Food Security Outlook

Political instability, port closures, and high prices drive food insecurity through the harvest

October 2021 to May 2022

October 2021 - January 2022

February - May 2022

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
Food security outcomes for displaced populations would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance.FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
Food security outcomes for displaced populations would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance.FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • On October 25, the military overthrew the transitional civilian government and placed Prime Minister Hamdok under house arrest. In response, the USA suspended 700 million USD in economic support, and the World Bank paused economic support-valued at over 2 billion USD- and stopped processing any new operations. The removal of economic support is likely to result in persistent currency depreciation with high volatility, rising inflation, and high domestic and imported food and non-food costs. FEWS NET is continuing to monitor the dynamics in Sudan closely.

  • Intercommunal clashes, civil unrest, above-average food prices, high inflation, limited local supply of wheat flour, and the depreciation of the SDG from around 380 SDG/USD in early April to around 450 SDG/USD by late October continues to limit household purchasing power and access to food towards the end of the lean season. The start of the harvest in November is expected to improve household food access; however, IDPs, conflict-affected people in Darfur and South Kordofan, and the most-affected poor households in Darfur, Kordofan, Red Sea, and Kassala are expected to be facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to limited access to income, below-average harvests, and high food prices.

  • Staple food prices remain extremely high through the harvest period in October, driven by seasonally reduced market supplies and increased demand, high production and transportation costs, and the shortage and high cost of imported wheat that has been exacerbated by the closure of the main ports and highway in the Red Sea state. Staple food prices are 60-90 percent above last year and 360-430 percent above the five-year average. Although the harvest will likely result in some seasonal price declines, staple food prices will likely remain 200-350 percent above the five-year average through the beginning of the next lean season in April/May- 2021.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current Situation

Emergency food assistance needs in October 2021 remain above the five-year average, driven by political instability, above-average food prices, and reduced household purchasing power, along with the impact of conflict, tribal clashes, and protracted displacement in parts of Darfur, Kordofan, and Red Sea states. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely among IDPs in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan, IDPs and conflict-affected households in Jebel Marra, households recently affected by tribal clashes in North Darfur, urban poor households, and the most vulnerable poor households in parts of North Darfur, North Kordofan, and Red Sea states affected by low food stocks and poor purchasing power due to limited access to income and high food and non-food prices.

On October 25, the Sudanese military overthrew the civilian transitional government, placing the Prime Minister under house arrest and arresting other civilian leaders. In response, the USA suspended 700 million USD in economic support, while the World Bank paused its economic support-valued at over 2 billion USD- and stopped processing any new operations. The removal of economic support is likely to result in persistent currency depreciation with high volatility, rising inflation, and high domestic and imported food and non-food costs. This is expected to limit recent improvements in the macroeconomic situation and slow the impact of the past economic reforms in stabilizing the economy. FEWS NET is continuing to monitor the dynamics in Sudan closely.

Macroeconomic difficulties  

Before October 25, Sudan's transitional government was focused on implementing economic reforms to address major macro-imbalances and stabilize the economy. Past reforms include the elimination of large fuel and wheat flour subsidies and the managed floatation of the SDG exchange rate. In September 2021, there were indications that the economic reform policies were resulting in more stable economic conditions following decreases in inflation rates and the trade balance deficit, along with stability in the FOREX rates as the government increased access to foreign currencies through increased exports and loans, grants, and project funding from the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank, and international donors. However, following the coup, the USA and World Bank have suspended their economic support until a civilian-led government is returned to power. The removal of over 2.7 billion USD in economic support is likely to result in a return to rapid inflation, persistent currency depreciation with high volatility due to a lack of sustainable hard currency stream, and high domestic and imported food and non-food prices. This is likely to erode household purchasing power. Currently, the impact of the withdrawal of economic support has not yet been captured in market data. However, FEWS NET is continuing to monitor the dynamics in Sudan closely.

In September, the Central Bank of Sudan reported that the balance of trade's annual deficit fell to 1.6 billion USD, driven by a 25.1 percent increase in exports on an annual basis to 2.53 billion USD. Similarly, Sudan's Central Bureau of Statistics (SCBS) reported at the end of September that the national inflation rate had decreased to around 366 percent, an approximately 54 percent decrease since July, driven by decreases in the price of food and beverages and imported commodities with the anticipated start of the harvest. However, in September, the consumer price index (CPI), a proxy for the cost of living, was around 31,489 SDG compared to around 27,194 SDG in August, driven by price increases in housing, water, and electricity, health and services, and transportation. The September CPI is around 367 percent greater than last year and almost 1238 percent higher than the five-year average.   

