GIEWS Country Briefs

Sudan PDF version    Email this article Print this article Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS  Share this article  

Reference Date: 28-January-2014


  1. Poor 2013 cereal production due to erratic and insufficient rains

  2. Cereal prices at record levels in most markets

  3. Levels of food insecurity likely to increase due to reduced food availabilities and high prices constraining access

Poor 2013 cereal production due to erratic and insufficient rains

Harvesting of the 2013 coarse grains was completed by the end of last year, while the small irrigated crop wheat crop will be harvested in March. Cereal production in 2013, including wheat, is forecast by FAO at about 2.9 million tonnes, which is only about half of the previous year’s good output and about 38 percent below the last five years average.

Poor rainfall over much of the country, in terms of both distribution and total amount, was the main cause of the low 2013 crop production. The onset of rains was late in most parts of the country, with the months of June and July being either dry or bringing only light showers to the normally productive areas, thus delaying sowing and leading to a reduction in planted area. Subsequently, unusually heavy rains in August further delayed planting and caused some farmers to start sowing as late as September. In the second half of September, rains eased back again to below-average levels, negatively impacting yields. In addition, conflicts and high levels of insecurity hampered agricultural activities in Southern, Eastern, Central and Western Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

As result of the low 2013 production, cereal import requirements for 2014 are forecast at high level of 2.5 million tonnes, about 350 000 tonnes more than last five years average, comprising 2 million tonnes of wheat and half a million tonnes of sorghum.

Cereal prices at record high levels

Prices of domestic cereals (mainly millet and sorghum) have steadily increased since May/June 2013, without the usual dip at the beginning of the main harvesting season in October, probably as a response to the unfavourable crop prospects. By December 2013, prices reached record levels in most monitored markets. Additional upward pressure on prices was exerted by the removal of fuel subsidies in September 2013. Prices of sorghum, the main staple, in December 2013 were more than 40 percent higher than 12 months earlier in several markets. Prices of wheat, mainly consumed in urban areas and mostly sourced from the international market, are on the increase since mid‑2012 and, by December 2013, were at record levels in Khartoum and 67 percent higher than 12 months earlier, mainly due to an increasing local demand coupled with the devaluation of the Sudanese Pound.

Food insecurity conditions persist in most conflict-affected areas

As of October 2013, an estimated 3.3 million people faced Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity. The number of food insecure people declined by 20 percent from the 4.13 million estimated in September, at the peak of the lean season; however, this improvement is likely to be short‑lived due to low household and market availabilities resulting from the reduced 2013 harvest and high food prices constraining access to food. Food security conditions are expected to deteriorate soon as the lean season is likely to start earlier than normal, especially in conflict affected areas of South Kordofan, Darfur, and Blue Nile States. In these areas, where the recent escalation of violence has led to the destruction of assets and further displacement, WFP has just launched (January 2014) an Emergency Operation aiming at providing assistance to 4 million beneficiaries throughout the year, distributing about 287 000 tonnes of food and about USD 40 millions of food vouchers.

Relevant links:
 As of Dec 2013, included in the list of "Countries Requiring External Assistance for Food"
 Cereal Supply/Demand Balance Sheet
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Main Food-related Policy Measures (From 1 Jan 2008 to 11 Oct 2011)
 Interpolated Estimated Dekadal Rainfall
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2006, 2004, 2002, 2002, 2001, 2001, 2000, 2000, 2000, 1998, 1998, 1998, 1997, 1997, 1996, 1996, 1995, 1995
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

Email this article Print     Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS Subscribe GIEWS RSS Share this article  Share it

GIEWS   global information and early warning system on food and agriculture