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

SPECIAL REPORT

FAO/WFP CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY ASSESSMENT MISSION TO SUDAN


12 January 2000




Mission Highlights

  • Despite generally favourable weather, the 1999 sorghum production has fallen sharply compared to last year's record crop due mainly to farmers shifting to more lucrative cash crops.

  • The total 1999/2000 cereal production, of which more than 75 percent is sorghum, is estimated at about 3.9 million tonnes, nearly a third below last year's production.

  • In most southern states, however, cereal production in traditional hand-cultivation sector has increased by some 12 percent due to improved security, except for Bahr el Ghazal and Unity states where there are serious food deficits.

  • Emergency food aid needs of the war-affected and food-deficit regions are estimated at about 103 000 tonnes.

  • In view of the surplus cereal production in some southern states, particularly in Western Equatoria, local purchase for food aid programmes is highly recommended in order to support markets and encourage production.

 

1. OVERVIEW

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited southern Sudan from 10 October to 3 November 1999 and northern Sudan from 24 November to 13 December to estimate the 1999 cereal production and to make an early forecast of wheat production from areas now being planted. The Mission was able to visit 24 out of the 26 States in both Government and rebel-held areas. Based on these production estimates and an estimate of carryover stocks, the Mission assessed the overall cereal supply situation, including food aid needs for the 1999/2000 marketing year (November/October).

The Mission benefited from the full co-operation of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), with both assigning senior staff to accompany the Mission. Pre-harvest area and yield forecasts were provided by State Ministries of Agriculture which the Mission cross checked during field surveys and farmer and trader interviews. Discussions were also held with key informants from local government administrations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including ACCORD, Sudan Red Crescent, German Agro Action, Action Contre le Faim, Care International, Oxfam, and from UNDP and UNICEF.

In the south, rebel-held areas were visited from Kenya and detailed background information was provided by the WFP Food Economy Unit, UNICEF Household Food Security Section and USAID- Famine Early Warning System. Further data and opinions were obtained from the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA), Relief Association of Southern Sudan (RASS), Save the Children - UK, Christian Mission Aid, Tearfund and World Vision International. Due to the lack of infrastructure and data collection facilities, agricultural area and yield were derived from population statistics using historical data for farm sizes and cropping patterns, adjusted following Mission field observations and analysis of secondary data from various sources.

This year the rainfall distribution was favourable in most areas, with good early rains encouraging planting in the traditional sector, particularly in the South. Although the early rains were generally well distributed in time and space in the northern states, dry spells interspersed with intense showers resulted in a complex pattern of successes and failures in the southern states. However, from July all areas, except eastern areas of Eastern Equatoria, received good rainfall which continued up to November. Consequently, rainfall has not been a major constraint this year.

In Northern States, low sorghum prices for most of 1999, which in some cases have fallen below production costs, have prompted the large-scale mechanized farmers of the Central, Eastern and Southern Regions to reduce sorghum planting by some 50 percent. These mechanized farmers account for more than 60 percent of the total sorghum produced in the country. Many farmers have shifted to producing sesame, which gave much better returns last year, while others have simply reduced planted area. On the irrigation schemes, farmers also planted less sorghum, but the scheme rotations restricted the level of decline. Groundnut and cotton planting has, accordingly, increased slightly in the main irrigation schemes. Economic factors have also caused farmers in the Gezira, Rahad, New Halfa, White Nile and Sennar irrigation schemes to plant far less wheat this winter, with farmers opting to grow vegetables, mainly onions or increase areas of fallow.

Lack of credit for agricultural inputs this year has reinforced the farmers' decision to opt out of producing cereals. In the mechanized rainfed sector little or no credit was made available for sorghum production this year. Similarly, wheat was removed from the recognised list of irrigation scheme projects, thereby eliminating any in-kind credit for fertilizers and improved seeds. Two consecutive years of good rains have also been most suitable for the development of pests and weeds, particularly for millet headworm and sorghum midge, which had devastating effects on yields. The millet headworm is responsible for about 25 percent of the drop in millet production in Kordofan and Darfur alone.

In the Southern States, except for the mechanized farmers of Renk and Malakal, who have been affected by the depressed sorghum prices, the single most important factor influencing area and yield is insecurity. The civil conflict has displaced many farmers and reduced agricultural activities around garrison towns. It has also destroyed the marketing infrastructure and communications network which is hindering the movement of cereal surplus within states let alone between them. This year, however, a relative improvement in security coupled with favourable growing conditions have yielded a 12 percent increase in cereal production from the traditional sector. Western Equatoria, which usually is a surplus area, has produced twice its local need this year due to excellent conditions and increased marketing opportunities offered by NGOs based in the State.

By contrast, Unity State, which could not be visited by the Mission due to security problems, has suffered greatly from internecine fighting and Government/rebel clashes. Major cereal deficits are also estimated in Lakes and Bahr el Jebel due mainly to floods, and in specific localities throughout Jonglei, Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria where conditions were not so favourable.

For the 1999/2000 cropping season, the Mission forecasts total cereal production in Sudan at about 3.9 million tonnes, comprising 3.05 million tonnes of sorghum, 499 000 tonnes of millet and 288 000 tonnes of wheat (to be harvested in the first quarter of 2000) and 65 000 tonnes of maize (produced in the south). At this level, cereal production is about 31 percent below last year's bumper crop.

Expectations of lower harvests (sorghum and millet) this year and the depletion of stocks due mainly to a surge in exports, have led to an increase in cereal prices. Sorghum prices, for instance, have leapt from an average retail price of SP 14 000 per 90kg bag from January to October 1999 to more than SP 23 000 in November and December. Further price rises are anticipated in 2000. Such an increase in prices will have an adverse effect on the poorer segments of the population, but is expected to be an incentive for farmers to increase planting of cereal crops next season.

Overall, with the estimated cereal production of 3.9 million tonnes and wheat and rice imports forecast at 680 000 tonnes and 38 000 tonnes respectively, the country's cereal requirement of about 5.2 million tonnes in 1999/2000 is expected to be met by a draw-down of stocks of nearly 240 000 tonnes.

For the various interventions in southern Sudan, war affected and food deficit regions in the northern states, it is estimated that a total of 103 453 tonnes of food aid will be required during 2000.

2. ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AND THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

Sudan is endowed with a land area of 2.5 million square kilometres, of which 12 percent is agricultural, 18 percent forest, the remainder consisting essentially of desert or semi-desert areas. Its population, mainly found along the Nile and in the southern and western regions, is estimated at over 31 million in 1999 with an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent. About 45 percent is under the age of 14 and 31 percent urban. The labour force grows at 2.6 percent per year and per capita GDP was US$ 86 in 1998, making Sudan one of the poorest countries in the world.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Sudan's economy, accounting for 48 percent of GDP in 1998. Heavy dependence on the agricultural sector has conditioned economic growth to erratic climatic conditions and to the volatility of primary commodity markets. Still the agricultural sector, which employs about 65 percent of the labour force and has exhibited growth rates of over 12 percent since 1997, remains the driving force behind the 6.2 percent real GDP growth recorded in 1998 and 1999.

Traditionally, agriculture has accounted for about 80 percent of the country's export earnings. In 1998, leading export commodities were livestock products and sesame, with a value of US 169.7 million and US$ 104.7 million respectively. Cotton, once the prime foreign exchange earner, ranked third with US$95.5 million. Other agricultural and agro-industrial products of importance in the export sector are groundnuts and groundnut oil, sugar and molasses, cake and meal, and gum Arabic. Sorghum and, to a lesser extent, millet, wheat, maize, and tubers are the staples in Sudanese diet.

The Government of Sudan has in earnest engaged in economic reforms and liberalisation policies since the mid-1990s. Although trade deficit is still increasing in absolute terms (from US$ 629.1 million in 1995 to US$ 1328.9 million in 1998), inflation is being tamed, shrinking from an average annual rate of 144.3 percent in 1996 to 7.9 percent in 1998, with however a leap to 13 percent in 1999.

Tighter money supply by the Bank of Sudan and its drive to restore sound credit practices within the banking system has constrained lending to the agricultural sector, particularly as regards input supply. Until recently the Bank of Sudan used to earmark a share of its credit ceiling for agriculture as a priority sector. This share, considered as a minimum, declined from 50 percent in 1992 to 30 percent in 1998. And, as of 1999, no minimum is required for agriculture under the Bank of Sudan's lending ceiling. Following market-oriented liberalisation policies, financial institutions are now free to choose which activities in the priority sectors they wish to support, based essentially on financial criteria. This has inevitably tended to steer lending practices away from the more risky agricultural production towards safer areas such as trade which guarantee faster and higher returns.

The long-running civil strive in the south and ethnic clashes in other areas continue to take a heavy toll on the economy, notably on agriculture. They have compelled many farmers to reduce planted area, and have also prevented them from properly tending the plots, which has usually resulted in poor yields. But perhaps most important, the civil strife has exacerbated the segmentation of the food market in the southern zone by literally cutting off entire communities from the rest of the economy, in addition to generally poor transport infrastructure hindering trade in parts of the country. Thus surplus production in one area is seldom channelled to deficit areas.