Since June, the Sudanese Pound (SDG) exchange rate has been relatively stable, ranging between 439-443 SDG/USD through September 2021. Through these months, the parallel market rate has remained slightly greater than the official market rate, trading at 448 SDG/USD between July and September (Figure 1). However, in October, the parallel market exchange rate increased slightly to 451 SDG/USD following the removal of the civilian government, increased political tension within the transitional authority, the continued protests and civil unrest across the country, including the protests in eastern Sudan that have blocked the import of food and goods, including agricultural inputs for the current winter wheat season. Despite improvements in the macro-economic situation, household purchasing power remains low due to the high prices of locally produced and imported commodities, including need-based expenses such as housing, food, healthcare, and utilities.

Conflict and peace process

Following a failed coup on September 21, 2021, political tension between the military and civilian elements of the Transitional Sovereign Council and civil unrest remained very high in Khartoum and across the country, escalated by the protests in eastern Sudan and the month-long closure of ports and highways in Red Sea state that led to shortages of basic commodities, such as medicine, wheat flour, and fuel across the country, and losses of exports and import activities. The lack of export opportunities has resulted in local prices of fruit and livestock decreasing in urban areas due to oversupply at the market. The political tension ultimately culminated in the overthrow of the civilian-led government on October 25, 2021. In response, there have been protests and increased international and local pressure to restore the civilian government. The military and civilian government officials are in discussion on how to best transition to a civilian-led government. FEWS NET is continuing to monitor the dynamics in Sudan closely.

Sporadic violent inter-communal clashes have also continued across Sudan, including Darfur, Kordofan, and White Nile states. From early June through September 2021, numerous inter-communal clashes took place across Sudan, destroying livelihood assets and displacing households. Across the Darfur region, there have been more recorded inter-communal conflict events and, in general, widespread violence following the end of UNAMID mission's in January 2021 and the full withdrawal in early April 2021. According to data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), there was cumulatively 37 recorded violence against civilians (VAC) events in August and September 2021 compared to 22 VAC events in August and September 2020, a 68 percent increase (Figure 2). These clashes across Darfur have resulted in the loss of livelihood assets, including livestock and household food stocks, and widely disrupted the cultivation of the 2021/2022 main summer cropping season. Additionally, markets and trade flows, household market access, livelihood activities, and labor opportunities have been disrupted across the affected areas. One of the largest clashes took place in Tawilla locality, North Darfur state, in July, at the beginning of the agricultural season resulting in the displacement of 15,000 people to Shangil Tobaya and Zamzam IDP camps, south of El Fasher town, the burning of 11 villages, and the looting of livelihood assets including livestock.  

Negotiations between the Sudanese transitional government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) over the draft peace framework have remained postponed since mid-June for further consultations between the two parties.

2021/22 agricultural season progress

According to the 2020/21 mid-season assessment published in mid-October, the total area planted for main crops (sorghum, millet, groundnuts, sesame, sunflower, and cotton) by mid-September 2021 was estimated at around 54.8 million feddans (23 million hectares), approximately 81 percent of the targeted area for 20201/22 season. The total area planted is estimated to reach 58 million feddans (24 million hectares), around 8 percent below the total area planted for the 2020/21 season and around 6 percent above the five-year average. An estimated 42 percent (24.4 million feddans) of the total planted area is under sorghum (10.2 million hectares), with 97 percent of the sorghum planted in the rain-fed sector. However, the area planted to sorghum was around 5 percent lower than last year, as farmers turned to cotton following favorable market prices.  Additionally, around 11.6 million feddans (4.9 million hectares) were planted to millet, around 12 percent lower than last year but 10 percent above the five-year average. Around 94 percent of the millet was planted in the traditional rain-fed sector. The drop in the area planted to millet is likely due to a late start to the rainy season in some areas and the insecurity in parts of the Darfur region. According to key informants, millet is typically sensitive to delays in planting as it is long maturing. Additionally, without irrigation, millet will likely face dry spells during critical growth periods if planted late. Often farmers will switch to sorghum if there is a delayed start to the season to maximize their harvest.

