Political Reports

Winter Season: Looming Failure

Report – Rehab Abdullah

While Sudan is experiencing fierce fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Militia (RSF), the number of displaced people is increasing, along warnings by international organizations about the increasing number of hungry people in Sudan and the urgent need for food, signs of the winter agricultural season failure in Sudan have emerged.

Farmers sounded the alarm bell and warned of the failure of the winter agricultural season in the Gezira Scheme due to poor preparations and lack of machinery needed besides the high prices of fuel, in particular, gasoline.
The Secretary of the Farmers’ Alliance in Gezira Scheme, Al-Amin Babiker Al-Jazouli, said in a previous statement that the management of the Gezira Scheme did not respond to their demands under the pretext of the lack of properly prepared irrigation canals and sub-canals and the failure to carry out preparations.
He attributed the weak production in the summer season to lack of fertilizers and irrigation, in addition to failure to open canals to irrigate agricultural crops besides the high cost of labor and gasoline.
He further cited the spread of pests that destroyed crops, and the failure of aircraft spraying operations also complaining of the high costs which stands at of two thousand pounds per fedan, in addition to the water and administration tax.
He said that the authorities issue decisions on tax collection at time of weak production, calling for reforming Gezira Agricultural Scheme and assisting farmers in operations.

Season Challenges
A statement issued by the Sudan Platform for Agriculture and Food Security revealed that the current agricultural season faces major challenges, attributable to poor preparation, in conjunction with the outbreak of war, which caused the fallout of large agricultural areas within Khartoum, Darfur and Kordufan states, as Sudan lost millions of fedans of sorghum, millet, and wheat production , in addition to lack of required financing from the relevant local banks, and scarcity of other agricultural inputs.
He stressed these were reasons enough to scare away farmers from cultivating millet and sorghum and properly preparing for the winter wheat season.
The statement expected a food gap, which would shake the balance of food security, as expected by all relevant international organizations.
Currently, the agricultural season in Sudan faces its greatest challenge, which is the lack of funding necessary for harvesting operations despite the shrinking cultivated areas, and the serious food security situation which means people have to avoid exposing any product to damage and preserving what has been produced.

Size of need
In order to maintain Sudanese food security under these circumstances, people in Sudan need about 4-5 million tons of sorghum, more than 3 million tons of wheat, and about one million tons of millet.
It is evident that the promotional prices set the price of a sack of sorghum at 40,000 pounds, and a sack of millet at 50,000 pounds, while the price of a sack of wheat was set at 45 thousand pounds.

Sudan will not starve
However, Sudanese Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim issued reassurances during the forum to support the recovery of the agricultural sector in Sudan, which was held in Istanbul in November. Jibril refuted the figures and estimates published by international organizations talking about famine in Sudan, revealing that Sudan’s production this year is better than 2022 noting that this confirms that Sudan will not go hungry, he declared the government keenness to make the winter season a success because people in urban areas consume wheat and Sudan imports large quantities of it. He stressed the production of most of the wheat needed inside, but he acknowledged that they face several obstacles, and pointed out that such initiatives are necessary for the success of the winter season. He continued, “If we succeed in the winter season and achieve promising productivity, as happened in the summer, we will be safe from hunger.”

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