Government's ability to provide for the needy and help them secure sustainable livelihoods remains fairly limited. Despite strenuous efforts to reduce spending and control inflation, it has so far resorted to budget deficits to meet its financial obligations, including expenses related to the ongoing civil strife and repayments of arrears to the IMF amounting to US$ 4.5 million per month. Hopes are pinned on oil exploitation, which started recently, as well as on gold mining which could in future reduce the economy's dependence on agriculture, boost capital investment, spur industrial growth and job creation. Meanwhile, massive international assistance is needed to alleviate the chronic and transitory food insecurity that vast segments of the Sudanese population are still confronted with.

3. CEREAL PRODUCTION IN 1999/2000

Cereals are the main staple crops of Sudan with sorghum providing around 65 percent of the total cereal consumed. Only in the Southern States are other carbohydrate foodstuffs, particularly cassava and sweet potatoes, used in significant quantities. Sorghum, millet and maize are grown throughout the country during the rainy season from April to October. During the winter months from November to March, wheat is grown in irrigation schemes and small, but locally significant, areas of maize are grown under traditional hand-cultivation systems in riverine areas in the south from the residual moisture left by receding floods.

In 1999, the area under sorghum dropped by about 50 percent compared to last year as large scale mechanized farmers in the central-eastern clay plains and traditional farmers in all areas, except Kordofan, have reduced their planting due to poor financial returns last year. Such poor returns have been particularly discouraging for the cultivation of land in the transition zone and in conflict areas in the east where cropped areas have fallen by some 70-90 percent. Elsewhere in the east there has been a marked increase in sesame planting as farmers sought better returns following high prices of sesame last year.

The area under millet, being harvested, is also estimated to be less than last year as traditional farmers in North Kordofan and West Darfur, who were badly hit by millet head worm last year, suffered again this year.

The area presently being sown to wheat for harvesting next spring is 27 percent below last year as wheat is no longer supported by the delayed payment programmes for seeds and fertilizer in the Gezira, Rahad and New Halfa irrigation schemes. The farmers, therefore, are at liberty to decide whether to sow wheat or to plant vegetables or increase the fallow area. Many have opted not to sow wheat due to poor financial returns over the past few years as yields have declined and costs increased to the point that wheat production is considered by many as not being economic.

Despite near optimal rainfall patterns in most parts of the country this year, average yields of the main cereals are estimated to have fallen as large scale farmers cut costs by reducing the number of cultivation passes and weedings. Such decisions have increased weed competition and enhanced the already favourable microclimate for plant pests and diseases caused by quantities of straw and stover left in the fields following last year's extensive planting. This residual material and the late heavy rains in 1998 coupled with the exceptionally good growth of vegetation noted this year, has encouraged pest development to the extent that headworm has seriously reduced yields of the harvestable millet crop in the west, and sorghum midge reduced yields of mid-season sown sorghum throughout the east. By contrast, higher wheat yields are expected in the spring due to better and more timely land preparation.

Regarding summer irrigated cereals, of which sorghum is the most important, the season has been better. This year water management on the schemes was easier as the rainfall, although as high as last year, was more evenly distributed. Fertilizers were available on time at lower prices than last year so their level of use, although lower than desirable, was sustained. Due to the enforcement of rotational cropping patterns and direct and indirect (cotton-based) spraying campaigns, the pest problems observed in the rainfed sector were not as severe in the formal irrigated sector. However, last year's low sorghum prices are reflected in the reduced area sown, which although falling within the range anticipated in scheme rotations, is 12 percent lower than last year; greater areas of groundnuts and cotton were sown instead. Area reduction notwithstanding, the overall production from the formal irrigation sector is some 10 percent higher than last year. In the informal irrigated sub-sector, less planting and lower yields in the demira (flood recession) areas due to lower floods has decreased production. However, improved water management has sustained production in the spate irrigation schemes in Gash and Tokar.

3.1 Factors affecting production in 1998/99

3.1.1 Rainfall

Annual rainfall in Sudan ranges from effectively zero in Northern States to 1 800 mm in the southern state of Western Equatoria. This year's precipitation may be described as highly favourable. Although a late start was experienced in some areas in the central and eastern states, rains conformed by and large to normal patterns starting in June/July, persisting steadily through August and September and ending variously in October and November. Higher than average precipitation was recorded, with an absence of the intense storms noted in 1998, but with floods and water logging. Early rains caught some communities unprepared for cultivation, however the prolonged nature of the rains meant that those farmers who were not deterred by last year's poor returns and could get, or did not need, financial support for land preparation, were able to produce late crops.

In the southern states, although Normalized Difference Vegetation Index images show better than average vegetation cover across the country, Mission ground truthing suggest a more complicated mosaic where location-specific problems, including drought-induced germination failure, storm disturbed pollination and fruiting, water-logged reduced yields and late floods washing away crops and stocks, were all noted. However, the positive effects of the rains were more important and included the production of good crops of early maize and sorghum, well-grown late sown crops, rainfall prevention of armyworm infestations, excellent grazing and plenty of water in the khors and lakes offering good fishing and stock watering opportunities.

3.1.2 Agricultural inputs

Fertilizers, pesticides/herbicides and improved seeds are only used in the irrigation sector. In the rainfed sector the inputs within the prevailing farming system where most farmers use their own carryover seeds, are tractor services or fuel, lubricants and spare parts, and labour for weeding, harvesting and threshing. Such low input-low output systems dominate both the mechanized and traditional sub-sectors, neither of which provide any security for long term investment in on-farm infrastructure or maintenance of soil fertility and soil condition. Further, with the exception of State Ministry mounted campaigns against migratory pests, plant protection of cereal crops has never been considered by farmers to be economically viable.

This year, fuel and lubricants were available on time in all the major producing states at costs similar to last year. No problems were experienced regarding the availability of spare parts and therefore tractor services were on hand for all farmers who could afford to pay. Unfortunately, due to poor returns last year, the major banks that had previously funded rainfed cereal production were reluctant to lend. Lack of funds, therefore, also militated against sorghum production in the rainfed sector.

Similarly, in attempts to cut costs, many farmers reduced cultivation to a single pass of discs with a seed box attachment, and hand weeding was reduced to one weeding instead of two, or eliminated completely. Such cost cutting measures reduced yields through increased weed competition and increased the likelihood of pest infestations.

In the irrigated sector, sorghum is included as a "scheme" crop with delayed payment conditions for in-kind inputs (water, fertilizer and seeds) provided to farmers through the irrigation block inspectors. Certified seed utilization is high at around 94 percent, however, despite the reductions in price of urea from around US$12 to US$8 per 50kg sack, fertilizer use is much lower than recommended and less than 60 percent of the farmers use it on their sorghum crop in Gezira and fewer than 30 percent in the other two main schemes, New Halfa and Rahad. Consequently, yields within the schemes on farms with improved seeds and similar husbandry practices, except use of urea, range from 1.2 to 3.8 tonnes per hectare and only average around 1.9 tonnes.

3.1.3 Weeds, pests and diseases

The two consecutive years of good rains have caused weeds to become one of the most serious factors affecting yield. Failure to control weeds through reduced cultivation practices was noted by the Mission to be a feature of all three farming systems. The most pernicious weeds this year have been, in the rainfed and irrigated sectors respectively, Sudan grass and couch grass.

Striga was present in all systems on poor or exhausted soils, particularly around garrison towns in the south and on continuously mono-cropped sorghum areas in marginal areas in the North. The Mission noted increased planting of sweet potatoes in Juba and millet in Butana, as farmers attempted to avoid the debilitating effects of striga by changing the crop. As noted last year, differential application of urea in striga-infested areas, where crop rotation is not considered as an option, is not practiced, although it is understood that fertilizer application will offset the negative effect of striga on yield. However, a practice based on overseeding, followed by mechanical thinning by discing after the appearance of striga is said to be an effective means of control. The method also reduces other weeds at the same time.

In the spate irrigation schemes in Gash and Tokar, on the New Halfa scheme and in the rainfed areas of Kassala State, the invasion of farmland by "mesquite" (Prosopis juliaflora and P. chilensis) is of so much concern that Ministerial workshops have been held to consider the ways and means of eradicating the tree. Tens of thousands of hectares are now invaded by mesquite in the areas concerned.

Fortunately this year has been almost completely free from migratory pest problems. Initial outbreaks of armyworm in the southern states were controlled naturally by heavy rainfall in August and campaigns against Quelea quelea were mounted as usual. Non-migratory pests, however, have taken a much heavier toll of crop yields this year. Rat and grasshopper infestations in the west and central states early in the season necessitated resowing and have reduced the harvested area. Several state-wide campaigns were mounted against them for the first time this decade.

Non-migratory bird problems were also cause for concern in areas bordering forests, particularly around garrison towns in Government held areas of the South, where access to fields at dawn and dusk is limited by security restrictions on movement and in conflict zones in the east, where aerial pest control is not possible.

By far the greatest damage this year, however, has been done by two insect pests. Headworm in millet (Heliochelltis albipuntelle) has devastated yields and reduced the harvestable area in the west. Similarly, sorghum midge (Contarinia sorghicola) has seriously attacked crops flowering in late September-early October in the eastern states. In both cases such infestations would seem to be a result of uncontrolled pest development due to long-term mono-cultures, excessive plant residues left in the fields from last year's record planting and unusually high relative humidity this year due to steady and prolonged rains.

