Sudan Food Security Outlook, February to September 2018
Displacement, poor 2017 rainfall, and high food prices to drive food insecurity through September
Parts of Kassala and North Darfur, affected by severe dryness in 2017, and IDPs in Jebel Marra, will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September, while food security among IDPs in SPLM-N areas of South Kordofan will deteriorate from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) between June and September 2018. Most other parts of Sudan will likely remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between February and September 2018, following above-average 2017/18 harvests.
The recent joint Annual Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM), released in February 2018, estimated Sudan’s national 2017/18 cereal production at approximately 5.2 million metric tons. This is approximately 10 percent higher than the recent five-year average, and nearly 40 percent lower than the well above-average 2016/17 harvests. Very poor seasonal performance in northern Kassala, northern Gadaref, and parts of North Darfur, and North Kordofan led to locally very poor crop production and regeneration of pastoral resources.
The recent lifting of wheat subsidies and devaluation of the Sudanese currency has led to significant price increases for key food and non-food items. Prices for key staple foods, such as locally produced sorghum and imported wheat, increased on average by 35 percent between December and January. According to the Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), inflation in Sudan increased sharply from 25 percent in December 2017 to 52 percent in January 2018.
Current Situation 2017/18 agricultural production The recent joint Annual Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) estimated Sudan’s national 2017/18 cereal production at approximately 5.2 million metric tons. This is approximately 10 percent higher than the recent five-year average, and nearly almost 40 percent lower than the well above-average 2016/17 harvests.
Out of the estimated 5.2 million tons of cereal for this season, sorghum production is estimated at 3.7 million metric tons, this is almost 40 percent below that of the previous year, but still seven percent higher than the five-year average. Millet production is estimated at approximately 0.95 million tons, which is 20 percent above the five-year average and 42 percent below the above-average production of last year. According to the CFSAM, harvests of irrigated winter wheat in March are expected to be approximately 0.46 million metric tons, which is slightly lower than in 2016/17, but 15 percent higher than the recent five-year average.
The decrease in cereal production this year compared to last year are attributed mostly to a reduction in area planted. The low prices for sorghum from last year, due to the above-average production of 2016/17 season, encouraged many farmers in the irrigated and semimechanized sectors to plant sesame and other cash crops with more attractive prices. In parts of the traditional and semi-mechanized rain-fed sector, area planted was significantly reduced by a delayed onset of rains, below-average rainfall and prolonged dry spells. As a result, area planted in sorghum decreased by 20 percent this year compared to last year. Areas where production was lowest compared to average include North Darfur, parts of North Kordofan, northern parts of Kassala, and northern parts of Al Qadarif states.
Following a significant increase in area and yield, above-average sesame production is reported for this year. Overall, sesame production in 2017/18 is estimated at 861,000 tons, which is 64 percent higher than last year. Groundnut production this year is estimated at 1.6 million tons, which is below that of 2016/17 due to rain shortage in the major rainfed production areas. Sunflower production this year is 76 percent higher than last year due to a significant increase in harvestable area this year.
According to the CFSAM, the national cereal balance sheet for the 2017/18 consumption year estimates national cereal availability at 6.3 million metric tons, including 0.94 tons as opening stocks. Wheat import needs are estimated to be approximately 2.1 million tons and rice import needs are estimated at approximately 60,000 tons. Accordingly, the total available cereal for the consumption year 2017/18 will cover the annual domestic cereal requirements and closing stocks will be an estimated 696,000 tons in November 2018.
Increases in production costs have been reported this year, especially in the semi-mechanized rain-fed and irrigated sectors.
According to the CFSAM, agricultural production costs increased 30 percent this season compared to 2016/17, which is mainly attributed to high cost of agricultural inputs, labor, and increases in water for irrigation and management fees in the irrigated sector.