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High needs persist amid heavy fighting and poor progress of the season

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Sudan
  • August 2023
High needs persist amid heavy fighting and poor progress of the season

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Most Likely Acute Food Security Outcomes
  • Most likely food security outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian assistance
  • Key Messages
    • The ongoing conflict in Sudan continues to drive atypically high humanitarian needs during the peak of the lean season (August-September). Widespread crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) persist, particularly in Khartoum and in areas of Greater Darfur, Greater Kordofan, and Blue Nile with large urban centers that have been affected by direct fighting. Of highest concern are urban populations in El Geneina, Nyala, and Kadugli due to the impacts of intensive fighting, with some households in El Geneina likely facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) given the severity of fighting that has significantly disrupted household mobility and delivery of assistance since mid-April. Additionally, urban populations in Khartoum remain of high concern given the continued severe disruption to food and income access and likelihood of high number of households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.     
    • As the conflict in Sudan approaches its fifth month, the clashes have continued to cause damage and destruction to critical infrastructure; disrupt trade, markets, and services, including humanitarian aid; interrupt livelihood and economic activities; and undermine household access to food and income sources in affected areas. Widespread looting and asset losses that have characterized the conflict are likely to have profound implications for household recovery, particularly for the estimated 5.1 million people displaced as of the end of August.
    • Overall, cultivation has been widely disrupted due to the conflict and area planted for the ongoing 2023/24 main agricultural season is expected to be below average. In relatively more secure areas, particularly in the semi-mechanized and irrigated sectors in the southeast, cultivation was delayed and disrupted by limited access to financing, and the shortage, high costs, and delayed access to agricultural inputs. In areas near to heavy fighting, there have been reports of little to no planting due to reduced access. These reductions are likely to compromise the expected yield and overall harvest of the season.  
    • The economic situation has continued to deteriorate through August, driven by persistently low foreign currency reserves, high inflation rates, severe disruptions to economic activity, and reductions in export revenue due to the ongoing conflict. Prices of staple goods continue to rise in most markets at the same time that income opportunities for most are deteriorating, leading to declining purchasing power. This is particularly true for poor households in conflict-affected urban areas.

    Current Situation

    Conflict and displacements: The conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued unabated as it neared its fifth month, with affected areas experiencing large-scale looting and asset losses; burning of markets and houses; and occupation and destruction of public institutions and private residences. The impact has been to further deepen the crises playing out in the health, education, transportation, electricity and water service provision, and banking systems in conflict-affected areas. The most severe impacts on household livelihoods and acute food insecurity continue to be in main urban areas experiencing heavy fighting, which is significantly limiting population mobility and access to primary livelihood options, in addition to the considerable collateral damage to services and infrastructure. In most rural areas, the impact of the conflict continues to be more indirect as insecurity along trade routes is reducing trade flows and causing prices to rise above already seasonally high levels, thereby negatively affecting household access to food at a time when reliance on market purchases is typically high. Notable exceptions include in some rural areas of West and South Darfur where there is more direct conflict.

    In August, the most intense fighting and shelling was reported in downtown Khartoum, Bahri, and Omdurman localities of Khartoum, as both sides vied for control over strategic sites, including the Armored Corps base. Outside of Khartoum, conflict also surged in Nyala town of South Darfur between SAF and RSF, as well as in Kadugli of South Kordofan between SAF and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North-Al Hilu (SPLM-N/AH) (Figure 1). The fighting has resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths, thousands displaced, and serious disruption in household access to food and income sources. Clashes were also recorded in smaller towns and in some rural areas of Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur, including Al Rahad, Um Rawaba, and Wad Ashan areas in North Kordofan; Sirba and Misterei localities in West Darfur; and Kubom locality in South Darfur. In El Geneina of West Darfur and Zalingei of Central Darfur, both towns that have experienced severe violence and ethnically based killings in the past four months, violent events have declined over the past month, with the acting governor of West Darfur confirming a temporary ceasefire agreement between warring parties as of July 29 (Figure 1). However, tensions remain high, and fear of reprisals is likely continuing to undermine household mobility and capacity to engage in livelihood activities or access adequate food and income sources.

