FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE
Staple food prices continued to atypically increase during the harvest period
Harvesting of durable white sorghum in parts of Chali and Wadaka payams, as well as land preparation, were the two main activities in February. According to CU findings, a poor harvest of durable sorghum was estimated at 25 - 40 per cent of normal yield. This was witnessed in Chali el Fil and Ishkab in Chali and Komo Ganza payams respectively due to drought and pest infestation. As a result, it was predicted that food gaps will open soon. Markets served as the main source of food for all the four payams in February. For instance, in Wadaka and Yabus payams, 80 per cent of households depended on markets, but only 10 per cent had the purchasing power to buy food. In Wadaka Payam, only 6 per cent of households sold food in the market to cope with other needs-this was primarily because only a small proportion engaged in agriculture, and the rest depended on gold mining as their main source of income. On the other hand, households in Chali Payam, depended on the market and food rations from Doro refugee camp as the two main sources of food due to a low harvest. Field reports indicated only 10 per cent of households have food stocks left of which may only sustain them through April 2021.
Market functionality was fully operational across the four main crossline markets (Yabus Bala, Moguf, Balila, and Mayak). However, market prices of essential food and non-food items doubled in Chali which significantly limited poor households’ ability to access food. Moreover, white sorghum was scarce in the monitored markets across the Blue Nile. In addition, high levels of taxation affected trade.