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Food insecurity worsens with record-high cereal prices and intensified conflict

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Sudan
  • April - September 2014
Food insecurity worsens with record-high cereal prices and intensified conflict

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • National Assumptions
  • Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
  • Areas of Concern
  • Events that could change the outlook
  • Key Messages
    • An estimated 4.5 million people in Sudan face Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity with an estimated 60 percent of the total food insecure population in Darfur. Currently, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N)-controlled areas of South Kordofan are the most acutely food insecure.
    • Record-high staple food prices are expected across most of the country through August constraining food access for poor households in my areas. Combined with renewed conflict and displacement, and ongoing macroeconomic instability, food insecurity is expected to deteriorate in many areas of the country.
    • The size of the food insecure population is expected to peak at nearly 5 million people in June 2014, with widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity, concentrated in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Red Sea, Kassala, North Kordofan and White Nile States. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) is expected in the SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan. Food assistance and voucher programs are expected to continue for IDPs in Darfur, but Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) is likely through September.

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    As of April 2014, an estimated 4.5 million people in Sudan face Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity. The food insecure population has increased by 38 percent since January. Widespread displacement following renewed conflict in Darfur and ongoing conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states combined with reduced food availability after poor harvests has resulted in an early onset of the lean season in April. Increasing macroeconomic instability, record-high food prices across most of the country, and the crisis in South Sudan also contribute to increasing acute food insecurity. FEWS NET estimates that 60 percent of the total food insecure population is in the five Darfur states. The highest current phase of acute food insecurity (Emergency, IPC Phase 4) is among IDPs  in areas of South Kordofan controlled by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N). IDPs in SPLM-N-controlled areas of Blue Nile State, new IDPs in Darfur, returnees/refugees in Abeyi, and South Sudanese refugees in White Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan states face Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    The upsurge of violence in Darfur directly affected over 300,000 people; of these more than 250,000 were forced to flee their villages. Civil insecurity intensified in first quarter of 2014 in North and South Darfur due to tribal clashes and fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Darfur rebel groups.  As a result of conflict, over 250,000 people are displaced in North and South Darfur states. Violence has caused the widespread loss of assets and compromised household access to food and natural resources. Conflict has disrupted financial systems and trade, the provision of health services and interrupted seasonal livelihood activities in Darfur.

    Conflict in South Kordofan, and Blue Nile

    Despite attempted peace talks mediated by the African Union, fighting between SAF and SPLM-N continued in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states displacing over 8000 people in February 2014. Peace talks between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the SPLM-N in February and March 2014 have so far been unsuccessful. Fighting between SAF and SPLM-N in South Kordofan between February and April displaced more than 10,000 people to SPLM-N-controlled areas. During the same period 1,600 new refugees from South Kordofan arrived in Yida camp in Unity State, South Sudan. Ongoing fighting between SAF and SPLM-N displaced over one thousand people in Blue Nile.

    Surging food prices, widespread insecurity, restricted trade flow to SPLM-N-controlled areas, and reduced asset holdings due to conflict and displacement, have reduced the ability of IDPs and poor households in SPLM-N controlled areas to access the minimum food requirements. Due to the lack of access by humanitarian agencies to SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan, FEWS NET believes that Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food security outcomes are likely by the beginning of the lean season in April 2014. 

    Macroeconomic context

    National inflation declined slightly in March 2014, but currency devaluation continued. According to official government statistics, inflation rates were 35.7 percent In March 2014 compared 37 percent and 46.1 percent in January and February, respectively. Food prices, however, have remained unseasonably high. The value of the Sudanese Pound (SDG) continued to deteriorate in the black market from SDG 8 per 1 USD in February to SDG 8.5 per 1 USD in March to SDG 9.3 per 1 USD in April. The exchange rate of the black market in April was nearly 63 percent higher than the official exchange rate of SDG 5.7 per 1 USD. Most traders exchange local currency for U.S. dollars on the black market in order to purchase imports and the black market exchange rate directly affects commodity prices in Sudan. The conflict that erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 further reduced oil production and export through Port Sudan. Grain exports (mostly sorghum) are  expected to be below-average this year because of poor production, further constraining the government’s capacity to acquire foreign exchange.

