19 December 1996


An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Sudan from 19 November to 11 December 1996 to estimate production from the current harvests of sorghum and millet and to forecast that for the wheat crop of 1996/97. The cereal situation for the 1996/97 marketing year was assessed including trade forecasts and the national and regional food aid requirements. The Mission visited all 16 states in the northern part of the country and two states in the south. The remaining eight states in the south had been visited by an earlier FAO mission in September/October and the assessment of Southern Sudan is included in this Special Report. Due to the better coverage of southern Sudan this year, the report includes a more complete picture of agricultural production in the south and so, for the whole of Sudan. All the significant cereal growing areas were visited, together with specific locations previously identified as in need of food assistance.

Full cooperation was received from the Government’s Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Animal Wealth (MANRAW) and two of their senior staff accompanied and assisted the Mission throughout. The state and provincial offices of MANRAW provided useful information to the Mission in the form of local crop statistics and qualitative descriptions of the growing season. Assistance was also received from the federal and state-level offices of the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) which is responsible for early warning and for food aid assessments throughout the country. One staff member of HAC and one from the National Development Foundation assisted the Mission during its field work. In addition, the Mission consulted state and provincial administrative leaders and officials, and the Agricultural Bank of Sudan.

From the donor community, the Mission received invaluable information from international NGOs working both in local situations and in Khartoum, and useful consultations were held with the major bilateral and multilateral organizations currently operating in Sudan. As in previous years, the FAO team concentrated on assessing food production and supplies, while the WFP team visited deficit areas and focused on the assessment of food aid needs. In all field work, the Mission had numerous and fruitful discussions with farmers and traders.

FAO’s two main remote sensing products (NDVI and CCD) were used to track rainfall and crop growth during 1996 in comparison with earlier years. Data obtained from federal, state and provincial sources were cross checked by discussions with farmers and individual households and by inspections of standing crops, grain stores and markets.

It was necessary to modify official crop statistics according to better or more up-to-date information obtained during the field visits. The Mission therefore derived independent forecasts, although these were broadly agreed with MANRAW in Khartoum before leaving Sudan. Detailed crop cutting surveys are now being conducted in the main cereal producing areas, and the results of these should be reviewed when available in January. In the meantime, the results presented below represent the Mission’s best estimates from all the information available up to early December 1996.

The Mission forecasts that total cereal production will reach 5.33 million tons in 1996/97 comprising 4.10 million tons of sorghum, 0.49 million tons of millet, 0.64 million tons of wheat (to be harvested in April 1997), and a relatively small quantity of maize (0.09 million tons) mainly produced in the south. These forecasts include a fuller estimate of production in southern Sudan and imply an underestimation in earlier years of about 250 000 tons in this region. Discounting this one-off statistical increase, the 1996/97 harvest is 50 percent higher than the final MANRAW estimates of last year’s disappointing production. Sorghum is 61 percent higher, millet 23 percent and wheat is expected to be up 17 percent. Total cereal production is slightly higher than even the 1994/95 excellent crop; sorghum and wheat are significantly higher but millet is only half of the production in that exceptional year.

Apart from the traditional millet crop, the areas harvested are higher than last year for all cereals and sectors but most of the gain has come from increased yields - averaging an increase of 39 percent above 1995/96.

Major increases in the planted area of sorghum, stimulated by high prices at planting time, allied to better than average supplies of fuel and fertiliser and in the greater use of high potential cultivars combined to provide the conditions for the highest sorghum crop in recent years. Rainfall was good early in the season, but a dry spell, starting in June in the Gedaref area and affecting many other productive areas in July, had the effect of reducing yield potential at a critical time in the growth cycle. Some crops were not planted until the dry period ended and this resulted in attacks on crops by sorghum midge. In some areas, such as parts of Renk, the rains ended prematurely in early October, leaving late planted crops suffering moisture stress during the grain-fill stage, resulting in smaller grains and lower yields. Pest and disease attacks on sorghum were, however, lower than average throughout the country. Lack of credit for weeding resulted in some crops suffering from high levels of weed competition. Striga remains a major problem in sorghum in most areas of the country, though efforts are being made to counter this problem weed by improving crop rotations. Machinery shortages limited planted areas in some of the mechanized sector and may cause some losses of crop on larger farms due to shedding of grain caused by late harvesting.

Millet crops have fared much less well than sorghum since these are mainly grown in the northern half of Darfur and Kordofan, where rainfall was poor and uneven in mid-season. All areas in the West, north of 13° latitude experienced long dry periods in August-September which badly affected millet crops, traditionally planted in the sandy "goz" soils. In addition, grasshopper damage to early crops in North and West Darfur necessitated replantings which suffered badly from poorly distributed rain later in the season. Although the total area planted to millet was good, more than half the crop is estimated to be unproductive. The poor crops remaining have, in many areas, been subject to late attacks of millet headworm, further reducing yields. Although millet production is better than last year’s very poor production in nearly all areas, stocks are very much lower than a year ago (when there was a large carryover from 1994/95) and millet supplies will be inadequate in North Darfur, North Kordofan, the north-west of West Kordofan, the north of South Darfur and in the Geneina province of West Darfur.

With continuing high wheat prices, farmers in the irrigated areas have had a strong incentive to plant large areas of wheat and to use adequate levels of fertilizer for the coming crop. In addition, the state-level MANRAW and the irrigation scheme authorities have made strenuous efforts to ensure adequate supplies of seed, fuel and inputs to wheat growers. By early December 1996, the total planted area was slightly behind last year’s level because of some disruption to fuel supplies but the rate of planting has accelerated and it is expected that the total area will exceed that of 1995/96 by 17 000 hectares. Fertilizer use will be higher and, given normal temperatures and adequate fuel for pumping in the north, wheat yields should be higher than in 1995/96. The Mission’s forecast production is 641 000 tons or 17 percent up on last year.

Although the national cereal crop is at near-record levels, there are considerable demands on supplies. Consumption will rise during 1996/97 due to the population increase and an anticipated rise in per caput levels as a result of the downward pressure on prices of coarse grains caused by the surpluses in central and eastern Sudan. Cereal stocks will be rebuilt at all levels from their extremely low amounts at early November 1996. With very tight supplies during 1996 and extremely high prices, the pre-harvest carryover was negligible at household, commercial and government levels. A stock build-up of 400 000 tons is anticipated during the marketing year (1 November 1996-31 October 1997) to a level of around two months supply. Because wheat is usually a deficit grain, imports of just under 400 000 tons of wheat will be necessary to hold consumption patterns - rather less than in recent years because of the increased domestic crop. No trade in millet is anticipated and supplies will be tight. Increased sorghum consumption in the millet-consuming areas of the west will be necessary to maintain calorie intakes. Sorghum will be in surplus even after increased consumption and the build-up of stocks. While an export potential of around 600 000 tons seems likely, sorghum exports will depend on prevailing prices and government policy. If the volume of exports is too great, this would put a brake on the forecast rise in consumption.

The overall food outlook for 1996/97 is therefore favourable, but at the levels of certain provinces and states the food supply situation is likely to be precarious. Despite the overall surplus, the six states in Darfur and Kordofan, Red Sea State and the South as a whole, will all be in deficit - by a total amount of around 600 000 tons. Some of these deficit amounts will be corrected through normal internal trade but, especially in the cases of North Kordofan and North Darfur, some areas and sectors of the population will have difficulty in meeting their food needs. In these vulnerable areas (particularly north of 13°) production is very low, stocks are negligible and the income from cash crops and livestock may be insufficient to purchase enough grain. Although sorghum will move westwards from the surplus areas, prices will stay relatively high due to high transport costs (of around U.S.$ 75 per ton from Gedaref). Prices therefore (even of sorghum) may well be out of reach of large numbers of rural people, especially from around March 1997. Already, at the time of the Mission, some rural people were moving south, and the terms of trade between livestock and sorghum had deteriorated by 50 percent in recent weeks.

