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Country Briefs

  Sudan

Reference Date: 14-June-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Concerns over 2018 cropping season due to shortages and high prices of fuel and inputs

  2. Aggregate 2017 cereal production estimated at 5.2 million tonnes, 40 percent less than 2016 record output, but still about 10 percent above-average

  3. Prices of cereals surging to record levels, mainly due to removal of wheat subsidies and sharp depreciation of local currency

  4. Food insecurity is major concern in Darfur Region, in Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Kassala states and for South Sudanese refugees

  5. More than 2 million IDPs, mostly located in Darfur Region, are in need of humanitarian assistance

Concerns over 2018 cropping season due to shortages and high prices of fuel and inputs

Planting of 2018 crops, for harvest from October, is well underway, as the June-to-September rainy season was characterized by an early onset in mid-May. According to the latest Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) weather forecasts, seasonal rains are expected to be characterized by average to above-average amounts. However, planted area and yields are likely to be affected by severe fuel shortages and by low availability and high prices of agricultural inputs, due to sustained inflation and dwindling foreign currency reserves constraining imports. In Gadarif market, located in a key surplus-producing area, current prices of fertilizers (urea) and sorghum seeds are reported to be more than twice their year-earlier levels.

Reduced but still above-average 2017 cereal production

The 2017 coarse grains harvest was concluded last December, while the small irrigated wheat crop was gathered in March 2018. According to the findings of the Government-led annual Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, the aggregate cereal production is estimated at 5.2 million tonnes, 40 percent lower than the record 2016 output, but still about 10 percent above the five-year average. The output contraction is mainly due to a decline in area planted with sorghum and millet, following farmers’ decision to switch to more profitable cash crops, mainly sesame and cotton, and to drought-induced production shortfalls in Kassala, northern Gedaref and North Darfur states, where cereal production was 65-90 percent lower than in the previous year.

Prices of cereals surging to record levels

As of May, prices of sorghum, millet and wheat were more than twice their year-earlier levels and at record or near-record highs in all monitored markets, after having surged since late 2017. Notably, prices of sorghum more than doubled between October 2017 and May 2018 in the capital, Khartoum, and in El Gadarif market. Prices of millet, mainly grown and consumed in western regions, and prices of wheat grain, mostly sourced from the international market, followed similar trends. The surge in cereal prices was mainly driven by the removal of wheat subsidies in the 2018 budget, which increased demand for millet and sorghum as substitutes for wheat and the strong depreciation of the local currency, which triggered a significant rise in the general inflation rate. The exchange rate of the Sudanese Pound declined sharply since late 2017, after the lifting of the international sanctions that ended a trade embargo and unfroze the financial assets, causing an upsurge in demand of US dollars from importers. The removal of subsidies on electricity, coupled with limited availabilities of fuel across the country and resulting higher prices of transport, contributed to underpin food prices. Localized 2017 crop production shortfalls provided further support to the prices of cereals.

Food insecurity is major concern in Darfur Region and for IDPs and refugees from South Sudan

According to the results of the latest IPC analysis (projection), valid for the period May-July 2018, about 6.2 million people are estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and Phase 4: “Emergency”). A major concern exists for the conflict-affected areas in the Darfur Region and in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, and for drought-affected cropping and pastoral areas of Kassala State. In some of these areas, the progressive depletion of livelihood assets has resulted in a shift from agriculture to traditional mining and migration to urban areas in search for occasional employment, further undermining households’ resilience to shocks. Drought-induced crop production shortfalls during the 2017 season in northern Gedaref, North Darfur and Kassala states resulted in an early depletion of stocks. In addition, the soaring cereal prices have been seriously affecting food access for vulnerable households.

Despite some returns, more than 2 million vulnerable IDPs, predominantly located in the Darfur Region, are in need of humanitarian assistance. High levels of food insecurity are also reported among refugees from South Sudan, estimated in late May at about 763 000.

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