Situation Report
Local food market in El Obeid, North Kordofan, March 2021, Leni Kinzli - WFP
Local food market in El Obeid, North Kordofan, March 2021, Leni Kinzli - WFP

Food prices high despite above-average harvest – FAO GIEWS

The harvest of the 2020 coarse grains crops (sorghum and millet) was completed in early 2021, while the harvest of the small irrigated wheat crop was concluded in March, the latest FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) Country Brief reported.

According to the findings of the Government-led Annual Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM), the 2020 cereal production is estimated at 8 million tonnes, 12 per cent up from 2019 and about 20 per cent higher than the average of the past five years, driven by an increased sorghum output. However, prices of cereals in March were exceptionally high, at record levels and up to three times their already elevated year-earlier values, mainly due to a weak local currency and soaring prices of fuel and agricultural inputs, inflating production and transportation.

The 2020 June-September rainy season was favourable, with exceptionally abundant precipitation amounts and extended duration. Early-onset of seasonal rains in May was followed by average to above-average rainfall amounts in June and by below-average to average rains in July. Subsequently, exceptionally abundant rains were received in August and September, which benefited yields but triggered widespread floods, affecting about 1.5 million hectares of crops. However, the negative impact of floods was mitigated by the unusual continuation of the rainy season until October, which allowed the full maturation of sorghum crops that were late planted in August instead of replanting sesame crops that were affected by floods and Sesame Gall Midge.

According to the results of the latest IPC analysis, about 7.1 million people (16 per cent of the analyzed population) were estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and Phase 4: “Emergency”) in the period October-December 2020. This figure includes 5.8 million people in IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and 1.3 million people in IPC Phase 4: “Emergency” levels of acute food insecurity. The main drivers are macro-economic challenges resulting in rampant food and non-food inflation, widespread floods which affected 875 000 people, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the escalation of inter-communal violence in western and eastern areas.

The highest prevalence of food insecurity is reported in South Kordofan, North Kordofan, North Darfur and in Gedaref states, where the main drivers of food insecurity are compounded by inter-communal violence. In these areas, over 20 per cent of the population is estimated to be severely food insecure. In addition, in Khartoum State, 15 per cent of the population is estimated to face food insecurity, indicating severe food access constraints for market dependent urban households.

Humanitarian needs are particularly high for IDPs, estimated at 2.5 million people and for 1.1 million refugees, including 762 000 people from South Sudan and 74 000 people from Ethiopia.

For more information, please see the GIEWS Country Brief update