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Seasonal improvements in food security expected as harvests begin in October

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Sudan
  • July - December 2014
Seasonal improvements in food security expected as harvests begin in October

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Key Messages
    • As of July 2014, an estimated 5.3 million people in Sudan face Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity. Ongoing conflict in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and West Kordofan, have disrupted livelihoods and reduced household food access, especially for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The persistent rise of staple food prices has reduced household capacity to meet minimum food requirements during the peak of the lean season when households are the most market dependent. 

    • Cumulative rainfall was near average over most parts of Sudan in July, except in some parts of North, West and South Darfur states. Seed shortages and increased costs of agricultural inputs, in addition to ongoing civil insecurity in Darfur, are expected to reduce the overall area planted in these areas. 

    • Staple food prices remained at record-high levels in markets across Sudan in June. Sorghum prices were on average, 80 percent above last year and 120 percent higher than the June five-year average. Millet prices in June were 95 percent higher than last year and 150 percent above the five-year average. Seasonal decline in cereal prices is expected during the October to December harvest period, although it is unlikely that prices will stabilize to normal levels in the coming months.  

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    As of July 2014, an estimated 5.3 million people in Sudan face Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity. The food insecure population has increased by 18 percent since the beginning of lean season in April. Below-average 2013/14 production has substantially reduced household food stocks and supplies to markets, causing the continued rise of stable food prices in nearly all markets to record-high levels. The combination of the continued deterioration of macroeconomic conditions, including rising inflation and devaluation of the Sudanese Pound (SDG), continued spikes in food prices, and renewed conflict in South Kordofan, Darfur and West Kordofan states, has caused a drastic deterioration in food security outcomes in recent months. In addition, the crisis in South Sudan has significantly reduced oil revenues, straining the national budget and foreign reserves. The continued influx of South Sudanese refugees has increased pressure on host communities’ resources and strained the humanitarian aid community.   

    Since February 2014, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) intensified military operations against Darfur rebel groups in North and South Darfur. Active conflict has resulted in burning of villages and looting of assets, including livestock, and displacing about 400,000 people. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) have either fled to camps or sought refuge with host communities.

    Conflict and displacement remains a key driver of acute food insecurity. Nearly 70 percent of the current food insecure population is in areas affected by conflict in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Abeyi. Food security outcomes are worst among IDPs in areas of South Kordofan controlled by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) where populations are currently in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). IDPs in SPLM-N-controlled areas of Blue Nile State, new IDPs in Darfur and West Kordofan, returnees/refugees in Abeyi, and South Sudanese refugees in White Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan states are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Cumulative rainfall in July was near average over most parts of Sudan. Improved rainfall during the last dekad of July replenished soil moisture necessary for planting and crop germination in most parts of Sudan. Rainfall was 10 to 25 millimeters (mm) below average in western parts of the country, including North Darfur and northern parts of West, South, and Central Darfur states. Heavy rains in central and northern Sudan since the third dekad of July caused severe, widespread flooding and damaged infrastructure in Khartoum, River Nile, and Al Gazeira states. Planting and weeding is ongoing in agricultural areas, but the increased cost of inputs and insecurity in conflict-affected areas is expected to result in reduced area planted, especially in Darfur and South Kordofan.  

    Intensified conflict in Darfur since February has displaced nearly 400,000 people, the largest wave of displacement since conflict erupted there 12 years ago. Although 30 to 35 percent of new IDPs returned to their home villages by early July, widespread loss of assets and reduced access to land for planting because of insecurity has compromised household access to food and livelihoods. Escalated conflict also displaced 25,000 people in Western Kordofan during the first half of 2014. In June, an estimated 100,000 people in South Kordofan fled to SPLM-N-controlled areas of the Nuba Mountains following heavy fighting between the SAF and the SPLM-N. Conflict has disrupted local livelihoods, the social fabric of local communities, trade flow, and the provision of humanitarian services. Massive displacement has forced farmers to abandon their fields, preventing timely planting. Disruptions to agricultural activities are expected to be worst in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan where heavy fighting is ongoing.

     National inflation continued to rise in June. National inflation rose from 41 to 45 percent from May to June and is currently 18 percent higher than last year, while the formal exchange rate remained stable at 5.7 Sudanese Pounds (SDG) per 1 USD. The exchange rate on the informal market is currently 9.4 SDG per 1 USD. The informal exchange rate has a more significant influence on prices because most traders finance imports with currency exchanged on the informal market. As Sudan continues to import most of its food, continued decreases in foreign currency reserves are expected. Further devaluation of the Sudanese Pound will continue to put upward pressure on prices of essential commodities like food, medicine and fuel.

    Sorghum and millet prices continue to rise during the peak of the lean season.

    • June retail sorghum prices were, on average, 80 percent higher than last year and 120 percent above the five-year average. In June, sorghum prices were highest in North Darfur and Khartoum where a sack of sorghum retailed at 444 SDG in El Fasher and 427.5 SDG in Khartoum. The poultry and dairy industry has generated additional demand for sorghum in Khartoum. Increased prices of sorghum, used as feed, have resulted in higher poultry and milk prices. 
    • June retail millet prices were on average 95 percent higher than last year and 150 percent above the five-year average. Millet prices in June were highest in Khartoum where one sack retailed at 775 SDG, and in Damazin and Kadugli markets where a sack of millet sold for 700 SDG

    Goat to sorghum terms of trade continued to deteriorate in June. Terms of trade have declined by roughly 50 percent since last year, reflecting the extent to which cereal prices have outpaced livestock prices. Similar trends for terms of trade for daily wage labor and firewood to sorghum have been observed across Sudan.

    South Sudan Crisis and Impacts on Sudan

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

    • South Sudan exploration of crude oil and export via facilities in Sudan has declined by 35 percent since December 2013, from 245,000 barrels per day to 160,000 in July 2014. Crude oil production in Unity and Upper Nile, South Sudan has drastically declined. Export fees collected for the use of Sudan’s pipeline and port facilities is a major source of foreign currency. Continued disruption of oil production in South Sudan will continue to compromise Sudan’s capacity to sustain the national budget deficit, and prevent further inflation and devaluation of the Sudanese Pound.
    • Civil insecurity and heavy rains in June/July reduced road accessibility and obstructed trade flow between Sudan and South Sudan. Civil insecurity in South Sudan disrupted formal and informal exports to South Sudan. Many trade routes and markets remain closed in conflict-affected areas. The few trade corridors that did remain open (West Sinar to Eastern Upper Nile, and East and South Darfur to Northern Bahr el Ghazal) have become inaccessible during the rainy season, further limiting trade.
    •  Refugee arrivals from South Sudan to Sudan continues, but slowed over the month of June. By the end of June 2014, an estimated 88,000 refugees arrived in Sudan since December. About 65 percent of the refugees have received humanitarian assistance. Of the current South Sudanese refugee population, about 45 percent are in White Nile State, 30 percent in Khartoum, 16 percent in South Kordofan, four percent in Blue Nile and four percent in West Kordofan State. 
    Figures Current food security outcomes, July 2014

    Figure 1

    Current food security outcomes, July 2014

    Source: FEWS NET

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 2

    Seasonal Calendar for typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3


    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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