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Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes across Sudan amid heavy fighting

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Sudan
  • June 2023 - January 2024
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes across Sudan amid heavy fighting

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Most likely food security outcomes and areas receiving significant levels of humanitarian assistance
  • Key Messages
    • Humanitarian needs have escalated dramatically following the outbreak of conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15, with widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected through the projection period and some areas in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), particularly localities in Greater Kordofan, Greater Darfur, and Blue Nile with large urban centers that have borne the brunt of the fighting to date. Approximately one in four people are expected to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance at the peak of the lean season (August to September), 50 percent higher than previously projected for the lean season period. Of highest concern are urban populations in Khartoum and parts of Greater Darfur, especially El Geneina, where targeted ethnic killings and atrocities are reportedly being committed, and there are likely households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in the peak of the lean season, given the continued lack of humanitarian assistance since mid-April.

    • The current conflict continues to center on control of cities, with the heaviest sustained fighting occurring in Khartoum. The clashes have caused considerable collateral damage and destruction to critical infrastructure, including health care, power, water supply, banking, and telecommunications, and displaced an estimated nearly 2.5 million, of which at least 1.7 million have fled Khartoum alone (although likely an underestimation). In addition, almost 740,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. These levels of displacement eclipse any seen in the last four years. Violence has also escalated in cities across Greater Darfur and in parts of Greater Kordofan as the RSF and affiliated militias consolidate control of the region. Amid the high levels of insecurity and destruction in urban areas, combined with the disruption of trade flows, household access to income and food continues to be severely constrained.

    • While rural areas have broadly been less affected by direct fighting so far, the disruption of markets and financing caused by the conflict has reduced household access to inputs and is expected to result in significantly below-average cultivation this year, despite relatively positive rainfall forecasts. In semi-mechanized and irrigated areas, farmers are expected to shift to sorghum and millet production under traditional rainfed systems with resulting lower yields. In parts of rural Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur in closer proximity to fighting in urban areas and to contested trade routes, household mobility and engagement in typical livelihood activities, including crop cultivation and seasonal migration, is expected to be limited.

    • For several years leading up to this crisis, Sudan has suffered exceeding high inflation, with prices for staple foods significantly above average. The current crisis has extensively disrupted market flow and functionality, causing volatility in movement and redistribution of goods around the country, and driven prices up even higher, particularly in central and western parts of the country. With household stocks at their lowest and market dependence peaking during the lean season, combined with reduced ability for households to access income, household purchasing power is deteriorating.

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    Conflict and displacements: The conflict in Sudan that erupted on April 15, 2023, has severely deteriorated food security conditions in urban areas affected by direct clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF), particularly in Khartoum and El Geneina, but as also El Obeid of North Kordofan, El Fasher of North Darfur, Nyala of South Darfur, and Zalingei of Central Darfur (Figure 1). According to Armed Conflict Location and Events Data (ACLED), as of the end of June 2023, 60 percent of recorded violent events and confrontations since mid-April have occurred in Khartoum, with nearly one-quarter occurring in West, North, and South Darfur combined (Figure 2). However, the share of associated fatalities is skewed disproportionately to West Darfur – as of June 22, official reports indicated that deaths had surpassed 1,000 people nationally, with OCHA estimating hundreds killed in West Darfur, although both estimates are likely to be underestimations given the lack of communication and ongoing severity of violence. Indeed, the conflict has re-ignited and fueled an explosion in inter-communal tensions in West Darfur, beginning in El Geneina city and spreading to rural areas of El Geneina locality, with some violence reported in neighboring localities. This has resulted in targeted killing based on ethnicity and reports of sexual violence, the loss of assets, and major disruptions of livelihood activities, along with large-scale displacement internally and across the border to Chad that significantly accelerated following the death of the governor of West Darfur on June 14. Insecurity in and around the city is high, with reports of attacks along the road to Chad as people try to flee. Clashes between RSF and affiliated militias and SAF have furthermore been reported across the major Darfurian cities of Nyala, El Fasher, and Zalingei, resulting in widespread destruction, pillaging, and rising civilian casualties, as RSF seeks to consolidate control over the region.

    Figure 1

    Conflict heat map as of June 23, 2023
    Map showing hotspots of conflicts weighted by fatalities April 2023 - June 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

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

    Figure 2

    Weekly evolution of violent events since April 2023 and distribution across regions
    Chart showing weekly evolution of violent events since April 2023 and distribution across regions. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: ACLED

    In Khartoum, the fighting between SAF and RSF has continued to be focused on downtown Khartoum, Omdurman, and Bahri areas around major sites such as Khartoum International Airport, the Presidential Palace, the SAF army complex, the Yarmouk arms manufacturing compound, the central reserve police headquarters in southern Khartoum, the army engineers base and the radio and television commission in Omdurman. The fighting is resulting in massive collateral damage and widespread insecurity that has led to the near-emptying of entire neighborhoods as residents flee the impacted areas. Critical infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, including power and water networks, telecommunications, markets, and healthcare facilities. Power outages continue to impact the cold storage of pharmaceutical and medical supplies, leading to critical shortages. Banks, businesses, public buildings, and private residences have been widely looted, causing extensive asset losses affecting the private and public sectors. Essential supplies, including drinking water, food, medication, and diesel fuel, are running extremely low. New waves of fierce fighting in Omdurman were reported in early July, with ground battles as well as the use of heavy artillery and air strikes. As of early July, the RSF has taken control of much of the city, bringing in reinforcements from Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan and pushing to capture SAF areas in Omdurman and Khartoum. SAF continues to defend positions on the periphery as it attempts to cut off supplies to RSF via continued airstrikes. 