A total of 52 176 tons of emergency food aid (including 39 000 tons of cereals) will be required for 2.6 million displaced and war-affected people in 1997 under Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). In addition, a further 45 000 tons of project food aid (including 35 000 tons of cereals) will be allocated for ongoing development projects and for rehabilitation projects not covered by OLS.

The country may also be in need of limited food aid in certain chronic deficit areas. A contingency plan is suggested which could support people suffering severe food deficits, either by locally purchased grain or by assistance with transport from the surplus producing areas. Regular assessments of the food economy in vulnerable areas will be used to monitor the situation, particularly in the time leading up to the traditional lean period. Ensuring adequate food supplies at that time will curtail rural migration, provide adequate nutrition for the season’s agricultural activities, and encourage a stable rural population.


Due to the extremely tight cereal supplies in 1995/96, prices rose sharply during the last part of the marketing season. Gedaref sorghum prices in December 1995 were around S£ 15 000 per 90 kg sack, rising to S£ 19 500 at July 1996. Then, as shortages became increasingly evident, prices accelerated to S£ 32 700 in August and S£ 40 000 in September 1996 before dropping back to levels around S£ 21 000 in November. Prices in other areas tended to be higher but followed these trends. For millet, prices were around S£ 10 000 per sack higher than for sorghum.

At the main planting season of June to August, therefore, the strong and rising market for both sorghum and millet was conducive to heavy plantings, and the areas sown were much higher than last year (sorghum up 25 percent). The incentives to apply fertilizer, use improved seeds and to manage cereal crops well, remained through most of the growing season. For the largely mechanized sorghum areas in the east (accounting for more than half of national sorghum production) rainfall was favourable early in the season but yields were checked by dry periods in July, followed by some compensatory rainfall in late season. In the irrigated sector (20 percent of sorghum production), the increased use of hybrid seeds and of fertilizers and generally better management have raised yields by 32 percent above 1995/96 levels. Traditional sorghum crops also benefited from better rains in 1996 with increased yields and areas harvested. Overall, therefore, sorghum production is excellent at 4.1 million tons - 16 percent up on 1994/95 (the last favourable year) and 39 percent higher than the 5-year benchmark average of 1988/89-1992/93.

By contrast, the millet growing areas of Darfur and Kordofan (not South Kordofan) experienced early grasshopper attacks, long dry periods in August/September and a late incidence of millet headworm. Although the areas planted to millet were higher than last year, more than half the crop is considered unproductive and the area harvested will be well down even on last year’s poor millet season. However, millet yields on the remaining area are better than last year and production in South Darfur is good (nearly half of all millet production this year). Total millet output is forecast at 0.49 million tons, 25 percent higher than the poor 1995/96 crop.

Whilst sorghum production is well above normal utilization levels, millet supplies will be inadequate to meet normal demand. For the two cereals taken together, production is forecast at 4.6 million tons, 63 percent up on last year and similar to the good year of 1994/95, when allowance is made for under-reporting of crops in the south in previous years. The high production of these two staple cereals will permit rebuilding of severely depleted stocks, a slightly higher consumption level of sorghum, and the possibility of sorghum exports. In the absence of exports (a Government ban has been in place since December 1995), prices for sorghum will remain relatively low in the main surplus areas (from S£ 15 000 to S£ 20 000 per sack, or U.S.$ 100-130 per ton) until well into next year.

Despite the expected fall in prices in the main producing areas, for the deficit areas, prices will be high especially in certain areas of the West for which transport costs are currently very high due to fuel prices and inter-state taxes. Severe food deficits are likely in the drought-affected parts of North Darfur and North Kordofan and in parts of West Darfur, West Kordofan and some northern areas of South Darfur. A major transport operation will be needed to bring sorghum from the surplus regions but, even then, prices may be beyond the reach of many rural poor people.

Millet prices are set to remain firm as shortages become increasingly evident but price rises will be limited by the availability of sorghum and by the weak demand from most millet-consuming areas as a result of low incomes. Millet prices in the west are expected to stay around the S£ 35 000 per sack level (U.S.$ 200 per ton) through into next year, but marketed supplies will be very small as farmers hold on to scarce subsistence stocks.

Wheat is Sudan’s second most important cereal in terms of both consumption and (normally) production. Areas planted have tended to rise over recent years and, for the current season, a 5 percent increase in plantings is likely as farmers are attracted by the currently high prices of S£ 50 000 per sack (U.S.$ 300 per ton). In the irrigation scheme sector (producing about 60 percent of Sudan’s wheat), planting is on schedule and there will be increased use of better varieties and of fertilizer, despite very high costs. November and December have been extremely favourable months for wheat establishment in these central schemes. Planting in the north is slightly behind last year’s progress due to some fuel shortages, but supplies are now assured to complete land preparation and sowing at the same level as last year. Provided that fuel for pumping is in adequate supply and if temperatures continue to be low, wheat yields will improve on last year. The Mission’s estimate is for a 0.64 million tons crop (17 percent up on 1995/96) to be harvested in April 1997. At this level, and after allowing for 15 percent seed and waste, the domestic wheat crop would meet nearly 60 percent of national consumption requirements, allowing a small reduction in imports to around 400 000 tons for 1996/97.

Total cereal production (including 94 000 tons of maize) is therefore forecast at 5.33 million tons for 1996/97, some 50 percent higher than last year or 2 percent more than the 1994/95 favourable season, when allowance is made for under-reporting of production in the South for previous years. Table 1 shows forecast cereal production by State and sector with comparisons to last year. Table 2 indicates the forecasts in the context of a longer time series.

Table 1. Cereal Production forecast for 1996/97 ('000 tons), and comparison with 1995/96

Sorghum Millet Wheat Total grains 1/ 1996/97 over 1995/96

1995/96 1996/97 1995/96 1996/97 1995/96 1996/97 1995/96 1996/97 (%)

Northern 15 19

144 168 159 197 24
Nile 47 131

50 72 97 207 113
Blue Nile 30 52

30 52 73
White Nile 25 52

41 31 66 83 26
Gezira & Managil 276 403

254 289 530 692 31
Rahad 63 98

23 24 86 122 42
Suki 6 20

6 20 233
New Halfa 24 35

31 41 55 76 38
Gash 17 24

17 24 41
Tokar 4 1 2 2

6 3 - 50
Khartoum 1 0

1 0 - 100
Kassala (other|) 5 0

5 0 - 100
Total irrigated production 513 835 2 2 543 625 1 058 1 476 40
Total harvested area (000 ha) 310 384 3 4 307 320 620 718 16
Mechanized rainfed

Kassala 61 54

61 54 - 11
Gedaref 540 1 000 3 7

543 1 007 85
Damazin 151 238 3 3

154 241 56
Sennar 338 513 1 5

339 518 53
White Nile 203 252 1 10

204 262 28
South Kordofan 44 91

44 91 107
Upper Nile 40 121 0 1

40 122 205
South Darfur 2 1

2 1 - 50
Total mechanized production 1 379 2 270 8 26 0 0 1 387 2 296 66
Total harvested area (000 ha) 2 874 3 900 24 61

2 898 3 961 37
Gezira 102 225

102 225 121
Blue Nile 39 50 1 1

40 51 28
Sennar 27 38 11 9

38 47 24
White Nile 56 26 2 1

58 27 - 53
Kassala 15 10

15 10 - 33
Nile 31 10

31 10 - 68
North Kordofan 12 55 7 31

19 86 353
South Kordofan 30 61 24 1 7 15 61 77 26
West Kordofan 29 64 10 70 0 1 39 135 246
North Darfur 0 2 16 33

16 35 119
South Darfur 74 114 183 227

257 341 33
West Darfur 78 111 120 85

198 196 - 1
Southern States 2/ 49 233 1 5

50 318 536
Total traditional production 542 999 375 463 7 16 934 1 558 67
Total harvested area (000 ha) 1 552 1 969 2 391 1 715 8 11 3 971 3 847 - 3
National production 2 434 4 104 385 491 550 641 3 379 5 330 58
Nat. harvested area (000 ha) 4 736 6 252 2 418 1 780 314 331 7 489 8 526 14

1/ Includes 10 000 tons of maize in 1995/96 and 94 000 tons of maize in 1996/97 (increased due to better measurement of crops in the Southern States)
2/ Sorghum production figures for 1995/96 and 1996/97 in Southern states are not strictly comparable. New, revised estimates of production were made in 1996/97, indicating around 170 000 tons of sorghum under-reported in 1995/96.