    Figure 1

    Occurrence of violent events by state and sized by fatalities, April – August 2023
    Graph showing violent events scaled by fatalities between April and August 2023

    Source: FEWS NET using Armed Conflict Location & Event Data (ACLED)

    As of the end of August, approximately 4 million people have been internally displaced and an additional 1.1 million have fled to neighboring countries. While displacement out of Khartoum remains the most significant proportion of the internally displaced, August saw a large surge in displacement from South Darfur (DTM Sudan). The highest caseloads of IDPs have been reported residing in River Nile and Northern states, followed by North Darfur and White Nile states. With displaced populations mostly living within host communities, the pressure on available food and income resources is increasing, particularly as many household stocks have depleted and reliance on market purchases has increased at the same time that food prices are seasonally at their highest levels.

    Rainfall performance: In August, above-average rainfall across the northern portion of the country from east to west (Red Sea, River Nile, North Kordofan, and North Darfur) helped to reduce rainfall deficits that had accumulated as a result of below-average rainfall in July (Figure 2a). In the southern and southeastern parts of the country, cumulative seasonal rainfall has been largely average according to CHIRPS satellite data, however, it has been poorly distributed with below-average rainfall in the latter months of the production season (July and August) linked to the current El Niño, particularly in parts of El Gedaref, Sennar, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and West Kordofan. 

    The rainfall deficits, spatial and temporal irregularities in rainfall distribution, and persistence of above-average temperatures (Figure 2b) have been aggravated by direct and indirect impacts of the conflict on cultivation and crop production. Combined, these factors have contributed to below-average vegetation greenness as of the end of August, as measured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), across much of the primary production areas in the southeast, notably eastern parts of North Kordofan, Al Jazirah, and northern El Gadaref (figure 2c). These vegetative deficits further extend into much of Kassala, and in localized parts of Greater Darfur states and West Kordofan. On the other hand, average to above-average vegetation greenness was observed in some areas south of El Gadaref and Blue Nile, parts of West and South Kordofan states, and over scattered areas in Greater Darfur. However, it should be noted that NDVI does not discern between crop growth and vegetative growth in fallow fields. Indeed, preliminary analytical results of satellite imagery over parts of West, Central, and South Darfur suggest the likely presence of fallow fields in some areas of Greater Darfur, as corroborated by key informant information. Further detailed analysis of the extent of fallow fields and of reduced or delayed cultivation will be triangulated with the results of a planned joint crop assessment mission in mid- to late-September and presented in the upcoming October Food Security Outlook.

    Figure 2

    (a) Seasonal cumulative rainfall (June 1 – September 5) as a percent of normal (left); (b) Average land surface temperature (June – August) as a percent of normal (center); and (c) vegetative greenness (NDVI) as a percent of mean as of August 21-31, 2023
    Maps of Sudan showing cumulative rainfall June 1 to September 5 (left), land surface temperature percent of mean for June-August (center), and vegetative greenness (NDVI) as a percent of mean as of August 21-31, 2023