    As Sudan continues to import most of its food, continued decreases in foreign currency reserves are expected and devaluation of the Sudanese pound will continue to put upward pressure on prices of essential commodities like food, medicine and fuel.  

    Price trends

    Sorghum and millet retail prices continued to increase atypically across most markets during the first quarter of 2014.

    • March retail sorghum prices were, on average, 47 percent higher than last year and 122 percent above the five-year average. In March, sorghum prices were highest in South and North Darfur states where a sack of sorghum retailed at SDG 369 and SDG 342 in Nyala and El Fasher, respectively. Ongoing conflict in both states has disturbed local supply of sorghum from within Darfur, particularly from Saraf Omra market. Prices of sorghum sourced from supply markets in Khartoum, EL Obied, Gadaref, and Kosti have increased due to increased transport costs.  Food voucher programs started by WFP in January 2014 have also contributed to exceptionally high prices in North Darfur.
    • March retail millet prices were, on average, 56 percent higher than last year and 131 percent above the five-year average.
    • March retail wheat prices decreased by 5 to 20 percent in most markets since last month, but were still 49 percent higher than last year and 98 percent above the five-year average

    Significant deterioration in livestock to sorghum terms of trade (ToT)

    Livestock prices have not kept pace with rapidly rising cereal prices. Although cereal prices have continued to increase since January, livestock prices have remained stable or slightly declined. Livestock to sorghum terms of trade deteriorated during the first quarter of 2014. In Omdurman Market, Khartoum’s main wholesale market, sheep to sorghum ToT in March was 18 percent lower than last month, and nearly half of the five-year average. The deteriorating livestock to cereal ToT is a reflection of the sharp cereal price increases causing pastoralists and agro-pastoralist to sell more livestock to purchase the same quantities of food in the market. 

    Early onset of lean season in most parts of Sudan

    The lean season began in April, one month early. The well-below average 2013/14 harvest reduced food availability from own production and cereal supplies on markets.  The combination of earlier than normal market dependence, reduced income sources due to conflict, and soaring food prices has resulted in the early onset of the lean season in April compared to May/June The majority of poor households in the typically deficit production areas of North Darfur, North Kordofan, White Nile, Kassala and Red Sea states exhausted stocks from own production by the end of March. With limited asset holdings, poor households have few strategies to offset early household stock depletion given the exceptional rise in cereal prices. During the extended April to September lean season, poor households will be unable to access their minimum food requirements for survival without undergoing irreversible coping strategies like selling productive animals. Households are also expected increase dependency on seasonal agricultural labor, compromising household production. This is likely to jeopardize their long term livelihood and food security.        

    South Sudan Crisis and Impacts on Sudan

    The crisis in South Sudan has had the following impacts in Sudan:

    • Production of crude oil in South Sudan fell by nearly 30 percent since the outbreak of the conflict last December. Export fees collected for the use of Sudan’s pipeline and port facilities in Port Sudan are crucial for national revenue. Since conflict erupted in South Sudan last December, production in Unity State remains halted and production in Upper Nile State decreased from 245,000 barrels per day in December to 150,000 barrels per day in March.  Continued disruption of production in South Sudan will have drastic consequences for Sudan’s national budget deficit.
    • Despite prevailing insecurity conditions in South Sudan, informal trade flow from Sudan to South Sudan increased in March. Civil insecurity disrupted formal and informal trade flow from Sudan to South Sudan as many traders left the country after key destination markets like Bentiu and Malakal were looted and destroyed. However, active informal exports from markets in White Nile and Sinar states to markets in eastern Upper Nile State in South Sudan were reported in March 2014. Trade flows from markets in East Darfur to Northern Bahr el Ghazal in South Sudan were also reported in March. The current levels of informal trade are estimated to be 10 to 15 percent higher than last year. Trade with South Sudan is expected to remain volatile, however, given the context of the conflict with the highest concentration of fighting in areas close to the Sudan-South Sudan border. River transport by barge—considered to be the most efficient means of transport during the rainy season—will be restricted with ongoing conflict along the main barge routes of the White Nile River.
    • Influx of refugees from South Sudan to Sudan continues. By the end of March 2014, an estimated 62,000 refugees arrived in Sudan. Currently, there are 31,000 refugees in White Nile State, 15,000 in Khartoum, and about 12,500 in South Kordofan.  As of early April, humanitarian actors delivered humanitarian assistance to 57 percent of refugees. The majority of refugees have received full food rations and food assistance is expected to continue through the projection period although significant gaps exist.