Table 2. Cereal area and production by sector, time series and Mission's forecast, 1996/97 1/

Area ('000 ha) Yield (kg/ha) Production ('000 tons)

Average 88/89-92/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 Average 88/89-92/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 Average 88/89-92/93 1993/ 94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97

Irrigated 415 373 484 310 384 1 423 1 588 1 476 1 657 2 175 591 593 715 562 835
Mechanized 3 248 3 316 3 953 2 874 3 900 605 444 490 480 582 1 964 1 473 1 935 1 379 2 270
Traditional 1 005 994 1 856 1 552 1 969 397 321 478 349 507 399 319 888 542 999
Subtotal 4 668 4 683 6 293 4 736 6 253 633 509 562 514 656 2 954 2 385 3 538 2 434 4 104

Irrigated 3 1 4 3 4 681 714 429 595 476 2 1 2 2 2
Mechanized 52 68 32 24 61 442 394 328 328 430 23 27 10 11 26
Traditional 1 399 992 3 201 2 391 1 715 195 194 299 157 270 273 192 961 375 463
Subtotal 1 454 1 061 3 237 2 418 1 780 205 207 300 159 276 298 220 973 388 491
Maize n/a n/a n/a 20 162 n/a n/a n/a 500 582 n/a n/a n/a 10 94
Wheat 310 354 278 314 331 1 674 1 304 1 610 1 751 1 934 519 461 447 550 641
All cereals 6 432 6 098 9 808 7 488 8 526 586 503 505 451 625 3 771 3 066 4 958 3 382 5 330

1/ Excludes small amounts of rice.

2.1 1996 Cropping season

2.1.1 Rainfall

The main rainy season starts in late April or May in the east of the country and continues to November. In 1996, the rains came early in many areas and planting was accomplished in good time. However, from mid-June to late July there was a dry period in central and eastern parts, with much lower than average rains and this caused considerable moisture stress and limited plant development at a critical growth period. In Gedaref, the main rainfed production area, rainfall was 36 percent, 28 percent and 31 percent below normal during the three dekads of July, following a lower than normal June rainfall. As a result, yields were lower than they would otherwise have been. The rains resumed in August in Gedaref, allowing late planting of sorghum crops. Total rainfall was slightly above average in Gedaref for the season, and continued in most areas up to the first week of October when they stopped, leaving some late-sown crops in Renk and other areas insufficient moisture for proper grain fill.

In Darfur and Kordofan, the rains were also on time but soon developed an uneven distribution pattern, particularly damaging to millet crops which are mostly grown on sandy soils. A long dry spell in August/September came at the critical time of flowering or seed setting and many millet crops produced no grain despite their good vegetative growth. Rainfall was particularly poor north of the 13°N parallel with disastrous effects on the predominant millet crop.

2.1.2 Irrigation

The Tokar delta has received a very poor flood this year because of low rainfall amounts in north Eritrea in July-August, and the areas planted to sorghum and millet are sharply down. However, the Gash scheme has had a heavy flood from good rains in the south and west of Eritrea. Planted areas are good and both yields and production will be up on last year. Irrigation water shortages were reported at the extremities of the New Halfa and Gezira schemes but production is favourable due to a number of compensating factors. There were no reports of significant water shortages in Rahad despite recent problems with the pumps at Meina. Rahad sorghum yields are excellent this year - the highest of all the irrigation schemes. Some of the White Nile pump schemes have suffered from water shortages caused by constraints on fuel and spare part supplies. In the north, the Nile has been at well above average levels for most of the growing season, thus reducing pumping costs. However, there have been some difficulties in ensuring fuel supplies for pumping for the winter sown crops of wheat and broad beans. Some doubts still remain about the availability of fuel for regular irrigation of the large area planted.

2.1.3 Field conditions

In general, weed infestations have been lower than normal. Farmers in many areas were able to weed crops during a short dry spell after emergence and for the rest of the season cereal crops suffered little competition. The exception is striga, which has been locally serious in the eastern mechanized sorghum areas, around Juba and Wau in the south, as well as in the poor crop of millet in North Darfur and North Kordofan. Mesquite is also a major problem in Tokar and Gash, where large areas are lost due to colonization of arable areas by this perennial weed. Land preparation for winter wheat has been rushed in both the north and in the central irrigation schemes and at the time of the Mission’s field visits some stands were still patchy.

2.1.4 Pests and diseases

In general, pest and disease outbreaks were well below average in 1996. Grasshoppers destroyed millet crops in North and West Darfur and in North Kordofan, forcing farmers to resow, often with a late sorghum crop. Grasshoppers also caused significant thinning of sorghum crops in parts of Renk.

Late-sown sorghum in Gedaref was attacked by sorghum midge and this is having an adverse effect on yields, especially in the south. There is only limited use of resistant varieties. Millet headworm, which thrives in dry conditions, is a significant pest of the already poor millet crops in North Darfur and North Kordofan.

The dura bug was not a serious pest problem this year as colonies had been destroyed during the dry season by pesticide teams funded by MANRAW.

No reports were received of serious Quelea or locust attacks during the 1996 season, although tree locusts were in evidence on Acacia senegal in North Kordofan.

2.1.5 Input supplies

Fuel supplies were generally adequate in the mechanized and irrigated sectors during the season, although some areas, such as Renk, received fuel supplies too late to achieve timely planting of the full area. Fuel shortages were reported to be delaying threshing in parts of the eastern mechanized areas.

Fertilizer use is reported to have increased at Gezira and Rahad Irrigation Schemes , with most supplies arriving on time for the sorghum crop. Improved seed and fertilizer were used on more than 80 percent of the land at Gezira in 1996 compared to about 50 percent in the previous year.

Due to previous insecurity, farm machinery supplies are critically low in South Kordofan and this has had the effect of reducing planted area.

Seed of improved millet varieties remained scarce and all millet seed will be in short supply for next season. This has particular relevance for the millet growing areas such as Darfur which will need special seed assistance programmes.

Agricultural production is constrained in the non-traditional areas by a widespread lack of credit. Only about 10 percent of the planted area in Gedaref benefited from agricultural credit, thus reducing investment in machinery, in weeding and timely harvesting.

2.1.6 Yields

Yields of sorghum rose considerably over those of the previous year due, largely, to better rainfall, greater use of improved varieties and of urea on irrigated sorghum crops. The overall national yield is 28 percent higher than 1995/96 and is the highest of recent years. In Rahad and Gezira Irrigation Schemes, sorghum yields rose by 42 percent and 47 percent, respectively, compared with the previous year. In the mechanized sector, the improvement was 21 percent whilst yields of traditional crops of sorghum increased by 45 percent.

Millet yields are better than last year’s poor crops but well below 1994/95, because of poorly distributed rains in the west. But the most serious aspect of millet production this year was the high incidence of crop failure where less than half the planted crop yielded any grain.

Wheat yields are expected to be favourable but this will depend on winter temperatures and on the adequacy of fuel supplies for pumping in the north.