By the end of September, around 21.6 million feddans (9 million hectares), 38 percent of the total planted area, were planted to cash crops (groundnuts, sesame, cotton, and sunflower). Around 50 percent of the cash crop planted area was groundnut (10.9 million feddans), around 13 percent higher than the area planted last year and about 37 percent above the five-year average. The increase in groundnut area is likely driven by its high market prices last year and delayed rains in some areas encouraging farmers to shift from sesame to groundnut. Relatedly, 8.8 million feddans were planted to sesame, around 36 percent lower than last year and about 18 percent lower than the recent five-year average. The decline in planted sesame is likely driven by the high cost of production, and the impact of floods and waterlogging during August and September, particularly in the traditional rain-fed sectors where 50 percent less area was planted to sesame. Around 1.5 million feddan of cotton and 451,000 feddan of sunflower were planted, primarily in the rain-fed sector.

By the end of September, when the rainy season typically ends, cumulative rainfall between June and September was largely average to above-average across southern Sudan with pockets of cumulatively below-average rainfall in parts of North Darfur, North Kordufan, and South Kordufan. Available field reports indicate there is a good establishment of crops in both the rainfed and irrigated sectors, with most crops between the flowering and filling stages. Most of the sesame and groundnuts are at the filling and early maturing stage and are expected to be harvested by November. Late-planted sorghum and millet, particularly in areas affected by floodings, such as Gedarif, Blue Nile, Sennar, and East Darfur state, are at the advanced vegetative growth stage and expected to be harvested in December and January. Generally, the season's overall performance has been influenced by the high cost and shortages of agricultural inputs, the high cost of labor, and localized dry spells in September. Pest infestations were also reported in some of the rain-fed sectors, particularly sesame gall midge in many rain-fed sectors, along with grasshoppers, desert locusts, and birds in parts of Darfur, Kordofan, and eastern Sudan. Overall, an average national harvest is expected, supported by average to above-average rainfall across the country, although the high cost of labor and agricultural inputs is likely to result in lower than typical production given the agro-climatological conditions. However, localized areas of below-average production are expected to be driven by the impact of conflict, the poor temporal and spatial distribution of rainfall, and flooding.   

The average to above-average rainy season has continued to drive above-median vegetation greenness, as measured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), across most of southern and southeastern Sudan as the harvest begins (Figure 2). However, below-average vegetation greenness is present across localized areas of Sudan, particularly in western Darfur, North Kordofan, West Kordofan, South Kordofan, and flood-affected areas of Kassala, Gedaref, Blue Nile, and Southern River Nile states. The cumulatively above-normal in some areas is driving favorable pasture regeneration and improved water availability for livestock in many of the open water sources across most pastoral and agropastoral areas of Sudan. As of late-October 2021, the USGS water point viewer indicates that most monitored water points are at "good" to "watch" levels and expected to provide water for domestic use and livestock adequately.

Prices and terms-of-trade

Retail prices of sorghum and millet indicated mixed trends across different markets as prices decreased seasonally in some markets while remaining unchanged or continuing to increase in other markets between September and October 2021 unseasonally. Sorghum retail prices decreased 5-15 percent in most of the production and consumption markets of Madani, Senga, Sennar, El Obied, and Al Gadaref markets, likely driven by the anticipated average harvest, increased availability of early maturing crops, and the presence of humanitarian food assistance which reduced household demand for maize, particularly in Geneina, El Fasher, and Zalengi markets of Darfur. Sorghum prices either remained stable or increased 5-10 percent in most of the remaining monitored markets. On average, sorghum sold for approximately 120 SDG/kg in September, a slight decline compared to August 2021 (122 SDG/kg) and around 58 percent higher than prices in September 2020. However, retail millet prices recorded more instances of increasing compared to sorghum, increasing 10-20 percent across most markets while remaining relatively stable or slightly decreasing in a few markets. This is likely to reduce market supply compared to sorghum following below-average millet planting during the 2021/2022 agricultural season. Overall, in September, sorghum and millet prices remained 50-100 percent above prices last year and 360-470 percent above the five-year average.  

Locally produced wheat retail prices also continued seasonally increasing between August and September 2021, increasing 15-30 percent in most markets, remaining 200 percent above respective 2020 prices and over six times above the five-year average. Retail wheat prices in September 2021 were on average 271 SDG/kg compared to 91 SDG/kg in September 2020. The high wheat prices are mainly attributed to seasonally reduced supplies from the March-April 2021 harvest, high production and transportation costs, the national wheat shortage, and high prices of imported wheat and wheat flour, which has been further exacerbated by the closure of ports and highways in Red Sea state.