    National Assumptions

    The most likely scenario for April through September 2014 is based on the following national‐level assumptions:

    Rainfall:

    • The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the International Research Institute (IRI) April to June rainfall outlook indicates an on-time start to the season and near-average rainfall for much of Sudan.  Slightly above-average rainfall performance is expected for the main surplus producing areas of southern and central Sudan and the Darfur states. Near-average rainfall is expected for much of Sudan from July to September. Patchy rains were recorded in some parts of Sudan, like West Darfur, South Darfur and Blue Nile states during the month of April. The earlier than normal rains this month will not affect seasonal agricultural activities in Sudan.  

    Food availability:

    • As a result of the poor 2013/14 harvest, which was 65 to 70 percent below the five-year average, most poor households exhausted food stocks by the beginning of April. Record-high food prices across the country have severely limited household capacity to purchase food on markets and many households will be unable to meet food requirements. Some green harvests and early maturing vegetables will be available in September, but quantities will not be sufficient to offset food consumption deficits before the start of main crop harvests in October.  

    • Increased demand for informal trade with neighboring countries like Eritrea and South Sudan is likely to absorb a greater portion of marketable grain during the outlook period. With already below-average tradable stocks, increased exports will put further pressure on domestic market prices. In response to the depleting trader-level grain stocks and surging staple food prices, the GoS declared a formal export ban on sorghum in April. However, informal grain exports are expected to continue, constraining supply to national markets.

    • Below-average in-kind support to poor households is expected during the 2014 lean season as better-off households and host communities have already limited household food stocks following last year’s poor harvest.  

    Income sources:

    • Access to seasonal agricultural labor is likely to improve in the beginning of the rainy season in June/July. However income from seasonal agricultural labor will not be sufficient to compensate for exceptionally high cereal prices in markets. Moreover, access to seasonal labor in conflict-affected areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur will be constrained by prevailing insecurity conditions.  In these areas, reduced income opportunities from agricultural labor are expected.

    • Since January, daily wage labor rates have steadily increased in most markets monitored by FEWS NET due to inflation. However, the increase in daily wages is not keeping pace with soaring staple food prices.

    • ToT for daily agricultural wage labor to staple foods has been declining since last October. In Nyala Market in South Darfur, the daily wage labor to sorghum and millet ToT decreased by 37 percent and 26 percent, respectively, since January.

    • FEWS NET expects further deterioration of wage to cereal ToT through September as already high staple food prices are projected to increase by an additional 10 – 20 percent during the outlook period.    

        South Sudan Crisis:

    • Intensified fighting between government and opposition forces in the oil production areas of Unity and Upper Nile States underlines the potential for further decline in oil production and export in the coming months. Continued disruptions to oil production in South Sudan will put further pressure on Sudan’s national budget which projects an estimated $1 billion in revenue from oil exports this year, based on an average production of 250,000 barrels per day. According to current estimates, South Sudan produces 150,000 barrels per day. Further decline in production will have long-term impacts on the macroeconomic climate in Sudan.
    • Informal trade flow from Sudan to South Sudan is expected to decrease from July to September due to access constraints during the rainy season, in addition to the ongoing conflict, particularly along White Nile River. Barge transport of commodities to South Sudan is expected to be limited.
    • Despite ongoing peace talks, the conflict in South Sudan is expected to continue in the coming months with increasing numbers of refugees crossing into Sudan.

       Cereal prices:

    • Continued increases in millet and sorghum prices are expected through August 2014, due to reduced market supply and increased demand during the lean season. High fuel prices and above-average transport costs will put additional upward pressure on cereal prices. FEWS NET assumes price increases of at least 10 to 20 percent for sorghum and millet from April to August when levels will reach 130 to 150 percent above the five-year average.
    • Wheat prices are expected to remain stable during the outlook period as local harvests continue to supply markets. The government is also expected to continue importing and subsidizing wheat.

