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September marks the end of the lean season in Sudan

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Sudan
  • September 2012
September marks the end of the lean season in Sudan

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  • Key Messages
  • Updated food security outlook through December
  • Key Messages
    • September marks the end of the lean season in Sudan. Access to food is likely to improve during the October to December period throughout the country due to improved food availability and income from cash crop sales, along with decreasing cereal prices. 

    • Overall, 2012/2013 crop harvest prospects are projected to be well above average in relatively secure areas of Sudan due to good rainfall. The Government of Sudan is considering grain exports this year. However, exceptionally heavy rains in some areas have triggered widespread flash floods, affecting about 240,000 people across the country. The potential for rains to extend into October in southern parts of Sudan could interfere with harvests and decrease crop prospects. 

    • Insecurity continues to be a main driver of food insecurity. Sporadic fighting in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur continue to cause ongoing displacement, threaten lives and livelihoods, and reduce access to farms and humanitarian assistance. Recent fighting between SAF and SPLA-N in El Moraib area in South Kordofan forced approximately 11,000 people to flee to GoS-controlled areas of Al Abassiya and Rashad localities.   

    • Despite current insecurity, food security conditions of IDPs in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile are likely to improve from Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels during the October to December period, depending on access to cultivation and humanitarian assistance. IDPs in government-controlled areas will continue to face Stressed levels. Furthermore, food security conditions in Darfur are likely to improve as the harvest begins, and the size of the food insecure population in Darfur is likely to decrease significantly – by approximately one third – due to increased engagement of IDPs in cultivation this year and good harvest prospects.

    Updated food security outlook through December

    Seasonal progress: As projected, Sudan has received above-average rains this season. According to civil defense authorities, above-average rains triggered widespread flash floods, affecting over 240,000 people in Sinar, Gadaref, Kassala, North Darfur, Central Darfur, West Darfur, White Nile, Blue Nile, South Darfur, South Kordofan and Khartoum states.  The water levels of the main rivers (e.g. White Nile and Blue Nile) have started declining since the second week of September, in line with seasonal trends.  The floods have reduced road access, increased health hazards, and damaged infrastructure and assets.  Nonetheless, rains have generated good pasture conditions and water availability for animals and supported crop production. In general, a good harvest is expected.  However, with more rains forecast in some parts of Sudan during the harvest period (October – December), crop damage is possible. Shortages of inputs and labor, due to increased area planted, a shift among laborers to traditional gold mining, and insecurity in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, were cited as major constraints of the agricultural season in most parts of Sudan, and have significantly increased costs for farmers. Localized pest outbreaks (e.g. grasshoppers) reported in some parts of east and west Sudan might also affect production in these areas.  

    Markets and trade: In response to the good rains and food aid distributions (particularly in Darfur and South Kordofan), grain prices in all markets have started seasonal declines.  In August, sorghum prices declined by 24 percent in Khartoum, 20 percent in Kadugli, 10 percent in El Fasher, 9 percent in El Gadarif, and by 5 percent in El Obied, compared to the previous month. Nonetheless, current grain prices are, on average, more than double the five-year average. Prices are likely to keep decreasing, though not to below-average levels due to high production costs, inflation, and the impacts of local currency devaluation. In response to the anticipated good harvest prospects this year and declining grain prices, the Government of Sudan announced plans to export grain in the 2012/13 season.

    South Kordofan

    Population Movements: The Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) reported that about 7,800 of the total 11,000 people displaced by recent fighting between SAF and SPLA-N in EL Moraib village had received food assistance in different locations in Al Abassiya and Rashad localities. Access to recent conflict-affected areas in Hajar Al-Dom and Doloka areas has been constrained by insecurity, heavy rains and flooding. Since the beginning of 2012 and up to the third week of September,

    Food assistance: WFP has provided food assistance to 124,552 people in GoS-controlled areas of South Kordofan. The modality of food assistance includes general food aid distribution (119,965 beneficiaries), the Supplementary Feeding program (SFP) to children under five and pregnant and lactating women (3,853 beneficiaries), and the Emergency School Feeding program (734 beneficiaries).      

    Insecurity: During the first week of September, fighting between SPLA-N and SAF was reported near Hajar Al-Dom village near Kalugi and about 21 civilians were reportedly killed. During the same period, fighting between SAF and SPLA-N was also reported near Doka village in Kadugli locality.

    Seasonal progress: According to HAC, about 7,000 – 8,500 people have been affected by localized floods in South Kordofan, with the worst affected areas in Babanosa, Hegairat area in Kadugli locality, Muglad and Dibab. The Sudanese Red Cross Society (SRCS), HAC and SOS Sahel have been providing humanitarian assistance to people affected by floods. In spite of the above average rains, area planted in some of the most conflict-affected areas, including Buram, Heiban, West Kadugli, West Dilling, and some parts of Talodi and Rashad, is considerably below average due to insecurity and displacement.  However in areas not affected by conflict, harvest prospects are good.

    Consistent with the assumptions detailed in the July Outlook report, prevailing food insecurity conditions in South Kordofan are likely to improve to Crisis levels (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed levels (IPC Phase 2) among the IDPs in SPLM-N controlled areas – depending on access to cultivation and humanitarian assistance, and to Stressed levels (IPC Phase 2) among IDPs in GoS-controlled areas when the harvest begins in October.

    Blue Nile

    The assumptions detailed in the July Outlook and August update remain valid. Food security conditions in SPLM-N controlled areas are likely to improve from IPC Phase 3 to IPC Phase 2 during the harvest period (October – December).


    By the end of July, WFP assisted 3.3 million people in Darfur, including 1.8 million IDPs and 870,000 people who received seasonal support. By the start of the new harvest in October, food security conditions are likely to improve and the size of the food insecure population in Darfur is likely to decrease significantly – by approximately one third – due to increased engagement of IDPs in cultivation this year and good harvest prospects.

    Security conditions remain tense in Kuttum, East Jebel Marra, Tawila and Kebkabiya localities. In Kuttum, where a number of civilian casualties were reported in recent weeks, the Governor of North Darfur transferred civil authority of Al Waha and Kuttum to the military commander of Kuttum in order to bring law and order and to curb actions by armed militias. The market, schools and other public services were temporary suspended and some international NGO aid workers in the area relocated out of Kuttum town. The majority of the 25,000 IDPs in Kassab camp (in Kuttum) who fled and sought protection with the host community in Kuttum town following the violence that erupted after the assassination of Al Waha locality’s commissioner have returned to the camp.

    Recent fighting between Darfur armed groups and SAF in Kushina, Kunjara, Leshkaya and Khartoum Jadid in Tawila localities have led to new displacement of a number of people to Dali Camp. In addition, continued fighting between SAF and Darfur armed groups and between Darfur armed groups in East Jebel Mara continues to cause new displacement, eliminate access by humanitarian agencies, threaten lives and livelihoods and reduce access to markets. Security conditions in Kebkabiya locality are also reported to be tense due to the recent killing of 11 people in two different incidences.       

    HAC reported that about 26,000 people in Central Darfur state have been affected by floods. In Hamediya and Hasshaissa IDP camps alone, about 9,000 people have been affected. Other affected areas include Wadi Salih, Nertiti and Bendisi localities. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar and Critical Events

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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