Regarding plant diseases, sorghum smut remains the most serious threat. Presently all irrigation schemes supply treated seeds. Farmer carryover seeds in both rainfed sub-sectors are also treated in most northern states. However, the Mission noticed serious outbreaks of smut in the Gash spate scheme where seed dressing had apparently failed and in the traditional hand cultivated schemes in the southern states where seed dressing is not available. Also in the southern states, cassava mosaic disease is universally present wherever cassava is grown.

3.1.4 Prices

Whilst the 1999 low sorghum prices have, by and large, favoured local consumption, they have adversely impacted on production. Indeed, retail prices of SP 13 000 to SP 15 000 per 90kg bag which prevailed at the beginning of the 1999/2000 cropping season (i.e., from May to July 1999) were well below the SP 18 000 considered to be the break-even price for rainfed production at the time. For the sector's major players -farmers and bankers in particular- the general sentiment was that prices would remain at those low levels throughout the season, which is why Farmers' Commercial Bank, for instance, agreed with its clients to a "Salem"1 price of SP 13 000 to SP 14 000 per bag, hardly an incentive for producers. As noted during field visits, this has led many farmers, particularly on the irrigated schemes, not only to reduce the area planted to sorghum, but to scale down related farming operations such as land preparation, fertilizer application, weeding and irrigation thus affecting yields.

3.2 Cereal production forecast

Total cereal production is presented in Table1 by crop, State and sector compared with the post-harvest data for 1998. A time series of harvested area, yield and production by State and crop is given in Table 2.

Data for the northern states provided by State Ministries of Agriculture were updated during the Mission following field visits. However, it should be noted that due to the collapse of agricultural data collection in the southern States except for the mechanized rainfed sector in Upper Nile State, production data have been derived from population statistics used by UN/WFP and Mission obtained estimates of numbers of families farming, farm sizes and cropping patterns.

This year's cereal production is forecast at 3.899 million tonnes, including 2 000 tonnes of rice, about 31 percent below last year and 17 percent lower than the average for the past five years.

Table 1. Sudan: Cereal Production Forecast for 1999/2000 ('000 tonnes), and Comparison with 1998/99

State
 
Sorghum
Millet
Wheat
Total grain
1999/2000 %
of 1998/99
1998/99
1999/2000
1998/99
1999/2000
1998/99
1999/2000
1998/99
1999/2000
Irrigated
                 
Northern
6
11
0
0
88
182
94
193
205
Nile
80
82
0
0
20
52
100
134
134
Blue Nile
32
38
0
0
0
0
32
38
119
White Nile
45
24
0
0
2
0
47
24
51
Gezira
222
316
0
0
34
42
256
358
140
Rahad
39
66
0
0
3
0
42
66
157
Suki
17
11
0
0
0
0
17
11
65
New Halfa
44
36
0
0
20
12
64
48
75
Gash
21
26
0
0
0
0
21
26
124
Tokar
5
2
3
0
0
0
8
2
25
Kassala
35
11
0
0
0
0
35
11
31
Sub total
546
623
3
0
167
288
716
911
127
Mechanised
                 
Kassala
314
17
0
0
0
0
314
17
5
Gederaf
1 395
574
8
14
0
0
1 403
588
42
Damazin
191
53
3
5
0
0
194
58
30
Sennar
454
195
6
33
0
0
460
228
50
White Nile
241
100
8
10
0
0
249
110
44
S/Kordof
154
78
2
1
0
0
156
79
51
S/Darfur
2
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
South
139
75
3
0
0
0
142
75
53
Sub total
2 890
1 092
30
63
0
0
2 920
1 155
40
Traditional
                 
Gezira
371
154
0
0
0
0
371
154
42
Damazin
22
68
1
0
0
0
23
68
296
Sennar
30
8
12
0
0
0
42
8
19
White Nile
113
87
12
17
0
0
125
104
83
Kassala
1
5
0
0
0
0
1
5
500
Nile
7
23
0
0
0
0
7
23
329
Red Sea
6
3
3
3
0
0
9
6
67
N/Kordofan
26
250
28
14
0
0
54
264
489
S/Kordof
165
27
36
13
0
0
201
40
20
W/Kordofan
61
104
74
80
0
0
135
184
136
N/Darfur
15
4
251
80
0
0
266
84
32
S/Darfur
79
160
79
118
0
0
158
278
176
W/Darfur
104
117
138
111
0
0
241
228
94
South*
345
385
5
0
0
0
401
385
96
Sub total
1 345
1 395
639
436
0
0
2 034
1 831
90
G Total
4 781
3 110
672
499
167
288
5 670
3 897
69

* In 1998/99 and 1999/00 includes 51 000 tonnes and 65 000 tonnes of maize and others respectively.

Table 2. Sudan: Area, Yield and Production Forecast by Crop and Region for 1999/2000 Compared to Previous Years

 
Region
Area ('000 ha)
Yield (t/ha)
Production ('000 tonnes)
1995/96
1996/97
1997/98
1998/99
1999/00
1995/96
1996/97
1997/98
1998/99**
1999/00
1995/96
1996/97
1997/98
1998/99
1999/
2000
Sorghum
                             
Northern
95
81
36
64
72
0.9
1.8
2.3
1.3
2.7
93
146
85
93
116
Eastern
1 403
1 843
1 759
2 377
1 199
0.5
0.7
0.5
0.7
0.6
701
1 331
870
1 860
740
Central
2 162
2 582
1 925
2 027
1 359
0.6
0.8
0.6
0.8
0.8
1 282
1 952
1 127
1 738
1 054
Kordofan
559
773
799
627
987
0.2
0.4
0.4
0.5
0.5
115
287
332
406
459
Darfur
245
267
269
299
353
0.6
0.8
1.9
0.9
0.8
154
200
530
200
281
South*
272
706
538
917
468
0.3
0.5
0.4
0.7
0.8
89
319
215
535
460
Sub Total
4 736
6 252
5 326
6 311
4 438
         
2 434
4 235
3 159
4832
3 110
Millet
                             
Eastern
14
19
36
19
75
0.4
0.4
0.4
0.5
0.2
5
8
14
13
17
Central
53
70
54
92
142
0.4
0.4
0.4
0.5
0.5
19
27
24
42
65
Kordofan
1 033
906
1 632
1 061
683
0.04
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
41
116
230
140
108
Darfur
1 310
763
1 086
1 571
1 138
0.2
0.4
0.3
0.5
0.3
319
288
374
468
309
South
8
22
18
20
0
0.2
0.2
0.3
0.8
0
1
5
6
7
0
Sub Total
2 418
1 780
2 826
2 763
2 038
         
385
444
648
670
499
Wheat
                             
Northern
76
97
113
55
81
2.6
2.8
2.8
2.8
2.9
194
275
315
108
234
Eastern
31
32
24
28
8
1.4
1.4
1.7
1
1.4
44
45
40
21
12
Central
199
191
137
55
25
1.5
1.6
1.7
2
1.7
305
306
239
36
42
Darfur
8
11
3
3
0
0.9
1.3
1
1.5
0
7
14
3
3
0
Sub Total
314
331
277
141
114
         
550
640
597
168
288
G Total
7 468
8 363
8 429
9 215
6 590
         
3 369
5 319
4 404
5 670
3 897

* In 1999/2000 includes 65 000 tonnes of maize.
** Mission adjusted from State Ministry post harvest data

3.3 Other crops and livestock

The well-distributed heavy rains have favoured production of perennial crops, and the major oilseed crops, sesame and groundnuts. Area under the latter two crops has increased markedly this year as farmers moved away from the low returns obtained from sorghum last year to the expected higher returns from oilseeds. Export opportunities for sesame are high and the crop has, since 1997, earned more foreign exchange than cotton. This year, sesame and groundnut yields are expected to be higher than average. Similarly, cotton and sugar cane, both irrigation dependent exportable commodities, are expected to perform well.

Livestock production in the northern states has benefited greatly from two consecutive years of good rainfall. More than adequate pasture and good stock watering opportunities have reduced distress sales and boosted prices. Production systems that are essentially based on forage have been augmented by the growth of fattening units using cheap sorghum. In the 1998/99 season over 1.3 million heads of sheep have been exported following 40-60 days of fattening periods. The very low sorghum prices in 1999 were highly favourable for livestock fattening. Higher sorghum prices this year may make such activity less attractive.

By contrast the traditional livestock sector has been affected by the withdrawal of free animal health care as a result of financial constraints at State-Ministry level. Feed mills are functioning way below capacity or closing and veterinary services offer less cover than previously experienced. So far, the vaccination cover still prevents the outbreak of contagious diseases such as rinderpest. The main livestock rearing states in the north have remained disease free this year. The situation in the two southern states, where veterinary cover is supported by OLS, has been summarized separately under the regional summaries.

4. AGRICULTURAL SITUATION BY REGION

4.1 Northern Region (Northern and Nile)

The Northern Region, comprising Northern and Nile States, with populations of 593 000 and 913 000 respectively, is mostly located along the banks of the Rivers Nile and Atbara. Cereal production in these two States is mainly based on irrigation; wheat during winter and maize and sorghum in the summer.

Summer cereals are grown in irrigated pump schemes along the banks of the rivers and on demira (flood recession) areas in valleys in the interior of the States. Cultivation of the former is by tractor and draught animals (oxen) and salucca planting is used in the demira sites. A smaller flooded area has reduced demira production this year.

