FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Aggregate 2018 cereal production estimated at 8.2 million tonnes, 57 percent up from reduced output of 2017 and 30 percent above average
Bumper harvest driven by favourable rains and expansion of planted area, especially in Darfur Region
Prices of cereals at near record levels despite some recent declines
Despite bumper 2018 harvest and decline in number of IDPs, food insecure caseload remained firm at 5.76 million individuals
About 1.86 million individuals still displaced, mainly in Darfur Region
Bumper 2018 cereal production due to favourable rains and increased plantings
Coarse grains (sorghum and millet) are normally gathered by December. However, the harvesting of 2018 crops continued until February, as reduced availability of fuel and currency shortages, affecting ability to pay hired labour, hindered agricultural operations. Similarly, the harvest of the small irrigated wheat crop, normally completed in March, will be delayed by at least one month.
According to the findings of the Government-led annual Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, the aggregate cereal production is estimated at 8.2 million tonnes, 57 percent up from the reduced 2017 output and 30 percent above the average of the previous five years. The bumper harvest is the result of abundant and well-distributed seasonal rains, which benefited yields and of increased plantings encouraged by an early onset of seasonal rains and by very high prevailing market prices. The most significant increase in planted and harvested area was recorded in the traditional rain fed areas in the Darfur Region (North, West, South, Central and East Darfur states), where security improvements allowed substantial numbers of IDPs to return to their homes and to engage in agricultural activities. In addition, the increased soil fertility of the fields left uncropped for several years benefited yields. As a result, in the Region, a key millet producing area accounting for more than 60 percent of the average aggregated yearly output, the 2018 millet production reached a record of 2.3 million tonnes.
Cereal prices at near-record to record levels
Soaring prices of inputs and fuel, due to foreign currency shortages, a weak local currency and high general inflation, severely inflated agricultural production costs, especially in semi-mechanized rain fed areas and in irrigated schemes. In addition, some large-scale traders are holding onto their stocks, as this is regarded as a more reliable form of saving than keeping sums of fast devaluating Sudanese Pounds and widespread shortage of cash is hindering consumer market purchases. As a result, despite the bumper cereal output, market availability is low and except some limited declines in millet prices in January and February, prices of cereals continued in recent months the sustained upward trend that began in late 2017. In February, prices of sorghum, millet and wheat grain were at near record to record levels in most monitored markets and up to twice their year-earlier values.
Major food access constraints severely affect food security
According to the results of the latest IPC analysis, in the period January-March 2019, about 5.76 million people are estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: Crisis and Phase 4: Emergency). The food insecure caseload remained firm between October and December 2018 during the harvesting period and the current post-harvest period despite the bumper 2018 cereal production, as low market availabilities and high cereal prices are constraining food access for large segments of the population. Major concerns exist particularly for most vulnerable households in conflict-affected areas in the Darfur Region and in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and for newly food insecure people in urban and peri-urban areas of Khartoum State.
Following the improvements in the security situation in conflict-affected areas in the Darfur Region and in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since the signing of a ceasefire in 2017, the IDP caseload declined from 2.30 million in 2017 to 1.86 million in early 2019. However, humanitarian needs remain substantial for the population still displaced and for returnees, as several return areas lack the basic services. High levels of food insecurity are also reported among refugees from South Sudan, estimated in late February at about 844 000 people.
Source: Food and Agricultural Organizations of the United Nations