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Poor 2013 Sudan Cereal Production Due to Insufficient Rains

14 February 2014

SUDAN - Harvesting of the 2013 coarse grains was completed by the end of last year, while the small irrigated crop wheat crop will be harvested in March.

Cereal production in 2013, including wheat, is forecast by FAO at about 2.9 million tonnes, which is only about half of the previous year’s good output and about 38 percent below the last five years average, reports FAO.

Poor rainfall over much of the country, in terms of both distribution and total amount, was the main cause of the low 2013 crop production.

The onset of rains was late in most parts of the country, with the months of June and July being either dry or bringing only light showers to the normally productive areas, thus delaying sowing and leading to a reduction in planted area.

Subsequently, unusually heavy rains in August further delayed planting and caused some farmers to start sowing as late as September.

In the second half of September, rains eased back again to below-average levels, negatively impacting yields. In addition, conflicts and high levels of insecurity hampered agricultural activities in Southern, Eastern, Central and Western Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

As result of the low 2013 production, cereal import requirements for 2014 are forecast at high level of 2.5 million tonnes, about 350 000 tonnes more than last five years average, comprising 2 million tonnes of wheat and half a million tonnes of sorghum.

Cereal prices at record high levels

Prices of domestic cereals (mainly millet and sorghum) have steadily increased since May/June 2013, without the usual dip at the beginning of the main harvesting season in October, probably as a response to the unfavourable crop prospects.

By December 2013, prices reached record levels in most monitored markets. Additional upward pressure on prices was exerted by the removal of fuel subsidies in September 2013.

Prices of sorghum, the main staple, in December 2013 were more than 40 percent higher than 12 months earlier in several markets.

Prices of wheat, mainly consumed in urban areas and mostly sourced from the international market, are on the increase since mid?2012 and, by December 2013, were at record levels in Khartoum and 67 percent higher than 12 months earlier, mainly due to an increasing local demand coupled with the devaluation of the Sudanese Pound.

TheCropSite News Desk

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