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Reference Date: 14-August-2023


  1. Dire food security situation due to ongoing conflict

  2. Major concerns for production of 2023 crops due to insecurity, input shortages, localized moisture deficits and unfavourable weather forecasts

  3. Cereal prices at very 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 20.3 million people are estimated to be severely acutely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 [Crisis] and Phase 4 [Emergency]) between July and September 2023. This figure, which includes about 14 million people in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and more than 6.25 million in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) levels of acute food insecurity, amounts to 42 percent of the analysed population, compared to 24 percent in the same period of the previous year.

The main driver of the dramatic deterioration of the food security situation is the conflict that erupted on 15 April 2023 between the Sudanese armed forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid support forces (RSF). The conflict has resulted in 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 the severe and widespread insecurity resulted in the displacement of more than 3 million people.

The highest levels of severity and prevalence of food insecurity are reported where the conflict is more intense, namely the Greater Darfur and the Greater Kordofan regions and Khartoum State, where between 43 and 62 percent of the population is estimated to be severely acutely food insecure.

Major concerns for production of 2023 crops due to insecurity, inputs shortages, localised moisture deficits and unfavourable weather forecasts

The conflict is seriously affecting the 2023 cropping season through insecurity and input shortages.

Insecurity is the main constraint to agricultural operations in the Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan regions, where, impeding access to fields in several areas, resulted in reduced plantings, which will lead to a decrease in crop production.

By contrast, in the main crop producing areas in the southeast (El Gedaref, Sennar, El Gezira, Blue Nile, White Nile, Kassala states), where access to fields is mostly unimpeded due to a better security situation, the main constraint to agricultural operations is the collapse of the banking system. It prevented several owners of commercially oriented, large‑scale farms from accessing financial resources to purchase key agricultural inputs, including seeds, fertilizers, fuel, labour and machinery, and the ensuing reduced input application will result in lower yields and in a decrease in production also in these more secure areas.

The rainy season has been characterized by a timely onset and abundant rainfall amounts in June, followed by below‑average rains in July in parts of the Greater Kordofan Region, White Nile, El Gezira, El Gedaref and Kassala states (Precipitation anomaly map). As a result of these rainfall deficits, according to FAO’S Agricultural Stress Index, as of late July, between 25 and 55 percent of cropland was affected by drought in some key southeastern crop growing areas.

According to the latest weather forecast by the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF), the remainder of the June‑September rainy season is expected to be characterized by below‑average rainfall amounts over several cropping areas, with a likely negative impact on yields. Rainfall performance in the next weeks will be crucial for crop development and a close monitoring is warranted.

To avert the total collapse of rural livelihoods, FAO has scaled up its response, assisting over 1 million smallholder, vulnerable farmers with cereal seeds (sorghum, millet) and okra seeds, and 1.3 million pastoralists with livestock services and inputs.

Cereal prices at very high levels

Since the start of the conflict, prices of cereals have followed mixed trends, as trade disruptions resulted in market fragmentation.

In the capital, Khartoum, where the conflict is particularly heavy, prices of cereals, already at very high levels in March, surged after the start of the conflict as the sustained demand could not be satisfied by a reduced offer due to disruptions of trade flows originating from key producing areas and the physical destruction of markets. Prices of sorghum and millet increased by about 60 percent between March and June, while prices of wheat more than doubled over the same period. Similarly, in Greater Darfur Region, another area where the conflict is particularly intense, prices of sorghum increased by 25 and 30 percent between March and June in Ad‑Dain market in East Darfur State and in Nyala in South Darfur State.

By contrast, prices of sorghum declined between March and June in El Gedaref market, located in the main producing area, and prices of wheat decreased by 9 percent over the same period in Dongola, the reference market for locally produced wheat, as trade routes towards western deficit areas are disrupted due to insecurity and informal taxation.

Overall, prices of cereals are at exceptionally high levels across the country, constraining food access in a context of reduced households’ purchasing power, undermined by a sharp reduction of employment opportunities and severe difficulties in accessing bank and mobile money accounts, due to the paralysis of the banking system.

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) .