Sudan Key Message Update, May 2019
Continuing poor macroeconomic conditions drive atypically high needs during lean season
Despite near average 2018/19 production, food security continues to deteriorate in many areas of Sudan, and late April/early May marked an early start of the lean season. Food security needs this year are higher than normal, exacerbated by poor macroeconomic conditions that are driving extremely high food prices. Poor households in most areas of Greater Darfur, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, southern Blue Nile, northern Kassala, and Red Sea states are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through September, while IDPs in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan and SPLA-AW controlled areas of Jebel Marra are expected to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) during the August-September peak of the lean season.
Following the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir in April, civil unrest and disputes between the protesters’ Alliance for Freedom and Change Declaration and the Sudan’s Transitional Military Council persist. This has resulted in an environment of uncertainty, including hesitance to engage in formal banking, increasing activity on the parallel market. While the official exchange rate remains at 47.5 SDG/USD, the currency stood at 68 SDG/USD on the parallel market in May, up from 58 SDG/USD in January. Shortages of fuel, wheat, and wheat flour also persist, driving high prices. Staple food prices increased seasonally by 15-25 percent between March and April and are currently around 280-350 percent above average.
Preparations for the 2019/2020 agricultural season are underway in most semi-mechanized and irrigated agricultural areas, and it is expected that shortages of cash and fuel, which are crucial for land preparation and planting, will negatively impact the area under cultivation. Additionally, the high price of agricultural inputs will likely impact all sectors. In May, farmers have raised their concerns with these shortages and the delayed provision of inputs and finance, which are typically delivered by May.