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Significant cereal deficit estimated; staple food prices continue to increase atypically during the post-harvest period

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Sudan
  • February 2014
Significant cereal deficit estimated; staple food prices continue to increase atypically during the post-harvest period

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Cereal prices have continued to increase unseasonably across most markets during the post-harvest period, and are significantly above average.
    • The influx of refugees from South Sudan into Sudan continued throughout January and into February. As of 15 February, there are an estimated 27,600 South Sudanese refugees in White Nile, Blue Nile, East Darfur, South Kordofan, and West Kordofan states, with scattered populations in other parts of the country. WFP has reportedly begun food aid distributions in White Nile, where the majority (18,600) of refugees are located.
    • Given expectations for increased conflict in the coming months, along with the impacts of rising prices, the poor harvest, and continued restrictions on trade and assistance, food security in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan is likely to deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in April. In SPLM-N-controlled areas of Blue Nile, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected in April among IDP populations.

    Current Situation
    • Cereal prices have continued to increase unseasonably across most markets during the post-harvest period, and are significantly above average. The increases are due to the far below-average 2013/2014 harvest (65-70 percent of the five-year average and 45-50 percent of last year’s good harvest) (Figure 1), high production costs, increased transportation and other marketing costs resulting from the partial removal of the fuel price subsidy in late 2013, and the nearly 30 percent devaluation of the local currency in November 2013. From December to January, retail sorghum (the main staple food) prices increased by 11 to 14 percent in Kadugli, Port Sudan, and Geneina. In some of the main sorghum-producing areas (Al Gadarif, Kosti, and Ad-Damazin), prices either remained stable or marginally declined, although they remained at least 27 percent above their respective January 2013 levels and 95 percent above the five-year average (Figure 1). Current sorghum and millet  prices are on average 30-35 percent above respective January 2013 levels (Figure 1), and more than double their five-year average.  Wheat prices are on average 45 percent above respective January 2013 levels and 130 percent above their respective 5-year average. 
    • The influx of refugees from South Sudan into Sudan continued during February. The Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) reported that the number of refugees from South Sudan has increased in recent weeks. As of 15th February, there are an estimated 27,600 South Sudanese refugees in White Nile, Blue Nile, East Darfur, South Kordofan, and West Kordofan states, with scattered populations in other parts of the country, including Khartoum. Most refugees (18,600) are in White Nile State, where two main refugee relocation sites have been established: Kilo 10 in El Salam locality and Al Agaya in El Jebelein locality. There are reportedly between 50-75 and 250-300 daily arrivals at Alagaya and Kilo 10 relocation sites, respectively. Some are reportedly moving from the relocation sites in White Nile state to other parts of Sudan, including Khartoum. Refugees are reportedly in need of food and non-food assistance including food, water, health, and shelter. In White Nile, the state Emergency Committee and SRCS delivered food, shelter, and other non-food supplies for the two relocation sites. WFP has also reportedly begun food aid distributions. UNHCR prepositioned non-food items for 5,000 households, and UNICEF provided three water bladders. WFP has sent a team to West Kordofan to assess needs of new arrivals in the area.
    • Some IDPs and refugees displaced due to tribal clashes in August/September 2013 have returned to Um Dukhun and Mukjar localities in central Darfur. As of late January, an estimated 5,200 Salamat IDPs returned from South Darfur to Um Dukhun locality, while 5,000 Salamat who had fled to Chad have also returned to Um Dukhun. An additional 4,000 people from the Gimer, Tama, Mararet and Salamat tribes returned to their villages in Mukjar locality. The returnees are reportedly in immediate need of food and non-food assistance. However, renewed clashes between Salamat and Messeriya tribesmen in Um Dukhun locality on February 19 resulted in dozens of casualties and displaced some some to surrounding areas, including neighboring parts of Chad.  This is likely to disrupt the further return of Salamat IDPs and refugees to the area in the coming months.
    • Although peace talks between the GoS and SPLM-N began on February 13 in Addis Ababa, FEWS NET believes that they are not likely to bring near-term changes to the security situation or to humanitarian access in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
    • In South Kordofan, recent registrations by the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and SRCS indicate that 14,000 people have returned to the GoS-controlled area of Abukarshola after they fled the area in April 2013 due to fighting. On February 2, HAC and partners began an assessment mission to evaluate returnees’ needs. More are expected to return to Abukarshola before the onset of the rainy season in June 2014. HAC is currently providing food assistance to the returnees, which is maintaining the IPC phase at Stressed.   

    Updated Assumptions

    Most of the assumptions made in the Sudan Food Security Outlook for January to June 2014 remain unchanged. However, the following assumptions have been updated:

    Prices: Cereal prices have continued to increase unseasonably across most markets during the post-harvest period, and are significantly above average. As noted in the January to June Outlook, FEWS NET expects prices to rise rapidly and significantly from February to June 2014 due to reduced remaining supplies from below-average harvests and  increased household-level dependence on markets. Price increases may be higher than anticipated due to worsening macroeconomic conditions, including the ongoing currency devaluation and above-average transport costs. FEWS NET is monitoring this issue and will update our assumptions in the March FSOU.  


    Projected Outlook Through June 2014
    • Despite the below-average harvest and soaring cereal prices, food security in most parts of the relatively secure areas of South Kordofan, Darfur, Blue Nile states, and the surplus-producing areas of central and east Sudan (e.g., Gadarif, El Gazeira, Sennar, White Nile states) remained stable. Most households in these areas are likely to face minimal food consumption gaps and minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) throughout the scenario period. In some parts of the drought-prone areas of North Darfur, North Kordofan, and Red Sea states, most households are likely to face minimal food insecurity through March, but Stressed food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) with the early start of the lean season in March/April.
    • In GoS-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where most households have relatively better access to markets and humanitarian assistance than in SPLM-N-controlled areas, most households are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity through June 2014.
    • In SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan, Crisis food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) will persist among IDPs and poor households among the host community through March and are likely to deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) by the beginning of the lean season in March/April. In Blue Nile, Stressed food insecurity will persist through March and deteriorate to Crisis by the beginning of the lean season in April.
    Figures

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Source:

    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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