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Above-average harvests to increase food access, improving food security country-wide

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Sudan
  • October 2014 - March 2015
Above-average harvests to increase food access, improving food security country-wide

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Assumptions
  • Most likely food security outcomes
  • Key Messages
    • Harvests in October improved food availability and access as well as income and purchasing power of poor households. Increased supplies of cereals to markets have put downward pressure on prices, although sorghum and millet prices remain well-above average. Insecurity and displacement limited improvements in food security in Darfur and South Kordofan, where acute food insecurity persists.

    • An estimated 3.5 million people in Sudan face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity. This represents a reduction in the size of the food insecure population by roughly one third since the peak of the lean season in September.

    • Above-average 2014/15 harvests are expected across most of Sudan. Favorable rainfall performance, increased access to credit and high prices this year encouraged farmers to expand area planted. Especially in central and eastern surplus producing areas, area planted for sorghum crops increased by up to 20 percent. Above-average production will continue to improve consumption and ease food insecurity through the first quarter of next year.


    National Overview

    Current Situation

    The size of the food insecure population reduced from 5.2 million during the peak lean season in September to 3.5 million people in October, the beginning of the harvest period. Improved household access to food from own production and increased income generation from agricultural labor and cash crop sales has eased food insecurity country-wide. Currently, an estimated 3.5 million people in Sudan face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity, of which, nearly 67 percent are the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Darfur, and 20 percent are IDPs in Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

    The onset of the rainy season in July has reduced hostilities between conflicting parties in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur from July to October. However, tensions remain high. Cattle raiding in Abu Karinka locality in East Darfur resulted in deadly tribal clashes between Ma’alia and Rezeighat tribes that displaced 15,000 - 20,000 people to Adila locality in August/September.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

    Cumulative June to October rains were average or above average in most parts of Sudan. Rainfall performance this season was better than expected, especially in the main surplus-producing areas of East and Central Sudan. The early onset of rains in June, equal distribution, and above-average cumulative rainfall enabled crop development in most of the country. Continued rainfall through October in northern parts of the country has also regenerated pasture and water resources for livestock in seasonal grazing areas.

    Farmers expanded area planted for the 2014/15 agricultural season for both food and cash crops. Good rainfall performance and high agricultural commodity price levels in 2014 encouraged farmers in central and eastern main production areas to increase cultivation. In these areas, area planted for sorghum increased by an estimated 20 percent compared to 2013 and 25 percent compared to the five-year average. Area planted for sesame increased by 77 and 35 percent compared to last year and the five-year average, respectively. Staple food and cash crop harvests are currently underway.

    Despite seasonal decline in sorghum and millet prices, September price levels remained well above average in most markets. Sorghum prices in September were on average 87 percent higher than last year and 170 percent above five-year average. Millet prices were 95 and 135 percent higher than last year and the five-year average, respectively. A slight decline in millet prices, about 6 percent, was observed across reference markets from August to September. Sorghum prices followed mixed trends, declining in some markets (El Fasher, Nyala, and Gadaref) and increasing in others (Khartoum, Kadugli, and Damazin).

    Agricultural wage labor to sorghum terms of trade (ToT) continued to improve in October (Figure 3).  In Gadaref state, The ToT in September was 45 percent higher than August, principally due to 42 percent increase in labor wages driven by high labor demand for weeding and cropping activities. Despite this short-term improvement, current labor wage to sorghum ToT was 40 percent lower than the same period last year as the increase of sorghum prices between current and the respective period last year was greater than of labor wages. Sorghum prices in September were more than double of respective period last year.

    Refugees from South Sudan continue to arrive in border areas. By mid-October, the total number of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan since last December surpassed 100,000 people. An estimated 20 percent are hosted by relatives in Khartoum. An estimated 65 percent of refugees have received food assistance from WFP, but funding gaps have limited humanitarian response capacity.