    In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, plus parts of West Kordofan and White Nile, areas that have long histories of inter-communal conflict as well as confrontations between armed rebel groups and the government, several clashes and violent events have already occurred that are affecting household access to fields for the current cultivation season. Fighting has been reported between SAF and the People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) under Abdelaziz El-Hilu in Blue Nile and South Kordofan as the latter seeks to push SAF out and gain greater geographic control. As of early July, the group had reportedly forced the withdrawal of army troops from a number of army camps across South Kordofan state. However, the conflict between SAF and SPLM-N should not be considered indicative of an alignment between SPLM-N and RSF, but more of an opportunistic push to gain control in anticipation of a better negotiating stance pending the outcome of the SAF-RSF conflict.   

    The impact of the conflict on livelihoods and acute food security in rural areas is more indirect (with the notable exception of El Geneina of West Darfur and El Obeid in North Kordofan, where direct violence against the population has reached surrounding rural villages) and varies depending on the proximity to contested urban areas and trade routes and households’ calculus of the risk of violence in their immediate surrounds. Across Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan, the insecurity along trade routes is reducing food stocks 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 high. Fear of violence and insecurity in areas and localities proximate to active fighting is also limiting household mobility and, consequently, limiting the extent to which households can engage in typical income-generating activities, including petty trade, small business activities in markets, sale of livestock, and seasonal labor migration, as well as in crop cultivation. In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, clashes between SPLM-N and SAF have led to widespread looting and destruction of markets, infrastructure, and basic service facilities and have constrained engagement in livelihood activities. In the eastern portions of the country, insecurity is mainly taking the shape of a rise in tribal clashes, petty crime, and looting.

    The conflict has led to high levels of internal displacement, estimated at 2.4 million people as of early July, and the flight of nearly 740,000 people into neighboring countries, most of whom have fled to Egypt and Chad (over 250,000 respectively) and to South Sudan (about 160,000 people). The vast majority of the displaced are fleeing the worst conflict areas of Khartoum and El Geneina. According to DTM estimates, over 1.7 million have fled from Khartoum (about 70 percent of the total), although this is likely an underestimation given that many households that left Khartoum went to live with family and did not register as displaced. River Nile and Northern states have received the largest share of total IDPs, estimated at 17 and 15 percent of the total displaced. The arrival of this many IDPs in Northern and River Nile states, most of whom are living with relatives in host communities, is straining resources and the capacity of local communities, particularly given the relatively small populations in these areas (Figure 3). In West Darfur, nearly 200,000 have been registered as internally displaced in El Geneina town, with the vast majority of those internally displaced relocating within the city to different neighborhoods. On top of this internal displacement, nearly 250,000 refugees from West Darfur have crossed over to Chad, resulting in a growing humanitarian refugee crisis at the border.

    Figure 3

    New displacement as a proportion of the locality population as of the end of June 2023
    Map showing new displacement as a proportion of the locality population as of the end of June 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET using data from IOM”s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM)

    While separating the newly displaced from the protracted displacement is difficult, it is important to note the extent of prior displacement, estimated in March at 3.8 million. The majority were living in camps located in the Darfur region (>80 percent) (Figure 4), mostly having been displaced there between 2003 and 2017. Following the sudden break in humanitarian assistance since mid-April, many of the protracted and recently displaced who were highly dependent on food assistance are expected to be facing large consumption gaps. In addition to the internally displaced, Sudan also hosted more than 1 million refugees from other countries as of March 2023, the majority of whom were residing in Khartoum. While many have left, including an estimated 160,000 South Sudanese who have returned to South Sudan, UNHCR has also documented the movement of 180,000 refugees, mostly leaving Khartoum and seeking safety in relatively calmer states, including White Nile, Red Sea, Gedaraf, Kassala, East Darfur, and North Kordofan. A large proportion of these populations typically rely heavily on humanitarian assistance as well. While assistance has re-started and is reaching displaced communities in the eastern states, the significant rise in needs given the rapid increase in newly displaced is straining available resources considerably.  

    Figure 4

    Location of displaced persons prior to current crisis, by state
    Pie chart showing location of displaced persons prior to current crisis, by state. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET using data from IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM)

    Temporary ceasefires announced throughout April, May, and June have all failed to bring the fighting to a stop or allowed for the establishment of reliable corridors of humanitarian assistance. Negotiations facilitated by the United States and Saudi officials are ongoing, but the RSF and SAF are showing little interest in compromise. The emergence of a tribal mobilization effort, as well as an alignment between certain tribes, particularly in the war-scarred regions of Darfur and Kordofan, is increasing concerns over civilian involvement in the armed conflict and an expansion of the war zone to the rural areas of Sudan.

    Macroeconomy: Prior to the outbreak of conflict in mid-April, Sudan faced persistently poor economic conditions characterized by low foreign currency reserves and high inflation rates, although some stability was seen in the recent months leading up to the conflict. The Sudanese pound (SDG) official and parallel exchange rates with the United States Dollar (USD) decreased by 4 percent between March and June 2023, from 595 SDG/USD to 570 SDG/USD, due to the ongoing conflict reducing household access and demand for hard currencies as households are engaging in fewer commercial transactions and have low purchasing power. Between April and May, an extremely high demand for local cash amid banking failures and the non-functionality of associated mobile applications resulted in the parallel market falling around 4.5 percent below the official exchange rates for the first time ever as households sought to extract their savings from banks at the start of the war (Figure 5).

