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OCHA: Inflation raises concerns about food security in Sudan

March 15 - 2020 KHARTOUM
The annual inflation rate continues to increase in Sudan (OCHA SitRep of March 12, 2020)
The annual inflation rate continues to increase in Sudan (OCHA SitRep of March 12, 2020)

The annual inflation rate continues to increase in Sudan and reached 64.3 per cent in January. The high inflation is contributing to the soaring costs of agricultural production, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reports in its latest Situation Report.

The prices of locally produced sorghum and millet in most markets have been characterised by an upsurge during the last 12 months, due to the high costs of production and transportation, depreciation of the local currency and increasing inflation that started at the end of 2017.

The inflation rate started to increase in Sudan from January 2018 when it more than doubled to 52 per cent, from 25 per cent in December 2017. Throughout 2018 the rate was above 50 per cent and hit 73 per cent in December. While it dropped sharply to 43.5 per cent in January 2019, by July it reached above 50 per cent level and continued to increase.

In December 2019, prices of sorghum and millet were from 65 to 130 per cent higher than their levels of one year before, the 2019 report of the FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) to Sudan states.

Coping strategies

The increasing inflation rate is a major concern for millions of people who are food insecure and need food and livelihoods assistance.

As a result of the economic crisis, the number of households classified as food insecure (a proxy indicator for poverty) increased by 63 per cent, from 3.8 million in 2017 to 6.2 million in 2019.

In 2020, almost one in every four Sudanese (about 9.3 million people) will need humanitarian assistance. Around one million Sudanese are facing Emergency levels of acute food insecurity.

About half of all households, in both urban and rural parts of the country, have had to resort to some form of livelihood coping strategy. These coping mechanisms include skipping or reducing meals, cutting expenses on health and education, including removing children from school, as well as selling available assets or borrowing from extended support networks.

Lifting of subsidies

It is expected that subsidy reforms will result in commodity price increases. These price increases will have the most severe impact on those who are already the most vulnerable, including the rural poor.

Without additional support, more households will have limited access to basic services and resort to coping strategies, leading to further asset depletion and potentially impacting longer term human capital development, the OCHA sitrep reads.

 


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