Food prices continue to increase, hovering around double February 2019 levels – FEWS NET
Staple food prices continue to increase across Sudan, with February 2020 prices recorded up to double of February 2019 levels, according to the latest Sudan Price Bulletin from FEWS NET. Continuing rising food prices are a major concern for 5.8 million food and livelihood insecure people across the country. Nominal retail prices for sorghum feterita in most of the monitored markets in February were about double of February 2019 levels, according to FEWS NET. Gedaref recorded the highest year on year increase for sorghum of over 150 per cent.
While millet price increases varied between regions, the highest increase was registered in Darfur, with West Darfur reporting the highest year on year increase of almost 200 per cent, followed by El Fasher (150 per cent), Om Durman (100 per cent), Gedaref (95 per cent) and Nyala (71 per cent). Increase for wheat grain prices were relatively lower, with the highest increase recorded in El Fasher (63 per cent), Om Durman (54 per cent) and El Obeid (38 per cent).
Meanwhile, bread shortages have significantly worsened in recent days, and the number of people lining up in front of bakeries in Khartoum has increased, according to local media reports. An owner of a bakery group told a local media outlet that the bread crisis due to shortages of flour; the conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; and the increasing cost of bread production. Another media report says that 80 per cent of bakeries can go on a strike on 4 April because of the shortages in flour, electricity cuts and cooking gas.
Sorghum, millet, and wheat are the most important food commodities in northern Sudan. Sorghum is the staple food for the majority of poor households in central and eastern Sudan regions, while millet is the main staple food for majority of households in Darfur and some parts of the larger Kordofan region. Wheat most often used as a substitute all over northern Sudan and is a staple food for northern states. FEWS NET said in its latest Key Messages Update that ongoing macroeconomic difficulties and the decreasing value of the Sudanese Pound continued to result in higher prices of staple foods. Prices of sorghum and millet increased atypically by 10 to 20 per cent in most markets between February and March 2020, reaching levels 75-120 per cent higher than the same period last year and 250-350 per cent above the five-year average.
The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said in its latest update that the annual inflation rate in Sudan increased to 71.3 per cent in February 2020.
FEWS NET monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. Sudan Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.