      Conflict and violence:

    • Insecurity caused by fighting between the SPLM-N and SAF/RSF in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states and between Darfur rebel factions and SAF/RSF in Darfur is expected to continue during the scenario period. however, conflict intensity is likely to decrease from July to October as heavy rainfall will complicate troop movement  and impede the use of mechanized equipment. FEWS NET estimates that about 100,000 people are likely to be newly displaced in these areas during the scenario period, with the bulk of new displacement expected in Darfur.
    • Insecurity and logistical constraints associated with the rainy season will continue to disrupt humanitarian assistance and trade flows to and within South Kordofan, Darfur, and Blue Nile states.
    • Incidents of tribal clashes among nomadic tribes and between nomadic tribes and farmers in Darfur are likely to increase. Increased competition for national resources between farmers and pastoralists is expected as pastoralists face constrained access to seasonal grazing areas in Darfur.

      Nutritional status:

    • Results from a nutrition survey conducted by the Federal Ministry of Health and UNICEF from June to August 2013 revealed high levels of global acute malnutrition (GAM), defined according to weight-for-height Z scores <-2 across Sudan. The survey targeted 71,626 children in 45,095 households in all states except for SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.  Results revealed that the prevalence of GAM in many areas of Sudan is at critical levels. GAM prevalence was above the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency threshold of 15 percent in North Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Central Darfur, West Kordofan and Red Sea states. Malnutrition typically increases during the lean season and the survey results suggest a high level of vulnerability to food security shocks, exacerbated by various aggravating factors associated with the lean season. Given the increased burden of morbidity during the rainy season and the expected food consumption deficits through September, FEWS NET anticipates that the prevalence of GAM is likely to increase in areas of concern during the outlook period.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Earlier than normal depletion of household food stocks, increased market dependence and continued rising staple food prices are expected to cause household-level food consumption gaps for IDPs, refugees and poor households from April to September. By the beginning of lean season in April, most of poor households and IDPs have already exhausted food stocks and will rely on market purchase as their main source of food. The combination of increased demand and constrained market supplies discussed above will continue to put upward pressure on cereal prices through September. Reduced income sources as a result of civil insecurity and displacement is expected to impede household capacity to compensate for very high cereal prices causing widespread household food consumption deficits in North and South Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Households in relatively secure areas will have access to seasonal agricultural labor, but income levels will not be sufficient to cover basic food requirements. Better-off households in relatively secure areas are expected to increase sales of livestock to buy food. Poor households and IDPs with limited assets and livestock holdings will not have this option. Increased susceptibility to waterborne diseases and the start of school year in June/July will increase the financial burden on household budgets to pay for health and education fees. Food consumption gaps and morbidity associated with the rainy season is likely to result in extremely high malnutrition prevalence in most parts of Sudan during the scenario period.  

    Green harvests in September will improve food access, but will not alleviate food consumption gaps. With the start of full harvests in October, access to own production and sell of cash crops is expected to improve food security outcomes.

    The following food security outcomes are expected

    • Despite the below-average harvest and sharp increases in food prices, most of households in the surplus-producing areas of Sinar, Gadaref, Gazeira, River Nile and Northern states will have enough stocks from own production or sufficient income to purchase food on markets with minimal food consumption gaps from April to September, and will face minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1).
    • Roughly 30 percent of households in North Kordofan, Red Sea, Kassala, White Nile, West Darfur, East Darfur and North Darfur states, are expected to have minimally adequate food consumption with irreversible coping strategies.. A significant increase in global acute malnutrition from April to September is likely.  These households are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity through September. In Darfur, in areas where seasonal food aid is planned, food security likely to improve to Stress (IPC Phase 2!) levels from June to September. 
    • Over 30 percent of IDPs and poor host communities in the SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan are likely to experience extreme loss of assets due to very high cereal prices and deteriorating terms of trade.  Significant food consumption deficits are expected to contribute to increased prevalence of GAM in these areas, resulting in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity in SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan.
    • In GOS-controlled areas of South Kordofan, the majority of IDPs and poor host communities will have access to food aid from the government and WFP, and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) levels of food insecurity throughout the scenario period.
    • In SPLM-N-controlled areas of Blue Nile, IDPs and poor host communities are likely to have moderate food consumption deficits causing increased acute malnutrition and rapid depletion of asset holdings. Thus, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food security are likely to persist in SPLM-N- controlled areas of Blue Nile State through September.
    • In GOS-controlled areas of Blue Nile, IDPs and poor host communities have relatively better access to intermittent humanitarian assistance provided by the government and WFP, and better access to labor wages in large urban areas like Damazin and Roseries compared to SPLM-N-controlled areas. Households are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity from April to September.
    • At least 75,000 newly displaced IDPs in North and South Darfur are in areas inaccessible to humanitarian agencies due to insecurity and rely on host communities for food. These IDPs likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity during the outlook period.
    • Food assistance is expected to continue for the majority of long-term IDPs through general food distribution of 50 percent rations or food vouchers. However, given the drastic increases in food prices, many households are still  likely to face modest food consumption deficits. Thus, Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) likely to persist among long-term IDPs in Darfur through the scenario period. 