    Source: FEWS NET/UC Santa Barbara Climate Hazards Center & USGS

    2023/24 agricultural season progress: The ongoing conflict and insecurity has contributed directly and indirectly to delayed and below-average planting and cultivation, as well as to shifts to less-resource intensive cereal production under rainfed systems. This is expected to contribute to lower yields and below average production this year. Reduced physical access to fields was reported across many parts of Greater Darfur, particularly in West Darfur, South Darfur, and Central Darfur, as well as in localities of rural El Obeid, parts of Shaikan, Al Rahad and Um Rowaba of North Kordofan; and in parts of Al Debebat, Delanj, and Kadugli localities in South Kordofan. In the semi-mechanized and irrigated sectors which predominate in central and southeastern Sudan, access to fields was relatively better than in areas affected by direct fighting, although it deteriorates in areas closer to Khartoum resulting in likely below average production in irrigation schemes in northern Al Jazirah state. In parts of the Gezira Scheme, the largest irrigated agricultural project in Sudan, farmers are warning of a likely poor performance of the summer season’s crops including cotton, sorghum and ground nuts citing a number of challenges as highlighted above. Overall cultivation in semi-mechanized and irrigated sectors is expected to be lower than in the rainfed traditional sector due to the combination of greater reliance on bank credits and thus the larger impact of limited and delayed access to finance; shortage, high prices, and delayed access to agricultural inputs and labor; and a shift in production away from semi-mechanized and cash crop production to less resource-intensive and less costly cereal crop production under traditional rainfed systems. 

    For planted crops, the crop development status varies widely across the country depending on the timing of planting and rainfall precipitation. In most of the traditional sector, cereal crops are in early vegetative growth and some are at the flowering stage, while most of the cash crops are at vegetative growth due to delayed planting. Given the outlook of below to significantly below national harvest, a joint mid-season assessment is planned for the third week of September to assess the agricultural season's performance and crop development, the results of which will be presented in the October Food Security Outlook.

    Livestock production: According to CHIRPS waterpoint data as of the end of August, surface water conditions were low, between 50 to 99 percent of long-term median water levels, across most of the monitored water points in South Kordofan, West Kordofan, Blue Nile, as well as around El Obeid. Typically, seasonal livestock migration from southern grazing areas in South Sudan to northern grazing pastures begins in mid-June, but the major animal migratory routes in Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan have been affected by insecurity, limiting livestock northward seasonal migration to the wet season grazing areas. As a result, livestock are concentrated in the relatively secure areas of Al Butana grazing areas in El Gadaref and Kassala states, Al Baja grazing areas in White Nile state, and some relatively secure areas in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. This concentration can lead to over-grazing as well as increase the chances of clashes between farmers and herders. In addition, a shortage and lack of drugs and vaccines and the absence of routine vaccination campaigns are widely reported across the country, increasing the possibility of disease outbreaks particularly given the concentration of livestock.

    Macroeconomy: The economic situation has continued to deteriorate in Sudan through August 2023, driven by persistently low foreign currency reserves, high inflation rates, and severe disruption to economic activity. This has been exacerbated by the ongoing conflict as the government continues to face major reductions in export revenue and limited capacity to stimulate the economy. Following relative stability during the last few months of the conflict, the Sudanese pound (SDG) parallel exchange rates with the United States Dollar (USD) resumed a sharp increase of 14 percent between July and August 2023, from 625 SDG/USD to 710 SDG/USD compared to   595 SDG/USD in March and 570 SDG/USD in June (Figure 4). This increase has been partly driven by the relative increase in household and private companies' demand for hard currencies, particularly following the announcement by the Ministry of Interior of the successful retrieval of the civil registry database, resumption of the issuance of passports, partial re-opening of Sudan’s airspace, and the resumption of commercial flights from Port Sudan airport. Despite the announced high cost per passport, long queues were reported outside the passport facilities in the different states.

    Figure 3

    Official and parallel market exchange rates, January 2020 – August 2023
    Graph of official and parallel market exchange rates, January 2020-August 2023

    Source: FEWS NET, data from

    Trade flow and market functionality: According to FEWS NET analysis, routes in and out of Khartoum remain largely inaccessible, with minimal to no activity, and reduced movement only along the Dongola-Omdurman route. In the East, routes face some disruption and reduced activity from Port Sudan down to El Gedaref, Sennar, and Madani, but deteriorate further south into Blue Nile and parts of White Nile. Some new unpaved routes are increasingly being used instead of the tarmac roads to avoid RSF checkpoints. According to field reports, the road by the western bank of the White Nile is now being used for cereals supplies from central Sudan to Omdurman, although with higher associated costs that limit profitability for traders and increase retail prices for consumers. El Obeid remains a heavily contested site between RSF and SAF with serious implications for the supply and prices in markets in central, eastern, and western Sudan, particularly El Fasher and Nyala markets. The security situation deteriorates even more across Greater Darfur, likely resulting in greatly reduced market trade flows within the Darfur region, with the most severely impacted market likely to be El Geneina given the intensity of conflict there.

