The 2012/13 comprehensive food security assessment was conducted in December 2012. The primary objectives of the assessment are to update food security and vulnerability situation of the Darfur population, to assess risk factors for food insecurity and vulnerability, and to identify pockets of vulnerability where assistance and targeting may be required in the future programmes.
Female-headed households and households with less educated heads are more likely to be food insecure. Food insecure households tend to engage in those income generating activities that bring meagre earnings, including agricultural wage labour and sales of firewood and/or grasses. By resident type, IDPs are more likely to be food insecure compared to residents. Poverty, measured by household asset ownership, also has a strong association with food insecurity. The most vulnerable population faces multiple accounts of deprivation: i.e. female-headed households with no education who rely on marginal economic activities such as firewood/grass collection.
Higher proportions of food insecure population are found in North, West and Central Darfur states (17, 16 and 14 percent respectively). Households in South and East Darfur are better off than the others, which could be due to the fact that they are more reliant on agriculture activities and the survey was conducted during a very good agricultural season. This is reinforced by the fact that the 2011/12 C-FSA was conducted when the agricultural season was poor and thus the food security outcomes were worse.
Insecurity, fluctuations in agricultural outputs, and increases in food prices are identified as the major risk factors. Market prices of food items have significantly increased over the past four years. Insecurity limits households’ access to food, causing insufficient and unstable food supply to markets and price increases. Agricultural production in Darfur fluctuates by season, depending on the quantity and distribution of rainfall. The recent increases in the cost of production and fuel prices may affect the agricultural production negatively in the future. Most of the food insecure households rely on market purchases for their food needs and are therefore vulnerable to increases in food prices.
The survey results reinforce the fact that there is much to learn about the people and their livelihoods in the Darfur region. Since the data were collected in December 2012, there have been multiple conflict events across the region that have created additional displacements and also disrupted the agricultural season for many. WFP, along with other agencies should continue to provide humanitarian support through the Humanitarian Workplan framework while at the same time, continuing the dialogue with donors to support the Darfur Development Strategy when and where possible. Further studies such as the Tufts-DRA Cash Crop study (2013) and the subsequent Darfur Cereal Study (2014) which will be supported by WFP will provide additional information on livelihoods in order to better design and implement early recovery programmes. The dialogue on resilience building continues throughout Sudan and can continue with piloted activities in the region to create lessons learned for scaling up when the situation allows. WFP programmes like Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy (SAFE) and Leading Farmers to Markets (F2M) have been successfully implemented and have shown longer lasting impact to empower women, address climate change and livelihoods and increase agricultural production through partnership with the Government and microfinance institutions. These can be scaled up despite the unstable political environment.