Food Security Outlook Update

2014/15 main season production is expected to be thirty percent above-average

November 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

  • National 2014/15 main season production is expected to be 30 percent above average, according to recent harvest assessments. Increased market supply will improve household access to cereals on markets as prices decline. However, inflated production costs will keep price levels above the five-year average. 

  • Increased access to food and income related to above-average harvests will continue to improve food security outcomes for most poor households during the first quarter of 2015. These improvements will strengthen household coping capacity during next year’s lean season. 

  • Despite overall improvements in food security, Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to persist in conflict-affected areas of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, mainly among displaced populations. Ongoing conflict in these areas will continue to limit household capacity to meet minimum food requirements in these areas.   

Current Situation

2014/15 main harvests are underway across the country increasing household access to food from own production and income from cash crop sales, and seasonal agricultural labor. Harvests of cash crops like sesame and groundnuts are nearly complete in both rain-fed and irrigated sectors. Extended rainfall through October, and labor supply shortages delayed sorghum harvesting in commercial semi-mechanized farms in eastern and central Sudan. Small-scale subsistence farmers in most areas are expected to complete harvesting by late December. Current projections by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (FMoA&I) estimate that 2014/15 national production will be 30 percent above the five-year average.

Preliminary findings from harvest assessments in November indicate labor shortages in eastern and central surplus-production areas due to the 20 to 30 percent increase in area planted and reduced seasonal labor supply from South Sudan. These labor shortages and resulting inflated labor costs, are expected to cause additional delays in harvesting and further increase the cost of production.

Staple food prices remained high in October and early November due to the late start of harvesting in surplus areas. However, cereal prices, particularly sorghum, began to decline in most markets in mid- to late November as harvests increased supplies to markets and consumer demand decreased. Sorghum prices in surplus producing areas of Gadaref, Sinar and Blue Nile have already declined to between SDG 220 to SDG 250 per sack during the last week of November compared to 350 SDG per sack in October. Continued downward trends in cereal prices are expected in the coming months as harvests progress. However, despite these downward seasonal trends, prices for sorghum, millet, and locally produced wheat remain more than 50 percent higher than last year and more than double the five year average. Similar trends were observed this month in most markets monitored by FEWS NET.

Since the beginning of the harvest period, prices of cash crops have declined more drastically. For example, between September and November, sesame prices dropped by nearly 50 percent. Between October and November, groundnut prices decreased by 30 to 40 percent. The sharp decrease in the value of cash crops is likely to impact agricultural loan repayment, which is typically done in-kind. Sesame used for in-kind loan reimbursement was fixed at 11 SDG per kilogram in November, slightly above current market value. The sharp decline in prices will likely impact household income from cash crop sales as increased production is not likely to offset price decreases. 

Updated Assumptions

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

The harvest period for large-scale commercial farms in East and Central Sudan is likely to extend to March/April instead of December/January due to delays in harvesting activities related to extended seasonal rainfall and labor shortages. The longer than usual harvest period will benefit poor households who are typically dependent on seasonal agricultural labor as a major income source during this time.

In October, FEWS NET estimated that sorghum and millet prices would decline to SDG 250 per sack during the October to January harvest period due to anticipated above-average harvests. However, harvest prospects are better than expected. Based on recent production estimates and anticipated increased cereal supply to markets, FEWS NET assumes sorghum prices are likely to decline to SDG 200 per sack, particularly in surplus regions. However, price levels will remain 25 to 30 percent above the five-year average due to inflated production costs. 

Projected outlook through March 2015

Further improvements in food security are expected during the November to March harvest and post-harvest period. Availability of food  from own production, in addition to increased income from agricultural labor and crop sales, and the continued decline in market prices will continue to improve household capacity to meet essential  food and non-food needs. Despite these improvements, Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity is likely to persist in conflict-affected areas of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states 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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