2.1.7 Prices

As discussed above, 1996 has seen some of the most dramatic shifts in grain prices ever seen in Sudan, with prices doubling between June and September. Whilst some of the increases are less marked in U.S.$ terms (because of the depreciating Sudanese pound), there is no doubt that rapidly declining grain stocks from July onwards was a major factor in forcing prices to record levels. The effect of scarcity was illustrated when the Gedaref state grain restrictions were relaxed in October; prices in Red Sea state dropped by 50 percent. Once the new sorghum crop began to come on stream in November, prices in most markets fell sharply.

The short cereal supplies in 1996 stemmed from a generally poor harvest at the end of 1995 and the depletion of stocks during the year, which had been held over from the bumper harvest of 1994/95. The situation was most marked for millet, which was in particularly short supply during the second half of the 1995/96 marketing year and saw prices rise to record levels. Further, due to the poor millet harvest now being gathered, prices have stayed relatively high, some 40 percent above prevailing sorghum prices and, with previous stocks now exhausted, the millet market will remain firm. Quantities of millet moving on to the commercial market this year will be extremely small, perhaps less than 10 percent of production.

Price incentives for next year’s plantings are difficult to forecast because, without exports, sorghum prices could stay low, at least in the main producing areas. For millet, prices will be firmer and incentives for heavy plantings will be strong, both for the market and to rebuild household stocks.

Wheat prices, currently at very high levels, seem bound to drift down close to world price levels. Given a favourable wheat harvest in April 1997, prices should be no higher than at parity with imports - around 25 percent less than currently, depending on the Sudanese exchange rate.

2.2 Cereal production forecast

An aggregate cereal crop of 5.33 million tons is forecast for 1996/97, comprising 4.10, 0.49, 0.64 and 0.09 million tons of sorghum, millet, wheat and maize respectively. These forecasts include an upward revision of the production from the southern states, which has added 250 000 tons to the forecast due to statistical adjustments alone. For strict comparisons with previous years, it is therefore necessary to use a reduced total production figure of 5.08 million tons.

Even on this basis, 1996/97 is an excellent year, overall, particularly for sorghum. But large cereal deficits will occur in the west due to poor millet production, and a major exercise will be required to transport and store sorghum from the surplus areas to the western states. This situation is exacerbated by the negligible stocks held from previous years, relatively high grain prices, and the high costs of transport.

2.3 Pasture and livestock

In most central and eastern areas of the country, the generally favourable rains have ensured good growth of pasture and browse, and plentiful supplies of sorghum crop residues for livestock.

In the west, range conditions are also generally good; the irregular rains have affected pastures differently to cereal crops. On the other hand, the lack of rain in the north of the western states has led to poor grazing and, more importantly, in some areas, to lack of water for livestock. Watermelon crops this year are very poor due to insect attacks and this reserve is not available to pastoralists. The nomadic herds have moved south earlier this year because of the dry conditions. There is some evidence of abnormal sales of animals in North Kordofan and North Darfur as indicated by declining prices for sheep and goats. No abnormal outbreaks of disease were reported to the Mission

2.4 Crop situation by region

Sudan is sub-divided into 26 states, all of which were visited by this Mission or by the October Mission to Southern Sudan. Table 3 groups these states into six main regions and presents crop production data for the last four years and compares then with a 5-year base average. Table 6 shows cereal production by region and includes a calculation of regional consumption and an estimate of the surplus or deficit (excluding any consideration of inter-regional trade, imports or the stock situation).

Table 3. Cereal area, yield and production by crop and region 1/

Area ('000 ha) Yield (kg/ha) Production ('000 tons)

Average 88/89-92/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/ 97 Average 88/89-92/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/ 97 Average 88/89-92/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/ 97

Northern 17 21 107 95 81 1 488 1 667 953 979 1 975 25 35 102 93 160
Eastern 1 539 1 622 1 984 1 403 1 843 675 512 560 500 639 1 038 831 1 111 701 1 178
Central 2 117 2 019 2 634 2 162 2 582 698 595 910 593 741 1 479 1 201 1 606 1 282 1 913
Kardofan 511 538 982 559 773 423 262 372 206 351 216 141 365 115 271
Darfur 263 278 312 245 267 419 431 805 629 854 110 120 251 154 228
South 222 205 276 272 706 388 278 379 327 501 86 57 104 89 354
Subtotal 4 669 4 683 6 295 4 736 6 252 633 509 562 514 656 2 954 2 385 3 539 2 434 4 104

Eastern 11 13 15 14 19 550 446 377 357 486 6 6 6 5 9
Central 52 60 46 53 70 348 381 302 358 414 18 23 14 19 29
Kardofan 757 453 1 697 1 033 906 130 80 244 40 113 98 36 415 41 102
Darfur 633 529 1 472 1 310 763 276 289 363 244 452 175 153 537 319 345
South 2 5 7 8 22 595 298 216 132 269 1 2 1 1 6
Subtotal 1 455 1 060 3 237 2 418 1 780 205 208 301 159 276 298 220 973 385 491

Northern 39 55 65 76 97 2 536 2 015 2 396 2 539 2 484 98 110 156 194 240
Eastern 7 11 7 31 32 1 609 969 1 282 1 429 1 688 11 11 9 44 54
Central 263 288 203 199 191 1 552 1 182 1 380 1 532 1 731 408 340 280 305 331
Darfur 2 0 3 8 11 0 0 794 921 1 455 2 0 2 7 16
Subtotal 310 354 278 314 331 1 674 1 302 1 608 1 752 1 938 519 461 447 550 641
All cereals 6 434 6 097 9 810 7 468 8 363 586 503 506 451 626 3 771 3 066 4 959 3 369 5 236

1/ Excludes maize (94 000 tons in 1996/97, mainly in the south) and small amounts of rice.

The following commentaries are a brief resumé of the situation at regional level. The section on Southern Sudan is a revision of an earlier Special Report, issued in November 1996.

2.4.1 Eastern Region

This region includes the states of Red Sea and Kassala (both normally in cereal deficit) and Gedaref (Sudan’s largest surplus state, accounting for a quarter of national sorghum production). The spate irrigation schemes of Tokar and Gash, and the New Halfa scheme are included in the region, together with 55 percent of the Rahad irrigation scheme. The surplus grain from Eastern region is largely shipped to Khartoum and, when production allows, for export from Gedaref via Port Sudan. In total, grain production is up by 73 percent on last year, mainly due to the expected near doubling of sorghum output from the Gedaref mechanized sector, to 1 million tons. Stimulated by high prices at sowing time, planted area in Gedaref was increased by almost 13 percent over the previous year, with harvested area up by 48 percent at 1.68 million hectares. Fuel supplies were generally adequate and arrived on time for the planting of the main sorghum and sesame crops.

Rainfall at Gedaref was 720 mm in 1996 compared to 529 mm in the previous year but a dry period in July adversely affected yields, particularly of sesame, the main cash crop, but also caused approximately 20 percent of the sorghum crop to be planted after mid-August. Crops planted this late were attacked by sorghum midge, a pest which prevents grain formation. This was especially important in the area south of Gedaref, to the north of Sam Sam, where crops were seen to be in poor condition due to this pest. Sorghum yields in Gedaref increased by 25 percent as a result of better rainfall and less pest damage than in the previous year. Sorghum prices were around S£ 19 000 per 90 kg sack at the time of the Mission’s visit, about double the price received one year earlier but this is due largely to inflation. Production costs also rose steeply. Lack of credit remains a major constraint on crop production in the Gedaref area, limiting areas planted through fuel and machinery shortages and also limiting the areas which can be properly weeded. Farmers were reported to have harvested early in order to benefit from relatively high prices early in the harvest season and also to generate sufficient cash to pay labour for the main harvest.

Striga infestation is a major problem in the Sam Sam mechanized rainfed area, with sorghum midge also reported to have caused considerable damage to late crops.