    Assumptions
    • Above-average 2014/15 main season national production is expected due to increased area planted and above-average rainfall. Mid-season assessments suggest above-average harvests across all sectors including: in the semi-mechanized rain-fed and irrigated sectors (eastern and central Sudan), the traditional rain-fed sector, and the flood retreat sector (eastern Sudan). Average to below-average harvests are expected in conflict affected areas in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and West Kordofan where conflict/insecurity and displacement reduced access to cultivation by IDPs and residents in conflict-affected areas.
    • Continued seasonal decline in cereal prices is expected during the harvest period, but price levels will remain well above average.  Prices of sorghum and millet are expected to follow downward seasonal trends during the October to March harvest/ post-harvest period as supplies to markets increase and consumer demand decreases. Prices are expected to drop by 30 to 40 percent compared to last year. However, the significant increase in cost of production this year will prevent prices from stabilizing to levels consistent with the long-term average. 
    • Sorghum, millet, and cash crop exports are expected to increase from January to March. Above-average export volumes of cash crops like groundnut, sesame, hibiscus, gum Arabic, cotton, watermelon seeds and sunflower through formal and informal trade is likely to ease the national budget deficit and external trade deficit. Despite incentives to export cereals to South Sudan, insecurity and conflict along the Unity and Upper Nile state borders is likely to discourage trade flows from Sudan to South Sudan.
    • Harvests will improve availability and access to food. Harvests will improve access to food from own production for households in rural areas from October to March. Household food stocks from own production will likely be above-average due to above-average production.  Declines in cereal prices will also increase access to food through market purchase from October to March.
    • Above-average 2014/15 harvests will improve availability and access to income from cash crop sales and seasonal agricultural labor. Above-average demand for seasonal labor is expected during the October to February harvest period. Agricultural labor wages are expected to remain 30-40 percent above last year.
    • By the onset of dry season in November, conflict between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and SPLM-N in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states will likely intensify. Conflict between SAF and Darfur rebel groups is also expected to escalate from November to March. Given persistent failure of peace agreements in these areas, improved road accessibility during the dry season will increase mobility of armed groups.
    • The influx of refugees from South Sudan is expected to continue. Given expectations that conflict will escalate in the Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan, FEWS NET assumes that an additional 50,000-75,000 South Sudanese refugees will migrate to Sudan between October and March, increasing the size of the South Sudanese refugee population to over 150,000 since December 2013.
    • Humanitarian assistance funding shortfalls are likely to persist, and limit response capacity. As of mid-October 2014, the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) budget of $986 million was only 47.2 percent funded. Large-scale new displacement (over 350,000) in Darfur and influx of refugees (over 100,000) from South Sudan since the beginning of 2014 have created an additional burden to the humanitarian budget in Sudan. As a result, WFP reduced food aid rations for long-term IDPs by 50 percent. WFP also reduced the value of vouchers by 30 percent.  Reduced food aid rations are likely to be maintained at least during the first three months of the scenario period. Although funding and planning for humanitarian assistance in 2015 is not yet finalized, FEWS NET assumes that in the most likely scenario, humanitarian assistance will continue at similar levels during the first quarter of next year, given the large volumes of continued assistance in Sudan from year to year.

    Most likely food security outcomes

    Food security outcomes will continue to improve during the October to February harvest period and will remain stable through March across most of Sudan. Starting in October, most households in areas unaffected by conflict will have access to sufficient food from their own harvest and/or through market purchase funded by sales of cash crops and/or engagement is seasonal agricultural labor. The anticipated decline in staple food prices during the scenario period will improve access to food through market purchase. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected across most of Sudan from October to March.

    However, acute food insecurity is likely to persist in conflict-affected areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur states where conflict continues to disrupt agricultural activities, access to income earning opportunities and market access.  An estimated 25 to 30 percent of IDPs in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and an estimated 30 percent of IDPs in Darfur are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) through March 2015.


    For more information on areas of concern during this outlook period, please download the full report.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar of typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, October 2014

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, October 2014

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1.  Rainfall anomalies in millimeters October 1-10, 2014                       Figure 1.  Rainfall anomalies in millim

    Figure 3

    Figure 1. Rainfall anomalies in millimeters October 1-10, 2014

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 2. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, percent of normal, October 16 -25, 2014

    Figure 4

    Figure 2. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, percent of normal, October 16 -25, 2014

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 3: Daily wage labor/sorghum ToT in Selected markets

    Figure 5

    Figure 3: Daily wage labor/sorghum ToT in Selected markets

    Source: FEWS NET/ FAMIS

    Figure 2

    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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