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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 09-March-2016


  1. Late and erratic rains have severely affected 2015 cereal crops production

  2. After poor rains in 2015, grazing resources are quickly deteriorating during January‑June dry season

  3. Prices of cereals on the increase and at high levels

  4. Lean season in 2016 expected to start earlier than usual as meagre stock will be depleted and prices will rise

  5. Most acute food insecure people remain among IDPs in Greater Darfur Region and in South Kordofan State

Below average coarse grain production harvested in 2015 due to late and erratic rainfall

Harvesting of the main season cereal crops (mainly millet and sorghum) was completed last November/December 2015. According to a recent Government‑led crop and food supply assessment, total cereal production in 2015 (including the minor irrigated wheat crop, currently being harvested) is estimated at 3.4 million tonnes, about 55 percent below the record output obtained in 2014 and 23 percent below the last five‑year average. The 2015 rainy season, strongly affected by the El Niño meteorological phenomenon, was very poor especially in key‑cropping areas of Gadarif, Sennar and Kassala states as well as in parts of North Kordofan, North Darfur and East Darfur states, with a late onset, below average amounts and frequent dry spells. The rainfed sector, both semi‑mechanized and traditional, registered the major declines in cereal production, while production from the irrigated sector was similar to the five‑year average.

The cereal import requirement in the 2015/16 (November/October) marketing year is forecast at 1.8 million tonnes, essentially wheat grains and flour, while abundant carryover stocks from the 2014 record harvest are expected to ensure sufficient availability of sorghum to meet domestic demand. Transfers of locally‑produced grain from surplus to deficit areas will be necessary in order to avoid local shortages.

Grazing resources quickly deteriorating after poor 2015 rainy season

The unfavourable rains in 2015 also had a significant negative impact on pasture and water availability. The areas most affected include Kassala, North Kordofan, White Nile and Red Sea states as well as North, Central and South Darfur states. Abnormal livestock migration has been reported in search of better grazing resources, with large concentration of animals causing the early depletion of pasture and water. Herders are likely to move also to South Sudan, especially in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity and Upper Nile states, following the opening of the border since January 2016. The sales of livestock are increasing as herders are reducing their herd size in view of quickly deteriorating conditions of grazing resources until the next rains start in June.

Prices of cereals on the increase and at high levels

Prices of locally‑produced sorghum and millet remained firm in the last quarter of 2015 despite the start of the harvest, due to a reduced cereal output. Subsequently, prices began to increase in all monitored markets in January 2016 as household stocks started to dwindle. For instance, prices of sorghum and millet went up by 10‑22 percent in January, when they were up to 35 percent higher than 12 months earlier. Similarly, prices of wheat, mostly imported and consumed in urban areas, increased by 17 percent in the Khartoum market, reaching record levels.

Early start of 2016 lean season likely to affect food access for most poor households

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, 3.9 million people were projected to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and Phase 4: “Emergency”) until the end of 2015. This figure includes the protracted case load of 2.5 million IDPs that are living in the different camps of the Greater Darfur Region, out of whom 80 percent were targeted as food insecure by the Food Security and Livelihoods Sector in the Sudan HRP 2015. Additional pockets of severely food insecure people are reported in North and South Kordofan states as well as eastern states of Kassala, Gedaref, White Nile and Red Sea states. The full impact of the poor 2015 harvest is expected to be felt most acutely from May onwards, during an early and longer‑than‑usual lean season, when carryover stocks gradually dwindle and market prices will likely rise, affecting food access for poor households especially in deficit areas of the Greater Darfur Region.

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 mid‑December 2015, about 174 000 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 the last month of August.