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Libyan Newswire

FAO GIEWS Country Brief on Sudan (11-November-2014)

Reference Date: 11-November-2014


  1. Harvesting of cereal crops has just started and is expected to be completed by the end of the year

  2. Coarse grain production expected at above-average levels due to favourable rains and increased planted area in key cropping states

  3. Cereal prices remain at record high levels in most markets

  4. Food security situation started to improve in October as green crops became available for local consumption and will continue until early next year

  5. Most acute food insecure population is concentrated among IDPs in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states

Above-average cereal production expected in eastern and central main cropping areas

Harvesting of the 2014 sorghum and millet crops has started in October and is expected to continue until the end of the year. Rains have been generally favourable; an early start in June with abundant cumulative amounts and good spatial and temporal distribution. In addition, better access to credit and high food price levels induced farmers in main eastern and central cropping areas to increase plantings.

By contrast, despite the favourable rains, average to below-average output is expected in conflict-affected areas of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile where insecurity limited all cultivation operations along the season, from planting to harvesting, and localized floods at the end of July affected standing crops.

Accordingly, cereal production in 2014 (including the small irrigated wheat crop to be harvested in March 2015) is tentatively forecast at over 5.1 million tonnes, well above last year’s drought-affected output and almost 30 percent more than the last five-year average. Cereal import requirements in the 2014/15 marketing year (November/October) are forecast at an average 2.5 million tonnes, mainly to cover the increasing domestic demand for wheat and wheat flour in urban areas. Some surplus of sorghum would likely be available for exports. More details about crop production, trade requirements and markets will be provided by a Government-led crop and food supply assessment planned to start from mid-November and its results expected in early January.

Good pasture conditions across the country

Average to above-average pasture conditions prevail including in northern parts of the country that received beneficial unseasonal rains in October. Pockets of well below-average pasture conditions are only reported in coastal areas of Red Sea state.

Sorghum and millet prices still at record high levels in most markets

In October, despite the start of the main 2014 harvest, prices of sorghum were at near record to record high levels in most markets. In Khartoum, sorghum prices remained firm between August and October at a record SSP 370 per 90 kg bag, almost double the levels of the previous year. Prices of millet declined in September and October in some markets due to the availability of early maturing varieties for consumption, but they are currently still up to more than twice their levels of October 2013. The exceptionally high prices of locally-produced coarse grains are essentially due to the early depletion of stocks from the poor 2013/14 harvest, higher transport costs following the partial removal of fuel price subsidies at the end of 2013 and increased informal exports to South Sudan. In addition, conflict in Darfur and South Kordofan states as well as heavy rains since July disrupted trade flows, exerting addition upward pressure on cereal prices.

Prices of wheat, largely imported, are on the increase since mid-2012 in the capital Khartoum and, after a temporary decline in March 2014 at harvesting time, the upward trend resumed in April. In October, wheat in Khartoum was traded at a near record SSP 420 per 90 kg bag, over 50 percent higher than 12 months earlier, while in conflict-affected areas of Al Fashir (North Darfur), wheat prices were over three times their levels in October 2013. Strong local demand, high prices of other cereals and the devaluation of the domestic currency have underpinned wheat price increases.

Food security improved since the end of the lean season in October

Countrywide, the lean season is over and food security conditions have improved since the beginning of green crop consumption in October. Currently, the number of people in need of food assistance is estimated at 3.5 million people (IPC Phases 2 and 3), over 30 percent less than the peak registered in September. Most food insecure people are IDPs in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Overall, food security conditions are expected to improve further until early next year, as the newly harvested crops will increasingly supply local markets, reducing most vulnerable households’ dependence on markets. However, persistent insecurity is expected to continue limiting humanitarian access in most areas controlled by SPLM-N in South Kordofan state.

The ongoing conflict in South Sudan continues to have a significant impact on food security in the Sudan. As oil production in South Sudan fell by about 35 percent since December 2013, the export fees collected for the use of the pipeline and port facilities in Port Sudan dropped dramatically with consequent reduction in Sudan’s national revenue and availability of foreign exchange. In addition, by early November 2014, over 106 100 South Sudanese refugees arrived in the Sudan and they are in need of humanitarian assistance in terms of food, shelter and basic services.