Reference Date: 11-September-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Mixed production prospects for the 2014 main season cereal crops to be harvested from November
Heavy rains since July caused widespread floods across the country, affecting more than 250 000 people
Cereal prices hit new record high levels in most markets
Food security situation expected to improve from October as green crops become available for local consumption
Mixed production prospects for crops to be harvested from early November
Sorghum and millet crops, planted in June-July, are in vegetative growth stage and their harvest is expected to start at the beginning of November. Although the overall cereal production is expected to recover from last year’s very low drought-affected harvest, the effect of erratic rains on yields in some important producing areas, including Gadaref and Sennar together with reduced planted area in conflict-affected states of South Kordofan, Blue Nile as well as North and South Darfur, is expected to limit the extent of recovery. In addition, since late July, heavy rains in Blue Nile, Khartoum, North Darfur, River Nile and South Kordofan states have caused widespread flooding, affecting over a quarter of a million people and causing damages to infrastructure, housing and standing crops.
Cereal production in 2014 (including the small irrigated wheat crop to be harvested in March 2015) is forecast at about 4.2 million tonnes, well above last year’s drought-affected output and about 5 percent more than the last five-year average. Cereal import requirements in the 2014/15 marketing year (November/October) are forecast at about 2.5 million tonnes (mainly wheat and wheat flour), similar to the last five-year average.
Sorghum and millet prices hit new record high levels in most markets
In August, prices of sorghum and millet have reached new record high levels in most markets as the lean season progressed. Conflict in Darfur and South Kordofan States as well as heavy rains since July disrupted trade flows, especially in flood-affected areas of Blue Nile, Khartoum and North Darfur states, reducing food availability in local markets. In August, sorghum was traded in Khartoum and Port Sudan at record SSP 390-395 per tonne, about 8-10 percent above July’s price and almost double the level of 12 months earlier. Similar trends were observed for millet which in August was traded in Khartoum at about SSP 690 per 90 kg, almost three times the price of one year ago. The exceptionally high prices of locally-produced coarse grains are essentially due to the early depletion of stocks from the poor 2013/14 harvest, higher transport costs following the partial removal of fuel price subsidies at the end of 2013, and the significant devaluation of the local currency that occurred last November.
Prices of wheat, largely imported, are on the increase since mid-2012 in the capital Khartoum and, after a temporary decline last March at harvesting time, the upward trend resumed in April. In August, wheat wholesale price in Khartoum was SSP 420 per 90 kg bag, over 50 percent higher than 12 months earlier, while in conflict-affected areas of Al Fashir (North Darfur), wheat prices hit an overall record level of SSP 640 per 90 kg bag, over three times the price of August 2013. Strong local demand, high prices of other cereals and the devaluation of the domestic currency have underpinned wheat price increases.
Food security expected to improve from October
Currently, at the peak of the lean season, an estimated 5.3 million people face Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity. Two-thirds of the people with severe food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4) are concentrated in conflict-affected North, Central and South Darfur states (mainly IDPs) as well as in drought-prone areas of Red Sea state. More pockets of severe food insecurity are reported in Kassala, Gadarif, White Nile and South Kordofan states.
The number of acute food insecure people is expected to decline from October as the first green crops become available for consumption, reducing most vulnerable households’ dependence on markets.
The ongoing conflict in South Sudan is having a significant impact on food security in the Sudan. As oil production in South Sudan fell by about 35 percent since December 2013, the export fees collected for the use of the Sudan’s pipeline and port facilities in Port Sudan dropped dramatically with consequent reduction in Sudan’s national revenue and availability of foreign exchange. In addition, by early September 2014, over 93 700 South Sudanese refugees arrived in the Sudan and are mostly hosted in camps in White Nile and Khartoum states.