    Figure 5

    Official and parallel market exchange rates, January 2020 – June 2023
    Line chart showing official and parallel market exchange rates, January 2020 – June 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET, data from

    However, conflict concentrated in dense urban areas has wrought significant collateral damage, particularly in Khartoum, on infrastructure, telecommunications, and the banking system, as well as facilitated widespread looting and destruction of assets, all of which has devastated businesses and disrupted economic activity in the key commercial hubs of the country. The continuation of heavy fighting in Khartoum and the extent of damage and disruption to businesses, plus the depth of lost revenues and income sources, is continuing to significantly depress consumer activity, particularly as many of the elites and personnel skilled in running services and businesses have left, deepening the economic crisis.

    In addition, the government is continuing to face severe reductions in revenue as exports of key commodities remain disrupted, reducing the capacity to stimulate the economy in the longer term. While the export of crude oil has reportedly been maintained, the export of other key commodities, including gold, livestock, and gum Arabic have been disrupted to varying extents. In 2022, the legal sale of gold provided over 2 billion USD in revenue to the Sudanese government, estimated at about 45 percent of revenue from exports. As of mid-May 2023, it was reported that the legal export of gold had collapsed under heavy looting, destruction of processing equipment, and damage to main headquarters in Khartoum. However, much of the gold, estimated to be at least half of the country’s total 2022 production, is smuggled out with the revenue providing a key financing stream for armed groups, including RSF. Currently, it is unclear how much the conflict has interfered with the movement of illicit gold out of the country. As reported in FEWS NET’s May 2023 Alert, exports of livestock and gum Arabic have also been impacted by disruption to trade routes. In 2022, livestock export revenue was estimated at over 80 million USD, and gum Arabic at 110 million USD. While information remains unavailable on recent export figures, insight from Egyptian markets and reported disruption at the border between Egypt and Sudan indicates a slowdown of livestock trade. While reports from Port Sudan indicate that cargo loading and discharging are continuing, getting livestock to the port is expected to be significantly disrupted given insecurity along domestic trade routes. In addition, the planting of cash crops, another source of export earnings as well as an important household income source, is expected to be below normal given the impact of conflict on crop cultivation this agricultural season.

    Trade flow and market functionality: Imports have also been disrupted with import businesses closing and the slowdown of payment and customs processing, given heavy centralization of these functions in Khartoum. Sudan relies heavily on imports of foodstuffs, including wheat and refined sugar, refined fuel, medicines, and heavy machinery, including tractors. Much of this imported trade, as well as domestic trade in agricultural products from high-production areas to deficit ones, has historically flowed to Khartoum for warehousing, refining, and distribution onwards. With the routes into Khartoum remaining severely disrupted (Figure 6), reported destruction of factories and warehouses, and closure of key businesses, the internal domestic trade functionality is critically hampered. Combining this flow disruption with the rising costs demanded by transportation services and drivers due to added security risks (looting, banditry, checkpoints, and associated transaction fees), plus the high fuel costs, has translated into reduced availability of imported products in many markets and rising prices transferred to the consumer, particularly in the center and west of the country. Most fuel purchases are conducted now on the black market given the decreased importation and reduced availability of fuel, with variable price increases across the country.

    Figure 6

    Markets and Trade Route Activity Map, June 2023
    Markets and Trade Route Activity Map, June 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET

    According to FEWS NET’s analysis, routes in and out of Khartoum are largely inaccessible, with minimal to no activity, with 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 (Figure 6). 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.

    In terms of imported wheat, Sudan faced a deficit of 3.5 million tonnes of wheat for 2023, up from 2.7 million tonnes imported in 2022 due to a reduction in domestic wheat production last agricultural season. Wheat imports were reportedly strong in the first quarter of 2023 before the outbreak of the conflict but have declined in subsequent months and are considerably lower (Table 1). However, the wheat market in Sudan is complex, with separate but overlapping domestic and import value chains that are affected by multiple factors. Years of declining support from the government to purchase domestic wheat has left a surplus of unsold wheat from 2021/22 and 2022/23 that is now entering local markets given declines in imported wheat, the destruction of milling and storage capacity in Khartoum, and disruption of the flow of milled flour from Khartoum to other parts of the country. For example, reports from Madani in River Nile state indicate a surplus in the market as farmers seek added income from the sale old stocks of wheat. Additionally, historically most of the demand for wheat comes from Khartoum – this demand is significantly down given the decline and loss of incomes as well as the flight of a significant proportion of the population.

    Table 1

    Table 1. Imported quantities of wheat grain (metric tons), March to June 2023

      March April May June
    Wheat 262,488 121,299 124,600 113,156


    Source: Plant Quarantine department – Plant protection General directorate – Federal Ministry of Agriculture

    Staple food prices: With the disruptions in trade and trade flows, the price trends for key staple foods have varied across the markets. In Khartoum, the increases in prices have been steep, with sorghum, millet, and wheat prices rising 64, 61, and 105 percent, respectively, between March and June 2023. In eastern markets, including Port Sudan, Kassala, and El Gedaref, the prices of sorghum and millet have declined as stocks are increasing in the markets above usual seasonal supply due to two main factors –trade cannot move easily around the country, particularly from east to west, and farmers are releasing stocks earlier than usual in order to increase their own income to meet rising costs of living (consumption and agricultural costs), and often to support additional family members who have arrived from Khartoum. Moving westward across the country, the pattern of generally rising prices for millet and sorghum has been more consistent due to persistent insecurity along trade routes. In Sennar, a major sorghum supplier for the western markets, the price of sorghum rose 11 percent between March and June (Figure 7). By comparison, the price of sorghum rose by 25 to 30 percent in Ad-Dain in East Darfur and Nyala in South Darfur between March and June. While the wheat harvest entered the market only recently, between March and April, prices nonetheless rose considerably for markets across the country reflective of the trade flow challenges. Only Dongola market, a major marketing hub for the locally produced wheat from Northern state, experienced a 9 percent decline in wheat prices between March and June due to continued availability of the winter harvest and disruption to its distribution within the country.