    Areas of Concern

    North Darfur

    Current Situation

    Poor 2013/14 harvests in North Darfur. According to post-harvest assessments in North Darfur, total cereal production from the 2013/14 harvest is estimated at 68,963 tons, about 70 percent lower than last year’s good harvest and 65 to 70 percent of the five-year average. The poor harvest is mainly due to the late onset of rains, below-average cumulative rainfall, long dry spells in September and pest infestation. Average millet and sorghum production per household was 260 kilograms (kg) and 81 kg, nearly 60 and 75 percent lower than last year’s levels, respectively. All localities in North Darfur have indicated a food balance sheet deficit, with exception of Saraf Omra.

    Reduced availability of food from own production. This year, stocks from own production are expected to last 3.5 months, compared to stocks that typically cover household cereal requirements for 6 to 8 months. By the beginning of April, most households already exhausted stocks from own production and shifted to market purchase earlier than normal. Livestock to cereal ToT continue to deteriorate as cereal prices continue to rise in North Darfur markets while livestock prices stabilize, further reducing household access to food.

    High prevalence of global acute malnutrition in most localities of North Darfur State. A nutrition survey conducted during the 2013 lean season reported that the prevalence of GAM, defined according to weight-for-height Z scores <-2, was 28 percent in North Darfur. Most of surveyed localities and camps indicated GAM prevalence above the emergency threshold point of 15 percent underlining the high nutritional vulnerability of the population to food security shocks. Malnutrition tends to be higher during the lean season with greater food consumption deficits and increased susceptibility to waterborne diseases like malaria and diarrhea during the rainy season. Due to reduced food availability in North Darfur and other aggravating factors such as conflict and displacement and the interruption of health services, FEWS NET anticipates that malnutrition will increase through September. 

    Insecurity, conflict and new displacement: Conflict intensified during the first quarter of 2014 in many parts of Darfur. North Darfur is one of the worst affected areas with nearly 273,000 people displaced within the state. Most IDPs moved to the existing camps in Nyala town, EL Fasher town, Tawila, Shengel Tobaya, Kuttum, Mellit, and to UNAMID compounds in Korma, Khor Abeche and Saraf Omra. Others have sought refuge in mountains and isolated rural areas inaccessible for humanitarian agencies. Escalated fighting has caused loss of lives, looting and destruction of assets including livestock and food stocks and disrupted trade flow. Despite access constraints, humanitarian agencies reached nearly 75 percent of people displaced since January. Conflict in Saraf Omra locality is of particular concern as Saraf Omra is the only surplus producing area in North Darfur and with the main supply market for millet to other markets in North Darfur.

    Intensified conflict in Darfur has prevented long-term IDPs from returning to their home villages. Reports indicate that the number of returnees to home villages has declined from 109,000 people in 2012 to 31,000 people in 2013 because of insecurity and lack of protection. Recent escalation of fighting in 2014 will impede permanent and seasonal return for cultivation during the coming rainy season.

