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Harvests improve food access, but high food prices drive atypically high food insecurity

  • Key Message Update
  • Sudan
  • November 2020
Harvests improve food access, but high food prices drive atypically high food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The 2020/2021 main agricultural harvest is underway and expected to be average. By mid-November, the sesame and groundnut harvest was nearly complete in the rain-fed semi-mechanized and traditional sectors. The cereal harvest has started across most traditional sectors of Darfur, North Kordofan, White Nile, and in parts of Al Gadaref and White Nile states.  In the semi-mechanized rain-fed sectors of South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Sennar, and Al Gadaref states, the cereal harvest is expected to begin soon. Harvest delays are primarily due to late or repeat planting following the floods earlier in the year. High labor, fuel, and equipment shortages drive above-average pre-harvest losses but are not expected to impact the overall harvest significantly.  

    • In November, despite the ongoing harvest, the price of locally produced staple foods continued to increase atypically. Sorghum and millet prices increased 5-10 percent, and the price of locally produced wheat increased 10-20 percent across most markets, driven by extremely high production and transportation costs and the continued depreciation of the Sudanese Pound. Cereal prices remained 250-300 percent higher than respective prices last year and 550-680 percent higher than the five-year average. Prices are anticipated to follow seasonal patterns from November 2020 through March 2021 but at extremely higher prices than average. The Sudanese Pound has continued to depreciate on the parallel market, reaching 250 SDG/USD in November compared to 240 SDG/USD in October, and 170 SDG/USG in August, continuing to drive price increases for essential imported commodities, such as wheat flour, medicine, and fuel.   

    • The ongoing harvest is improving household access to own-produced foods, wild foods, in-kind payments for agricultural labor, and cash income from the sale of early maturing cash crops. Food security outcomes among IDPs and poor households in SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan and parts of Jebel Marra in Darfur have improved from Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In northern and central Sudan, household food security has improved to None (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, many households in conflict or flood-affected areas continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to high food prices limiting household purchasing power.

    • By November 29, around 43,000 Ethiopian refugees have fled ongoing fighting in Ethiopia's Tigray region, crossing into Sudan through the Hamdayet border post in Kassala State and the Lugdi and Abderafi border post in Gedaref State. According to UNHCR, since November 10, approximately 2,931 people per day have been crossing the border, with 68 percent of refugees arriving through the Hamdayet border post and 30 percent through the Ludgi and Abderafi border posts. The UNHCR and other humanitarian partners have started relocating refugees from the border to refugee settlement sites in Al Gedaref state. The influx of refugees from Ethiopia is expected to increase the population in need in Sudan.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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