Sudan Food Security Outlook Update, December 2017
Sorghum and millet prices increase significantly during main season harvests
Seasonal improvements in food access with the onset of main season harvests are contributing to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes in most of Sudan. However, conflict-affected areas of SPLM-N-controlled South Kordofan and Jebel Marra remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Furthermore, areas of Kassala and North Darfur where seasonal progress was particularly poor are also facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.
Harvests of the 2017/18 main agricultural season in Sudan are currently underway. The preliminary findings from the inter-agency annual crop and food supply assessment mission (CFSAM) in November/December 2017 indicated national harvests of cash and staple cereal crops are likely to be average to above average. However, harvests in some areas, such as Kassala State and North Darfur, where seasonal performance was particularly poor, are likely to be below average.
Cereal prices increased significantly and atypically in November, when main season harvests typically contribute to seasonal declines in prices. Between October and November 2017, sorghum and millet prices increased between 10 and 40 percent across most markets. Field reports indicate delays in harvests of staple cereals, and farmers’ prioritization of cash crop harvests over cereal harvests, may have contributed to these increases.
Main season crop harvests underway since October are likely to continue into January 2018. The harvest of cash crops (e.g. sesame and groundnut) is complete, while sorghum and cotton harvests in the irrigated and rainfed sector is still in progress. The preliminary findings of the inter-agency Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) conducted during November/December 2017 suggest average to above-average harvests are likely in most areas of Sudan, except in Kassala and the northern parts of Gadaref, North Darfur and Kordofan States, where cumulative rainfall was below normal and/or long dry spells occurred between June and September 2017. In many areas, above-average prices for cash crops have driven significant increases in area planted in cash crops, particularly cotton and sesame, resulting in some shift from cereal to cash crop cultivation.
Access to seasonal agricultural labor opportunities has improved with increased demand for harvest labor since October. The increased cultivation of cash crops such as sesame and cotton, the latter of which is highly labor intensive, has also driven increases in labor demand. In general, seasonal agricultural wages also have increased by 20 to 30 percent compared to the same period last year.
In conflict affected areas of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, access to land for cultivation by Internally Displaced People (IDPS) continued to be below normal levels due to insecurity, displacement far away from farms, and lack of seeds and tools. Consequently, access to seasonal agricultural labor in these areas is expected to remain below normal.