In both states, fuel and fertilizers were available on time and credit was available for wheat seeds and fertilizer through the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agricultural Bank and the Arab-Sudanese Company. Certified wheat seeds were noted to be less than the demand due to the low level of production last year, so more farmer carryover seeds are expected to be used. No migratory pests or significant disease outbreaks were noted during the summer season. However, local birds were a problem during harvest time requiring the employment of bird scarers and rat campaigns were mounted by the Ministry of Agriculture in Abu Hamad province.

Anticipating a successful completion of wheat sowing before the end of December, about 80 000 hectares of wheat are expected to be harvested next spring. The cool weather presently being experienced in the Region, with temperatures 2oC lower than normal, has offered better growing conditions than last year. The total cereal production from the Northern Region (both states) is estimated at 350 000 tonnes, of which 234 000 tonnes is expected to be wheat and the remainder mostly sorghum. This is some 75 percent more than last year's post-harvest estimates.

4.2 Eastern Region (Gedaref, Kassala, Red Sea)

The Eastern Region with a population of 3.48 million people normally provides around 20 percent of the national cereal crop. Gedaref is by far the most productive state usually accounting for 80-90 percent of the Region's production which includes the output from major irrigation schemes (New Halfa and Rahad), two spate irrigation schemes (Gash and Tokar) and a significant demira area (Gash Die) as well as potentially the largest area of mechanized farming in the country. The main cereal crop grown in the Region is sorghum, sown usually between July and September. Winter wheat crops are usually grown on the two formal irrigation schemes.

Rainfall throughout the Region began on time and was above average in central and south Gedaref. North Gedaref, however, received less rain than last year. Despite less intense precipitation this year some flooding and water-logging occurred in the southern/central rainfed farming areas. By contrast, fewer drainage problems were noted in the main irrigation schemes as this year's rainfall was easier to manage.

Input use varies between sectors. In the rainfed sector most farmers used their own seeds carried over from the 1998/99 harvest which they "home-dress" against smut, whereas in the irrigated sectors most farmers used seeds obtained on credit from the schemes' management. Such seeds are improved, dressed against smut and are twice the price of ordinary sorghum.

The low input-low output system practised by all the rainfed farmers in the Region relies solely on natural fertility. The farmers also depend on State Ministries of Agriculture to control pests. This year campaigns were mounted against sorghum bug (Agonoscelis pubescens) to protect the irrigated and rainfed sectors and farmers were given chemicals to use against rats and grasshoppers in Kassala state. However, the major pest was the sorghum midge (Contarinia sorghicola) attacking crops flowering in late September-early October. Ministry of Agriculture advice to avoid sowing crops that will flower in the vulnerable period was not always heeded as farmers were often constrained by access earlier in the season or were too concerned about the rains finishing early. No chemical control of sorghum midge was attempted.

On the formal irrigation schemes less than 30 percent of the farmers used fertilizer (urea) despite its timely availability and this year's price reductions of around 40 percent. Average yields, therefore, although better than last year are not as high as they could have been had more fertilizer been used. No fertilizers are used in the spate schemes or in demira farming where the silt deposited each year maintains soil fertility. This year's performance from such systems is expected to be similar to last year.

Last year's low price for sorghum which remained at US$47 per tonne for most of the year caused farmers to try to lower costs by reducing cultivation passes during land preparation and by reducing the number of times the crops were weeded, However, much more significantly, most large scale mechanized farmers in the Region reduced their sorghum area by up to 30-40 percent compared to last year. Consequently, sorghum production has been reduced drastically. This has been reflected in a rapid escalation of prices to around US$100 per tonne since the end of November.

Lack of credit was another major problem this year. In Gedaref only 33 percent of last year's funds were available for sorghum production. Further, there was also reluctance by Kassala State's mechanized farmers to farm near the borders with Eritrea due to security problems and consequently area planted dropped by about 90 percent. Tenants on the Tokar spate scheme have also seen wage rates for labour rising steeply due to these security problems.

The combined effect of the above factors has therefore reduced cereal production in the Region to some 40 percent of last year at 769 000 tonnes. This includes a smaller than usual harvest forecast for the spring wheat harvest as wheat is no longer supported as an irrigation scheme crop. No wheat has been sown in the Rahad scheme and only some 8 400 hectares have been sown at New Halfa.

The other major crops in the Region are rainfed sesame and irrigated cotton, groundnuts and sugarcane. This year the sesame area in Gedaref has almost doubled to 504 000 hectares and groundnut and cotton areas have each increased by some 20 percent in New Halfa and by 144 percent and 57 percent respectively in Rahad. All crops were noted in good condition and yields were expected to be above average.

Whereas the major problem facing the farmer's associations and administrations last year was the effective marketing of surpluses, this year's exports from Gedaref via Port Sudan appear to have reduced formally held stocks in the Region to less than an estimated 150 000 tonnes.

The good rains have provided excellent pasture and browse which is reflected in good animal body condition and very high livestock prices as market presentations are low. The Region has also remained free from contagious diseases, consequently productivity is expected to be above average.

4.3 Central Region (Gezira, Sennar, Damazin, White Nile)

With a population of 6 638 000, the Region encompasses four major irrigation schemes: Gezira, Sennar (Blue Nile), White Nile and Suki as well as substantial traditional and mechanized rainfed farming areas.

Production methods are similar to the Eastern Region, with low input-low output systems in the rainfed sector and improved seeds and fertilizers used in the formal irrigated sector. The main cereals are rainfed and irrigated sorghum and rainfed millet in the summer and irrigated wheat in the winter. This year no wheat has been sown or is expected to be sown in White Nile schemes and the area in Gezira has been reduced by 50 percent as farmers have mostly opted to leave more area fallow or to grow onions.

Rainfall this year started later than usual in the southern parts of the Region and breaks in distribution were noted in August. In the northern sections the rain began on time and was less erratic. Given a more even distribution, less flooding/water logging was noted this year compared with the 1998/99 season. Fewer water management problems were experienced in the Gezira scheme where canal rehabilitation has eased drainage problems.

In the rainfed sector, sorghum and millet seeds were universally available as farmers generally use their own seeds carried over from the previous harvest which they dress against smut (sorghum). However, for the same economic reasons of low returns and lack of credit, as were noted in the Eastern Region, area planted to sorghum this year has been reduced by 23 percent in Gezira state, 50 percent in White Nile state, 52 percent in Damazin. Farmers have also withdrawn from Damazin for reasons of security and moved to South Kordofan instead.

Most farmers in the irrigation schemes used certified seeds from seed multiplication units in Gezira. These improved seeds were supplied dressed against smut under delayed payment schemes along with fertilizers. In Gezira about 60 percent of farmers used urea. Fertilizer price reductions by 38 percent sustained its use but levels are still not as high as is recommended. No fertilizer was noted in use on the smaller schemes.

April-May spraying of hybernation sites effectively controlled sorghum bug on the Gezira scheme and in most parts of the rainfed areas of Gezira State. Cover in Sennar and Damazin was less effective. Rats were a major problem throughout the Region, leading to rat campaigns in Gezira and Damazin. As in the Eastern Region, sorghum midge was the most troublesome pest, with birds also giving cause for concern. Aerial spraying against Quelea quelea was noted. Local birds remain uncontrolled requiring bird scaring labourers if their effects are to be reduced. Bird scaring is not being practised on the large mechanized farms so yields are concomitantly reduced. No plant diseases of any significance were reported.

This year, weeds were noted as being a serious cause of yield reductions as farmers opted to reduce cultivation and weeding practices to cut costs. Heavy weed growth and poor access to funds reduced weeding efficiency on the large scale mechanized farms, particularly as labour costs increased due to the increase in sesame planting earlier in the season, causing the sesame harvest to coincide with sorghum weeding. Consequently, sorghum yields in the rainfed sector are expected to be lower than last year.

Conversely, yields in the irrigated sector were noted to be higher than last year due to better water management. Consequently, the Mission estimates an overall production from the Region of 1.054 million tonnes of sorghum from 1.359 million hectares, which is around 60 percent of last year's harvest. Rainfed millet production is 30 percent higher at 65 000 tonnes due to a 54 percent increase in area. Sorghum price increases to US$100 per tonne from around US$50-60 per tonne in September/October were noted by the Mission throughout the Region.

Good grazing, adequate water supplies and a contagious disease free year has meant that the livestock sector has performed well. This is reflected in livestock prices which are around 80-90 percent higher than last year.

4.4 Kordofan (North, West and South)

The Region comprises the three states of North, West and South Kordofan with a population of 3 804 000 people. The Nuba mountains in South Kordofan have been a zone of conflict between the Government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) since 1985.

Rainfed farming of sorghum and millet, both mechanized and traditional, are the main farming systems of the Region. As rainfall increases from north to south, the bulk of production is normally generated from the southern zones of each state. Sorghum is grown on the heavier clay soils and provides the more reliable output. Millet, grown on the sandier soils in the northern zones of the Region, is subject to huge fluctuations in planted area according to rainfall distribution. Opportunistic dry sowing with minimal cultivation means that although hundreds of thousands of hectares may be sown, usually only a fraction of them are harvested.

