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Cooking gas and bread crises continue in Sudan

April 23 - 2015 NEW HALFA / KURTI / KHARTOUM
Wheat (Sudan Vision Daily)
Wheat (Sudan Vision Daily)

The people in eastern and northern Sudan continue to suffer from a shortage of wheat flour. The Ministry of Agriculture plans to reach “wheat self sufficiency” by 2019.

In the area of New Halfa, eastern Sudan, the shortage of bread is accompanied by a lack of cooking gas since two months. “In particular the people in villages located between New Halfa and Khashm El Girba have to exert tremendous efforts to obtain flour and gas,” a resident of New Halfa reported to Radio Dabanga.

He said that the flour crisis has led to the closure of most of the bakeries, while the prices of cooking gas are skyrocketing. “The price of a gas cylinder at the black market has risen to SDG100 ($17).”

Northern Sudan

In Marawi locality, Northern State, people complain about a severe shortage of flour since early March.

A listener in Kurti attributed the crisis to the dire economic circumstances of the country. He said that the people in the area are resorting to sorghum and millet, because they cannot afford to buy wheat flour anymore. “A kaila [7-8 kg] of wheat flour now costs SDG35 ($6)”.

On 25 March, Radio Dabanga reported that the main flour mills in the country had reduced the distribution of the basic commodity by 50 to 75 percent two weeks before, because of the scarcity of foreign currency needed for the import of wheat.

Self sufficiency 

The State Minister of Agriculture, Dr Jaafar Abdallah, told Sudan Vision Daily on Wednesday that the country is expected to reach the stage of wheat self sufficiency within the coming four years. The Ministry plans to cultivate 400,000 feddan this year, and increase them to 2,200,000 feddan in 2017, to reach 1,500,000 feddan in 2019.

Abdallah said that Sudan annually imports 2.2 million tons of wheat, at a cost of $1 billion, and urged the private sector to invest in the cultivation of “the strategic crop”.

Water outage

The drinking water provision in El Gedaref has been cut since a week. “We are forced to fetch water with carts from a remote damp called Gami,” a source told Radio Dabanga from the eastern Sudanese town.

“The area depends on the water network at Wad El Igeili, which broke down seven days ago,” he explained.

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