Reference Date: 11-November-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Late and erratic rains have severely affected 2015 cereal crops production
Prices of coarse grains have been gradually increasing since mid-2015, but current price levels are still below their levels last year
Food security improved significantly following the 2014 bumper harvest, but concerns remain among IDPs and in conflict-affected areas
Most acute food insecure people remain among IDPs in Darfur and South Kordofan states
Below average coarse grain production forecast in 2015 due to late and erratic rainfall
Harvesting of the 2015 sorghum and millet crops is underway and production is expected at below-average levels. According to an FAO rapid assessment, the rainy season started in May with almost one month delay lowering area planted in some areas. Generally poor rains followed in June and July, negatively affecting germination and crop establishment, especially in central and eastern cropping areas. In main sorghum producing areas of Gadarif, Sennar and Kassala states as well as in parts of North Kordofan, North and East Darfur, the cumulative rainfall received in June and July was up to 35 percent below-average. Despite the above-average rainfall in August and early September, poor vegetation conditions persisted in most key-growing areas until the start of the harvest at the end of October. In addition, civil insecurity and displacements have disrupted agricultural activities in conflict-affected areas of East, Central and North Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. In some eastern and central semi-mechanized commercial farming areas, fuel shortages have hampered agricultural activities.
A recent mid-season assessment led by the Government of the Sudan and supported by FAO and WFP indicated that the 2015 total planted area of crops is 62 percent of the targeted area and about 27 percent less than last season. Cereal production in 2015 (including the small irrigated wheat crop to be harvested in March 2016) is tentatively forecast at about 4.7 million tonnes, about 40 percent below last year’s record output and slightly below the last five-year average. The upcoming annual Government-led Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) is planned for December 2015 and will be supported by FAO and WFP. In addition, the Government of the Sudan is currently preparing a post-harvest assessment and has begun the process in several states. The results of these assessments are expected to provide final production estimates by the end of the year.
Prices of coarse grains on the rise since mid-2015
Prices of locally-produced sorghum and millet, the main staples, began to increase between June and October, by up to 30 percent in some markets, following normal seasonal patterns but also compounded by concerns about the performance of the 2015 main cropping season. This follows a relatively low and stable period in the first half of 2015 in most monitored markets. However, in October 2015 grains prices were still about 30 percent lower than 12 months earlier, due to the abundant supply from the record 2014 cereal production.
Similarly, prices of imported wheat increased by 8-12 percent between June and October in Khartoum market, but are currently still 10‑12 percent below their levels of last year.
Food security significantly improved since 2014, but concerns remain among IDPs and in conflict-affected areas
Countrywide, food security conditions have significantly improved during the last 12 months, as the bumper 2014 cereal crop production increased local supply and reduced most vulnerable households’ dependence on markets. As a result of the ample availabilities, the lean season in 2015 started in June, about one month later than usual. FAO-Sudan is currently finalizing a recent assessment on crop performance and livestock health in traditional rainfed agricultural areas, which indicates an increased risk of low production surpluses for the 2015/16 harvest. The full impact of a poor harvest will be felt most acutely in March-June 2016 during an intensified lean season, with significant decreases to local food availability and increased food and nutrition insecurity, especially among small-scale farmers and pastoralists who make up the bulk of the Sudan’s rural poor.
According to the June 2015 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), 1.3 million resident population and newly-displaced persons who were hosted among resident communities are projected as severely food insecure (IPC Phase: 3 “Crisis” and Phase 4: “Emergency”) in July 2015. An additional protracted case load of 2.5 million IDPs are living in the different camps of Greater Darfur, out of whom 80 percent were targeted as food insecure by the Food Security and Livelihoods Sector in the Sudan HRP 2015. Currently, a camp profiling exercise is underway by WFP-Sudan to determine the vulnerability status of these protracted long-term IDPs. In general, the areas most affected by food insecurity are the conflict-affected states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile with newly-displaced households and IDPs without access to humanitarian assistance being the most vulnerable groups. These severely food insecure people need food assistance and emergency food production and livelihoods support.
The conflict in South Sudan continues to have a significant impact on food security in the Sudan. As oil production in South Sudan fell to less than half of the oil fields’ full capacity since December 2013, the export fees collected for the use of the pipeline and port facilities in Port Sudan dropped dramatically with consequent reductions in the Sudan’s national revenue and availability of foreign exchange. In addition, as of end-October 2015 about 198 000 South Sudanese refugees arrived in the Sudan, with the majority being located in White Nile, Khartoum and West Kordofan states. However, coinciding with the signature of the peace deal in South Sudan, the flow of people crossing the border has decreased substantially since last month of August.