    Staple food prices: The trends in prices for key staple foods continue to vary across the markets given the different implications the conflict has had on trade flows of imported and domestic cereals. In Khartoum, the sorghum price increased again by 5 percent between July and August, now 70 percent higher than observed in March before the conflict. The level of cereal prices in the city continued to be the highest across Sudan, registering 718, 1086, and 1066 SDG per kilogram for sorghum, millet, and wheat, respectively. Prices remain consistently high and rising in the western markets that face tighter than normal stocks given disruption to trade flow from the eastern supply markets. However, prices have also increased considerably in Ad Demazin, one of the main sorghum-producing centers, rising 44 percent between July and August, as well as in Al Nuhood in West Kordofan, Kosti in White Nile, El Obeid of North Kordofan, Medani of Al Jazirah and Gadaref markets, which saw increases of between 13 to 28 percent (Figure 4). The recent steep increases in some markets are due to a combination of factors on both the demand and supply sides. Demand is higher than normal given that sorghum has increasingly become an essential substitute for bread amid disruptions to the wheat supply chain and high bread prices. At the same time, supply is declining rapidly as speculators hoard stocks in anticipation of even higher prices in coming months given the below-normal performance of the ongoing summer season and the continued disruption in the markets. Nationally, the average sorghum price in August was 14 percent higher than in July, 10 percent higher than in August 2022.

    Figure 4

    Percent change in retail sorghum prices from March to August 2023
    bar chart showing price changes between March and August for retail sorghum prices

    Source: FEWS NET, data from Food and Agricultural Market Information System (FAMIS)

    Millet and wheat retail prices have similarly seen steady increases month-on-month, as well as between March and August 2023. The pattern observed for sorghum prices across the monitored markets is generally the same for millet, although the increases in the price of millet in August relative to March have been less steep than for sorghum owing to the higher millet production in the last harvest (2022/23) compared to the year prior (2021/22) and thus the relatively better stocks currently available in markets compared to the same time last year. The average millet price in August 2023 was 15 percent lower relative to August 2022 due to better stock availability. Wheat prices have also increased since March at steeper rates than sorghum and millet. The greater increases were seen in Sennar, Khartoum, and Kadugli markets where prices have more than doubled over the past 5 months. For all cereals, the prices compared to the five-year average are staggeringly high, between 175 and 240 percent higher, due to the high inflation and local currency depreciation. 

    Livestock prices: The livestock markets and the flow of livestock from production areas to main consumption markets in Sudan, particularly for sheep, remain significantly disrupted by the conflict. Several of the main production markets located in the cattle and small ruminant-producing areas in western Sudan are completely disrupted, including El Geneina, Nyala, and Zalengei, while other markets such as El Fasher and Kadugli are barely functioning. Two of the main terminal markets, El Obeid in North Kordofan and Mowelih in Omdurman, are also not operating due to the clashes taking place within the two cities. This disruption of the domestic livestock trade is further negatively impacting live animal and meat exports to Egypt and the Gulf states. 

    In comparison to March 2023, the current goat prices in August 2023 remained relatively stable across most of the monitored markets, except in Dongola, Sennar, and Omdurman, where the goat prices increased by 48, 37, and 27 percent respectively. The general stability in goat prices is due to the decline in exports which is a major destination for goats, thus reducing demand and keeping prices lower than normal. Sheep prices have increased in most markets, ranging from 12 to 64 percent higher in August compared to March, except for in El Obeid, where prices dropped by 27 percent due to the limited purchasing power and the disruption of the sheep export supply chain. In general, the upward shift in sheep prices largely reflects the greater importance of domestic demand in sheep sales and the impact of interruptions to the flow from production to consumption markets. Cattle prices rose by between 11 and 30 percent between March and August, which is atypically low given that prices usually increase considerably as herders reduce sales during the rainy season. 