    Livestock prices: The livestock market in Sudan has been significantly disturbed by the conflict, as the two main markets in Sudan, El Obeid in North Kordofan State and Mowelih in Omdurman, are not functioning, and flow from main production to consumption markets has been disrupted, negatively impacted animal exports to Egypt and the Gulf states as well as to other local markets. As a result, while supply in the main production markets across Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan is below average, the reduced outflow to consumption markets is causing atypical declining seasonal trends. Goat prices remained relatively stable across most of the other monitored markets, except in El Obeid and Kassala, where the goat prices declined by 15 to 25 percent between March and June. Sheep and cattle prices also overall followed declining trends across most supplying markets between March and June due to the export supply chain disruption, particularly of live animal and meat exports to Egypt. 

    Figure 7

    Percent change in retail sorghum prices from March to June 2023
    Bar chart showing percent change in retail sorghum prices from March to June 2023.

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

    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 labor-to-sorghum TOT has remained relatively stable over the last few months, with the average labor-dependent household able to purchase 8 to 9 kilograms of sorghum between March and June 2023 for a day’s labor wage in Gedaref and 13 to 14 kilograms of sorghum in Kassala market. The trend is due to the current relative stability of both sorghum prices and labor wages in the eastern markets, in contrast to the pattern that has persisted in the last two years of high demand for agricultural labor for sowing and weeding between May and June that leads to higher wages, but which is nonetheless outpaced by rising cereal prices as the lean season progresses, leading to declining TOT (Figure 8).

    Figure 8

    Labor-to-sorghum TOT in Gedaref and Kassala, and goat-to-sorghum TOT in El Obeid market, January 2022 – June 2023
    Line chart showing labor-to-sorghum TOT in Gedaref and Kassala, and goat-to-sorghum TOT in El Obeid market, January 2022 – June 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET, data from FAMIS

    The goat-to-sorghum terms-of-trade in El Obeid market declined 30 percent between March and June 2023 due to the 24 percent drop in goat prices, while sorghum prices increased by 8 percent (Figure 8). While pastoral and agro-pastoral households benefited from improvements in TOT throughout much of 2022, the rapid decline since the conflict began and likelihood of the trend continuing is negatively affecting the purchasing power of the poor pastoral and agro-pastoral herders, particularly as households are increasingly required to sell more at lower prices to meet rising costs of food and non-food essentials.

    The ongoing conflict coinciding with the start of the lean season is resulting in herders selling more of their animals than normal due to the insecurity and associated animal looting incidents, such as has been reported around El Obeid, and disruptions of animal migration to the seasonal grazing zones, while the lean season is resulting in seasonally higher drinking water and feed costs. However, the ongoing rainy season is improving pasture and water access, beginning to alleviate these costs and leading to improvements in animal body conditions. During normal peaceful times, herders tend to reduce their animal sales during the rainy season, and typically have better terms of trade while bargaining with the grain mechants. However, in the pervailing conflict environment, a considerable portion of the livestock producers are selling their livestock at relatively low prices as a risk-averse strategy, lowering their purchasing power as grain prices continue to rise.  

    2023/24 agricultural season progress: Across the country, the timely access to agricultural financing and inputs, including seeds, fertilizer, fuel, and machinery, is a major constraint to the start of the agricultural season due to the disruption to the banking system, imports, transportation and trade flow, and prevailing insecurity in some rural areas closer to the fighting. According to a statement by the Central Bank of Sudan on June 16, while procedures were in place for granting finance to farmers, delays are widespread as of mid-July due to electricity and communications outages, looting, vandalism, and general disruption in the banking system affecting the ability to transfer cash between branches and disburse finances. The delay has already affected farmers’ ability to prepare land and plant given the typical start of these activities in May and June. FAO has announced it will initiate an emergency seed distribution of 9,600 tons of sorghum and millet seeds to over 1 million farming households in June and July, although access to the most at risk remains limited by the conflict.

    In semi-mechanized and irrigated sectors, concentrated in the southeastern states of Gedaref, Sennar, and Al Jazirah, the delayed access to financing from the Agricultural Bank of Sudan (ABS), plus shortage and high prices of agricultural inputs is particularly critical given the greater reliance in these sectors on support due to higher costs to production. Furthermore, the reduced access to financing and inputs is aggravating a trend already observed in recent years. According to the 2022/23 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM), a 15 percent decline in production from the semi-mechanized sector was attributable to reductions in agricultural financing and high costs of production. Many state and local governments, in revealing plans for targeted cultivation extents and plans to support farmers in terms of financing and inputs, have pointed to the necessity for additional support from international agencies such as FAO for seeds and the federal government for fuel and financing support, both of which are constrained due to the conflict. In addition, labor availability is being inhibited due to the impact of insecurity on movement, reducing the typical flows of migrant labor from the neighboring areas of Ethiopia and areas of lower productivity in Sudan to the larger more productive schemes in the southeast of the country. Overall, with limited resources and cash available, farmers are increasingly shifting production to less resource-intensive cereal crops (sorghum, millet) under traditional rainfed systems, and reducing semi-mechanized production and cash crop production. This was corroborated by a key informant report on the state of cultivation in El Gedaref in early June, which noted that planting in the state was anticipated to be below normal in semi-mechanized areas and above normal under traditional rainfed systems. Irrigated production is similarly likely to see a reduction due to the same reasons as semi-mechanized with the addition of likely delays in required maintenance of irrigation infrastructure.