Non-cereal food items have also continued to increase over the last three months. Between June and September 2021, sugar, wheat flour, and cooking oil prices increased 20-30 percent. Following the overthrow of the civilian-led government on October 25, market price data is not currently available. However, key informants have reported that markets and shops are open across Sudan with a slight increase in commodity prices in South Darfur. Meanwhile, there are reports of a decrease in commodity prices in Khartoum and reduced queues at bakeries, following an initial increase after the overthrow.

On October 31, the Beja High Council leader announced the lifting of the blockade of Port Sudan and the road for one month. The container terminal re-opened on November 3, with container clearing processing set to resume on November 7. Since the announcement, humanitarian organizations have not reported issues with the movement of commodities out of Port Sudan or within the field, interstate movements have not been hindered, and field operations continue despite the limited fuel availability. Around 23,640 MT of food commodities (sorghum) and 23 trucks loaded with fuel (about 1.33 million liters) for humanitarian operations were moved from Port Sudan in the week following the announcement.  

The wholesale price of key cash crops increased seasonally by 10-15 percent between August and September 2021 across most cash crop markets in Sudan, except El Nuhood, where groundnut prices declined seasonally by 15 percent. In El Nuhood market, the main groundnut market in Sudan, groundnut prices dropped 15 percent as one guntar (approximately 45 kg) of unshelled groundnut sold for 10,775 SDG in September. Overall, prices remained 200 to 300 percent higher than in September 2020 in most markets. In the Ad Damazin market, a key market for sesame, one guntar of sesame was selling at 23,500 SDG in September 2021, a 6 percent decrease from August 2021 prices and around 263 percent greater than prices last year. The high prices of groundnut and sesame are driven by the seasonally reduced supplies before the new harvest in December, the extremely high production and transportation costs, the depreciation of the SDG, and the high demand for cooking oil.

Livestock prices also had mixed price trends across most markets. Across livestock markets, goat and sheep prices mostly decreased 5-15 percent across most markets due to oversupply as demand for exports declined following the prolonged closure of the ports in eastern Sudan, while remaining stable or increasing 5-10 percent in some other markets between August and September 2021 due to high transportation costs and the washing out of some rural roads due to heavy rains and flooding. In September 2021, goat and sheep prices were approximately 245-270 percent above respective prices last year and six to seven times the five-year average. Cattle prices increased on average 5 percent between August and September and were on average 245 percent above September 2020 prices and approximately 600 percent above the five-year average.

Agricultural labor opportunities and wages have continued to increase following the start of the 2021/22 agricultural season. Demand for agricultural labor increased 25-30 percent in August and September, the peak of weeding, and wages remained 300-450 percent above wages last year, driven by the depreciation of the SDG. The reduced local laborer movements due to insecurity in some areas, the high cost of transportation, and the below-average labor migration from Ethiopia due to border tensions have resulted in an increased labor shortage this season.

The goat-to-sorghum and labor-to-sorghum terms-of-trade significantly improved across most markets between August and September 2021 as goat prices and labor wages continued to increase at the time sorghum prices either remained stable or continued to decrease. In the El Fasher market, the goat-to-sorghum terms-of-trade increased by 20 percent between August and September, with the sale of a goat in September fetching around 166 kg of sorghum compared to 82.7 kg of sorghum per goat in September 2020 (Figure 4). The improvement in terms of trade is likely driven by a 21 percent increase in goat prices along with a 17 percent decrease in sorghum prices between June and September 2021. The September 2021 goat-to-sorghum terms-of-trade are 102 percent above respective terms-of-trade in 2020 and 110 percent above the five-year average. The labor-to-sorghum terms-of-trade increased by 30-45 percent in September 2021 and was approximately 280 percent greater than in September 2020 and 112 percent higher than the five-year average. Although the goat-to-sorghum and labor-to-sorghum terms-of-trade indicate that households can access near record levels of sorghum, the cumulative high cost of food and non-food needs is expected to continue constraining household purchasing power and limiting households to only afford lower quantities or quality of sorghum than indicated by the terms-of-trade.