    Disruptions to trade flow in El La’ait, El Tewaisha, Kalemendo and Saraf Omera localities. Trade flows to El Fasher, North Darfur and Nyala, South Darfur have been interrupted by conflict.  Reduced trade flows from border areas in Chad following a similarly poor harvest and local government restrictions on cross-border trade have further reduced local market supplies.  Typical inflows from central Sudan have declined due to high source market costs and prohibitive transport costs. Traders have started sourcing from Om Durman Market in Khartoum. In El Fasher, Nyala, and Geneina, sorghum prices are 82 to 132 percent above the five-year average while millet prices are 108 to 140 percent above the five-year average. Moreover, the closure of supply routes to commercial convoys has further reduced trade flow to and within North Darfur.

    Assumptions

    In addition to the national-level assumptions noted above, the following assumptions will apply in North Darfur:

    Prices: Cereal prices are currently among the highest in the country In EL Fasher and Nyala markets in North and South Darfur states. Prices will remain higher than their respective 2013 levels and the five-year average due to reduced local availability and increased dependence on food from further parts of the country. Production from typical source areas in Chad was below average, limiting market supplies available for informal trade with Sudan. Transportation costs will therefore increase as traders source grain from central and eastern Sudan. Higher fuel costs following the removal of fuel subsidies also contribute to the increased cost of transport. Prices in North Darfur markets are expected to begin increasing rapidly from April through August 2014. Projections indicate that millet prices will be 137 percent above average while sorghum prices will be 81 percent higher than average. These prices increases are likely indicative of price trends throughout Darfur.

    Sustained levels of conflict are likely to continue due to failed peace talks, exacerbated by seasonal inter-tribal conflicts among nomadic tribes and between nomads and farmers in Darfur. This is likely to affect food security outcomes from April to September in the following ways:

    • FEWS NET estimates that an additional 100,000 to 150,000 people will be displaced as a result of civil insecurity in North and South Darfur states.
    • Reduced access to cultivation by IDPs and residents is expected. Of particular concern is the seasonal return of IDPs to home villages for cultivation. FEWS NET expects only about half of IDPs who returned home for cultivation last year will cultivate this year. Fighting is also expected to cause crop destruction. Crop destruction by nomadic livestock is likely to increase in the absence of law and order in most of rural Darfur.
    • Reduced access to seasonal agricultural labor by up to 75 percent of normal is expected. Seasonal agricultural labor is an important source of income this time of year and accounts for nearly a quarter of total household income.
    • Conflict likely to eliminate access to wild food collection, an important coping strategy for poor households in rural areas of North Darfur that provides 20 to 30 percent of food needs in difficult years.
    • Reduced access to firewood, charcoal and grass collection by about 80 to 90 percent of normal. Collection and sale of firewood, grass and charcoal contribute roughly 15 to 20 percent of total income of poor households in North Darfur.
    • Household asset depletion is likely as a result of looting and displacement.

    Food aid is expected to continue during the scenario period. WFP will continue to distribute 50 percent food rations and food vouchers to long-term IDPs. Where humanitarian and logistical access permits, new IDPs will receive 100 percent food rations through general food distributions.  WFP is also planning to distribute seasonal food aid during the peak lean season in drought prone areas. Finally, should food voucher programs begin to have negative effects on local market prices, WFP has prepositioned additional food stocks in order to ensure flexibility and efficiency of food assistance programs.

    Outcomes

    Extremely high food consumption deficits caused by early depletion of household food stocks, record-high staple food prices, and cash income deficits, combined with increased vulnerability to waterborne diseases during the June to September rainy season will likely cause increased prevalence of GAM in North Darfur and deepening food insecurity. The following food security outcomes are expected from April to September.  

    • Long-term IDPs: The majority of the nearly 2 million protracted IDPs in Zamzam, Abu Shoulk, Kebkabiya, Kassab, Kuttum, EL Serief, Shengel Tobaya, Kebkabiya and Tawila camps will receive 50 percent food aid rations. Food consumption deficits of up to 10 percent are expected during the outlook period. FEWS NET assumes at least 30 percent of long-term IDPs will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) from April to September.
    • Poor residents and host communities: The combination of high food prices, deteriorating terms of trade, reduced purchasing power and limited access to wild foods will result in considerable food consumption gaps. Most households will be unable to meet their minimum food requirements without engaging in irreversible coping strategies and very poor households are likely to face food consumption deficits of about up to 20 percent. WFP is planning seasonal food aid distribution in these areas in May/June. FEWS NET assumes over 30 percent of poor residents and mixed communities were currently in Cirsis (IPC Phase 3) and likely to remain in Crisis until seasonal food aid support begins in May/June. Thereafter, food security conditions will improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!).
    • New IDPs: New IDPs with access to 100 percent food aid assistance will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). New IDPs without access to food aid are likely to have food consumption deficits of about 25 percent. Without food assistance, IDPs rely on market purchase and in-kind support of host communities. With already limited resources, host communities’ capacity to assist IDPs is limited. Therefore, FEWS NET expects that new IDPs without accesses to food assistance are likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the scenario period.     

