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The start of the harvest improves food access, but atypically high food needs remain present

  • Key Message Update
  • Sudan
  • November 2022
The start of the harvest improves food access, but atypically high food needs remain present

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The 2022/2023 harvest is underway in most agricultural areas of Sudan. Overall, near-average harvests are expected for staple food and cash crops, but high labor and equipment costs remain the main challenges for the ongoing harvest. In the traditional and semi-mechanized rainfed sectors, the harvest of sesame and groundnut, the main cash crops, is nearing completion. The cereal harvest has recently started or is about to start across most of the traditional rainfed sectors of Darfur, Kordofan, and White Nile states and in parts of the rainfed semi-mechanized sectors of Al Gadaref, Sennar, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states. In most irrigated sectors and areas affected by flooding and waterlogging earlier in the season, delayed harvests are being reported due to late and repeated planting. 

    • In November, the price of locally produced staple foods started to decline with the beginning of the harvest. Sorghum, millet, and locally produced wheat prices decreased by 10-15 percent, driven by increased market supplies and reduced demand for local consumption as households began relying more on their own production. However, cereal prices remain 200-250 percent higher than in November 2021 and over six times higher than the five-year average, driven by high production and transportation costs and the depreciation of the SDG. Prices are anticipated to follow seasonal trends and decline through February 2022 but will likely remain extremely higher than average, weakening household purchasing power. 

    • Households’ access to food from their own production, market purchase, and in-kind payments from agricultural labor has relatively improved with the onset of the harvests. However, the above-average food prices, the persistent poor macroeconomic situation, and continuing inter-communal clashes are driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in many areas in Darfur, Blue Nile, Kordofan, Kassala, and Red Sea state, with higher-than-normal humanitarian food assistance needs during the harvest season. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are also likely present among IDPs and conflict-affected people in Abyei due to ongoing conflict, displacement, inaccessibility to markets, and reduced supplies from Sudan and South Sudan.

    • By the end of November, there is delayed land preparation and below-normal cultivation in most of the winter season cultivation areas in central and northern Sudan. The area planted for the winter wheat is expected to be significantly lower than last year and the five-year average. According to the Northern State’s Ministry of Agriculture and Al Jazeera Scheme field reports, farmers have planted 10 to 15 percent of the targeted areas, well below the area typically planted by this time in the season. The decline in the area planted to wheat is primarily due to high uncertainty among farmers about the government’s commitment to purchase the produced wheat, concerns about the high cost of production, continued shortages and high cost of agricultural inputs, and limited access to agricultural finance. Planting is expected to continue through mid-December, but the area planted to wheat will likely be well below the five-year average. Farmers will likely increase the area planted to broad bean, cowpea, vegetables, and fodder.

    This Key Message Update provides a broad summary of FEWS NET's current and projected analysis of likely acute food insecurity outcomes in this geography. Learn more about our work here.

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