Humanitarian assistance

In September, WFP and implementing partners provided approximately 6.1 million beneficiaries with around 258,000 MT of in-kind food assistance and 41.2 million USD in cash transfers. Most beneficiaries are IDPs and conflict-affected people in Greater Darfur, government-controlled areas of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, refugees from South Sudan, flood-affected people, and chronically food-insecure areas of eastern and western Sudan. WFP plans to distribute around 125,000 MT of food and 31.3 million USD in cash transfers to 7.2 million beneficiaries between June and December 2021. Although no regular humanitarian access to SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan and parts of Jebel Mara and the Blue Nile, is assumed for this scenario period, the recently signed peace agreement and the ongoing peace talks could lead to increased humanitarian access and assistance in these areas.

Current food security outcomes

Household food security is beginning to improve seasonally, driven by the harvest of earlier maturing crops and green leaves from the 2021/2022 agricultural season. Additionally, access to in-kind and cash payments from agricultural labor and increased access to income from the sale of early maturing cash crops are increasing household access to market purchases, buoyed by stable or declining market cereal prices. However, the continued significantly above-average prices of essential food, and non-food items limit household purchasing power. Despite the increased access to income and high labor-to-sorghum and goat-to-sorghum terms-of-trade, the poor macro-economic conditions and consistently high prices of food and non-food items are driving worse than typical food security outcomes at the start of the harvest period. Moreover, in the conflict-affected areas of Darfur, Kordofan, and the Blue Nile states, recent inter-communal clashes and increased displacement is likely to disrupt the harvest and limit household access to own production and income from agricultural labor opportunities and crop sales. Overall, many areas in the country are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in areas with a high number of IDPs such as Jebel Marra and SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan, and conflict-affected areas in Darfur, North Kordofan, Kassala, and the Red Sea states. Of greatest concern are SPLM-N areas of South Kordofan and Jebel Marra and areas affected by recent clashes in North Darfur, where continued displacement, limited market and labor access, high staple food prices, and insufficient humanitarian access are leading to increased food insecurity among the population. 

Assumptions

The most likely scenario for October 2021 to May 2022 is based on the following national-level assumptions:

