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Conflict in Sudan disrupts the summer planting season and increases the risk of famine


In this period of the year 2022, Sudan suffered from the accumulation of crops among farmers due to the lack of government funds allocated to purchase them in light of an economic crisis.

Hundreds of daily workers with their tools are lying on the ground in an area in Gedaref state in southeastern Sudan, waiting for farmers to hire them, but they are unusually absent this year with the start of the summer crop season, after the conflict affected the sector.

In mid-May, the rainy season begins in Gedaref State, near the border with Ethiopia, which produces about 40% of Sudan’s grain crop. And with the rains, the summer agricultural season begins.

“I arrived here from Kordofan five days ago, and no one offered me a job,” the daily-worker Mohamed Haroun told AFP.

And the worker, who was lying on the ground next to his tools, adds, “In the past, I did not wait for more than one day… Now I have run out of all my money, and I do not know how to manage my food.”

The beginning of the summer planting season, which is the most important in the country, differs radically this year from what preceded it, in light of the conflict that erupted from April 15 between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

According to the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, the war caused “significant distortions in the productive structure of the agricultural sector, both plant and animal, especially in areas of intense conflict in Khartoum state, but the productive sector in all countries has been paralyzed.”

The Khartoum-based organization indicated that “the interruption of supply chains (led) to the complete destruction of poultry production systems that are concentrated around Khartoum, as well as the production of vegetables and fruits.”

And the rains have begun to fall on lands that remain large areas without any cultivation, according to an AFP correspondent, which portends additional difficulties in a country where a third of the population was suffering from hunger even before the start of the fighting.

delayed funding

The crisis is not limited to daily-workers, but also affects other sectors related to agriculture, which represents 40% of the country’s GDP and employs 80% of the workforce.

“Under normal circumstances during the past years, we have been suffering from overcrowding of farmers requesting seeds at this time of the year,” says Mirghani Ali, who works in the trade of seeds, fertilizers and agricultural pesticides. However, “the demand is very weak” this year.

Muhammad Abdel Karim, who owns an agricultural land of ten thousand acres (42 million square meters) in which he grows corn, cotton and sunflowers, attributes the reasons for the disruption of the planting season to “banks’ delay in financing.”

He explains that “decisions (with financing) are issued by the presidencies of banks in the capital, and these banks have not been operating since mid-April due to the war,” adding, “Even if late funding comes, we need time to obtain seeds, and the vision is unclear regarding the provision of fertilizer and fuel.” to operate the equipment.

Despite promises to provide funds, including what was reported by the Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) on the head of the Rain Sector Caucus, Yasser Ali Saab, regarding the commitment of the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank to financing farmers, this does not dispel concern about the fate of the season.

In this period of the year 2022, Sudan suffered from the accumulation of crops among farmers due to the lack of government funds allocated to purchase them in light of an economic crisis.

According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the 2022 grain-growing season in Sudan, which was harvested last March, witnessed quantities of sorghum, wheat and millet reaching 7.4 million tons.

Although this production represented a 45 percent increase over the previous season, the organization judged that it was still not enough to meet the country’s needs.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and its repercussions on global grain and fuel prices, food crises have loomed, especially in countries whose imports depend mainly on these two countries, including Sudan.

investment suspension

The United Nations confirms that 25 million people, more than half of Sudan’s population, are now in need of assistance and protection.

Preparing the land before it rains is a prerequisite for a fruitful season, according to farmer Hussein Ibrahim from Gedaref.

“There are areas where the rains fell, and access to them became very difficult,” he explains.

“Many farmers will not be able to deliver workers, seeds or fuel to their (agricultural) projects,” he added.

Roads are cut off by gunfire, import and export traffic in the country has largely come to a halt, and many warehouses have been robbed. All this, according to experts, threatens to accelerate famine in the country.

And the conditions the country is going through began to be directly reflected in investment, as the major investment group, “Al-Hajjar”, which works with thousands of farmers, announced, “the suspension of all investment work in Sudan, as of May 1,” until it “allows Circumstances will return things and business to normal.”

“We have decided to exempt all employees from any job burdens or obligations after June 30,” the group, which was founded nearly 120 years ago, added in a statement.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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