GIEWS Country Brief Sudan 15-February-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
- Good harvest from 2012 main season cereal crops
- Prices of cereals decline across the country, but remain higher than last year
- About 3.5 million people estimated to be food insecure, mainly in conflict-affected areas
Good production estimates for 2012 cereal crops
Harvesting of main season cereal crops (mainly millet and sorghum) was completed last November/December 2012. Accordingly, total cereal production in 2012 (including irrigated wheat crop, to be harvested in March/April) is estimated at 5.7 million tonnes, almost double the level of the 2011 drought-affected output and slightly above the last five years average. Most areas received normal to above-normal amounts of rain with generally good distribution. Timely rains had also allowed for early planting in the rainfed sector and encouraged a substantial increase in planted area.
Therefore, the cereal import requirement in 2012/13 (November/October) marketing year is forecast at a reduced level of 2.2 million tonnes, essentially wheat grains and flour, well below the record level of 2.6 million tonnes imported in the previous year.
Cereal prices decline, but remain higher than last year
Prices of the main domestic cereals (mainly sorghum and millet), which reached record high levels in July/August 2012, declined in subsequent months as the newly harvested crops increased local supply. In most monitored markets, sorghum and maize prices dropped by between 10 and 25 percent between July 2012 and January 2013. However, despite the 2012 good production, current sorghum and millet prices are well above last year’s level, ranging between 15 and 30 percent up, with peaks of more than 50 percent for sorghum in Port Sudan. The persistence of the high price levels reflects mainly the increased production costs, such as labour and chemicals and the exceptionally high inflation rates in 2012.
Livestock prices vary considerably depending on location, but generally are higher than at the same time last year due to the good livestock conditions and availability of favourable pasture together with the increased demand for livestock export, mainly from the Arabian Gulf countries.
Food insecurity conditions persist in most conflict-affected areas
Overall food security conditions have improved since the beginning of the new harvest in November. Currently, the estimated number of people in need of food assistance is estimated at 3.5 million, 1 million less than one year earlier. Most food insecure households are concentrated in conflict-affected areas of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where massive displacements affect agricultural production, market access, livelihood strategies and delivery of humanitarian assistance.
According to the UNHCR, since June 2011, more than 274 000 Sudanese refugees from South Kordofan and Blue Nile states fled to Upper Nile and Unity states in South Sudan and to western Ethiopia.