  • Active COVID-19 cases are expected to remain at low levels through the projection period. Sudan is expected to continue vaccinating its population; however, vaccine access will determine vaccination rates.  Remittances from abroad are expected to be lower than normal through the scenario period as travel to and income-earning opportunities in the Middle East, Europe, and North America remain impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Above-average cumulative rainfall is expected to support rangeland resources and crop yields in Sudan's rainfed and irrigated agricultural sectors. However, in areas affected by flooding and waterlogging, crop production-particularly cash crops like sesame- is expected to be below average. The most flood-affected areas are likely to be in Jazeera, Khartoum, River Nile, Northern State, and White Nile States. Due to the high prices of agricultural inputs and fuel and the shortages and high cost of labor-particularly in the semi-mechanized and irrigated sectors-the planted area and harvest for the ongoing 2021/22 agricultural season is likely to be below-average to average.
  • Following the removal of economic support by development partners, Sudan is likely to experience increased currency depreciation with high volatility, rising inflation, and high domestic and imported staple food and commodity prices. This is likely to erode household purchasing power. 
  • Following the managed floatation of the SDG in February 2021, the official exchange rate has been relatively stable. In September, the parallel market exchange rate was 450 SDG/USD compared to 448 in August, while the official exchange rate was 439 SDG/USD in September compared to 440 in August. Based on FEWS NET's integrated FOREX projections, the depreciation of the SDG in the parallel market is likely to be moderated by better access to loans and debt relief. The availability of hard currency reserves will determine the gap between the managed and parallel exchange rates. The FOREX is anticipated to remain between 445-455 SDG/USD through May 2022 (Figure 6). However, according to econometric and statistical models, there is a possibility that the SDG may depreciate to around 550 SDG/USD in the coming year due to the impact of losing access to hard currency following the removal of economic support from development partners.
  • Based on FEWS NET's integrated price projections, sorghum and millet retail prices are expected to seasonally decrease between the start of the harvest in October 2021 through the post-harvest period in March 2021. However, prices are likely to remain over 50-70 percent higher than last year during the harvest period (before February 2021 managed floatation of the SDG) and will be similar to market prices during the post-harvest period compared to prices following the managed floatation of the SDG in February 2021. However, prices will remain between 200 to 400 percent above the five-year average through the scenario period.
  • Livestock prices are expected to follow seasonal trends but remain relatively high compared to last year and the five-year average. Livestock prices are likely to slightly increase with the progression of the harvest season (December 2021 to January 2022) due to improved livestock body conditions and seasonally reduced supplies as pastoralists decrease livestock sales following the seasonal decrease in staple food prices.  Prices are expected to increase seasonally by 10-15 percent in most markets during harvest and post-harvest periods and will begin to seasonally decline in April and May 2022. However, livestock prices are expected to remain almost double compared to last year and 350-450 percent above the five-year average.
  • Labor opportunities and wages are expected to increase with the start of the harvest period in October 2021 and remain around 1500-2000 SDG/day through January 2022. Labor wages are anticipated to be almost doubled compared to last year and 300-400 percent above the five-year average. Laborers are expected to demand higher wages than last year in response to the depreciation of the SDG and rising prices of goods and services. The labor-to-sorghum terms-of-trade are expected to be slightly above last year but 45-50 percent lower than the five-year average as sorghum prices are expected to remain over 400 percent above the five-year average.
  • Through the outlook period, income from agricultural labor, traditional mining, animal sales, and remittances by migrant family members are expected to be the main income source for most poor households in agropastoral and agricultural areas. Remittances by family members abroad are expected to be greater than 2020 but below pre-COVID levels as the economies of the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and the USA return to normal. Between October 2021 and January 2022, agricultural labor income is likely to be a key source of income for poor households supplemented by the sale of livestock and forest products.
  • Based on projected cereal and goat prices, goat-to-sorghum terms-of-trade are expected to continue seasonally increasing during the harvest period due to the anticipated increase in goat prices and remain on average 15-25 percent lower than average due to higher increases in goat prices relative to sorghum prices. Goat-to-sorghum terms-o-trade are expected to begin seasonally declining in April 2022, driven by the likely increase in sorghum prices, while goat prices are anticipated seasonally decline.
  • Based on projected agricultural labor wages, agricultural labor wages-to-sorghum terms-of-trade are expected to increase 10-25 percent during the harvest period between November 2021 and February 2022 due to the expected increase in labor wages compared to sorghum prices. Labor-to-sorghum terms-of-trade are expected to begin seasonally declining in April 2022, driven by the likely increase in sorghum prices, while labor prices are anticipated seasonally decline.  
  • WFP and implementing partners are expected to provide approximately 78,852 MT of emergency food assistance and 10 million USD in cash vouchers to over 2.6 million beneficiaries. Most of the targeted beneficiaries are IDPs and conflict-affected people in Greater Darfur, government-controlled areas of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, refugees from South Sudan, chronically food-insecure areas of eastern and western Sudan, and Ethiopian refugees from Tigray region and South Sudanese refugees fleeing conflict in their areas. 
  • Political tensions will remain high in Khartoum in the forecasted period following the coup d’état on October 25 and increasing fragmentation between the military and civilian elements of the Transitional Sovereign Council. Civil unrest will likely increase in Khartoum and other major cities as pro-democracy and anti-government groups hold demonstrations, and security forces respond aggressively to any anti-military demonstrations that occur. A potential trigger for widespread demonstrations will likely be the as-of-yet undetermined outcome of discussions between military and civilian members of the Transitional Sovereign Council to determine when leadership of the council should be handed over from the military to a civilian figure.
  • Civil unrest will likely continue in Port Sudan, despite a resolution reached to resume exports following protests from September 25 that blocked the Sudan-South Sudan oil pipeline. Continued grievances over the inclusivity of the Juba Agreement and the ability of civil society groups to mobilize widespread protests will likely sustain civil unrest in the city so long as the protestors' call to negotiate a new agreement remains unanswered by the Transitional Sovereign Council.
  • Intercommunal violence significantly increased in Darfur and Kordofan from May-July 2021, surpassing levels witnessed during the same period in 2020. During the rainy season (June to September), violence decreased in Kordofan from August to September 2021, back to levels observed in 2020, while remaining at unseasonably high levels in Darfur through September 2021. This maintaining of such high levels of violence in Darfur through what is typically a low period indicates that the number of recorded clashes during the harvest season (October 2021 to January 2022), which coincides with the start of the seasonal movement of nomadic groups into southern grazing areas, will also likely observe historically high levels of inter-communal violence, underscoring the increasingly violent competition for grazing resources. Violence in Kordofan and White Nile is likely to remain at currently observed low/seasonally average levels through December 2021 but is anticipated to increase from January to May 2022, meeting similar levels as the same period in 2021 during the seasonal grazing period as noted above.
  • Political tension and occasional outbreaks of violent skirmishes between Sudanese military and Ethiopia-backed armed groups over the disputed al-Fashqa triangle and unresolved negotiations over water rights and the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will remain at currently elevated levels through the outlook period. A heightened military presence along the contested border and bellicose rhetoric will periodically provoke localized skirmishes between the Sudanese military and Ethiopia-backed armed groups; however, it is unlikely to escalate into a full-scale military conflict.
  • Al Gadaref, Kassala, and Blue Nile states are expected to continue receiving Ethiopian refugees from Tigray through the forecast period. Up to 120,000 Ethiopian refugees are expected to cross the border into Sudan through December 2021, given the negative outlook for the conflict in Tigray and persistent conflict in Benishagul-Gumuz, Ethiopia. Their increasing presence is likely to increase tensions between refugees, asylum seekers, and host communities; however, violent disputes over land rights and civil unrest in areas along the Sudan/Ethiopia border remain possible but unlikely during the outlook period. 