    Across Greater Darfur, Greater Kordofan, and parts of White Nile, according to field information, the start of land preparation and cultivation for the already started 2023/24 agricultural season is lagging behind in most of the traditional sector due to prevailing insecurity and shortage of agricultural inputs and labor. As mentioned above, physical access to fields varies widely across the region depending on the extent of conflict. With conflict escalating in Greater Darfur, particularly in West Darfur, cultivation has been severely disrupted with few if any households cultivating in El Geneina locality and high levels of tension and pervasive insecurity in surrounding localities significantly constraining household mobility and access to fields for cultivation. While information is limited in Greater Darfur, households in rural areas of North, Central, and South Darfur are likely engaging in more cultivation than in West Darfur, but still below normal levels, given the volatility and unpredictability of the conflict, fear of attacks, and lack of access to inputs, while cultivation in East Darfur is likely proceeding better than other areas of Darfur given relatively calmer conditions. Similarly, in Greater Kordofan, the rise in conflict between SPLM-N and SAF and between SAF and RSF in El Obeid is likely contributing to a reduction in cultivation among farmers. Seasonal migration of nomads with their animals from the summer season grazing areas in the southern parts of the country and neighboring countries of South Sudan and Central African Republic to the wet season grazing zones in the north have been significantly disrupted by the conflict, with the delayed animal migration expected to result in an increase in the outbreak of animal diseases and losses, and will likely increase conflict between farmers and pastoralists.

    There was a slight delay of around 10 days to the start of the rainy season across much of southern and southeastern portions of the country (Figure 9). However, subsequent above-average rainfall has contributed to above-average vegetative conditions, with slight deficits persisting in the southeastern areas of El Gedaref, Sennar, and Al Jazirah, as measured by the satellite-derived eVIIRS Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) (Figure 10). According to CHIRPS waterpoint data as of early July, good water conditions existed across most of the monitored water points in South Kordofan, but water points in West Kordofan and Blue Nile were low, between 50 to 100 percent of long-term median water levels, 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; however, insecurity is likely affecting these movements across the border at the same time that the farmer-herder conflict is escalating with the rise in ethnic clashes as many pastoral migration routes typically pass through farmland.

    Figure 9

    Onset of the Rains (SOS) Anomaly, as of the first 10 days of June 2023
    Onset of the Rains (SOS) Anomaly, as of the first 10 days of June 2023. Described under heading Current Situation.

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Humanitarian food assistance: As of the most recently available data from WFP of already distributed and planned assistance from April through December 2023, assistance reached over 1 million people as of the end of June with 50 percent rations. In mid-June, a brief window provided by the ceasefire allowed an estimated 300,000 people to be reached with 50 percent rations in Khartoum in Sharg An Neel, Um Bada, and Omdurman localities. Based on the estimated population remaining in these localities after displaced people have left, it is estimated that potentially between 5 to 15 percent of the population in these localities was reached in June. Humanitarian assistance was also delivered in Greater Darfur in mid-June, with assistance reaching about 250,000 people in South Darfur, about 170,000 people in North Darfur, about 130,000 people in Central Darfur, and about 20,000 people in East Darfur by the end of June. West Darfur remains notably inaccessible, although options for delivery from the Chad border are being explored by the United Nations and other humanitarian partners. Deliveries also reached nearly 200,000 displaced people across Blue Nile, Al Jazirah, North Kordofan, White Nile, Sennar, and Kassala in June. However, the continued looting of humanitarian assets, lack of restraint in targeting of humanitarian actors, risks of diversion of assistance by armed groups, persistent bureaucratic obstacles, and increasing seasonal barriers to delivery of assistance with the onset of the rainy season are continuing to interrupt and interfere with the delivery of assistance to those in need.

    Current Food Security Outcomes

    In June, acute food insecurity with large food consumption gaps indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) are likely widespread across Sudan, with at least one in five people likely facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in parts of Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan, along with pockets of households in Khartoum given the significant impact of the ongoing conflict on food availability, disruption to trade flows and market functionality, very high food- and non-food prices, as well as the ability of households to engage in income-generating activities.

    West Darfur:  West Darfur, and in particular El Geneina, is of highest concern given the severity of the violence and atrocities underway, rising levels of displacement and re-displacement internally and across the border to Chad, and extensive disruption to livelihood activities. In rural areas in June, while household food stocks are not expected to have depleted early given the above-average harvest from the last agricultural season, dependence on markets typically increases in June. Given the reduced access to income from self-employment options including sale of firewood/charcoal and bush products, as well as casual local and migratory labor, due to rising insecurity, combined with increased food prices and suspension of humanitarian assistance since April 2023, poor rural households are expected to be facing food consumption gaps indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in June. By contrast, urban poor households in El Geneina town are likely facing large food consumption gaps indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) given the significantly higher levels of violence concentrated in the city and resulting severe restrictions on household mobility and access to food and income sources. El Geneina town hosts a large population of previously displaced residents that have historically faced limited income-earning opportunities, restricted access to land for cultivation, and relied heavily on humanitarian assistance. With the abrupt cessation of assistance in mid-April, lack of own food stocks, destruction of main markets in the city, looting and pillaging of public and private property and assets, and interrupted supply of food to the city, household access to food and income is increasingly and severely limited. In addition, the destruction of hospitals and health facilities, power and water shortages, and increasing reliance on unsafe sources of water, combined with deteriorating food consumption, are likely to contribute to a rising prevalence of acute malnutrition. El Geneina town hosts the majority of the population in the locality; thus, deteriorating consumption outcomes in the city are driving the area-level classification of Emergency (IPC Phase 4).  

    Khartoum: While an estimated 1.5 million people or more have fled Khartoum, there remain millions more in this city (prior to the war, Khartoum had an estimated population of around 9 million people) who face deteriorating conditions amid relentless fighting. Food and income sources have been critically undercut, particularly among the poor and very poor who depend on daily wage labor, but also among salaried workers who have been unable to receive payment since the start of the crisis. Households depend exclusively on purchases and did not have time to stock up before the outbreak of conflict. Thus, with the abrupt loss of income, destruction of markets and food storage facilities, rise in looting of shops, and trade disruptions, which together resulted in the dramatic reduction in food supply and availability and the sharp escalation of prices in the city, households faced an immediate and rapid deterioration in purchasing power. While remittances are likely playing an important role in sustaining households in Khartoum, access is expected to be intermittent given the disruption to telecommunication and banking systems. Other forms of income-generation are emerging, including working as hired security guards in areas where most people fled their houses, selling water using a donkey cart water tank, mobile marketing (umdawarwar) of vegetables and essential food stuffs using tricycle motorcycle (TokTok), delivery of services to households with limited movements, and petty trading in the relatively secure areas. However, all these activities are associated with a high risk of insecurity related to movements across the fighting zones within the city. Other forms of social support, including pooling and/or sharing of resources across families, or bartering, while difficult to estimate, are also likely contributing to moderating more severe acute food insecurity outcomes. However, there is a limit to how long this type of support can be sustained under intense pressure on food and income sources. As a result of the lower food availability and household purchasing power, dietary diversity and quantity have likely declined. Additionally, the risk of water-borne illnesses and acute malnutrition amongst children is likely rising given the disruption to water supply, and the risk of flooding increases with the ongoing rainy season. While humanitarian assistance reached approximately 300,000 people in hard-hit neighborhoods of Khartoum in June, it is still likely at least one in five people are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and some worst-affected very poor households are likely in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).  

    Northern and Eastern States: In June, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are widespread despite relatively calmer security conditions due to the disruption of markets, rising prices, household access to income, and the elevated flow of displaced people into host communities across the region. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes do persist in areas of El Gedaref, Kassala, and Sennar given the relative stabilization of prices in these areas due to the disruption of westward trade flows, and continued market functionality. Nonetheless, prices remain significantly above the five-year average and are limiting household purchasing power, as household food stocks decline amid the increasing need to support additional family members displaced from other areas. Income sources are also typically limited at this time of year with heavy reliance on casual labor in markets and sale of charcoal and firewood, and are expected to be even more limited under increased competition from displaced households.

    In parts of Blue Nile and White Nile, the historically higher levels of conflict driven by ethnic tensions and competition between farmers and herders over control of and access to natural resources, led to displacement and destruction of crops during the 2022/23 agricultural season and lower than typical harvests and an earlier start to the lean season. This was reflected in notably poorer food consumption scores according to WFP data collection in the post-harvest period of January and February 2023 across all of Blue Nile and in southern White Nile compared to much of the neighboring states. With the increase in attacks between SPLM-N and SAF, food security outcomes have likely further deteriorated in some localities to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) due to depleted food stocks and limited access to income or markets.

    In Northern and River Nile states, gold mining has typically provided casual wage labor opportunities, which when combined with historically higher remittance levels, tend to preserve better access to income and better food security outcomes. In addition, the recent harvest of wheat in March and April is likely maintaining households’ own food stocks. Across Northern and River Nile, as well as in most localities in the southeastern states of El Gedaref, Sennar, Al Jazirah, and western parts of Kassala, in the post-harvest period, prior to the outbreak of conflict, households had acceptable access to food and were not significantly engaging in consumption or livelihood-based coping strategies. Nonetheless, the large influx of displaced persons from Khartoum and increasing pressure on both food and income sources, particularly in some localities of Northern and River Nile where at least 20 percent of the local population has been displaced, is likely contributing to widening food consumption gaps indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. In other areas, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to be maintained.  

    Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur: In June, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist, with an increased number of people facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity outcomes, in much of Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan states. This is driven by the ongoing fighting between SAF and RSF in urban centers, high levels of displacement, increased loss of assets, extensive disruption to markets and trade affecting food availability and access, as well as household ability to engage in livelihood activities (planting, livestock migration) and typical income-generating activities including seasonal agricultural wage labor, sale of charcoal and firewood, and petty trade. The resulting decline in purchasing power is exacerbated by the beginning of the lean season when typically food stocks are already declining and market dependence is increasing. With already poor consumption and livelihood coping outcomes documented in the post-harvest period in January and February 2023 across many localities, particularly in West Kordofan, and parts of North, Central, and South Darfur, household access to food has likely further deteriorated amid widespread disruptions to income and food sources due to the fighting and insecurity, resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes dominating across Greater Kordofan, with some areas of Greater Darfur and North Kordofan in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), notably localities with main urban centers. 

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    Seasonal calendar for Sudan for April.

    Source: FEWS NET


    The most likely scenario from June 2023 to January 2024 is based on the following national-level assumptions:

    • 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 for an extended period, with enough weaponry and military aid to enable and exacerbate ongoing fighting but with neither side able to outright defeat the other.
      • 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 airports and key government, military, and communication infrastructure.  SAF will continue to use its air assets and heavy ordinance assets to shell dense urban terrain, causing significant damage to infrastructure and housing, although it will become increasingly ineffective in these attacks as assets and supplies become difficult to replenish and repair. Fighting will continue until either the SAF or the RSF establish control over Khartoum, an objective seen as a prerequisite point leverage prior to any meaningful negotiations. However, the intensity of fighting is expected to reduce in Khartoum area towards the end of the year.
      • Tribal and ethnic tensions are likely to significantly escalate in Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan and continue through the entire projection period, with ethnic militias and other groups seizing the opportunity and increasing security vacuum to strengthen their power bases, gain control over resources, or attack perceived enemies. These are likely to be further exacerbated by the retaliatory and cyclical nature of attacks. In particular, RSF and RSF-affiliated units will increasingly target non-Arab communities and civilians perceived as supporting the SAF.
      • Abdelaziz al-Hilu’s SPLM-N will continue to leverage the situation by opportunistically pushing to consolidate control over South Kordofan and eastern parts of West Kordofan. However, SPLM-N operations are likely to remain limited in geographic scope and are unlikely to extend beyond their traditional stronghold.
      • RSF factions will join or collaborate with criminal and militant groups, and militants across many sectors will become increasingly susceptible to extremist elements and terrorist activity.
      • Transit routes, small population centers, remote mining locations and critical infrastructure, and smaller urban areas are likely to become increasingly insecure with ongoing insurgency efforts from RSF and other rebel factions. There is potential that oil pipelines and oil infrastructure may become a target.
    • Macroeconomic: Active conflict will continue to impede the full functionality of the banking system and disrupt any progress on the implementation of exchange rate reform, including managing the currency float regime and closing the fiscal and balance of payments deficits intended to lower the inflation rate. Additionally, the expected continuation of heavy fighting within urban areas as the main hubs of trade and commerce, as well as along primary routes around the country, will continue to significantly curtail business operations, interrupt salary payments, reduce consumer activity, disrupt supply chains of food and non-food commodities, and cause the economy to further contract. The curtailed economic activities will further worsen the purchasing power of households. Disruptions in the banking sector will continue to limit household access to cash.
    • Exchange rate: In the near term, the disruption of trade flows, particularly of imports, and resulting decline in demand for foreign currency for trade and other purposes, plus the increasing demand for local currency combined with cash shortages, will continue to increase the value of the SDG relative to the dollar. However, in the longer term, if the conflict calms sufficiently to allow the resumption of economic activities and trade, the SDG is expected to depreciate sharply and will contribute to driving up prices of imported goods across the country.
    • Rainfall performance: Following a delayed start to the season in eastern and southern areas of Sudan, rainfall improved in early June, and cumulative rainfall for the June to September rainy season is likely to be near-average across much of the country.
    • Crop production: The fragile security situation will likely limit preparation for the new cropping season (June to August 2023) by reducing households’ access to agricultural finance, inputs (seeds, fuel, fertilizer, etc.), and labor, as well as their physical access to fields amidst rising insecurity and heightened tensions. In addition, continued disruption to overall commerce and trade in the country will negatively impact wealthier households’ income sources and reduce their capacity to hire labor throughout the season, reducing agricultural labor opportunities and likely lowering agricultural wages below typical rates. At the same time, migratory labor is also likely to be reduced given insecurity affecting labor available for cultivation. Planting and production in semi-mechanized and irrigated sectors are most likely to be significantly negatively affected by reduced access to agricultural finance and inputs, compounding on challenges faced last year.
    • Livestock production: The rainy season will improve pasture conditions and water access, along with household access to milk and meat for sale or consumption for livestock-owning households. However, seasonal migrations of nomadic pastoralists with their animals is likely to be constrained by ongoing conflict and increased insecurity along most of the livestock migratory routes in western, central, and eastern Sudan. This is likely to result in an increased concentration of animals, resulting in overgrazing and a shortage of pasture, and an increased possibility for the outbreak of diseases in areas of concentration. Farmer-herder conflict is also likely to escalate during the outlook period.
    • Staple food prices: The extensive destruction and disruption of key markets and corridors in Sudan, as well as with neighboring South Sudan, is expected to continue causing sporadic deliveries, limiting quantities and varieties, and driving food prices even higher during the lean season months. With expectations of reduced harvest given the impact of the conflict on crop production, prices are likely to remain atypically high in the post-harvest period. In the projection period, staple grain prices are expected to escalate 200-700 percent above the five-year average and 100-200 percent above last year. Reduced income opportunities, limited cash availability, and insecurity affecting access will likely continue to reduce market demand. Access to staple food commodities in Sudan will continue to be constrained by significantly high prices, low purchasing power, and limited cash retrieval. The high transportation cost, either due to fuel scarcity or the levies and royalties imposed by the RSF in some roads linking Khartoum and Kosti to Kordofan and Darfur regions, as well as those interconnecting these states, on top of the risk associated with traveling along insecure routes, will induce cereal prices to further increase.
    • Livestock prices are expected to continue declining through the scenario period driven by market and livestock supply and export chain disruptions. Further price declines are likely between the June to September lean season as households sell additional livestock for income to purchase food at anticipated significantly above-average food prices.
    • Terms of trade: The livestock-to-cereal TOT is likely to continue deteriorating throughout the scenario period, driven by the anticipated high increase in cereal prices, while in contrast, livestock prices are anticipated to continue to decrease because of the conflict. The situation will likely improve slightly by the beginning of the next harvest in October 2023, and anticipated improvements in animal body condition with pasture regeneration, but TOT will likely be 25 percent lower than the last year and near the five-year average over the course of the projection period. The labor-to-cereal TOT is likely to deteriorate and remain low as the demand for labor and wage labor rates decline at the same time that cereal prices increase through the projection period, with the labor-to-cereal TOT likely to be around 25 percent lower than last year during the peak harvest period of 2023. 
    • Wheat stocks: Sudan typically imports around 85 percent of the wheat needed to meet domestic demand, with over 50 percent of Sudan's wheat imports coming from Russia and about 20 percent from Ukraine. While available information indicates that considerable wheat imports were received prior to the outbreak of conflict, likely bolstering current supplies in combination with leftover stocks from the 2021 and 2022 harvests, imports have slowed since the start of the conflict and will likely continue to remain lower than normal. Sudan is likely to face increased difficulties in importing wheat from international markets through 2023 amid the ongoing conflict and economic crisis in the country and will not likely meet national wheat demand.
    • Wild foods: In relatively secure rural areas, people are likely to increase the collection and consumption of wild foods, particularly during the rainy season between August and October 2023. Access to wild food is expected to be constrained by insecurity and will continue to be below average in the conflict-affected areas (Greater Darfur, Greater Kordofan, and Khartoum).
    • Humanitarian food assistance: While humanitarian organizations plan to scale up deliveries to an average of 2.5 million people per month in the lean season and over 4 million people on average per month between October and December, access to some of the most directly conflict-affected households in contested areas will remain extremely limited given the lack of restraint on behalf of armed groups in targeting aid workers, looting and loss of humanitarian assets, destruction of facilities, bureaucratic challenges, risks of diversion of aid by armed groups, and exacerbated by seasonal barriers to delivery with the onset of the rainy season. Assistance is most likely to be sustained to displaced persons in parts of government-controlled eastern Sudan, including Gedaref, Al Jazirah, Kassala, and White Nile, although it is not likely to reach more than 25 percent of the population.

