, stocks are much lower than a year ago, when there was a large carryover from 1994/95. As a result, millet supplies will be inadequate in North Darfur, North Kordofan, the north-west of West Kordofan, the north of South Darfur and in the Geneina province of West Darfur. The final estimate of millet production in 1996/97 is now put at 440 000 tons compared to 490 000 estimated by the FAO/WFP assessment mission last December, 385 000 tons in 1995/96 and a benchmark average of 300 000 tons. A summary of the revised estimates of 1996/97 sorghum and millet production are given in Table 2.

Table 2- Estimate of Sorghum and Millet Production, 1996/97

Sector Area (000 ha)1 Production (000 tons) Yield (kg/ha)
Irrigated


Sorghum 368 888 2 413
Millet 4 2 500
Mechanized Rainfed


Sorghum 4 347 2 388 549
Millet 71 27 380
Traditional Rainfed


Sorghum 1 840 903 491
Millet 1 559 411 264
Total


Sorghum 6 555 4 179 638
Millet 1 634 440 269


1 Harvested area, rounded to the nearest thousand

4.2 Total Cereal Production 1996/97

The revised estimate for total area, production and yield of cereals in 1996/97, including maize, is shown in Table 3, whilst the comparison of output with previous years and the average for the benchmark period 1988/89 - 92/93 is shown in Table 4. At the forecast level, total output is marginally higher (< 1 percent) than the estimate made by the FAO/WFP mission in December. The production of wheat and sorghum is some 1.4 percent and 1.8 percent higher than earlier projected.

Table 3- Estimate of Total Cereal Production 1996/97

Crop Area (000 ha)1 Production (000 tons) Yield (kg/ha)
Sorghum 6 555 4 179 638
Millet 1 634 440 269
Wheat 331 650 1969
Maize 162 94 582
Total 8 682 5 363 618


1 Harvested area, rounded to the nearest thousand

Table 4. Cereal area and production by sector, from 1993/94 - 1996/97 and the average for 1988/89 -1992/931


Area ('000 ha)2 Yield (kg/ha) Production ('000 tons)

Average 88/89-92/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 Average 88/89-92/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 Average 88/89-92/93 1993/ 94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97
Sorghum














Irrigated 428 373 484 310 368 1 421 1 588 1 476 1 657 2 413 608 593 715 513 888
Mechanized 3 248 3 316 3 953 3 180 4 347 604 444 490 438 549 1 964 1 473 1 935 1 395 2 388
Traditional 992 994 1 856 1 552 1 848 386 321 478 350 491 382 319 888 542 903
Subtotal 4 668 4 683 6 293 5 042 6 555 633 509 562 486 638 2 954 2 385 3 538 2 450 4 179
Millet














Irrigated 3 1 4 3 4 681 714 429 595 500 2 1 2 2 2
Mechanized 54 68 32 24 71 448 394 328 328 380 24 27 10 8 27
Traditional 1 399 992 3 201 2 390 1 559 195 194 299 157 264 274 192 961 375 411
Subtotal 1 456 1 061 3 237 2 417 1 634 207 207 300 159 269 300 220 973 385 440
Maize n/a n/a n/a 20 162 n/a n/a n/a 500 582 n/a n/a n/a 10 94
Wheat 317 354 278 298 331 1 661 1 304 1 610 1 769 1 969 526 461 447 527 650
All cereals 6 441 6 098 9 808 6 535 8 682 586 503 505 516 618 3 780 3 066 4 958 3 372 5 363


1 Excludes small amounts of rice.
2 Harvested area, rounded to the nearest thousand




5. Supply/Demand Balance for 1996/97


In deriving the revised supply demand balance for 1996/97, the same assumptions on stocks, seed and waste were used as in the previous FAO/WFP assessment mission. Briefly these were:

The revised foodgrain balance for 1996/97 is shown in Table 5.

Although the overall food outlook for 1997 is favourable, in certain provinces and states the food supply situation will remain highly precarious. This especially so in the six states in Darfur and Kordofan, Red Sea State and the South as a whole, which are estimated to have an overall deficit of around 600 000 tons. Some of these deficit amounts will be corrected through normal internal trade but, especially in the cases of North Kordofan and North Darfur, some areas and sectors of the population will have difficulty in meeting their food needs. In these vulnerable areas (particularly north of 13°) production is very low, stocks are negligible and the income from cash crops and livestock may be insufficient to purchase enough grain. Although supplies of sorghum are moving from surplus to deficit areas, prices are extremely high and out of the reach of sectors of the population with low purchasing power.

Table 5: Sudan - Cereal balance sheet, 1996/97 (‘000 tons)

A. Domestic Availability 5 629
Production 5 363
Opening stocks 266
B. Total Utilization 6 020
Food use 3 978
Feed use 208
Other uses 548
Exports (mostly sorghum) 600
Closing stocks 686
C. Import Requirement 391
Commercial imports (mostly wheat) 317
Food aid (mostly wheat) 74

Recent information suggests that although prices of sorghum in Gezira have now stabilized at around 19 -20 000 SDP per sack, the corresponding price of millet in Kordafan is around 55 000 SDP/sack. Moreover market prices have risen appreciably in the first 3 months of 1997, especially in rural areas, due to limited local supplies, increased demand and high transport costs.

Correspondingly, the price of livestock in real terms has dropped significantly and at present the terms of trade suggest that one sack of millet is trading at 4 goats, compared to 3 in December and one in January 1996. The terms of trade are anticipated to deteriorate further till the next harvest. In addition wage rates, and the terms of trade of other barter goods for food (such grass and firewood) have also dropped, reducing access to food.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO Secretariat with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Abdur Rashid
Chief, GIEWS FAO
Telex 610181 FAO I
Fax: 0039-6-5225-4495
E-mail: INTERNET: GIEWS1@FAO.ORG


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