    Terms of Trade:  Labor-to-sorghum and goat-to-sorghum terms-of-trade (TOT) serve as proxies for household purchasing power, indicating the quantity of sorghum that households can buy with either a day’s labor wage or the sale of a medium-sized goat. The agricultural labor dynamics have been widely disrupted by the ongoing conflict. Typically, the agricultural season in Sudan attracts laborers from western Sudan as well as from across the borders in South Sudan and Ethiopia. However, these flows have been reduced this year at the same time that demand has reduced in some areas due to below-average cultivation. In eastern agricultural areas, key informants report that agricultural labor demand is being met in part by displaced persons from Khartoum. The labor-to-sorghum TOT remained stable in Kassala and improved slightly in El Gedaref market between July and August. In El Gedaref, a labor-dependent household would be able to purchase 12 kilograms of sorghum in August with a full day of labor, while a labor-dependent household in Kassala would be able to purchase 14 kilograms of sorghum. It is important to note, however, that labor-dependent households typically do not work full days thus income would be spread out of several days. Compared to March, the labor-to-sorghum TOTs have increased by about 15 and 40 percent in Kassala and El Gedaref, respectively. These trends can be attributed to the increasing demand for agricultural labor during the sowing and weeding practices of the agricultural season and the concurrent relative stability of sorghum prices (Figure 8). By contrast, in Medani, El Obeid, and Nyala markets, the labor-to-sorghum TOTs declined by 15 percent between July and August, contract to typical patterns of relative stability or improvement amid typical high demand for weeding. This abnormal trend is attributed to reduced demand amid the conflict.

    The goat-to-sorghum terms-of-trade in El Obeid market has continued to decline, dropping another 18 percent between July and August 2023, and 46 percent between March and August as a result of a 30 percent reduction in goat prices while sorghum prices rose by 20 percent. The rapid decline in goat prices specifically in the El Obeid market since the conflict began and the possibility of this pattern continuing are negatively affecting the purchasing power of the poor pastoral and agro-pastoral herders particularly as households are forced to sell more of their herds at lower prices to cover the rising costs of food and non-food essentials. Nationwide, and particularly in urban areas, purchasing power is rapidly dwindling as most of the typical income sources have been negatively impacted by the conflict either in terms of the government and private sector inability to pay employees’ salaries on a regular basis over the past five consecutive months or due to the overall economic unfavorable conditions currently prevailing in Sudan.

    Figure 5

    Labor-to-sorghum TOT in Gedaref and Kassala, and goat-to-sorghum TOT in El Obeid market, January 2020– August 2023
    line graph showing change in terms of trade for labor in El Gedaref and Kassala, and for goat in El Obeid

    Source: FEWS NET using FAMIS data

    Humanitarian Assistance: According to the Food Security and Livelihoods cluster, approximately 1.54 million people have been reached with food assistance between May and early September across 16 states. The most beneficiaries by state have been in Khartoum (about 262,000) and Central Darfur (240,000), followed by Al Jazirah (183,000), and North Darfur (155,000). Nearly all (1.48 million) have received half rations. However, delivery of humanitarian assistances continues to be extremely challenging and unpredictable. While there were several breakthroughs that occurred in July, August and early September with convoys reaching North Darfur in July and West Darfur via Chad in August, other planned convoys to Central Darfur, East Darfur, South Kordofan, West Kordofan, and a separate return trip to North Darfur faced setbacks and delays due to insecurity. In addition to the insecurity, humanitarian partners report that looting, bureaucratic challenges, electricity and communication outages, fuel shortages, and disruptions to the banking systems are undermining further efforts to deliver assistance. The difficulty in establishing any regularity or consistency both geographically and temporally will limit the extent to which assistance can contribute to reducing food insecurity and prevent worse outcomes.

