The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Food Security Technical Secretariat (FSTS) with assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), and USAID, carried out its annual mid-season assessment for season 2021/2022, between September 5th – September 16th to identify the main factors affecting the agricultural situation in the production areas across 14 States in Sudan, the main summer crops producing area. Five core teams covered the fourteen states: team one covered Gedaref and Kassala states, team two: Gezira, Sennar and Blue Nile states, team three: White Nile, and Kordofan region (North, South and West), and two teams for Darfur region, team four (North, West and Central Darfur) and team five (South and East Darfur).The mission consisted of five core teams comprising members from MOA&F, FSTS, WFP, and USAID. The Five Mission teams received full cooperation by the State authorities. Discussions on the factors affecting crop and livestock conditions were held with the representatives from the local Government offices, United Nations (UN) agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Field visits were supported by local specialists from State ministries and irrigation schemes, who also provided the latest information on all aspects of the production within their domains, including the provision of follow-up data, where required. The teams cross-checked official estimates by conducting extensive field inspections, rapid case studies with sample farmers and interviews with herders and traders.
At the national and sub-national level, the teams collected the latest available information and data on rainfall amounts and distribution, vegetation cover, crop protection campaigns, cereal reserve stocks and prices of the main crops and livestock. Periodic food security reports were perused and the main socio-economic indicators were provided by the Central Bank of Sudan, the Agricultural Bank of Sudan, the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Strategic Reserve Corporation. Rainfall data was obtained from the Sudan Meteorological Authority and from other sources in the field. Satellite imageries were used to review the evolution of vegetation cover over the course of the year.
Before the start of data collection, the checklist was updated and translated into an Arabic language, and the last five years average of area sown was updated.
The methodology adopted to collect data and information from State ministries, irrigation schemes, organizations, farmer’s association, agricultural bank and individual farmers through field observations (depending on roads accessibility), farmers interviews and independent key informant interviews. The combined quantitative and qualitative information, from both primary and secondary sources, allowed the teams to access the main factors contributing/affecting the situation of the main agricultural crops: rainfall amount and distribution, targeted & planted areas, pests and diseases/crop protection, availability of agricultural inputs, agricultural finance, prices of the main crops and livestock and vegetation cover. Returning from the field, the teams prepared summaries of data and information acquired during the visits. Data were compiled by State, crop and sub-sector (irrigated and rain fed sub sectors).
COVID-19-related restrictions were relaxed in the first quarter of 2021; fewer restrictions were reported in limited areas. The most-reported restrictions were: restrictions on gatherings affecting labour; partial movement restrictions (i.e. movement being allowed only within localities); food markets or shops partially functioning; and social activities forbidden - Food and Agricultural livelihoods and food security in the context of COVID-19 - Monitoring report June 2021 - Field work. Reports). Based on that (state reports, FSTs reports and FAO report, there was no significant direct impact of the 2nd and the 3rd waves of COVID-19 on the summer agricultural season 2021/22.
Generally, referring to area expected to be sown for season 2021/2022 will be above average by about 6 percent, and down compared to previous year by 8 percent.
The performance of the season until the end of July was affected by late sowing in some states, but by August the situation was improved, and the summer season became promising despite of some areas affected by floods (Jazira, Blue Nile, Sennar and Gedaref), and short dry spells 6 – 10 days in parts of Gedaref, Kassala, North Kordofan, and North Darfur. Generally, the season expected to be average to above average (fig.1).
Heavy rains and flood in some states in Sudan, causing devastating damages alongside riverbanks in the northern, central and eastern regions of the country. In addition, localized flash floods also occurred in limited areas of the country including Kordofan and Darfur states. Horticulture, seeds, tools, equipment, machineries and agriculture and irrigation related infrastructure were also either lost or damaged during the disaster.
The impact of inflation rate increase was resulted in high prices of agricultural inputs and high cost of agricultural practices which will lead to increased cost of production and the prices of crops.
The quantity and distribution of rainfall during the agricultural season is an essential factor in determining the progress and success of crops in the rain-fed sector, which constitutes about 95% of the area under crops, meanwhile it assists in the establishment of crops in the irrigated sector. Overall, cumulative May – end of August rainfall amounts were below the long-term average in most cropping areas, but the distribution was better and favorable for plantation. However, the rainfall in the current season varied from one state to another and even within the same state. Generally, July 2021 was the highest total rainfall amounts in last years, led to flash and water logging in some states. The most affected states are Gedarif, Sennar, Kassala states (New Halfa) and Blue Nile.
Nearly all other agricultural inputs (agricultural machinery, fertilizers, pesticide and insecticides, labours) were available but at a very high cost except fertilizers (DAP for cotton and Urea for both cotton and sorghum), labour was not available or there is shortage mainly in eastern region and with high cost.
The situation of pests and diseases in the current season is not calm as it has been during the previous seasons. There was infestation of sesame gall midge in many states with less impact compared to the previous seasons due to the increase of awareness of farmers and availability of insecticides. Also few attacks of grasshoppers, Desert locust, and Birds were reported. In nearly all the cases, control measures were taken. Routine control was done perfectly by general directorate of plant protection in coordination with the states departments.
The total targeted area of the six main summer crops (sorghum, millet, groundnuts, sesame, and cotton), as reported by state ministries of agriculture in the 14 states amounted to about 71 million feddans. The area planted till end of August is estimated at around 54.8 million feddans constituting 81% of the targeted area. As planting was still going on, mainly in the semi mechanized sector, the planted area is expected to be about 57.7 million feddans, representing 81.3% of the targeted area. The total area expected to be sown by the main crops estimated at 57.7 million feddans, less by about 8% and higher by 6 percent compared to last five years average.