Farmers in New Halfa, in Kassala state, have warned against the failure of the winter season wheat crops because of irrigation and pest problems and the low prices offered by the Sudanese Agricultural Bank.
Farmer Yasir Shaheen told Radio Dabanga: “Irrigation fees have risen from 850 ($127) to 1,250 ($186*) Sudanese pounds, while the price of fertiliser has increased from 280 to 480 pounds and the price of urea has increased from 235 to 325 pounds.”
In addition irrigation canals have been obstructed somehow and there is a lack of machineries to clear them and disinfect them. “Meanwhile there is a lack of engineers and technicians.”
The problem with the irrigation has lated until mid-October, Shaheen said, and is threatening the agricultural winter season. At the same time, prices of seeds have risen and a lack of pest resistant seeds is at hand.
“The price offered by the Agricultural Bank for wheat is SDG550. This should be increased to at least SDG800 to cover the farming costs.
“The New Halfa agricultural projects have not received the planned support from the East Reconstruction Fund, despite their promises.”
The Sudanese Communist Party of New Halfa has called for the rehabilitation of the infrastructure of the project and its technical departments, to improve the purification and maintenance of irrigation canals.
“The farmers need to be provided with water,” the party said in a press statement, urging the authorities to involve farmers in the management of the institution.
The official rate for the US Dollar quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan is SDG 6.63 as can be seen in online currency converters, however on the ‘parallel market’, the Dollar has been trading for more than SDG 21 on the streets of Khartoum.