The agricultural situation in the Nuba mountains has, inter alia been the subject of a separate report. Within the SPLA held areas agriculture and livestock production has been severely disrupted. The formal agricultural support mechanisms have collapsed and data retrieval is virtually non-existent. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the rainfall pattern this year in the Nuba mountains was erratic, with areas susceptible to re-seeding. Presently, farmer carryover seeds of local varieties are used, however, given restricted access to land and the need to crop every season, yields are poor, exacerbated by the presence of striga. As no fertilizers are available, cassava and sweet potatoes have been recommended to overcome low yields. No seed dressing is available and sorghum crops are subject to smut infestation.

Agricultural production in the Government held areas of the Nuba mountains is better. However, problems of insecurity and displacement have reduced the potential farming area under cultivation. Tractor services are limited and there is no credit available. Prices in the production areas have remained low due to lack of purchasing power/market infrastructure.

Fortunately, the conflict zone is restricted to the limited area of the Nuba mountains and has not been extended to the rest of the Region. Mission findings for the rest of the Region show that although rainfall began as usual, effective rain came later in late July and August and continued steadily until the end of October. In all three states it was considered to have been well distributed. However, geographical distribution was less widespread than in 1998, particularly in the dry-seeding millet areas of North Kordofan.

Given the rainfed nature of all cropping and the low input-low output systems utilized, agricultural inputs are restricted to fuel, lubricants and labour. Farmers use their own carryover seed or purchase local land-races from the markets or one another. No credit is available so farmers, particularly large scale mechanized sorghum growers in South Kordofan, rely on their own resources. This year there has been an expansion in large scale operations in South Kordofan reflected in a 10 percent increase in sorghum cropping in the Region. This was due to the movement of companies and individual farmers away from Damazin for security reasons. Such developments counterbalanced a tendency by the established sorghum farmers in the Region to move out of sorghum into sesame for economic reasons.

Seed dressing against sorghum smut was universally practised in the Region but its effectiveness was noted as a problem. On-farm seed dressing using "souq" purchased chemicals leaves much to be desired from the point of view of both safety and effectiveness.

Cultivation practises were noted to be as normal with some farmers using two passes for sorghum production. However, weeding frequency was reduced with some 10-15 percent of the farmers in both the traditional and mechanized sub-sectors not weeding at all due to high labour costs. This was generally where sesame harvests coincided with the weeding of September sown sorghum.

This year has seen more pest problems than were experienced in the 1998/99 season. Early season infestations of grasshoppers and rats warranted organized campaigns in North and West Kordofan. Later, millet headworm ("nafasha") has severely lowered the harvestable area and reduced yields as it did to great effect last year. The resulting millet production is therefore disappointing for a season with well distributed rainfall.

Sorghum crops have also been attacked by sorghum midge, however, given the later planting dates for the bulk of the crop the effect is not as bad as in the Eastern and Central Regions. Generally, pest problems in South Kordofan were less severe than elsewhere in the Region.

Millet production this year is expected to be less than last year due to a poorer harvest. Sorghum production is estimated to be higher than last year because of the influx of farmers from Damazin. The Mission estimates that the total cereal production from the Region will be 567 000 tonnes from 2.24 million hectares of which 81 percent in sorghum. This is 39 percent more than of last year's post-harvest estimate.

Other crops in the area of significance are groundnuts and water melons, the latter grown on residual moisture in the dry season. This year, the former crop has benefited from the evenly distributed rains and good production is expected. Water melons, however, have been hit by the water melon bug. This year's infestation has, apparently, been exacerbated by the tendency to grow main season water melons for sale in Khartoum thus bridging the gap between seasons and allowing cross-infestations from year to year.

Livestock in the Region is in universally good condition due to two good seasons of rain induced pasture and browse. Apart from stock rustling/raiding the year has been free from untoward events, prices are high, rising to 40-50 percent above last year's levels.

4.5 Darfur (North, West, South)

The Region comprises three states, North, West and South Darfur with a population of 5 742 000 people. Rainfed farming predominates, the major crops being millet throughout the Region and sorghum in the west and south. Average farm sizes are generally smaller than in the other regions due to fewer large scale mechanized units. North Darfur is particularly vulnerable to rainfall variation so areas planted and those harvested, as in North Kordofan, tend to vary enormously from year to year. Last year's unprecedented planted areas, for instance, failed to be converted into harvested grain, the season was nevertheless better than average but not the enormous crop anticipated.

This year's season was characterized by an early start to the rains which then continued in a well distributed manner throughout the season until October. Precipitation has been above average in all states and was noted to have been better than last year. Consequently vegetation growth has been good for crops, pasture and weeds alike.

Given the rainfed nature of the production and low input-low output systems practised by predominantly traditional framers, local land races are used for all crops and farmers' own carried over seeds are the normal seed source. Limited dressing of sorghum seeds is practised, millet seeds are not treated at all. Seeding rates are low and plenty of seeds were available given the good harvest last year.

Cultivation practises are minimal and mostly involve hand cultivation. Salucca/hoe made holes at wide spacing followed by dry sowing being the norm on the sandier soils. A few tractors are used on the heavier soils in the higher rainfall areas and animal traction is increasing gradually each year, especially for weeding. This year farmers weeded regularly on the small farms, two or three times being frequently noted. Due to serious problems with rats early in the season, areas were reseeded several times and control campaigns were mounted in West Darfur against rats and grasshoppers.

Aerial spraying of birds was noted in South Darfur, but reports of widespread bird damage were received from all states. Millet headworm ("nafasha") remains an uncontrollable problem throughout the Region. As no credit is available to the cereal farmer, all farmers rely on their own funds or informal backing by traders. However, costs are generally low and family labour usually suffices for the average farmer. This year the usual low yields are expected. Predictions of 90 kg per hectare or less reflect very uneven production where large areas produce stover only. Such stover is a valuable commodity for building houses and stockades. Roofs, walls and fences are rebuilt regularly with this local material.

This year sorghum production in the Region is expected to be higher than last year from an 18 percent increase in area. Millet production is expected to be considerably less from a greatly reduced (30 percent) area. Total cereal production is estimated at 590 000 tonnes of which 52 percent is expected to be millet which is 12 percent less than last year's post-harvest estimate.

Prices in the Region reflect the less cash-crop oriented, near subsistence nature of agriculture. Millet prices were, during the Mission, lower than prices in Kordofan and sorghum prices lower than those noted in the Central and Eastern Regions.

Pasture conditions were noted to be very good following two good rainfall years. Animal condition reflected plenty of pasture, good stock-watering opportunities and no recorded disease outbreaks. Animal prices were much higher than last year.

Security problems noted in Kordofan (South), in the Central Region (Damazin) and the Eastern Region (Kassala-Red Sea) were not noted by Mission teams in Darfur, reflecting the comparative period of peace and stability in Bahr el Ghazal.

4.6 Southern Sudan

Southern Sudan, with an area of 640 000 km2 and an estimated population of 5.67 million, has been in a state of almost continuous conflict since 1983. It is divided into three regions and ten states as shown below:

Region
States
State Capital
Equatoria
Bahr El-Jebel
Juba
 
Eastern Equatoria
Kapoeta
 
Western Equatoria
Yambio
Upper Nile
Upper Nile
Malakal
 
Jonglei
Bor
 
Unity
Bentui
Bahr-El-Ghazal
West Bahr-El-Ghazal
Wau
 
North Bahr-El-Ghazal
Aweil
 
El-Buheirat (Lakes)
Rumbek

The disruption to the civil service by 16 years of civil war has led to a complete breakdown of the official gathering of agricultural statistics in all areas except the mechanized sector in Upper Nile State. Elsewhere, Ministry of Agriculture offices, though existing in Government-held areas, have no operational information-gathering facilities and have restricted access to agricultural areas. Similarly, in rebel-held areas, agricultural coordinators in the SRRA (Sudanese People's Liberation Army - SPLA) and RASS (Southern Sudan Liberation Army - SSLA) are equally ill-equipped and dependent on anecdotal evidence and hearsay to estimate areas and forecast yields.

WFP and other OLS partners (UNICEF and NGOs) active in specific locations provide the bulk of the field data, gleaned from rapid appraisals or from contact farmers working in small scale production projects. These combined data offer the best available estimates from which to calculate production by extrapolation from household numbers adjusted by average farm sizes for agro-ecological zones. The Mission adopted the above regional divisions as the basis for calculating production and requirements. Population numbers used in the calculations are based on updated NIDS (1999) figures from the south sector with north sector statistics added to complete the coverage. Changes from 1998 data reflect reconciled alignment of zones as well as returning displaced persons. Population and area estimates used by the 1999 Mission are provided in Table 3

The diverse resources which have supported complex livelihood systems including farming, fishing, pastoralism, hunting and trading, have been rendered inaccessible in varying degrees according to location, due to civil war, tribal conflicts, interfactional rivalries, looting, cattle raiding and terror tactics, all of which have caused the disturbance and/or displacement of some 85 percent of the population,

The foregoing notwithstanding, in 1999 southern Sudan had a growing season extending from 150 days in the north to 300 days in the Green Belt in the south. The latter offered the opportunity to grow a series of crops on the same area and the former, the chance to re-sow crops if initial planting failed.