    Most Likely Acute Food Security Outcomes

    West Darfur:  During the lean season from June to September, FEWS NET anticipates that the area will remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), with some housholds likely to be in Catastrophe in El Geneina of West Darfur. This is based on Household Economy Analysis (HEA) Outcome Analysis, which assesses the size of household consumption deficits upon most likely changes to typical food and income sources in the context of anticipated ongoing violence, as well as a REACH assessment in late June in which households that have fled the area reported on the complete depletion of stocks, lack of market food supplies, and ongoing coping of the worst-affected who remain behind. The insecurity is expected to continue to dramatically reduce household mobility and ability to engage in livelihood activities, including cultivation and income-generating activities such as the sale of charcoal, grass, and firewood; impede trade flow; and contribute to significantly above-average prices in the few functioning markets. Furthermore, assistance remains cut off from this area, and a high proportion of the population is displaced and therefore already lacks access to many of their usual food and income sources. 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. While available data on consumption collected between January and February 2023 does not suggest such severity at that time, it is important to note that the conflict has severely impacted households in the intervening six months, and no data on outcomes has been collected since then. Moreover, the prevalence of acute malnutrition is expected to rise as the rainy season progresses 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. Indeed, UNICEF expects that more than 14,800 children under five will 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: Based on FEWS NET’s assumptions for June to September, hostilities between the RSF and the SAF will very likely persist in and around Khartoum, continuing to impact market and business functionality, sustain rising prices, and fuel further displacement into host communities across the region. As a result, access to food and income sources by the majority of households remaining in Khartoum will be severely constrained, particularly among the poor and very poor who depend on daily wage labor, but also among salaried workers who have been unable to receive payment since the start of the crisis. Shared food stocks are likely to be completely exhausted, and households will depend on remittances where available, purchasing exclusively from the few functioning and accessible markets within residential areas. The seasonal increase in staple food prices will be further exacerbated by the disruption of supplies, with price increases anticipated to continue through the peak of the lean season in September. As a result, the majority of the households in Khartoum will continue to face food consumption deficits during the lean season indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with some households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.

    From October 2023 to January 2024, under expectations of slight improvements in the security situation in and around Khartoum, food security outcomes are likely 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 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 are expected to increasingly rely on markets to purchase staple foods during the lean season (June to September). However, market supplies are likely to reduce over this time period while prices rise significantly above seasonal averages, and households have reduced access to cash income from typical income sources to purchase food. Food stocks from own production are likely to be exhausted earlier than normal as most households in Al Gadaref, River Nile, Sennar, and Northern states are hosting high numbers of IDPs and sharing existing resources. As the rainy season progresses between July and 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, 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. The seasonal 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 and are likely to continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes between June and September 2023, particularly in the pastoral and agro-pastoral zones across Sudan. 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. However, the situation is likely to be relatively better in some parts of the River Nile and Northern states where households still have access to stocks from the recent winter wheat harvest in April 2023, with some areas likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). 

    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: From June to September, the typical peak of the lean season in Sudan, 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, despite increasing their reliance on markets to purchase staple foods at significantly above-average prices. 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. Household purchasing power is expected to continue to be limited by high food and non-food prices, poor macroeconomic conditions, limited access to cash, and high inflation. 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, 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).    

    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Table 2

    Table 2. Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario

    Area Event Impact on food security outcomes
    National The parties reach an agreement on a concrete ceasefire with support from international actors and adherence by all armed groups within the country and agree to an extended timeline for a return to civilian rule. This will likely bring the fighting to a stop, reduce political tensions, restore security in the conflict areas, and allow displaced people to return to their homes. In the medium term, this will allow the Sudanese economy to reintegrate with the global market, likely gradually improving the macroeconomic conditions, albeit slowly. A return to peace will also improve household access to income as households return to their typical livelihoods, improving household purchasing power. Conflict-affected areas will likely improve to area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.
    The fighting between SAF and RSF continues at sustained heavy levels in Khartoum and extends to most parts of the country, with extensive and significant escalation in tribal and ethnic tensions and the involvement of other national and international parties through the end of the projection period. This will likely result in increasing displacement with more people seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Additionally, sustained heavy fighting and an escalation in tribal and ethnic tensions will likely result in the further destruction of infrastructure- and basic services facilities, the complete collapse of the economy, and central government control over the country. This will also further limit affected people's ability to adequately access essential food and basic services, and will likely widen the food gap among affected people, increasing the number of households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.


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

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Sudan Food Security Outlook June 2023 to January 2024: Widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3), across the country amid heavy fighting, 2023.

    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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