Sudan violence: fire razes factory for infant food formula

The destroyed Samil Foods Factory, one of the most important food factories in Khartoum (social media)


Sudan’s only factory manufacturing a paste for malnourished children was engulfed in flames in the capital of Khartoum yesterday, due to the ongoing clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The destroyed Samil Foods factory, which was subsidised by the French nutritional manufacturer Nutriset, produced a vital nutritious peanut paste called ‘Plumpy Nut’ which combats food insecurity for children across the country.

The factory is the only one of its kind in Sudan, and supplied the needs for United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program’s (WFP) to distribute food aid provisions to Sudanese children who were at risk of starvation, according to the French Embassy in Sudan.

In a post on Facebook, the Samil Food Group published pictures that showed the torched factory along with the caption which stated how “great a loss” this was for children in Sudan.

According to the French Embassy in Sudan, the factory achieved great strides in the last nine years, increasing production from 1,200 to 10,000 tons of the Plumpy’Nut paste.

In a Facebook post by Nutriset, they expressed their dismay and said that the “situation is getting worse day by day”, especially given the “worrisome food insecurity from before the conflict even began”.

The WFP has resumed food assistance to provide for hundreds of thousands of people in the country, despite the security challenges.

“For many people, food and other supplies are running low,” said WFP Sudan Country Director Eddie Rowe. “If they are available, they are way beyond the purchasing power of ordinary Sudanese.”

In a press release on Tuesday, WFP announced plans to immediately reach more than 384,000 people in El Gedaref, Kassala, El Gezira, and White Nile state, with hopes to begin food distributions in a fifth state, the Blue Nile region, soon. The food is reaching the most vulnerable.

“As emergency operations ramp up over the coming months, WFP plans to support nearly five million people in Sudan with emergency food assistance and 600,000 children and women with prevention and treatment of malnutrition.”