Table 3. Southern Sudan: Population and Area Estimates

Region
Population1
(`000s)
HH
(`000s)
FHH2
(`000s)
Percentage
ha/FHH
ha
Upper Nile
1 634
270
181
67
0.66
120 000
Upper Nile
361
60
42
70
0.80
34 000
Unity
523
86
52
60
0.40
21 000
Jonglei
750
124
87
70
0.75
65 000
Equatoria
1 730
288
181
63
1.05
190 000
Bahr el Jebel
280
47
36
76
0.66
24 000
Eastern
828
138
52
38
0.86
45 000
Western
622
103
93
90
1.30
121 000
Bahr el Ghazal
2 311
386
297
76
0.53
158 000
Northern
991
165
107
65
0.32
34 000
Western
300
50
45
90
0.64
29 000
Lakes
1 020
171
145
85
0.65
95 000
TOTAL
5 675
944
659
69.8
0.71
468 000

1/ 1999 NIDS + North Sector zones
2/ FHH = Farming Households in 1999

Yield predictions are compiled based on the analysis of the factors affecting production this year, time series data from 1995 onwards and the Mission's own spot checks involving plant density calculations, crop cuts and area measurements.

Cereal production, which is predominantly sorghum (60 percent), maize (29 percent) and millet (9 percent), starts with the first plantings in the spring. This year, these began as early as February and planting continued up to October. Production estimates prepared by the Mission include all crops harvested during the year, including the cereals that have been consumed in 1999. For the sake of balancing cereal availability and requirements, it is assumed that an equivalent quantity will be available during the coming year (2000). Such an assumption holds little risk in most areas which have relatively high early rainfall in a normal year, unless security breaks down, as it did in Bahr el Ghazal in 1998.

In the south sector (traditional), cereal production has improved in most regions due to more households farming and increases in farm sizes. However, production is nowhere near the pre-war state. Percentages of households farming are still below normal except in Western Equatoria where NGOs are providing incentives to farm by offering markets for seeds and food grains. Yields per hectare are expected to be slightly lower but comparable with those reported by the Mission last year.

In the north sector, production is expected to decrease through the switch from sorghum to sesame by the large scale mechanized producers in Renk and the failure to plant at all by discouraged large-scale farms in Malakal and Malut. In addition, insecurity issues mentioned above, plus the unpreparedness for early rains in Upper Nile State has also reduced area sown in the traditional sector. Average yields are expected to be slightly lower than last year due to less than optimal rains, late sowing and less frequent or untimely weeding.

The Mission estimates the 1999/2000 cereal production in southern Sudan at 460 000 tonnes from 556 000 hectares. Production from the traditional sector is estimated at 385 000 tonnes from 468 000 hectares, which is 12 percent higher than Mission estimates last year. By contrast, the mechanized sector is expected to produce some 75 000 tonnes from 88 000 hectares, which is only 39 percent of last year's Mission estimates.

Table 4A summarizes cereal production in 1999 and juxtaposes the estimates with Mission estimates for 1996, 1997 and 1998. It is generally acknowledged that 1998 and 1999 were far better years than the preceding two. Cereal production comprises some 60 percent of sorghum, with maize making up most of the remainder. although pearl millet (Upper Nile), finger millet (Equatoria) and upland rice (Equatoria) were also grown this year. In 1998 and 1999 production estimates include double cropping in Equatoria and the cereal harvests obtained early in the season and consumed during the year in all Regions.

Table 4B summarizes production of cereals (sorghum with a little pearl millet) from the mechanized sector. The dramatic reduction this year is due mostly to farmers opting to grow sesame or failing to plant because of last year's high production being saleable only at very low prices. Furthermore, in Renk, sorghum stocks in the Agriculture Bank stores have accumulated to over 12 000 tonnes since 1996/97. The banks, therefore, have no cause to offer credit to cereal growers.

Table 4A. Traditional Cereal Production by State (rounded) (plus time Series 1996-1999)

 
1996
1997
1998
1999
Difference 1999 over 1998 in percent
Region
Area
(000 hectares)
Yield (tonnes/
hectare
Production
(000 tonnes)
Area
(000 hectares)
Yield (tonnes/
hectare
Production
(000 tonnes)
Area
(000 hectares)
Yield (tonnes/
hectare
Production
(000 tonnes)
Area
(000 hectares)
Yield (tonnes/
hectare
Production
(000 tonnes)
Area
Production
Upper Nile
196
0.36
70
151
0.30
45
133
0.64
85
120
0.73
88
-10
+3%
Upper Nile
69
0.49
34
53
0.42
22
52
0.79
41
34
0.67
23
-35
-44
Unity
47
0.28
13
41
0.24
10
40
0.43
17
21
0.66
14
-48
-18
Jonglei
80
0.29
23
57
0.22
13
41
0.66
27
65
0.78
51
+58
+88
Equatoria
214
0.64
136
148
0.48
71
194
0.86
166
190
0.99
189
-2
+14
Bahr el Jebel
53
0.45
24
43
0.30
13
39
0.72
28
24
0.79
19
-39
-32
E. Equatoria
89
0.46
41
54
0.35
19
55
0.71
39
45
0.82
37
-18
-5
W. Equatoria
72
0.93
71
51
0.76
39
100
0.99
99
121
1.10
133
+21
+34
Bahr el Ghazal
247
0.44
109
192
0.30
58
134
0.72
96
158
0.70
112
+18
+16
N. Bahr el Ghazal1
55
0.25
14
41
0.24
10
22
0.68
15
34
0.68
23
+54
+53
W. Bahr el Ghazal2
54
0.39
21
42
0.31
13
30
0.66
22
29
0.75
22
-3
0
Lakes3
93
0.55
51
70
0.33
23
42
0.78
33
95
0.70
67
+126
+103
Warrab
45
0.51
23
39
0.31
12
40
0.65
26
-
-
-
-
-
Total Traditional
657
0.48
315
491
0.35
174
461
0.75
347
468
0.83
389
+1%
+12%

1/ Northern in 1999: Aweil West, Wau, Aweil East, Twic, Gogrial, Abyei
2/ Western in 1999: Raga and Wau
3/ Lakes in 1999: Tonj, Rumbek, Yirol (includes Warrab)

Table 4B. Mechanized Cereal Production by State (rounded) (plus time Series 1996-1999)

 
Region
1996
1997
1998
1999
Difference 1999 over 1998
Area
(000 hectares)
Yield (tonnes/
hectare
Production
(000 tonnes)
Area
(000 hectares)
Yield (tonnes/
hectare
Production
(000 tonnes)
Area
(000 hectares)
Yield (tonnes/
hectare
Production
(000 tonnes)
Area
(000 hectares)
Yield (tonnes/
hectare
Production
(000 tonnes)
Area
Production
Renk
166
0.44
73
140
0.90
127
207
0.76
157
61
0.87
53
-70%
-67%
Malakal
2
1.00
2
4
1.00
4
6
0.66
4
3
0.66
2
-50%
-50%
Melut
0
0.00
0
8
1.00
8
10
0.80
8
0
0
0
-100%
-100%
Tayara
44
0.36
16
38
0.42
16
36
0.64
23
24
0.83
20
-33%
-14%
Total Mechanized
212
0.43
91
190
0.82
155
259
0.74
192
88
0.85
75
-66%
-61%

Other crops

The agricultural potential of southern Sudan is high. A wide range of tropical crops may be grown successfully in most states. Presently, conditions prevent the development of anything more than subsistence cropping and the local sale of household surpluses. However, in some States there is a legacy of perennial crops from more secure times. For example, in Western Equatoria there is surfeit of mangoes, papaya, bananas and cassava, with no opportunity to market the commodities. Even as far north as Wau, a surplus of mangoes exists in the season which has prompted interest by the administration in preservation technology.

All perennial and tuber crops have done well this year, benefiting from the prolonged and plentiful rains. Groundnuts and pumpkins are found in other areas, the former grown in separate areas (Bahr el Ghazal) or intercropped with sorghum (Equatoria) , the latter grown around the homestead, often in conjunction with tobacco, after the first sorghum or maize crops (Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile). This year the early groundnut crops appear to have done well in sandier soils although later crops on heavier soils reportedly suffered from waterlogging.

Sesame production in the mechanized sector is expected to double. The area under cultivation in Renk has increased from 42 000 hectares to 81 000 hectares. The harvest is underway and the yields are expected to be high.

Livestock

The contribution of livestock to food security in southern Sudan varies from state to state according to zonal susceptibility to trypanosomiasis. Generally, animal production contributes significantly in most of Bahr el Ghazal , Upper Nile, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria. This year, the second wet year in succession, savannah grazing and browse has been plentiful and the prolonged rains will ensure more than adequate forage for the coming dry season in all areas except east Eastern Equatoria, where early dry spells have restricted the normal cattle movement from the mountains.

Unfortunately, the continuously wet conditions have encouraged ecto- and endo-parasite development and foot rot, so body condition is not as good as might be expected. Liver fluke and gastro-intestinal roundworms were noted as serious problems in low-lying pasture areas. Similarly, ticks and lumpy skin disease were reported as being causes for concern in Upper Nile-Jonglei States. On the positive side, the WUNLIT peace agreement has led to Dinka/Nuer shared grazing in the Lakes-Western Upper Nile pastures which has gone some way to offer a haven from the disruption of grazing patterns caused by conflict in Unity State.

