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Poor vegetation conditions persist in rainfed agricultural areas

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Sudan
  • August 2015
Poor vegetation conditions persist in rainfed agricultural areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected outlook through December 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Despite improved rains since the beginning of August, cumulative seasonal rainfall remains 25 to 80 percent below average in much of the country. Ongoing rainfall deficits have delayed planting and vegetation conditions remain well below average. Below-average area planted and a shorter-than-normal growing season will likely lead to below-average 2015/16 national production. 

    • An estimated 52,000 people in the southeastern Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan State  and in the Yabus area of Blue Nile State face food consumption gaps due to insecurity, disruption of market supplies, and poor rainfall performance over the course of June and July. 

    Current Situation

    Rains improved in August, with near-normal rainfall across most of the South. However, due to the delayed start of seasonal rains in most of the country, rainfall totals remain below average, particularly in eastern and central Sudan where cumulative rainfall is 25 to 80 percent below normal. As a result, area planted in the rainfed sector has declined and pasture conditions have not regenerated as they typically do. Vegetation conditions remain well below-average across in the eastern surplus-producing areas of Sinar, Gadaref, and Kassala states, across much of the Darfur region, and in localized areas of North and South Kordorfan states (Figure 1).

    An estimated 211,000 people have been displaced by conflict in Darfur since January 2015. Of the total displaced, about 28,000 have returned to their home villages, mainly in Mellit Locality, North Darfur, and Abu Karinka Locality, East Darfur. Insecurity and access restrictions continue to impede humanitarian access to eastern and western Jebel Marra areas in Darfur.

    Food insecurity among conflict-affected populations in the Warni-Kau area of the southeastern Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, and in Koma Ganza/Yabus area of Blue Nile State remains of great concern. An estimated 52,000 people in SPLM-N- controlled areas (37,000 in Warni-Kau and 15,000 in Kuma Ganza) remain isolated from markets and reportedly rely on wild foods as a main source of food. Recent field reports also suggest that many households in these areas have consumed seed stocks reserved for cultivation, which will reduce household production and impact food security during the harvest period.  

    Staple food prices--which typically peak this time of year—remained unseasonably stable or slightly decreased across most markets between June and July, indicating adequate market supplies and relatively low demand as a result of 2014/15 surplus production.  July sorghum prices on average, declined by 26 percent compared to this time last year, but remain 38 percent above the five-year average. Millet price levels are currently 30 percent lower than last year and 40 percent higher than five-year average, and wheat prices declined by 8 percent compared to last year but remain 75 percent above the five-year average. The terms of trade (ToT) between cereal and livestock remained stable in most markets of Sudan due to relative price stability of both commodities.

    Refugee arrivals from South Sudan continued in August, mainly to White Nile and West Kordofan states. The White Nile State Refugee Committee has raised concerns about the rising number of new refugees in the state and appealed to humanitarian agencies to ramp up refugee response programming. According to UNHCR, about 191,624 south Sudanese refugees arrived in Sudan since the conflict began in December 2013.

    Updated Assumptions

    Assumptions made in the Sudan Food Security Outlook for July to December remain unchanged.

    Projected outlook through December 2015

    Despite poor rainfall performance, sufficient household and market-level food availability has maintained adequate food consumption levels in most of Sudan. However, poor rainfall performance is expected to reduce cultivation and income form seasonal agricultural labor due to a decline in agricultural labor demand. Wage labor to cereal ToT will likely deteriorate in the coming months. Harvests, although anticipated to be below-average in many areas, will improve food security starting in November.  Acute food insecurity in SPLM-N-controlled areas of  South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and Jebel Marra in Darfur is not expected to improve from September to December.   

    Figures Figure 1. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly from 2001-2010 mean, August 6 - 15, 2015

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly from 2001-2010 mean, August 6 - 15, 2015

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 2

    Seasonal calendar of typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 9


    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an 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 over the next six months. Learn more here.

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