    South Kordofan

    Current Situation

    As of March 2014, FEWS NET estimates that about 550,000 people to have been directly affected and/or displaced since the start of the conflict in South Kordofan in June 2011. Of these, roughly 300,000 people are in SPLM-N-controlled areas and 250,000 are in GoS-controlled areas.

    The two peace talks between SPLM-N and GoS in February and March 2014 under the mediation of African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) failed to bring ceasefire to the three-year conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.  The continued violence in South Kordofan between SAF and SPLM-N in Al Rashad, Abassiya, Heiban, Western Dilling and Kadugli localities over the past two months displaced more than 10,000 people within SPLM-N controlled areas. During the same period 1,600 new refugees from South Kordofan arrived in Yida camp in Unity state of South Sudan. Since April, fighting between SAF and SPLM-N intensified in the Eastern Nuba Mountains displacing about 7,500 people.

    Substantial surge in cereal prices. In Kadugli market, sorghum prices in March 2014 are 13 percent higher than last month, 88 percent higher than March 2013 and 137 percent higher than the respective five-year average. In Kadugli market, millet prices in March 2014 were 23 percent higher than of previous month, 37 percent higher than last year and 142 percent higher than the March five-year average. Anecdotal price monitoring in SPLM-N-controlled areas indicated that cereal prices are almost double the prices in GoS-controlled areas.

    Conflict continues to restrict access to markets and humanitarian access in SPLM-N-controlled areas. IDPs and conflict-affected households in SPLM-N-controlled areas are largely inaccessible to humanitarian assistance. However, humanitarian interventions are ongoing for IDPs and poor host community in GoS-controlled areas; an estimated greater than 80 percent of the IDPs and poor households have access to food aid rations, supplementary feeding programs, and other basic services. Although access to markets should have improved, as the dry season progressed, access is increasingly restricted in SPLM-N controlled areas, attributed to ongoing conflict and restrictions imposed by the conflicting parties.

    Income sources are significantly below average:

    • Income from livestock sales, usually an important source of income during the dry season, has substantially reduced due to high losses and excessive sales over the past three conflict-years. Populations in SPLM-N-controlled areas are likely to have fewer livestock compared to GoS-controlled areas and thus lower income from livestock sales.
    • Income from wood and charcoal sale, the second most important source of income during the dry season, has significantly reduced due to insecurity that has restricted access for collection.  Trade from SPLM-N areas to GoS areas has also declined. 
    • Remittances from laborers traveling to GoS-controlled areas are an important source of income during the dry season. Remittances are expected to decline in SPLM-N areas because of disruptions to mobile cash transfer mechanisms and reduced labor mobility.

    Food sources are significantly below average:

    • By March 2014 most of IDPs and poor households have exhausted stocks from own production due to the poor 2013/14 harvest. Household food stocks typically last six to nine months.
    • Reduced household income and sharp food price increases will limit access to food through market purchase.
    • FEWS NET assumes that in SPLM-N-controlled areas, stocks of wild foods collected in December were exhausted by March.
    • In-kind support to IDPs and poor households from host communities is expected to be limited in SPLM-N- controlled areas as many households had very little surplus following the poor harvest.
    • The majority of IDPs and poor households in GoS-controlled areas have access to 100 percent rations provided by WFP and GoS. Conflict affected households in SPLM-N-controlled areas have no access to food assistance.  