The OLS programme has trained and established 718 animal health workers and 32 vaccinators, an intervention resulting in the strategic vaccination of more than 271 000 head of cattle against various diseases including rinderpest (149 000). Given the mobility of nomadic and semi-nomadic herds and flocks, the maintenance of vaccination programmes is of concern not only for the animals of south Sudan but also for the livestock in neighbouring countries. This year there have been no confirmed cases of rinderpest, the one suspected outbreak in Torit (East Equatoria) was not confirmed by veterinary investigations. Other diseases of significance include East Coast Fever (Bahr el Jebel and East Equatoria) and pulmonary infections, often identified as CBPP.

This year, the cattle trade is firm, animal prices are universally high and there were no reports of distress selling. The comparatively good harvest suggests that the situation will be sustained through the next marketing year.

Food availability in southern Sudan

The improvement in distribution of food aid, particularly in Bahr el Ghazal, has eased the situation considerably. Perhaps more important than tonnes of grain available, the increased security in the Region has encouraged more farmers to plant increased areas. This factor, plus prolonged rains, has meant that the traditional sector has performed better than last year despite the range of problems identified in earlier sections of the report.

By contrast, the mechanized sector has production only 37 percent of last year's sorghum harvest as large scale farmers opted either to grow sesame instead or not to plant at all. This has been reflected in grain prices throughout the year. Presently in rebel-held areas prices of sorghum range from SP28 000 to SP33 000. Only in GoS held areas dependent on intermittent supplies from the North, such as Bor and Juba, did prices reach the high levels of 1998. In Bor, for example, SP120 000 per quintal was reported in July but fell to SP50 000 when the barges arrived in September.

Table 5 describes the cereal supply and demand situation by State

Table 5. Southern States Traditional Sector - Population and Estimates of Cereal Production and Surplus/Deficit

  Population
(`000s)
Area cultivated (`000 ha) Yield (tonnes per ha) Production (`000 tonnes) Per caput availability (kg/yr) Per caput use (kg/yr) Surplus/ (Deficit)
(tonnes)
Upper Nile 361 34 0.67 23 63 60 1 083
Unity 523 21 0.66 14 27 60 (17 529)
Jonglei 750 65 0.78 51 68 60 6 000
W.Equatoria 622 121 1.10 133 213 110 64 580
Bahr el Jebel 280 24 0.79 19 67 80 (3 400)
E. Equatoria 828 45 0.82 37 82 80 1 656
N. Bahr el Ghazal 991 34 0.67 23 23 73 (49 550)
W. Bahr el Ghazal 300 29 0.76 22 75 73 600
Lakes 1 020 95 0.70 67 65 73 (6 120)
TOTAL 5 675 468 0.83 389 68.5 69 (2 680)

An additional 38 500 tonnes has been added to allow for increased cereal consumption for urban based populations in the garrison towns. This brings total cereal requirement for the population of the Southern States to 430 000 tonnes of which 10 000 tonnes is imported wheat. If storage losses of home-produced grains at 15 percent (57 000 tonnes) and a mixed cereal seed requirement for 500 000 hectares at 12 kg per hectare (6 000 tonnes) are added, the requirement for next year is 494 000 tonnes. Production this year, including mechanized farms in Upper Nile, is 460 000 tonnes, however it must be understood that surpluses are not transferable, even within States.

5. FOOD SUPPLY SITUATION

5.1 Current market situation

In contrast to 1998 when cereal prices were high and fluctuating, 1999 has seen a remarkably stable and relatively lower price situation in most parts of the country. This was mainly due to the bumper sorghum and millet harvest in 1998 and subsequent high levels of stocks in 1999, due to generally favourable climatic conditions and a 3-year ban on sorghum exports. Figure 1 below indicates that the average monthly prices of sorghum in 1999 in Gedaref, a major sorghum producing area, were relatively smoother, with an average spread of just under SP 15 000 per 90kg bag from May to September, and substantially lower than the previous year's. Exceptions are, however, found in the south, where prices are affected by insecurity, market fragmentation and extremely low purchasing power.

However, expectations of lower cereal harvests (sorghum and millet) in 1999 compared to last year and the depletion of stocks due mainly to a surge in exports led to a jump in prices in November and December 1999. Further price rises are anticipated in 2000. Such strengthening of the market will have an adverse effect on the poorer segments of the population but is expected to be an incentive for farmers to increase planting of cereal crops next season.

5.2 Supply/demand balance for 1998/99 and 1999/2000

Table 6 shows the Mission's forecast national cereal balance for 1999/2000, as well as the previous year's balance.

Table 6. Sudan: Cereal Balance Sheet for 1999/2000 (`000 tonnes)

 
Cereals
Rice
Sorghum
Millet
Wheat
Other
Availability
4 471
2
3 541
574
288
66
Opening stocks
572
0
496
75
0
1
Production
3 899
2
3 045
499
288
65
Utilization
5 189
40
3 541
574
968
66
Food
4 204
40
2 728
495
892
49
Feed
240
0
230
10
 0
 0
Seed and other uses
409
0
284
33
76
16
Export
0
0
0
0
0
 0
Closing stocks
336
0
299
36
0
1
Imports
718
38
 0
 0
680
0
Commercial
718
38
 0
 0
680
0
Food Aid
1/
0
0
0
0
0

1/ Provisionally estimated at 103 453 tonnes for the southern sector, including Nuba mountains.

On the supply side opening stocks of cereals are estimated at 572 000 tonnes, of which about 87 percent is sorghum. The bumper harvest last year, particularly for sorghum, resulted in an overall high level of stocks for most of 1999, which was reflected in the muted market prices for sorghum in many areas. However, the resumption of exports in 1999 led to a substantial draw-down in stocks. The Agricultural Bank of Sudan, which stores grain resulting from salem lending as well as government strategic reserves, reported that stocks declined from 143 408 tonnes in December 1998 to 90 000 tonnes in November 1999. The bank expects to have no more than 100 000 tonnes in late 2000. In the sorghum producing areas of Gedaref, Gezira and Sennar most traders had no storage facilities and therefore held minimal stocks. Even big traders owning storage facilities stated they had little stocks left, having sold to Khartoum or exported directly most of the grain they had accumulated in 1999. However, smallholders on the irrigated schemes and traditional farmers in the rain-fed areas were known to save part of their crop for their household needs. This amount is estimated by the MoA at about 10 percent of last year's production.

The aggregate cereal harvest is forecast at about 3.9 million tonnes which together with carryover stocks of 572 000 tonnes gives a domestic availability of 4.47 million tonnes of cereals.

On the consumption/utilization side, based on more reliable estimates, the Mission took account of regional differences in diets, food production and availability, historical trends, as well as conditions created by the ongoing civil conflict. For northern states and garrison towns in the south, the per caput cereal consumption in the year 2000 is estimated at 145 kg, comprising 91 kg of sorghum, 18 kg of millet, 34 kg of wheat, and 2 kg of other grains. This compares with an historical norm of 140 kg, but below the higher levels of the previous year, when lower prices due to a bumper harvest resulted in increased food consumption. With an estimated population of 26.3 million in northern states and garrison towns in the south, cereal consumption amounts to about 3.813 million tonnes. For the rural areas in southern Sudan, with higher intake of cassava and other root crops, per caput mixed cereal intake is estimated at 69 kg (Table 5), including 12 kg of maize. On the basis of a population of about 5.67 million, cereal requirement in rural areas of southern Sudan amounts to 391 230 tonnes. Overall, in 2000 an estimated 4.20 million tonnes of cereals are expected to be used for food consumption.

Non-food Use: During 1998/99, the use of sorghum for animal feed rose with increased availability and relatively low prices. The sharp rise in livestock exports, mainly sheep, to Middle Eastern countries has also contributed to increased use of sorghum for fattening. The allowance for waste was increased last year reflecting the abundant sorghum supplies. However, in 1999/2000 the reduced sorghum crop and possible increase in prices later in the year are expected to result in less use for animal feed and is estimated at about 240 000 tonnes of sorghum. Seed rates are estimated at 7.5 kg/ha for sorghum, 5kg/ha for millet and 150kg/ha for wheat. A lower percentage of crop losses are calculated this year, accounting for the reduced area and production.

Exports: Continued sorghum export is subject to certain conditions, notably the competitiveness of local production which itself is determined by the cost of inputs, including labour, transport and storage costs as well as the different levies paid by the farmer and/or the trader. The surge in sorghum exports in 1999 is essentially attributable to a draw-down of stocks which were purchased at the low prices that prevailed during most of the year. Given the drop in production and a forecast increase in sorghum prices (in the wake of low level of world cereal prices), the Mission assumes that Sudan's sorghum will no longer be competitive internationally, thereby thwarting any incentive to export.

Imports: Imports of wheat have risen nearly fivefold from 1990 to 1999 (Figure 2). This may reflect a change in consumer taste fostered by urbanization and income increase in some segments of the society. Wheat consumption, estimated at 892 000 tonnes in 1999/2000 is well above the anticipated domestic production of 288 000 tonnes. Thus, about 680 000 tonnes of wheat need to be imported to meet consumption requirements.

Another relatively minor but growing cereal import is rice, which increased from a mere 5 600 tonnes in 1990 to about 35 000 tonnes in 1999. Food aid imports, mainly for the southern sector of the OLS, are estimated at about 103 000 tonnes of cereals.

