(FEWS NET) Atypical price increases for sorghum and millet were observed In November in several major markets in Sudan, FEWS NET reported in its latest Sudan Food
This occurs at a time when prices typically begin to decrease as harvested crops start to arrive in markets, according to FEWS NET one of the leading providers of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Sorghum and millet prices abnormally increased by 10 to 40 per cent between October and November 2017. Field reports obtained by FEWS NET suggest that some of these increases may be due to slight delays in harvests this year, combined with shifts in planted area for cereal crops versus cash crops, with prices for the latter more than twice as high than at the same time last year. Field reports further indicate that farmers are currently accessing sufficient cash income from the sale of cash crops, to allow them to hold on
to and sell cereals later in the year at more advantageous prices. Overall, November levels of sorghum and millet prices were on average 25 to 55 per cent higher than on the same period last year and 50 and 80 per cent higher than the five year average for sorghum and millet, respectively, FEWS NET reported. Prices of locally produced wheat continued to increase due to seasonal factors across most markets since last September, and between October and November 2017, they increased by five to 10 per cent across most markets in Sudan. This increase reflects the trend typical at the end of the season, when market supplies and household stocks are at their lowest. In November 2017, local wheat prices were on average 40 per cent higher than at the same period last year and 75 per cent higher than the recent five year average, according to FEWS NET
The State Minister for Finance, Magdi Hassan Yaseen, told the media on 28 December that the Government of Sudan plans to cut wheat subsidies completely under its 2018 budget, which will take effect at the beginning of January, and will leave wheat imports to the private sector.
The Government would buy locally produced wheat at “encouraging prices”, Yaseen said. According to Yaseen, Sudan imported 2 million metric tons (MT) of wheat in 2017, while local wheat production was 445,000 MT.
According to FEWS NET, 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 regions of Sudan. Millet is the main staple food for majority of households in Darfur and some parts of Kordofan in western Sudan. Wheat is most often used as a substitute all over northern Sudan, but it is a staple food for northern states.
FEWS NET said that main season crop harvests underway since October are likely to continue into January 2018. The harvest of cash crops (sesame and groundnut) is complete, while sorghum and cotton harvests in the irrigated and rainfed sector is still underway. The preliminary findings of the interagency Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) conducted during November/December 2017 suggest average to above average harvests are likely in most areas of Sudan, except in Kassala and the northern parts of Gedarif and North Darfur states, and the Kordofan region, where cumulative rainfall was below normal and/or long dry spells occurred between June and September 2017
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