Flooding at Tokar (the only significant producing area in Red Sea State) was extremely poor this year due to low rainfall in the upper basin of the Barka river in north Eritrea. The planted area of sorghum and millet on the delta were well down on normal, mainly because of the poor flood but also due to mesquite encroachment. Failed sorghum has been replaced with late-sown millet both in the delta and in the Barka valley and in the rainfed areas outside the scheme. With a good start to the winter rains, these millet areas are expected to produce a reasonable crop and partly compensate for the poor sorghum output. But total cereal production will only be 3 000 tons, well below normal. Red Sea State will remain in heavy deficit, being dependent on Kassala and Gedaref and on imported wheat into Port Sudan. Sorghum prices halved in October when Gedaref lifted its restrictions on trade out of the state.

The Gash scheme is much better, with a small increase in the area planted to 15 000 hectares and a good yield expected. Sorghum production should reach the high level of 24 000 tons.

Sorghum planting increased significantly in the New Halfa scheme to 29 000 hectares as a result of high prices, and most of this was earlier planted than usual. More improved seed was used than ever before but fertilizer applications were well down (only 15 percent of total area received any fertilizer) as farmers reacted to the high fertilizer prices. Despite some difficulties with irrigation water at the extremities of the scheme, yields are good overall, benefiting from the early planting and careful management. Some dura midge and quelea damage was reported near harvest but the crop was cut early and the effect on production minimized. Total sorghum production is forecast to be 46 percent higher than last year. New Halfa wheat is also set for a favourable season with heavy plantings and the prospect of record yields as a result of more use of improved varieties and recommended fertilizer rates. Wheat production is forecast at 41 000 tons, even higher than sorghum.

2.4.2 Central Region

Central Region usually produces about half of the national sorghum crop and includes the provinces of Blue Nile, White Nile, Gezira and Sennar and the Suki Irrigation Scheme, part of the Rahad Irrigation Scheme and large mechanized rainfed areas in Damazin, the Singa area and Kosti.

The harvested area of sorghum in the Gezira Scheme increased by 4.3 percent to 169 000 hectares in 1996. Fertiliser usage increased from an estimated 60 percent of the scheme area to 80 percent in 1996, while plantings of improved sorghum varieties rose from 40 percent to 60-70 percent. As a result, average yields are much higher this year, having risen from 1 676 kg/hectare to 2 381 kg/hectare. Despite a five-course rotation being implemented, some Striga was seen in Gezira Irrigation Scheme, though it is not regarded as a major threat to yield.

Rahad Irrigation Scheme had its best sorghum year ever, due to good rains, efficient irrigation, 90 percent usage of improved sorghum varieties and to much increased fertiliser usage. Yields are expected to increase from 2 273 kg/hectare in 1995 to 3 333 kg/hectare in 1996. Total sorghum production at Rahad is estimated at 98,000 tons, an increase of 44 percent over the 1995 harvest.

Yields more than trebled in the Suki Irrigation Scheme, to 2 381 kg/hectare, as a result of greater fertiliser use allied to more widespread use of improved sorghum varieties. Fertiliser response to 100 kg/hectare of Urea was seen to be very impressive in a number of irrigated fields where direct comparisons were possible, indicating that major yield increases are possible using a relatively small input of nitrogenous fertiliser.

Input supplies in the Damazin area were reported to have been adequate; rainfall was generally well distributed, apart from a marked dry spell in July and early August which caused the loss of some crops. No major pest damage was reported. There was a big increase in the use of improved sorghum seed in Damazin, accounting for an estimated 60 percent of cropped area, compared to 10 percent in the previous year. Striga is an endemic weed here and attempts are being made by the large farming companies to control it using better crop rotations.

In Kosti, early sown sorghum was attacked by birds, and some sorghum midge damage occurred on late sown crops. Crops in the east of Kosti were better than those in the west and north, due mainly to better distribution of rainfall. Use of improved varieties is still rather low, with only about 20 percent of farmers using them and this has limited potential yields.

In Tambul and Butana, large areas of sorghum are grown in valleys which benefit from run-off from higher areas some distance away. Planted areas were reduced, due to the non-occurrence of these floods. In some areas only one such flood occurred and in these cases, yields were reduced by 40 percent. Overall, production in the traditional sector of Blue Nile, White Nile, Sennar and Gezira provinces increased by 51 percent over the 1995 harvest, to 339 000 tons.

In Sennar, rainfall was favourable in both quantity and distribution, leading to an increased harvested area, in the mechanized sector 37 percent over that of the previous year. Production was up by 52 percent, to 513 000 tons. In the traditional sector in Sennar, harvested area increased by almost 13 percent and production was up by 28 percent at 50 000 tons.

Wheat plantings are now completed in Gezira and Rahad, with a planted area of 185,000 hectares, similar to that of the previous year. Supplies of triple superphosphate were reported to be adequate, though some supplies arrived after the crops had been planted. Weather patterns have been favourable with cool nights, essential for good crop establishment and tillering.

Livestock were in very good condition in the Tambul and Butana areas, with no major problems reported. Large quantities of sorghum residues are available for animal feed.

2.4.3 Northern Region

In Northern state, summer crops of both sorghum and maize were above normal in response to favourable prices, with a combined production of 30 000 tons. But wheat is much more important to farmers in Northern state and the current high prices are stimulating large plantings. The state MANRAW has provided credit and inputs for a large crop but some delays in fuel supplies have occurred. Farmers tend to plant profitable broad beans and vegetables first, and the wheat sowings are running behind schedule, but if the cool weather continues, the delay will not affect yields. A new and intensive crop management system has been introduced by MANRAW. Although wheat production costs are now very high, the current wheat prices should ensure good management and yields should be favourable. An output of 168 000 tons is forecast from Northern State from 67 000 hectares planted - well above 1995/96.

Similar efforts by farmers and Government have been made to maximize the winter-sown wheat area in Nile State. All the inputs are in place, including fuel for cultivation of the expected wheat area of 42 000 hectares. Planting is slightly later than last year but the season is favourable so far. As in North State, the main concern now is fuel for pumping. Provided that supplies are timely (storage capacity is only one month’s consumption), the wheat crop should be a record. The Mission has forecast production at 72 000 tons, somewhat below the official target.

Nile State is also a significant producer of sorghum and maize from flooded and pumped areas ("demira"), from summer irrigation, and from rainfed crops. Production this year has been much greater than normal as farmers responded to high prices. Irrigated sorghum yields were about 2.5 tons/hectare, resulting in a total crop far above last year’s. Total sorghum in 1996/97 is forecast at 141 000 tons from all sectors plus a small amount of maize.

The Northern Region is expected to produce around 400 000 tons of all cereals in 1996/97 - well above consumption needs.

2.4.4 Kordofan Region

This region includes three states, North, West and South Kordofan. The main cereal in North and West Kordofan is traditionally-grown millet, whereas sorghum (both traditional and mechanized) is the principal crop of South Kordofan.

North Kordofan has had an extremely poor season due to poorly distributed rains and early attacks by grasshoppers. Dry spells of 40 days were common in mid-season, and half the season’s rain fell in two weeks in El Obeid and Bara. Millet on sandy soils is unable to survive irregular rainfall, and flowering and seed setting have been severely affected. Stalk borer was also common, and millet headworm reduced the already low yields even further. Only 36 percent of the planted millet area was productive over the whole state, with negligible production expected in Sodari and Bara provinces. Crops are somewhat better in Umm Rawaba and Sheikhan but still poor. Sorghum production this year is (unusually) greater than millet, the combined output being forecast at 86 000 tons. This is more than the poor harvest last year but well short of subsistence needs. There is no local millet in El Obeid market, although harvest is virtually complete. Household and commercial stocks were depleted before harvest. Millet prices remain high; sorghum is 30 percent cheaper.