5.3 Nutrition Situation

Nutritional surveys for Bar El Ghazal for 1999, show significant improvement in global malnutrition rate of under 15 percent compared to the level in 1999 of about 45 percent due to a massive emergency on site feeding and relief food aid delivery by WFP and its partners was undertaken. The reduction in malnutrition in most of Bahr Al Ghazal symbolizes one of the major successes of humanitarian food assistance in 1999. However, sustaining of this nutrition improvement still relies heavily on food aid2

Improvements in productive capacities and stable food aid stabilized malnutrition in most of Equatoria to similar levels as Bar El Ghazal. Elsewhere malnutrition, remains high, escalating seasonally. In Unity State, the nutrition status is expected to deteriorate.

Household food security remains a major issue of concern for the IDPs especially in specific locations of the Bahr Al Ghazal, Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria States due to militia raids, military confrontations and inter-tribal clashes. Furthermore, late and erratic rains followed by flooding or dry-spells significantly lowered crop yields in a number of areas. Unity State has suffered persistent insecurity since early 1999 resulting in population displacements causing loss of assets and disruption of farming activities. Malnutrition in the towns is expected to worsen and possibly exceed the 1998 global malnutrition rate of 30 percent. However, access to Unity State is limited so monitoring may be difficult.

5.4 Emergency Food Aid Needs for the Year 2000

Insecurity is the major cause of food aid need in the Sudan. In addition, loss of crops due to pests, erratic rainfall, floods and a notable switch to Sesame from Sorghum has contributed a reduction in cereal production. The highest proportion of food aid would still go to locations with large concentrations of displaced people in Bahr Al Ghazal, Equatoria, Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity and Kassala.

The situation in Bahr Al Ghazal has remained quiet during 1999 and the nutritional situation improved. However, food aid would be needed where insecurity and unfavourable climatic conditions during the cultivation season have resulted in loss of crops and other assets. Food needs would be greatest in Aweil West and Gogrial counties. Food assistance in Bahr Al Ghazal is expected to be 34 percent less than that of 1999.

In Eastern Equatoria, drought and insecurity have resulted in food shortages for the year to come that would affect around 168 000 people in Torit and Kapoeta counties.

Escalation of the fighting in Unity State had resulted in temporary withdrawal of humanitarian personnel and inability to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid. Follow up monitoring may reveal heightened food requirements for Unity.

In Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei States, inter-tribal conflicts and insecurity have caused massive displacement, loss of crops and other assets since April 1999. Food insecurity is expected to be worse in Ruweng, Leech, Pibor, Bor town, lower Sobat and Western Upper Nile. These areas would be of particular concern to WFP in 2000 since food deficits are more severe and access to beneficiaries are more problematic than elsewhere in southern Sudan.

In Kassala, insecurity along the border with Eritrea has already caused massive population displacement who have been receiving food assistance since 1998. This year, increased insecurity, coupled with crop loss due to erratic rainfall, pests and disease, has hampered normal agricultural and livestock activities and opportunities for wage labour predisposing for chronic food shortages.

Small scale farmers in North Kordofan and South Darfur have lost their crops due to severe pest and bird attacks. In some areas, where limited production is possible for the IDPs, as much as 50 percent farming plots were damaged due to late planting and flooding. Tribal conflicts and looting of assets in West Kordofan have also affected returnees and small farmers.

WFP proposes to provide 103 453 tonnes of food aid to support up to 2.4 million people during the year 2000 (Table 7). This includes the food allocated to the Nuba mountain population. Furthermore the total amount appealed for includes a 7 percent contingency stock of 6 768 tonnes to meet the unforeseen emergency needs arising from natural calamities such as floods and crop failure, as well as increased needs due to displacement caused by a spreading conflict. Remaining funds during 1999 would be carried forward to 2000. Thus, unmet requirements for which new contributions are sought amounts to 55 471 tonnes of food.

Table 7. Total Food Requirements in 2000

 
Food aid
(tonnes)
Southern Sector
 
Bahr el Ghazal
20 915
Equatoria
5 588
Jonglei
1 121
Unity
15 187
Upper Nile
5 870
Sub Total
48 680
Northern Sector
 
Khartoum
869
White Nile
835
Kassala
5 356
West Kordofan
812
South Kordofan
114
South Darfur
6 153
Bahr el Ghazal
10 625
Upper Nile
2 221
Unity
4 562
Jonglei
2 512
Equatoria
5 887
Non-OLS
 
FFW
517
Feeding Projects *
2 374
Sub Total
42 837
Nuba Mountains
 
Nuba Mountains SS
2 543
Nuba Mountains NS
2 625
Sub Total
5 168
Contingency
6 768
Grand total
103 453

Some 45 462 tonnes of food would be required to cover the needs of a monthly average of 435 122 beneficiaries or an average of 573 056 during the hunger gap period of April-June in the northern sector. On the other hand, the total food aid requirement for the southern sector is 51 223 tonnes for a total of 1.62 million food insecure people with monthly average beneficiary of about 1.11 million people. Additional food would also be required for malnourished children in supplementary and therapeutic centres as per attached table.

In the southern sector, food would continue to be distributed by field staff operating out of Lokichoggio as well as by the forward field bases of Mapel and Rumbek. In the northern sector, 41 percent of the food would be distributed through NGOs while the rest would be distributed by WFP field staff. WFP plans to coordinate activities along with partner NGOs in parts of Bahr Al Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile. WFP would continue to work closely with the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), and Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA), Relief Association of Southern Sudan (RASS) as well as the local relief committees.

5.5 Other WFP interventions

WFP supports two development activities in Sudan: Food-for-Work and School Feeding.

Food-for-Work: WFP is assisting, working in close collaboration with government agencies, national and international NGOs, rural communities to improve water supply in the chronically food deficit and drought affected regions of North Kordofan and North Darfur through Food-for-Work projects.

Hafirs have been used in Sudan for more than 50 years as an effective way of increasing household water supply in semi-arid areas, where lack of water is the main concern of the local communities. For the past two years, over 65 percent of the 150 000 people who participated directly in projects supported by WFP have been women. In return for food, these women have built hafirs that have benefited at least 400 000 people living in these four northern regions, where water supply is an acute and daily problem. In 2000, 6 000 tonnes of food will be distributed through this project benefiting over a 150 000 people.

School Feeding: WFP provides assistance to all primary schools in twelve provinces spread across the states of North Kordofan, North Darfur, West Darfur, West Kordofan and Red Sea Hills where there are food deficits. In the year 2000, approximately 300 000 school children will be assisted in the form of a mid-morning meal to improve the children's capacity to concentrate and as an incentive for regular school attendance. To address the national gender imbalance in education, WFP is assisting local communities rehabilitate or construct classrooms, hygiene facilities and improved water facilities in 650 girls' schools. In 2000, food distributions will amount to about 12 200 tonnes.

Protracted Refugee Operations: The program of assistance to Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in eastern Sudan has been going on since 1967. Apart from supplying daily food rations to all the refugees, WFP provides nutritional supplements to children, expectant women and nursing mothers. WFP is reinforcing the role of women in the management of food aid by recruiting women refugees to assist in food distribution activities.

In 2000, about 31 000 tonnes of food will be provided to an estimated 138 000 refugees in Sudan. They include 123 000 Ethiopian and Eritrean (90 percent of the total) refugees in 23 camps in the four eastern states of Kassala, Sennar, Gezira and Gedaref. A small number of Ugandans and Congolese in Juba are also receiving food aid from WFP.

5.6 Logistics

Relief food handled by WFP offices in the northern sector is either purchased locally from surplus areas or imported through Port Sudan depending on donor contribution. WFP has operational and logistics bases with adequate storage facilities in Khartoum, Port Sudan, Kosti, Al Obeid, Malakal, Juba, Wau, Bentiu and Ed Daein. Relief food from these bases is delivered to recipient locations in both sectors by a combination of road, river and air transport. WFP operates Ilyushin-76, Hercules C-130 and Antonov-12 aircraft from bases in the northern sector in order to serve southern sector locations primarily in Bahr Al Ghazal. Barges are used to deliver relief food and non-food items to beneficiaries along the four river corridors: Sobat, Bentiu, Zeraf and Juba.

Via the southern corridor, food is either purchased in Kenya or imported through the Kenyan port of Mombasa. The relief food is delivered using a combination of rail, road and air transport. Commodities are transported from Mombasa by road and rail to Lokichoggio, or by rail to WFP intermediate storage facilities in Kampala and onward by road to Koboko in northern Uganda. From Koboko, food aid is delivered by road through commercial transporters to beneficiaries primarily in the Bahr Al Ghazal region. From Lokichoggio, deliveries are primarily made to beneficiaries by air using C-130 Hercules and Buffalo aircraft. Limited deliveries are also made by road to locations in Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei. Northern sector locations that are cheaper to serve from Lokichoggio, such as government-held towns in Eastern Equatoria, are also served from Lokichoggio.

WFP is currently exploring local purchase possibilities in western Equatoria region where production surpluses have been reported and no relief interventions are planned in 2000.

 

 

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

Abdur Rashid
Chief, GIEWS, FAO, Rome
Fax: 0039-06-5705-4495
E-mail:GIEWS1@FAO.ORG

Mohamed Zejjari
Regional Director, OSA, WFP, Rome
Fax: 0039-06-6513-2839
E-Mail: Mohamed.Zejjari@WFP.ORG

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1 Salem loans from banks are supplied as cash but repaid in kind as sorghum according to a price expected to be prevailing after the harvest, but fixed before the start of the planting season.

2 UNICEF Nutrition Report Oct 1999