Sorghum and millet prices atypically continue to increase during the main harvest season
Sudan will continue facing above-average emergency humanitarian assistance needs due to the persistent macroeconomic crisis, the influx of Ethiopian refugees from Tigray, and increased health needs driven by the second wave of COVID-19 infections. Although the harvest is improving food security outcomes among poor rural households, the number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity will remain high, particularly among IDPs, refugees, and urban poor households. The extremely high food prices and below-average household purchasing power will continue driving above-average assistance needs through May 2021.
The ongoing harvest of the 2020/21 season is constrained by a combination of high prices and shortages of labor, fuel, inputs, and transportation. The sesame and groundnut harvest has been completed in the semi-mechanized and traditional sectors. The cereal and other cash crops harvest are still underway and expected to continue through January 2021. Delays due to the shortages and high prices are likely to drive above-average pre-harvest losses.
Staple food prices continued to atypically increase during harvest period of November/December 2020. This is mainly due to the extremely high production costs, delayed harvest, and the continued depreciation of the Sudanese Pound. In December, sorghum and millet prices increased 10-20 percent and remained 240-300 percent higher than respective 2019 prices and seven times above the five-year average.
Due to the ongoing fighting in Ethiopia's Tigray region, over 50,000 Ethiopian refugees have crossed into eastern and southeastern Sudan, primarily Kassala and Al Gedaref states. However, the daily arrival rate has steadily decreased since the beginning of the conflict. The refugees are expected to increase the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Sudan.
The second wave of COVID-19 is ongoing in Sudan, with over 7,648 confirmed cases and 232 fatalities recorded between November 7 and December 14, 2020. Significant increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Khartoum and seven other states. The Ministry of Health has warned that the current wave of COVID-19 will likely be more severe.