West Kordofan has also had a poor year, though better than the disastrous harvest of 1995/96. With more clay wadi soils (mainly for sorghum) than North Kordofan, the State has a better potential. But in the north of the State (especially in Wad Benda, Suga el Gemel, Foja and Khoway Rural Councils) the situation is similar to North Kordofan, lying above the critical 13°N parallel. There are better crops in En Nahud and Ebesh provinces, especially of sorghum in the clay areas. But erratic rainfall and grasshopper damage has affected all crops. Over the whole state, 60 percent of the area planted has been productive but millet yields are low (150 kg/hectare of harvested land) compared to sorghum (370 kg/hectare). Total production is forecast at 134 000 tons (roughly 50:50 millet and sorghum), well below consumption needs.

South Kordofan includes traditional sorghum and mechanized production around Dilling. The large scale mechanized area has had a very good year, with improved security and good prices at planting time allowing for a doubling of planted area. to 1 012 000 hectares. Production of sorghum in the mechanized rainfed areas of South Kordofan rose by more than 100 percent to 91 000 tons.

In the traditional sector, production also doubled, to an estimated 61 000 tons compared to the previous year. Following the poor crop season in 1995, over 100 tons of sorghum, millet, groundnut and cowpea seed was distributed by FAO, UNICEF and various NGOs, and this assisted in increasing areas planted.

The rains, which normally begin in May/June, were late in many areas. In Kadugli, rainfall in June and July amounted to 161 mm, but it was spread over only 5 rain-days. This dry period coincided with the main sorghum planting season. Good rains in August, of 249 mm spread over 17 rain-days, allowed for large scale planting of sorghum and to a much lesser extent, millet. Sesame, which is an important cash crop in the area, was planted in July. There were few reports of bird damage or other serious pest attacks. Some farmers reported that grasshoppers and millipedes had attacked sorghum crops at the seedling stage, forcing multiple replantings. Striga is a major problem on sorghum crops in South Kordofan. Stem borers are also endemic.

Lack of credit for payment of labour for weeding resulted in high weed infestations in large areas, which reduced yield. There is a serious lack of machinery in South Kordofan, since not all the machinery withdrawn because of insecurity in recent years has been returned, and this is a serious constraint on planted area.

The price of sorghum in Kadugli was about S£ 24 000 per sack at early December 1996. The poor crop in North Kordofan is expected to increase demand for grain and prices are expected to remain firm.

Livestock were in good condition and no major disease problems were reported. Pastures were also assisted by the generally good rains and large quantities of crop residues were available from the increased area planted, compared to 1995.

Total cereal production for the whole of Kordofan is forecast at 373 000 tons (27 percent is millet), about two-thirds of consumption requirements. However, this masks the much more severe difficulties likely to be faced in the northern areas of North and West Kordofan.

2.4.5 Darfur Region

The region comprises North, South and West Darfur states where the main crop is normally millet but with substantial amounts of sorghum, especially in South Darfur.

The crop situation in North Darfur is similar to that in North Kordofan. Early rains were satisfactory and large areas of millet were planted in response to high prices and the run-down of stocks carried over from 1994/95. But long dry spells occurred after weeding in late August and September, leading to the development of very poor heads. Seed setting was poor and, although much of the crop had good vegetative growth, grain production is extremely low. Millet headworm has also been a problem late in the season. It is estimated that the total harvested area of millet is only 32 percent of that planted and will yields 150 kg per hectare harvested or 33 000 tons (around 15 percent of consumption needs). The relatively small area of sorghum was also badly affected by the poor rainfall and will only produce 2 300 tons. El Fasher and Umm Keddada are the worst affected provinces; Kutum is rather better and will account for most of the production from North Darfur. Grain shortages are already evident; millet prices are still very high. People are migrating southwards and now some families are diluting cereals with wild seeds. Livestock prices have been falling in response to heavy sales and a poor demand. At early December, the price ratio of one sack of millet to an average goat had risen to 3.5:1. Grazing conditions are also poor and water supplies have dried prematurely.

The Geneina Province of West Darfur has also been affected by low rainfall and poor distribution but there is a greater dependence on sorghum which has produced some grain on half the area planted. Grasshopper damage was a particular problem in Geneina this year; a new, uncontrollable species having invaded from north central Africa (Zonecerus varigatus). Its swarming habit is giving rise to serious concern in West Darfur. Wadi Saleh and Zalingei provinces were less affected by drought and pests; production (especially of sorghum) is good at 163 000 tons from these provinces alone (82 percent of the state’s production). West Darfur therefore has areas of good crops but with severe deficits in the north and west of the state. Prices are relatively low, reflecting the better supply situation for the state as a whole. Five rural councils in particular will have significant deficits in 1996/97. Grazing is poor in the north and nomads have moved south earlier than usual.

South Darfur, overall, has had a good season, although again there are problems in the north of the State bordering North Darfur. The situation is most serious in the north of Nyala province, and in pockets of Ed Daein province. Grasshopper damage and a critical dry spell in August have strongly reduced yields of millet. But in Idd el Forsan and Buram provinces, the large plantings of both millet and sorghum benefited from favourable rainfall and have produced well (70-80 percent of planted area is productive). These good areas will ensure that grain production for South Darfur is well up on last year with a forecast output of 114 000 tons of sorghum and 227 000 tons of millet, the latter accounting for nearly half of national millet production.

For Darfur region as a whole, cereal production is expected to be well below requirements, although there will be surpluses in parts of South Darfur. There is already evidence of grain moving north and west from South Darfur, attracted by large price differentials between north and south.

2.4.6 The Southern Region

Southern Sudan is divided into three regions and ten states as shown below:
Region States State Capital
Equatoria: Bahr El-Jebel Juba

Eastern Equatoria Kapoeta

Western Equatoria Yambio
Upper Nile Upper Nile Malakal

Jonglei Bor

Unity Bentiu
Bahr El-Ghazal West Bahr El-Ghazal Wau

North Bahr El-Ghazal Aweil

El-Buheirat Rumbek

Warrab Warrab

In 1996, rainfall was generally good over most areas. In Western Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria and Northern Bahr El Ghazal, rains began on time but there was a dry period during the latter half of June and all of July, forcing some farmers to replant. This dry period was followed by exceptionally heavy rains in August and September, which caused extensive flooding in Wau area. Heavy rains in Jonglei State in May affected the Pibor, Bor and Pochalla areas, resulting in floods and crop losses. Overall, however, the year’s abundant rains had a favourable impact on food production.

The Mission to the Southern Region in September/October 1996, estimated sorghum production in the ten southern states at 388 000 tons, maize at 80 000 tons and millet at 700 tons. During the current mission, visits were made to Wau area and to Renk, both of which were not visited on the previous occasion. Discussions were held with staff of the State Governments, with NGOs and MANRAW officials in both areas.

There have been three major changes in the production figures available for the Southern States, as a result of the current Mission, all of them occurring in Upper Nile State. Changes in administrative boundaries have resulted in 80 percent of the Tayara Mechanized Rainfed area being transferred to the jurisdiction of South Kordofan State and two previously unreported areas of sorghum production, Wadakona Mechanized Rainfed area, extending to 50 400 hectares and a traditional rainfed area in Renk of 22 600 hectares. Neither of these areas were included in the previous mission’s figures, but they have now been added to the Mission’s estimates for Upper Nile Mechanized and Upper Nile Traditional, respectively. This has increased estimated production of sorghum in Upper Nile Traditional area by 9 700 tons, while production in the area of Rank/Melut/Wadakona Mechanized areas is now estimated at 121 000 tons, down from 154 700 tons. This is due to boundary changes and to unfavourable rainfall in October which reduced yields of late sown crops considerably.

