Below-average harvest and a macroeconomic crisis drive high needs
• Displacement due to inter-communal clashes, the below-average harvest of the main agricultural season, significantly above-average cereal and non-cereal food prices, and continued macroeconomic difficulties are contributing to higher-than-normal humanitarian food assistance needs in Sudan during the post-harvest period. Between February and May 2022, most of Sudan will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes due to low purchasing power, while the conflict-affected areas in Darfur and Kordofan, parts of Jebel Marra, South Kordofan, and areas of marginal agricultural production in the Red Sea, Kassala, North Kordofan, and North Darfur states will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to the impact of conflict, poor purchasing power, above-average staple food prices, and below-average rangeland resources.
• According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the 2021/22 main agricultural season is expected to be significantly below average. Total cereal production is estimated at around 7.23 million metric tons, including a forecast of 725,000 metric tons of wheat to be harvested in March, approximately 19 percent below last year's harvest and similar to production in 2019/2020. The harvest is estimated to cover around 76 percent of the national total cereal requirement. As a result, cereal import needs for 2022 are likely to be at least 2.2 million tons.
• Since the overthrow of the civilian government in October 2021, the macroeconomic situation in Sudan is continuing to worsen due to the suspension of international economic support. This is resulting in increased shortages of hard currency reserves and a rapid deterioration in economic conditions across Sudan. By February 28, 2022, the parallel market exchange rate is trading at 500-532 SDG/USD compared to 448-452 SDG/USD in October 2021. In comparison, the official exchange rate in February 2022 is set at around 443 SDG/USD, a slight increase from 439 SDG/USD in October 2021. The government is likely to continue with a managed floatation of the SDG, but the gap between the official and parallel exchange rates is expected to further widen with the increased need to import food and non-food essential items.
• Staple food prices continued atypically increasing across most main markets in Sudan during the post-harvest period of February 2022. This is being driven by the below-average harvest of the 2021/22 main agricultural season, extremely high production and transportation costs, limited carryover stock from last year, above-average demand for local consumption-driven by low production at the household level in addition to shortages and high prices of imported wheat and wheat flour. Cereal prices in February 2022 remained on average 70-80 percent higher than prices in February 2021 and 390-425 percent higher than the five-year average.