    Assumptions for South Kordofan

    In addition to the national-level assumptions specified earlier, this Outlook makes the following assumptions for South Kordofan in particular:

    • Conflict between GoS and SPLM-N is likely to continue through September but at lower intensity. It is unlikely that peace talks will be successful during the outlook period.  However, logistical constraints during the rainy season will lessen the intensity and the geographical scale of fighting between SPLM-N and GoS.
    • Restrictions to humanitarian access to SPLM-N areas are expected to persist through the scenario period. However, populations in GoS-controlled areas will continue to have access to humanitarian assistance, including food aid.
    • Cereal prices will continue to rise and peak in August. FEWS NET expects additional price increases of up to 20 percent through August, further limiting household purchasing power in South Kordofan, particularly for poor households and IDPs in SPLM-N-controlled areas.
    • Resource-based conflict between farming communities and pastoralists is expected. As pastoralists return from seasonal grazing areas in South Sudan in May/June, competition for land between pastoralists and farmers could precipitate additional resource-based conflict. Clashes are likely to result in further displacement and will negatively impact household food and income sources.   
    • Access to seasonal agricultural labor will likely improve during the rainy season. Access to seasonal agricultural labor will improve during the rainy season. However, reduced area cultivated will lower labor demand.
    • Access to green wild foods and early maturing home gardens will improve from August to September, but will not be sufficient to mitigate the food consumption deficits among IDPs and poor households in SPLM-N-controlled areas
    • Nutritional status will likely deteriorate during the scenario period. The projected food consumption deficit in addition to increased morbidity during the rainy season is expected to cause an increase in the prevalence of malnutrition during the outlook period.
    • Although positive relations between Sudan and South Sudan may allow Sudan to participate in the mediation of the conflict in South Sudan, the ongoing crisis in South Sudan may precipitate an influx of refugees into border areas including South Kordofan, increasing tensions among refugee and host communities.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes of South Kordofan

    The ongoing conflict, below-average 2013/14 harvest, persistent lack of access to humanitarian assistance, and soaring food prices have resulted in significant food consumption deficits for IDPs and poor host community households in SPLM-N- controlled areas. Green wild foods will be available during the second half of the outlook period but will be insufficient to compensate for food consumption gaps of conflict affected households in SPLM-N-controlled areas. Because humanitarian access allows for food aid delivery in GoS-controlled areas, food security outcomes are expected to be relatively better. Reduced household income in the context of record-high cereal prices could lead to further deterioration of food security outcomes through September. In SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan, FEWS NET estimates that at least 30 to 40 percent of IDPs and poor households will face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity throughout the outlook period. In GOS-controlled areas of South Kordofan, the majority of IDPs and poor households continue to receive regular food aid from the government and WFP, and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity throughout the scenario period.

     


    Events that could change the outlook

    Possible events over the next six months that could change the most likely scenario.

    Area

    Event

    Impact on food security outcomes

    SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states

    Peace talks between SPLM-N and GoS are successful expanding access to labor, markets and humanitarian assistance to SPLM-N areas.

     

    The food security classification through the outlook period for IDPs and poor households in SPLM-N-controlled areas would change to Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) during the scenario period.

     

    IDP settlements in Darfur

    Improved coverage of humanitarian assistance to over 80 percent of new IDPs.

    Food security classification of new IDPs would improve from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!)

    All Sudan

    Below-average harvest in 2014.

    Below-average harvests for a second year will have serious consequences for food security in Sudan and eliminate seasonal improvements to food security during the harvest period (October – March). Thus poor households in deficit production areas would likely remain food insecure through 2014/15 food consumption year.

    All Sudan

    Crisis in South Sudan leads to a complete halt of crude oil production export via Port Sudan.

    A substantial reduction in foreign currency revenues from oil exports could lead to austerity measures (e.g. removal of subsidies from strategic commodities like wheat and devaluation of the local currency) that might cause civil unrest.

     

    Figures

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Cereal Prices in 2013/14 compared to five-year average in Omdurman market

    Figure 2

    Cereal Prices in 2013/14 compared to five-year average in Omdurman market

    Source: FEWS NET

    Terms of trade, sorghum to sheep, Khartoum

    Figure 3

    Terms of trade, sorghum to sheep, Khartoum

    Source: FAMIS-FSTS and FEWS NET

    Figure 4

    Terms of trade, agricultural labor wage to sorghum/millet, Nyala

    Source: FAMIS-FSTS and FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Source:

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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