The increase in production in Upper Nile Traditional rainfed areas has, however, been offset by declines in production in Jonglei (Bor Province), caused by flooding, and in Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Western Bahr El Ghazal States, caused by flooding in August and September and by continued insecurity. The previous mission’s estimates for production of sorghum in Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Western Bahr El Ghazal and Bor province of Jonglei have been reduced from 60 000 tons to 50 300 tons, leaving the overall production estimate for sorghum production in the Traditional Rainfed sector in the ten southern states unchanged at 233 300 tons. No changes have been made to the earlier mission’s sorghum production estimates for the states of Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria, Bahr El Jebel, El Buheirat, Unity and Warrab.

Millet production estimates have been increased from 700 tons to 6 000 tons which is more in line with long term time series estimates. This crop is particularly important in the Lopit area of Eastern Equatoria and in the Kapoeta area. Small amounts are widely distributed as estimated in Table.4, with some finger millet being grown in Western Equatoria.

Maize production estimates have been reduced from 85 000 tons in the previous mission’s report to 80 000 tons as shown in Table 4.

Although the revised total cereal production level of 440 300 tons would bring the south as a whole to near self-sufficiency (for the revised population figure of 4 783 631), the practical difficulties arising from the current civil insecurity and the poor infrastructure and the lack of commercial trade make it virtually impossible to move the grain from surplus to deficit areas. Roads and bridges are in bad condition after 13 years of conflict. Thus, for highly deficit areas such as Juba, Wau, Gogrial and parts of Jonglei State, including Pochalla and Pibor, transport of surplus cereals from Western Equatoria and Upper Nile states will not be possible. Moreover, while in Pibor, animal products cover an important part of food needs and the cattle population is rising after the abundant rains of this year, few coping mechanisms are available in Gogrial, Wau and Juba, where insecurity has prevented adequate cereal cultivation and livestock owners have been impoverished by cattle raiding. The high urban populations of Juba and Wau are also affected by unemployment, due to the downturn in economic activity.

The populations of Wau and Juba are especially badly affected by food scarcity, and mainly because of the insecurity in these areas they have less land available for farming. Plots are used to grow sorghum on a continuous basis and, as a result, striga infestation is very high. The price of sorghum in the Wau market during the Mission’s visit in early December was S£ 80 000 per sack, putting it far beyond the reach of the majority of the people of the town. Sweet potatoes are a main staple at present, with cassava also widely available. Groundnuts are an important crop in the Wau area as a cash crop and for oil. Groundnut oil and cassava leaves are eaten together, but as a result of the floods in August and September, much of the groundnut production in the area was destroyed and prices of groundnuts are extremely high. It is estimated that sweet potatoes can continue to provide food until January, but by March 1997, the situation in Wau could be critical. It is recommended that the food supply situation, which may improve with the opening of the Raga road in the dry season, be monitored closely.

Another factor causing the drop in cereal production in the Wau area is that farmers have recently moved production from cropland on higher ground to lower lying areas following a series of poor years. In 1996, heavy floods from rivers and high rainfall resulted in the inundation of thousands of hectares of sorghum, groundnuts and cassava in Bahr El Ghazal. Similar conditions occurred in Pibor and Pochalla and in parts of Unity and El Buheirat states, but the expected drop in production in these areas had already been factored in to the previous mission’s production estimates.

Table 4: Cereal Production in Southern Sudan, 1996

Sector/State Sorghum Maize Millet Total Area Total Prod.

('000 ha)
('000 tons)
('000 ha)
('000 tons)
('000 ha)
('000 tons)
('000 ha) ('000 tons)
Upper Nile State

Renk 183.6 93.1 1.9 3.6 3.8 1 189.3 97.7
Malakal 2.0 1.7

2.0 1.7
Melut 12.5 2.4

12.5 2.4
Wadakona 50.4 23.7

50.4 23.7
Total Mechanized 248.5 120.9 1.9 3.6 3.8 1.0 254.2 125.5
Western Equatoria 49.2 48.9 21.2 21.5 2.0 0.5 72.4 70.9
Bahr El Jebel 45.7 22.0 5.1 2.4 2.0 0.2 52.8 24.6
Eastern Equatoria 51.4 23.6 34.3 16.0 2.7 1.0 88.4 40.6
Jonglei 56.4 18.2 21.2 4.4 2.0 0.4 79.6 23.0
Upper Nile 56.1 25.5 10.1 6.9 2.5 1.8 68.7 34.2
Unity State 32.0 10.3 13.7 2.4 1.0 0.2 46.7 12.9
El-Buheirat 68.4 36.7 24.0 14.0 1.0 0.3 93.4 51.0
Warrab 29.8 16.1 12.8 6.6 2.0 0.2 44.6 22.9
West Bahr El Ghazal 48.7 19.6 4.5 1.1 1.0 0.2 54.2 20.9
North Bahr El Ghazal 49.2 12.4 5.1 1.1 1.0 0.2 55.3 13.7
Total Traditional 486.9 233.3 152.0 76.4 21.0 5.0 656.1 314.7
Grand Total 735.4 354.3 153.9 80 21.0 6.0 910.3 440.3


3.1 Supply/demand balance for 1996/97

Table 5 indicates the finally estimated food grain balance for 1996/97.

Table 5: Sudan - Foodgrain balance sheet, 1996/97 (‘000 tons)

A. Domestic Availability 5 596
Production 5 330
Opening stocks 266
B. Total Utilization 5 991
Food use 3 978
Feed use 208
Other uses 546
Exports (mostly sorghum) 593
Closing stocks 666
C. Import Requirement 395
Commercial imports (mostly wheat) 321
Food aid (mostly wheat) 74

3.1.1 Opening Stocks

1996/97 started with one of the lowest cereal stock levels on record, with almost no carryover of the high output year of 1994/95 and very little from 1995/96. The Mission found very little "old" grain on commercial markets in late November 1996. Record pre-harvest prices indicate the extremely limited supplies of grain and, in some areas, it was possible to begin harvest early and relieve the shortage.

3.1.2 1996/97 Production

The year has produced a record sorghum crop and, even though millet output is disappointing, total cereals (including wheat) are expected to be close to the 1994/95 level, at 5.33 million tons. The estimated output of wheat may need revision as the winter season develops. The improved supplies anticipated should allow some rebuilding of stocks, an increase in consumption and the strong possibility of exports.

3.1.3 Food Consumption

The Mission was able to obtain a more reliable estimate of the population in the south which was slightly less than assumed in previous years. A 2.62 percent growth rate was applied to the population estimates for the northern states and to the new 1996 estimate for the south. This gives a mid-1997 population for Sudan of 27.15 million (0.7 percent higher than assumed last year).

In view of the improved grain supplies anticipated in 1996/97, and the downward pressure on real prices, the Mission has raised the "all cereals" per caput consumption from a previous planning figure of 142 kg to 146.5 kg (158.6 kg in the northern states and 90 kg in the south). Due to tight supplies and expensive grain last year, per caput consumption had been only 139 kg, so the increase expected this year represents a rise of 5.4 percent on the year. This should allow improved intakes and some reduction in undernutrition. The figure used for 1996/97 is slightly above the level derived for 1994/95 (144.5 kg) and similar to 1992/93 (146.3 kg).

Other non-cereal components of the diet are assumed to provide the difference in calorie intake necessary to meet nutritional requirements. Compared with last year, most of the 6.2 percent increase in total food grain consumption is for sorghum (forecast at 93.6 kg) in line with the expected improved supplies. Millet consumption remains low at 15.4 kg/caput, as production is poor, stocks are small and imports impracticable. Wheat consumption (at 34.6 kg/caput) is back up to the levels which were common in the mid-1990s before the large rise in international prices in 1995/96.

3.1.4 Non-food use

The use of cereals for animal feed and seed is expected to rise in line with the increase in production as a result of improved availability and lower real prices than in 1996. Together with an estimate for waste (which will also increase this year), total non-food use is forecast at 754 000 tons or 14.1 percent of gross production. Most of the feed use is provided by sorghum. The seed requirements for wheat are high but are low for millet.