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    Seasonal calendar for a typical year in Sudan

    Source: FEWS NET

    Updated Assumptions

    Revisions to the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET's most likely scenario for the Sudan Food Security Outlook for June 2023 to January 2024 include: 

    • Conflict:

      • Ongoing conflict between RSF and SAF forces and their preferred proxies in urban and rural areas (at a minimum, fighting in key transport hub routes and cities) will persist, with neither side able to defeat the other, though with the one of the conflicting parties gaining an upper hand in central Khartoum, in turn increasing the likelihood of serious negotiations. 

      • SAF airstrikes and SAF-RSF clashes will likely remain concentrated around Khartoum, in RSF-held positions across the country, and around critical infrastructure, such as military bases, airports and key government, military, and communication infrastructure.  SAF continues to bring its air assets and heavy ordinance assets to bear, pummeling and shelling dense urban terrain, causing significant damage to infrastructure and housing but is increasingly ineffective in these attacks as air assets and heavy munitions supplies become difficult to replenish and repair. Fighting in Khartoum continues to progress in favor of the RSF, with the RSF securing control of strategic sites in southern and central portions of the city.

    • Rainfall Performance: Cumulative rainfall for the June to September rainy season is likely to be near-average across much of the country, except in areas of the south and southeast where there are likely to be deficits of 75 to 90 percent of normal. 

    Most Likely Acute Food Security Outcomes

    West Darfur:  During the peak lean season of August to September, FEWS NET anticipates that the area will remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), with some households likely to be in Catastrophe in El Geneina of West Darfur. While direct clashes and incidents of atrocities have decline in the last month, the volatility and high tensions is expected to continue to dramatically reduce household mobility and ability to engage in livelihood activities, including summer and winter season small scale irrigated cultivation and income-generating activities such as the sale of charcoal, grass, and firewood. Moreover, trade flows from the east remain significantly disrupted and are expected to be contributing to ongoing significantly above-average prices in the few functioning markets. The assistance that arrived in early September is likely to have improved food security outcomes from some of the most severely impacted, but major challenges remain to sustaining these assistance corridors and to effective targeting in such tense environments. While Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes are likely to be relatively isolated and not widespread, it's considered likely some worst-affected populations are facing consumption deficits at or more than 50 percent of their kilocalorie needs. Moreover, the prevalence of acute malnutrition is expected to be high in the peak of the rainy season due to limited access to safe drinking water and an increased risk of flooding, along with limited to no access to health services and widening food consumption gaps. According to UNICEF, more than 14,800 children under five are expected to be severely malnourished in West Darfur. 

    Between October 2023 and January 2024, food insecurity outcomes are expected to remain severe, given the disruption to crop cultivation and resulting significantly below-average harvests as well as reduced agricultural wage labor opportunities, and insecurity will likely continue to affect access to self-employment opportunities. Humanitarian assistance may improve and help to mitigate some of the worst outcomes but is not likely to reach sufficient population to prevent Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes given the serious constraints to delivery.

    Khartoum: Clashes, artillery fire, and drone attacks have continued over key strategic sites in downtown areas of Khartoum. While most of the residential areas in these heavily affected areas are near-empty, conditions in peripheral areas continue to deteriorate as the conflict disrupts trade flow, income opportunities, salary payments, and market access. Furthermore, as the fighting drags on, increasing numbers continue to flee the state to other neighboring states and abroad as limited commercial flights become available again. Based on FEWS NET’s assumptions for June to September, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will predominate with higher-than-normal proportion of households in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). 

    With hostilities between the RSF and the SAF expected to reduce in and around Khartoum through the end of the year, food security outcomes are expected to slightly improve relative to the lean season as market flows into and out of the city improve and harvests from surrounding productive areas become available, helping to stabilize prices at accessible markets. However, access to market purchases will remain constrained by limited income opportunities given the expected slow recovery of businesses and persistently poor macroeconomic conditions, as well as reduced physical access to the markets. Significant humanitarian assistance is planned, and if achieved, would help moderate the more severe food consumption deficits, but delivery is likely to continue to face challenges associated with active fighting, insecurity, and diversion by armed groups. As such, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes are expected to persist in Khartoum through the outlook period. 

