| Measuring drought and drought impacts in Red Sea Province |
|4. Drought, the market, and the impact of food aid in Red Sea Province, 1980 to 1989. Roy Cole|
Drought-induced cereal price inflation and the consequent turning of the terms of trade against livestock was the principal mechanism identified in Red Sea Province that upset existing exchange entitlements and contributed to higher than normal mortality rates among the rural Beja populations. The present paper was written to synthesise data collected from several sources in the past with data collected by the Research Section at Oxfam Port Sudan.
The study had three objectives:
1. To examine market performance especially that associated with the famine in the mid-1980s in Red Sea Province.
2. To examine how the present inflationary period differs or resembles the early to mid-1980s.
3. To make statements regarding the benefits of free relief food distributions in the past and to evaluate the usefulness of continued free food deliveries in Red Sea Province.
The findings of the study are summarised below.
1. The terms of trade of cereals to goats turned largely to the detriment of those selling goats in 1984.
2. The terms of trade of cereals to livestock during the early 1980s seems to have not turned against sheep prices as they did against goat prices.
3. When free relief grain was made available in 1985 average cereal prices dropped by more than half (56%) and the terms of trade turned against cereals. This trend has been maintained to the present.
4. The terms of trade have been against cereals since 1986 but have dropped in favour of cereals since 1988 and are now levelling off.
5. Although free food deliveries seem to have been beneficial in reversing cereals price inflation in 1985 their benefit has diminished greatly as economic recovery has progressed. Those that still need some assistance, refugees and individuals marginalised by social circumstances should be assisted but on different terms from those used in the general feeding of the entire rural population of Red Sea Province.