3.1.5 Exports

An export ban has been in effect for the past 12 months and the Government is still cautious about allowing exports from the 1996/97 sorghum crop. However, even after allowing for a rise in domestic consumption of 524 000 tons and a stock build-up of 400 000 tons, there would still appear to be scope for exports of sorghum. At the production forecast made by the Mission and using the assumptions in Table 5, nearly 600 000 tons of exports appear feasible. But the export possibilities are very dependent on the domestic production estimates - these would have to be 11 percent lower in order for there to be no possibility of exports. As the season unfolds (especially for late harvested sorghum and winter wheat), it will be necessary to review the surplus situation.

Small amounts of unofficial cross-border exports seem likely from South Darfur into Chad (where there has been a poor harvest) and even from Gedaref into Eritrea (which has an exceptionally large deficit). But these are not expected to be large; there are few surpluses in the west, and the border remains tightly closed in the east. Ethiopia has a bumper harvest, heavy stocks and low prices, so there are virtually no prospects of significant exports from Sudan. The main demand will be for exports out of Port Sudan to the Arab States, but much will depend on the competitiveness of Gedaref prices in international terms.

It is expected that when the Government is confident about this year’s crop, it will judiciously allow exports, though with fairly tight regulation. Donors may also be interested in Sudanese sorghum for triangular food aid transactions, for example, to Kenya.

3.1.6 Imports

Despite the anticipated excellent crop of domestic wheat, 42 percent of Sudan’s consumption requirements are expected to be met by imports (provisionally estimated at 395 000 tons). Wheat imports have varied greatly over the years but this forecast represents an average of the last six years. The figure includes 74 000 tons of imported food aid although in practice, other cereals than wheat may be imported as food aid. Donors are urged to consider local purchases of sorghum from the surplus areas in the east and centre of the country, in order to support markets, minimize transport costs and to ensure locally-acceptable varieties of cereals.

Commercial imports of wheat are expected to be around 320 000 tons with about 40 percent as flour (converted at 0.72 to grain in all calculations).

Unofficial imports from Ethiopia are possible but price differentials may not be attractive to traders. At this stage, the Mission has assumed no cross-border trade into Sudan.

3.1.7 Closing stocks

There is no possibility of rebuilding millet stocks this year because of the forecast low production. The depleted stock position is expected to remain at the end of October 1997. Wheat stocks are also expected to stay low because it seems unlikely that scarce foreign exchange will be used to finance a stock build-up of an imported commodity.

But, for sorghum, there is considerable scope for building up stocks. First, farmers, traders and individual consumers will increase their stockholding during the year in response to better availability and lower cereal prices. These stocks will be held in households, in matmuras and in grain stores held by the commercial sector. Second, it is anticipated that stocks held by parastatal organizations such as the Agricultural Bank of Sudan will increase (for example as Salam loans for harvesting are repaid in kind). Third, the possibility of building a strategic grain reserve should be seriously considered by Government. The Mission identified a strong interest in this possibility at both federal level and at individual states. It was recognized that this year would constitute an opportune time to build such a reserve in view of the plentiful supplies in the surplus areas, and the need for Sudan to have a buffer against future years with poor seasons. The costs of procurement and storage should be examined and financial sources identified.

3.2 Deficit and surplus areas

The forecast difference between net cereal production and consumption is shown in Table 6 for each of the main regions. Consumption figures are calculated using the population estimates developed by the Mission. On this basis (which ignores stock changes and trade) the national surplus is 0.55 million tons. Surpluses are evident in the Northern, Eastern and Central regions and deficits in the west (520 000 tons) and south (57 000 tons).

Table 6: Regional cereal production and consumption, 1996/97 (‘000 tons)

Sorghum Millet Maize Wheat All cereals Net prod. Population Consumpt. requirements Balance
Northern 160 0 14 240 414 352 1 448 230 122
Eastern 1 178 9 0 54 1 241 1 055 3 285 521 534
Central 1 913 29 0 331 2 273 1 932 9 211 1 461 471
Kordofan 271 102 0 0 373 317 3 275 519 -202
Darfur 228 345 0 16 589 501 5 147 816 -316
South 354 6 80 0 440 374 4 784 431 -57
Total 4 104 491 94 641 5 330 4 531 27 150 3 978 553

As in many previous years, deficits in the west will be generally met (or partially met) by transport from east to west through normal commercial marketing channels. But this year, the Mission was particularly concerned at the possibility that some provinces and Rural Council areas in Darfur and Kordofan have such a serious shortfall and such a depletion of asset values that there may be serious problems of access to commercially marketed food supplies. The problems of these specific areas are masked by the regional balances in Table 5. The locations (specified in the regional commentaries above) should be monitored carefully to identify any deteriorating situation in which Government or donors may intervene using locally purchased grain from the surplus regions.

3.3 Food aid requirements

3.3.1 Emergency Food Aid Requirement

Sudan had a bumper harvest in 1994/95 which considerably improved the food security of the country. The 1995/96 cereal production was 32 percent below the bumper harvest level but did not significantly disturb the government’s on-going programme of decreasing the level of food aid and increasing self sufficiency. The forecast for 1996/97 production is similar to the 1994/95 level. However, certain states in the North still suffer from shortages due to chronic drought and low carryover stocks. The level of trade has also been disrupted for the displaced population in the transitional states due to insecurity and civil conflict. Malnutrition is not a serious problem and no hunger-related deaths have been reported by the Government in 1996. The economic situation, however, continues to be unstable in the North and civil strife and insecurity still prevail in the South and in the transitional zones.

Therefore food aid assistance will still be necessary for the following categories of displaced persons and others:-

After undertaking regular rapid assessments of the food economy of the affected areas which included income surveys of household, the country may be in need of limited food aid in certain chronic deficit areas. A contingency plan for intervention could be envisaged through local purchase or transport of food for the Government by WFP from surplus-producing areas to the deficit zones. Provision of quantities of food aid could be allocated to the vulnerable population during the traditional lean season in the Northern States. Food supplies during the lean period will curtail rural migration, provide the needed calories for the season's agricultural activities and encourage a stable work-force. The livestock sub-sector appears healthy and has acted, as in the previous years, as a cushion for 1996.

Under the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) a total of 52 176 metric tons of emergency food aid (38 931 tons of cereal and 11 814 tons of non-cereal food) will be required for an estimated 2.6 million displaced and other affected people in 1997. In formulating the net requirement, carry-over stock from 1996 and outstanding pledges including the ones from NGOs have been taken into account.

The above emergency food aid needs are in addition to 45,000 tons of project food aid that are to be imported to Sudan for the on-going development projects and partly under relief and rehabilitation projects external to OLS operation. It should be noted that food assistance to Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees currently residing in Sudan is under a separate relief programme.

3.3.7 1997 - Planning and Implementation Strategies of food basket

Components of the ration will remain as proposed for 1996.

As in the past, collaboration with other UN agencies and NGOs should continue in development projects which may be fine-tuned to a disaster mitigation context. Participatory community development projects will be implemented through these agencies primarily to enhance food security, create assets and facilitate afforestation. There will be increased involvement of the local councils and Federal Government, particularly in the School Feeding Project in which these tiers of government participate.

Development projects will continue to be implemented in vulnerable areas, further identified through rapid assessment studies undertaken jointly with WFP, NGOs and the GOS. These projects will be implemented through the food for work (FFW) programme which should be maintained at the level of 1996. The implementation of the School Feeding Programme will continue and is expected to strengthen the intervention process. Emphasis should continue to be on vulnerable groups to maximise the benefits and impact of food aid.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.
Abdur Rashid M. Zejjari
Chief, GIEWS, FAO Regional Director, OSA, WFP
Telex 610181 FAO I Telex: 626675 WFP I
Fax: 0039-6-5225-4495 Fax: 0039-6-5228-2839
E-Mail: INTERNET: [email protected]

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