GIEWS Country Brief: Sudan 17-January-2012

News and Press Release
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  • Production of the 2011 main season cereal crop is put at about half of 2010 and well below average.

  • Prices of sorghum and wheat increase in most markets

  • Conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states severely affect food access for most households

  • About 3.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and, as the lean season will start earlier than usual, the number is expected to increase

Very low production of cereal in 2011 boosts import requirements at record levels

Harvesting of cereal crops is complete and production in 2011 (including the small irrigated wheat crop, to be harvested in March/April) is estimated at about 2.9 million tonnes, almost half of previous year’s extremely good output and similar to the poor harvest in 2009. Rainfall in 2011 was more than 30-day late at the onset, poorly distributed during the season and finished early in most areas. Major moisture deficits were reported in northern and central zones of Gedaref, Sennar, White Nile, Blue Nile, South Kordofan and South Darfur. Dry weather conditions at planting time have caused a significant reduction in planted area of sorghum and millet crops. In the irrigated sector, the reduction in planted area with cereals is explained by increases in area with groundnuts, cotton, vegetables and forages for livestock. Poor rains also severely affected yields, especially of early planted cereal crops that suffered after germination during prolonged dry spells in June/July. Crop development and harvesting operations were further impeded by intense conflict since June and September in surplus-producing areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Severe damage to both sorghum and millet crops is also reported in parts of east and central Sudan and northern Darfur due to atypical and early seasonal livestock migration patterns in many areas due to the poor rainfall.

As a consequence of the reduced output, cereal import requirements for 2011/12 marketing year (November/October) are forecast at record level of 2.9 million tonnes, comprising 1.8 million tonnes of wheat, one million tonnes of sorghum, and small quantities of maize and rice.