Sudan Key Message Update, November 2016
Harvests improve food security outcomes, but austerity measures may impact staple food prices
Harvests in October/November are expected to significantly reduce the number of people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher, from peak levels during the June to September 2016 lean season. Own-produced foods, reductions in staple food prices, improved harvest labor opportunities, and increased livestock productivity should improve household food access and result in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in most areas. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes remain likely in parts of South Kordofan and Jebel Marra areas of Darfur.
The Government of Sudan introduced new measures in early November, which reduced the value of the Sudanese Pound against the U.S. Dollar and included a reduction of fuel subsidies, an increase in electricity tariffs, and the lifting of subsidies on imported medication. By increasing transport costs, these measures are likely to put upward pressure on prices for staple food commodities. The Central Bank of Sudan also initiated an incentive policy that increased the foreign exchange rate that is similar to the exchange rate on the parallel market. The policies also include a 20 percent increase of government wages, effective November 2016.
Retail sorghum prices remained stable or decreased by up to 20 percent from September to October on most markets. In general, October sorghum prices were approximately 20 percent higher than in October 2015 and 10 percent above the recent two-year average. Field reports suggest sorghum prices have declined more than usual in November in main production markets in eastern and central Sudan (e.g. Gadarif, Sennar markets). These decreases, in spite of austerity measures, are likely an indication of above-average harvests, and the result of traders releasing stocks from the previous year.
In August/September 2016, the Ministry of Health and partners conducted a mass screening using MUAC to identify cases of acute malnutrition among children aged 6-59 months in the 18 states of Sudan. Among the 4 million children (or about 75 percent of children under five years old in Sudan) screened, approximately 53,545 were identified with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 267,017 with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). The numbers of children with acute malnutrition were highest in North Darfur, South Kordofan, and Central Darfur.