Very poor economic conditions and flooding drive high food assistance needs through May 2021
Very high staple food prices from significant macroeconomic difficulties and displacement due to flooding are contributing to higher than normal emergency food assistance needs in Sudan during the ongoing 2020/21 harvest season. These needs are expected to persist into at least May 2020, particularly as the lean season approaches in agricultural and agropastoral areas. Between October 2020 and May 2021, most areas of Sudan will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity, although parts of Jebel Marra, South Kordofan, Red Sea, Kassala, North Kordofan, and North Darfur will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
On October 27, Sudan's government removed all fuel subsidies, which led to an initial 400 percent increase in fuel prices, driving an over 100 percent increase in transportation costs. The prices of food and non-food items have significantly increased in response. Many of the market impacts are yet to be seen, although this is likely to drive even higher prices than previously anticipated.
The above-normal June to September 2020 rains caused widespread flooding and delayed panting in many parts of the country. However, the above-average rainfall did drive the establishment of crops in parts of the rainfed and irrigated agricultural sectors, contributing to favorable pasture regeneration and improved water availability across main grazing areas. Currently, crops are in the vegetative, flowering, and early maturing stages. Agricultural harvests starting in late November are expected to be average at the national level, which will drive food security improvements; however, relatively notable crop losses are expected in Gadaref, Sennar, and the Blue Nile due to expected delays in harvest from flooding and the anticipated labor shortage.
The comprehensive peace agreement recently signed between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance (SRF) and the ongoing peace talks with SPLM-N El Hilu are expected to facilitate gradual improvements in security, promote the voluntary return of IDPs, improve trade flows, and increased humanitarian access to most conflict-affected areas in South Kordofan and Darfur. Given the gradual nature of these likely changes, though, no major change in the security situation and access is expected during the outlook period due to the anticipated limited impact of the peace arrangement on the macroeconomic crisis and staple food prices.