    Eastern & Northern States: Poor and very poor households in the main producing centers of Eastern Sudan will continue to rely heavily on markets to purchase staple foods, particularly during the peak lean season (August to September) given the depletion of food stocks and the extra burden of displaced persons to support. However, the added income from wage labor engagement by displaced persons may mitigate some of the heavy burden. As the rainy season is approaching its end by September, improvements in livestock productivity, agricultural labor opportunities, and wage labor rates will relatively improve rural household food access, particularly in parts of the southeast. However, identified pockets of below-average rains and crop performance are likely to negatively impact the expected harvest while household purchasing power is expected to continue to be limited by high food and non-food prices, poor macroeconomic conditions, and limited access to cash through the peak of the lean season in September. As a result, poor and conflict-affected households will continue to face food consumption deficits during the peak lean season and are likely to continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes between August and September 2023, particularly in the pastoral and agro-pastoral zones in these areas. In the absence of significant humanitarian assistance, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are likely to emerge among areas recently affected by clashes between SAF and SPLM-N in the southern parts of the Blue Nile state given the disruption to agricultural production and income sources. 

    Between October 2023 and January 2024, the pre-harvest and harvest period in the southeast, acute food insecurity outcomes are likely to improve relative to the lean season as the level of direct clashes between the warring parties is anticipated to decrease, improving market access and population movements. At the same time, agricultural and agro-pastoral households will begin to access the harvest, receive in-kind payments from agricultural labor, and see better livestock body conditions and production. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in many agricultural and agro-pastoral areas of El Gedaref, Sennar, Al Jazirah, and Kassala State. 

    In the Northern and River Nile states, food consumption outcomes are expected to continue to worsen as wheat stocks decline faster than normal under the added strain of high levels of displacement, and this year’s wheat planting does not begin until November, although the arrival of cereal stocks from the southeast will moderate food availability slightly. The presence of high levels of displaced persons will strain limited resources for host and IDPs, and limit access to income and food sources. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to prevail through January 2024. In parts of Blue Nile and White Nile, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are also expected to continue due to the likely continuation of intercommunal clashes and high levels of displacement that will reduce crop production and harvests and disrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance. 

    Greater Kordofan & Greater Darfur:  Between August and September, IDPs and conflict-affected poor households in Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan are expected to continue facing increased food consumption deficits due to the high losses of food stocks, significantly reduced access to cash income from typical income sources, and continued limited access to markets both physically and financially. Household access to main income sources will continue to be limited by insecurity and direct clashes, including access to agricultural and non-agricultural labor opportunities and the collection and sale of forest products. The above-normal increase in staple food prices through the peak of the lean season in September is likely to reduce household purchasing power further. As a result, poor and conflict-affected households will continue to face food consumption deficits during the lean season indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. In the severe conflict-affected areas, notably in urban centers of Central, North, and South Darfur, North Kordofan, and South Kordofan, amid likely continued interruptions to humanitarian assistance, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to persist. IDP camps in heavily conflict-affected areas that have experienced re-displacement further undermining access to typical food and income sources during the lean season will similarly be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), while those in less conflict-affected areas will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as they increasingly rely on host community support amid disruption to humanitarian assistance.

    Between October 2023 and January 2024, the pre-harvest and harvest period, food security outcomes are likely to improve relative to the lean season but will remain worse compared to the relatively secure areas of Eastern and Northern states as the level of direct clashes between the warring parties is anticipated to remain high in most parts of Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan through the projection period, continuing to affect population movements and market access. The poor macroeconomic situation and the anticipated high staple food prices are likely to continue reducing households' ability to meet their basic food and non-food needs. As a result, most areas of Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Most likely food security outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian assistance

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Sudan Food Security Outlook Update August 2023: High needs persist amid heavy fighting and poor progress of the season, 2023.

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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