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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 22-November-2016


  1. Coarse grain production in 2016 expected at above‑average levels due to favourable rains

  2. Good availability of pasture across the country

  3. Prices of cereals declining following the start of 2016 harvest in October

  4. Food security situation improving, but concerns remain for IDPs and refugees

Above-average 2016 coarse grain production expected in most cropping areas

Harvesting of the 2016 sorghum and millet crops is underway and will be completed by the end of the year. Although official estimates are not yet available, crop production is expected at above‑average levels, as the 2016 rainy season (June‑September) has been generally very favourable. Rains had a timely onset in June, have been characterized by above‑average and well distributed amounts in most areas and were positively extended until mid‑October, favouring crop development. However, some dry spells in September affected crops in South Kordofan and North Darfur states. Some crop losses have also been caused by localized flooding in Kassala, Sennar, White Nile, Blue Nile, Al Gezira and El Gadarif states due to torrential rains between June and August. Outbreaks of locust and migratory birds have been reported in parts of South Darfur, East Darfur, West Kordofan and North Kordofan states, but crops losses are minimal as local authorities undertook appropriate control measures.

Good pasture availability across the country

Average to above-average pasture conditions prevail in most pastoral areas following beneficial seasonal rains from June to October. Livestock body conditions are generally good and milk production has substantially improved since last August. Satellite‑based images (see NDVI anomaly map) show pockets of the below‑average pasture conditions in coastal areas of Red Sea state and in the parts of South Kordofan, South Darfur and Kassala states.

Prices of coarse grains declining as newly harvested crops increase supplies

Prices of locally-produced sorghum and millet, the main staples, began recently to decrease in most monitored markets with the start of the 2016 harvest. For instance, prices of sorghum declined in October by about 12 percent both in the capital, Khartoum, and in El Gadarif market, located in a key‑producing area, while prices of millet, mainly grown and consumed in western regions, decreased in Al Fashir market, located in the North Darfur region, by 7 percent between August and October. However, despite the recent declines, prices of sorghum and millet in October remained well above their year‑earlier levels in several markets, reflecting tight domestic availabilities following the 2015 drought‑reduced harvest. The highest prices of coarse grains were recorded in Al Fashir (North Darfur State) and Kadugli (South Kordofan State) markets, where prices of sorghum in October were 43 and 85 percent higher than 12 months earlier, respectively, as trade disruptions due to insecurity and localized production shortfalls provided further support to prices. Prices of wheat, mostly imported and mainly consumed in urban areas, increased in Khartoum market by 6 percent in October, when they were 12 percent higher than a year earlier.

Food security situation improving, but concerns remain for IDPs and refugees

Food security conditions have started to improve in October as newly harvested crops are available for local consumption. The ongoing harvesting operations are also providing labour opportunities and income to several households. In particular, the demand for agricultural labour is likely to increase due to the expected above‑average production, exerting an upward pressure on local wage rates. As cereal prices are expected to decline in coming months, the terms‑of‑trade between wages and cereals are likely to become gradually more favourable for workers. Similarly, terms‑of‑trade for pastoralists are expected to improve as livestock prices will likely remain high or increase following good body conditions due to abundant availability of pastures.

According to the results of the latest IPC analysis (October 2016), about 3.6 million people are estimated to be severely food insecure, including the protracted caseload of 2.7 million IDPs and refugees residing in camps in the Greater Darfur Region and in South Kordofan State. High levels of food insecurity are reported also among most vulnerable households in Kassala, Red Sea and North Kordofan states.