Situation Report

Increasing food prices are at record highs - FAO

Prices of locally grown sorghum and millet continued to increase in December 2019 and January 2020 despite the recently concluded 2019 harvest, according to the most recent issue of the Food Prices Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Bulletin by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Prices of imported wheat also rose further in January and at faster rates, surging by 20 per cent. In general, prices of cereals reached record highs, up to twice the already high levels of one year earlier. This was mainly triggered by a poor 2019 cereal output and a weak currency, coupled with fuel shortages and high prices of agricultural inputs inflating production and transportation costs, according to FPMA.

According to the preliminary findings of the Government-led 2019 Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, the 2019 coarse grains (sorghum and millet) production is estimated at about 5.2 million tonnes, 36 per cent below the bumper 2018 output and 18 percent below the average of the previous five years. The main driver of the production shortfall was a combination of prolonged dry spells in July followed by heavy late season rains, which triggered widespread floods. Severe pest infestations further affected yields.

FEWS Net reported earlier this year that according to available field information, yields for key cereals, such as sorghum and millet, are lower than usual this season due to flooding, an extended rainy season, and pest infestations. In addition, field reports suggest increases in area planted in cash crops have led to decreases in area planted for cereal crops, which is likely to drive further declines in cereal production compared to previous years.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported in its Market Monitor for January 2020 that high prices are likely to stay and continue at its high level as the current season harvest is not favorable (see sorghum prices chart below). The national average retail price of sorghum was SDG26.87/kg, which is increased by 15 per cent compared to the previous month.

The national average retail price of goat was SDG3,874/head, which is increased by 7 per cent compared to the previous month. The national average retail price of groundnut was SDG1,361/sack, which increased by 9 per cent compared to the previous month. The national average cost of local food basket was SDG38.1, which slightly increased by 13 per cent compared to the previous month.

According to the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), 6.2 million people across Sudan will need food and livelihoods assistance. HRP partners aim to provide food and livelihood assistance to 4.7 million most vulnerable people. As of 26 February, the 2020 HRP is only 8 per cent funded, with $1.24 billion requirement unmet.

For more information on the funding status of the 2020 Sudan HRP, please click here