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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 26-April-2021


  1. Aggregate 2020 production of sorghum, millet and wheat estimated at about 8 million tonnes, 12 percent up from 2019 and about 20 percent above average

  2. Cereal output benefited from expanded plantings and abundant rains boosting yields, which offset substantial flood‑induced losses

  3. Prices of cereals at exceptionally high levels, supported by currency weakness and soaring costs of agricultural inputs

  4. According to latest estimates, about 7.1 million people are severely food insecure

  5. Substantial humanitarian needs for 2.5 million IDPs and 1.1 million refugees, mainly from South Sudan and Ethiopia

Above‑average 2020 cereal production despite widespread floods

The harvest of the 2020 coarse grains crops (sorghum and millet) was completed in early 2021, while the harvest of the small irrigated wheat crop was concluded in March.

According to the findings of the Government‑led Annual Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, the 2020 aggregate cereal production is estimated at about 8 million tonnes, 12 percent up from 2019 and about 20 percent higher than the average of the past five years, driven by an increased sorghum output.

Farmers expanded the area planted as a response to high market prices of grains and to the increased availability of fuel and agricultural finance.

The 2020 June‑September rainy season was overall favourable, with exceptionally abundant precipitation amounts and an extended duration. An early onset of seasonal rains in May was followed by average to above‑average rainfall amounts in June and by below‑average to average rains in July. Subsequently, exceptionally abundant rains were received in August and September, which benefited yields but triggered widespread floods, affecting about 1.5 million hectares of crops. However, the negative impact of floods was mitigated by the unusual continuation of the rainy season until October, which allowed the full maturation of sorghum crops that were late planted in August instead of replanting sesame crops that were affected by floods and Sesame Gall Midge.

Cereal prices at exceptionally high levels

Prices of cereals in March were exceptionally high, at record levels and up to three times their already elevated year‑earlier values, mainly due to a weak local currency and soaring prices of fuel and agricultural inputs inflating production and transportation costs. In 2020, disruptions to marketing and trading activities related to the measures implemented to contain the spread of the COVID‑19 pandemic and to widespread floods provided further upward pressure to prices. After having increased in February by 10‑20 percent, prices of locally grown sorghum and millet firmed up in March. This was mainly due to a devaluation of the Sudanese Pound from SDG 55/USD to SDG 375/USD in late February ( FPMA Food Policy ), which substantially reduced the gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates, resulting in an increase of transactions of foreign currency in commercial banks and easing inflationary pressures. By contrast, prices of wheat, mostly imported, continued to increase in March reaching new record highs.

Food security situation affected by multiple shocks

According to the results of the latest IPC analysis, about 7.1 million people (16 percent of the analyzed population) were estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and Phase 4: “Emergency”) in the period October‑December 2020. This figure includes 5.8 million people in IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and 1.3 million people in IPC Phase 4: “Emergency” levels of acute food insecurity. The main drivers are macro‑economic challenges resulting in rampant food and non‑food inflation, widespread floods which affected 875 000 people, the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic and the escalation of inter‑communal violence in western and eastern areas.

The highest prevalence of food insecurity is reported in South Kordofan, North Kordofan, North Darfur and in Gedaref states, where the main drivers of food insecurity are compounded by inter‑communal violence. In these areas, over 20 percent of the population is estimated to be severely food insecure. In addition, in Khartoum State, 15 percent of the population is estimated to face food insecurity, indicating severe food access constraints for market dependent urban households.

Humanitarian needs are particularly high for IDPs, estimated at 2.5 million people and for 1.1 million refugees, including 762 000 people from South Sudan and 74 000 people from Ethiopia.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Dashed lines on the maps represent approximate borderlines for which there may not yet be full agreement. The final boundary between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan has not yet been determined. The final status of the Abyei area is not yet determined.