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Reference Date: 06-June-2024


  1. Dire food security situation due to ongoing conflict

  2. Concerns for 2024 cereal production due to widespread insecurity and input shortages

  3. Below‑average cereal production in 2023

  4. Cereal prices at exceptionally high levels

Dire food security situation due to ongoing conflict

According to the results of the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, about 17.7 million people (37 percent of the population) were estimated to be severely acute food insecure (IPC Phase 3 [Crisis] and Phase 4 [Emergency]) between October 2023 and February 2024. This figure, which includes about 12.8 million people in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and about 4.9 million in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) levels of acute food insecurity, is more than twice the figure of the 7.7 million people estimated in the same period of the previous year.

The main driver of the dire food security situation is the ongoing conflict that, since its start in April 2023, has caused the destruction of key economic infrastructures, especially in the capital, Khartoum, the main business hub, with the ensuing paralysis of most economic activities. Food trade and marketing disruptions, pillages of food stocks and severe constraints to the delivery of humanitarian assistance are reported, and widespread insecurity resulted in the internal displacement of 6.8 million people.

The highest levels and prevalence of acute food insecurity, between 45 and 55 percent of the population, are reported in the Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan regions, and in Khartoum State, where the conflict is more intense.

In December 2023, the conflict spread to El Gezira and White Nile states and intensified in North Darfur, West and South Kordofan states, with an ensuing deterioration of the local food security situation. According to an IPC Alert published in March 2024, without an immediate cessation of hostilities and a significant scaling up of humanitarian assistance, households in Khartoum and Gezira states, and in the Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan regions, are at risk of reaching Phase 5 (Catastrophe) levels of acute food insecurity during the lean season between April‑May and September 2024.

Concerns for 2024 cereal production due to widespread insecurity and input shortages

Planting of the 2024 cereal crops, for harvest from November, has begun in early June and will be concluded in late July. Although the June to September rains are forecast by the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) at above‑average levels across the country, there are concerns for the 2024 cereal output, as the conflict spread to southeastern key‑producing areas in late 2023 and persisting shortages of agricultural inputs will continue to constrain yields.

To mitigate the impact of the conflict on agricultural production, FAO plans to assist 1.8 million farmers’ households (9 million individuals) with locust monitoring and control, restocking of perished livestock and distribution of animal feed, farming equipment and seeds (sorghum, millet, sesame, watermelon, groundnuts, okra and vegetables).

Below‑average cereal production in 2023

The performance of the 2023 cropping season has been very poor due to the impact of the conflict, which caused widespread insecurity, large‑scale displacements and severe shortages, and soaring prices of agricultural inputs. An erratic spatial and temporal distribution of seasonal rains, with prolonged dry spells in southeastern key‑producing areas, further diminished yields and contributed to reducing crop production.

According to the findings of the government‑led Annual Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, the 2023 production of cereals (sorghum, millet and wheat) is estimated at about 4.1 million tonnes, 46 percent below the output obtained in the previous year and about 40 percent below the average of the previous five years. In Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur regions, where the conflict has been particularly intense, cereal production is estimated at up to 80 percent below the average, with an almost total crop failure recorded in West Darfur State, where farmers were prevented access to their fields.

The output of cash crops, important sources of farmers’ revenue and foreign currency, has also been severely affected by the conflict. Production of sesame, groundnuts, sunflower and cotton is estimated at 40‑60 percent below average.

Cereal import requirements in 2024 are forecast at about 3.38 million tonnes, including 2.44 million tonnes of wheat and 662 000 tonnes of sorghum. However, the limited financial and logistical capacity of the country raises concerns about the possibility of satisfying these import needs.

Cereal prices at exceptionally high levels

Cereal prices, which have been following a sustained increasing trend in recent years due to macroeconomic challenges, increased at faster rates since the beginning of the conflict, soaring due to insufficient supplies, disruptions of trade flows and physical destruction of markets. Between March 2023, immediately before the outbreak of hostilities, and March 2024, prices of domestically produced sorghum, millet and mostly imported wheat more than doubled in nearly all monitored markets.

The exceptionally high level of cereal prices is severely constraining food access in the context of reduced households’ purchasing power, undermined by a sharp reduction of employment opportunities.

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 the Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan has not yet been determined. The final status of the Abyei area is not yet determined.

This brief was prepared using the following data/tools:

FAO/GIEWS Country Cereal Balance Sheet (CCBS) .

FAO/GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Tool .

FAO/GIEWS Earth Observation for Crop Monitoring .

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) .