Food Security Outlook Update

Above-average harvests continue to drive down staple food prices, improving household food security

December 2014
2014-Q4-1-2-SD-en

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
Food security outcomes for displaced populations would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance.FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Concentration of displaced people
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Harvests continue to improve food availability country-wide. Harvests in North and West Darfur are above-average due to good rains and increased cultivation in some areas. The preliminary findings of the joint Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) estimates that 2014/15 national production will be 50 percent above the five-year average.  

  • Staple food prices in most markets continue to decline seasonally, increasing access to markets for poor households. From October to November, sorghum, millet and local wheat prices decreased by 8 to 30 percent in most markets. Price declines were greatest in commercial production areas where large market supply volumes continue to drive down prices. 

  • Improvements in food security of displaced populations in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Darfur, and West Kordofan have been limited by conflict which continues to constrain access to cultivation, income generating activities, and markets. Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity will persist among IDP households in areas worst-affected by conflict. 

Current Situation

Main harvests continued in December and results from the joint national Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) indicate record-high production levels in central and eastern Sudan. For example in Sinar State, preliminary estimates suggest that 2014/15 cereal production will be seven times greater than last year and more than double of the five-year average. In Sinar, 85 percent of planted sorghum and millet are harvestable this year, compared 30 percent last year. However, in parts of South Kordofan, Darfur, Blue Nile, and Western Kordofan where ongoing conflict limited agricultural activities, harvests will be below average.

According to the CFSAM, harvests in South Darfur State are expected to be much better than last year, but below the five-year average. Particularly in eastern and central parts of the state, drier than normal conditions in July and early August delayed planting activities. Area planted for millet and sorghum in the central and eastern localities of Beliel, Nyala, Grieda, Abu Sunta, Buram, Kass, and Tulus was 10 to 15 percent below five-year average. Although 2014/15 harvests are expected to be three times greater than last year, production in South Darfur is likely to remain 10 to 15 percent below the five-year average. Harvest prospects are much better in North Darfur despite a 20 to 30 percent reduction in area planted in western El Fasher, Kuttum, and El Serief localities compared to average as a result of conflict and displacement. Overall cereal production is likely to be 120 percent above the five-year average due to favorable weather conditions.

Harvests are also above-average in West Darfur. Relatively better security conditions, reduced food aid rations and high staple food prices this year encouraged IDPs to cultivate this season. Nearly 40 percent of IDPs cultivated small plots around the vicinity of camps. Consequently, millet and sorghum production is expected to be triple that of last year and more than double the five-year average. However, recent resource based-conflict between nomadic cattle herders and sedentary farmers in Kerenik locality, one of West Darfur’s main production areas has caused crop destruction which is expected to impact production totals.  

Seasonal declines in staple food prices continued in most markets in November. Sorghum prices in the main surplus producing markets of Damazin, Sinar, Kosti, Kassala and Gadaref have declined by 28, 27, 24, 23, and 18 percent, respectively from October to November. Millet prices in Madani, Sinar, Damazin, and Om Durman also declined by between 15 and 30 percent. Prices of local wheat decreased by 13, 9, and 8 percent in Geneina, Sinar and Damazin, respectively.

Clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and SPLM-N near Kadugli town occurred during the first half of December, disrupting harvesting activates. Continued fighting will further disrupt harvests in these areas and disrupt seasonal movement of nomadic cattle herders from northern South Sudan through South Kordofan in the coming weeks.  Resource based conflict between Messeiryia sub-clans in the Al Mujlad and Babnosa localities of West Kordofan State in recent weeks has also destroyed crops. 

Updated Assumptions

Assumptions made in the Sudan Food Security Outlook for October 2014 to March 2015 remain unchanged, except the following:

Based on mid-season assessment in September, FEWS NET projected 30 percent above average harvest of 2014 season in Sudan. However, preliminary findings of the CFSAM In November, revealed 50 percent above average harvest due to favorable weather conditions and below-average pest infestation with effective control measures. 

Projected outlook through March 2015

Food security will continue to improve across most of Sudan through March 2015. Despite good harvests, displaced households in areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Darfur and West Kordofan state where conflict persists are not benefiting from improved food security conditions as much as other poor households. Most IDPs did not have access to cultivation and income generating opportunities remain constrained for most IDPs in these areas. As a result, despite declining food prices, IDP households remain unable to meet minimum food requirements and many are reliant on host community households for food. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to persist in SPLM-N-controlled areas of South Kordofan and large portions of the IPD population in Darfur will remain in Stressed (Phase 2!) acute food insecurity through the first quarter of 2015. 

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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