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

During the main harvest season between October 2021 to February 2022, the household's access to food and income from own production and livestock products, in-kind payments for agricultural labor, and in-kind support from zakat of production and better-off relatives is expected to significantly improve among most households compared to the lean season period of June to September 2021. Similarly, income from agricultural labor and cash crop sales will support better access to market purchases of food when staple food prices typically decrease. Despite the expected improvements in household food access, overall food security outcomes are expected to remain worse than is typical, driven by significantly above-average food prices, reduced household purchasing power, and high food needs driven by conflict and displacements. Though food security outcomes for many areas are expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2), Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely among IDPs in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan, IDPs and conflict-affected households in Jebel Marra in Darfur, households recently affected by intercommunal clashes in North Darfur, and among poor households in the structural food deficit areas in parts of North Darfur, North Kordofan, Red Sea, and Kassala states, as the high staple food prices and lower than normal purchasing power drive higher than usual food assistance needs.

February to May 2022 covers most of the post-harvest period and the beginning of the lean season in Sudan. During the post-harvest period of February to April 2022, food security outcomes typically remain relatively stable, supported by the anticipated average national harvest. If international economic support is not returned by February, the SDG is likely to have already begun rapidly depreciating, along with rising commodity and fuel prices as households become more market dependent and government access to hard currency diminishes. The return to instability in the macroeconomy is likely to impact urban and market-dependent households the most. In rural areas, food security is likely to begin to seasonally deteriorate by April, at the beginning of the lean season, as household food stocks begin to diminish. Following the end of the harvest in January, in-kind payments from agricultural labor, cash crops, and livestock are also typically at seasonal lows from February through May. Therefore, more households are expected to increase their dependency on food from market purchases at the same time as staple food prices begin to increase seasonally. The anticipated increase in already well-above-average prices of food and non-food items, along with low household purchasing power, will continue to drive higher needs than is typical. Many areas in North Darfur and parts of North Kordofan, southern Blue Nile, northern Kassala, and the Red Sea will likely face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between February and May 2022 due to the expected below-average harvest, high food prices, low purchasing power, and reduced access to income-earning opportunities. Additionally, an increased number of IDPs and poor households in conflict-affected areas in Darfur and SPLM-N areas of South Kordofan and increased numbers of poor households in parts of North Darfur, northern Kassala, and much of Red Sea states are likely to face moderate food consumption gaps by April as limited access to income and diminishing food stocks result in increased engagement in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes.

EVENTS THAT MIGHT CHANGE THE OUTLOOK

Area Event Impact on food security 
National Heightened political instability and civil unrest; continued closure of the main ports and highways in the Red Sea state Increased political instability and limited access to fuel and food imports will likely drive further deterioration in the security situation in Khartoum and across other urban centers. Further deterioration of the macroeconomic situation will likely drive rapid deterioration in the SDG and rising food and non-food costs. Household food security is likely to deteriorate as services, and the high fuel and transportation costs are passed onto the consumer. Due to poor purchasing power, a greater number of households are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, while the most vulnerable households will deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) due to a lack of food access and income. 
National Return to civilian-led government; return of economic support from the international community  A return of international support will likely improve macroeconomic conditions following a return of economic support and hard currency access. Stability in the forex, fuel prices, and food and non-food prices will support household purchasing power and maintain household access to markets. Household food security is likely to improve, reducing the number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes. 

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report. 

About Scenario Development

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.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
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Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics