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Little bread for children, fuel for transport in Kordofan, River Nile

December 18 - 2018 EL OBEID / KADUGLI / BERBER
Queue of cars in Berber, River Nile state, waiting in front of the fuel station on December 17, 2018 (RD)
Queue of cars in Berber, River Nile state, waiting in front of the fuel station on December 17, 2018 (RD)

Schools in the capital of North Kordofan have been operating for half a day because of the bread shortage. A fuel crisis has gripped the city for two consecutive days.

Bakery owners in El Obeid reduced the number of loaves from 7 to 6 for 10 Sudanese Pounds, which according to the daily rate of the Central Bank of Sudan officially converts to $0.20*. Latest reports from the parallel ('black') market in Khartoum indicate, however, that the Dollar is trading at SDG 85 for cheques, and SDG 75 for cash.

The bread crisis also has affected students and schoolchildren. A teacher told Radio Dabanga: “Some schools are operating for half a day because they are unable to provide meals to students, which could affect their academic achievement.”

Prices of bread have also risen in El Gedaref state and in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, where the flour shortage has exasperated. The price of bread in Kadugli has risen to 2 Pounds, and a kilogram of sugar has risen to 45 Pounds ($0.95).

A woman in Kadugli informed Radio Dabanga that the price of a pound of oil has risen to SDG 40 and a malwa (approximately three kilogrammes) of onions has risen to SDG 120 ($2.50).

She explained that the price of a malwa of fatareeta (a variety of sorghum, staple food in Darfur) has risen to SDG 50, one piece of soap SDG 16 and a kilogram of lamb meat to SDG 200 ($4.20).

As reported in November by Radio Dabanga, markets across Darfur have seen a sharp rise in prices of essential goods such as onions and bread. An employee in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher told Radio Dabanga that his salary of SDG 2,000 was equal to the price of one sack of onions.

Shortages of transport, irrigation fuel

El Obeid has also been gripped by fuel shortages for two days in a row, and the public transport tariff has risen from 3.5 to 5 Pounds. “There is no fuel in the pumps. About 80 percent of the petrol stations in El Obeid have stopped,” a resident told Radio Dabanga.

The crisis has led to a rise in the tariff for buses from 3 Pounds and a half to 5 Pounds. The taxi now costs 70 Pounds. Meanwhile the transport stations have been overcrowded with people trying to find transport.

Cars lined up in Berber, hoping to obtain fuel from the pumps (RD)

The fuel crisis also exacerbated in Berber in River Nile state, which led to the doubling of ticket prices for internal transport. Villagers told Radio Dabanga that the crisis caused the price of a gallon of gasoline in the parallel market to rise to SDG 250 Pounds ($5.26) and a gallon of diesel SDG 100.

The quantities of fuel necessary for the irrigation of farms is insufficient, a farmer told this station. “The locality has cultivated about 17,000 acres. The amount of fuel saved represents two-thirds of the required quantity.”

He pointed to the inconsistency of the statements of state officials about an increase of the volume of production for this agricultural season.

Sudan has been suffering from chronic hard currency shortages and a soaring inflation since 2012. Prices skyrocketed in particular after the government implemented a set of austerity measures in January this year. The crises have led to recurrent shortages in commodities like bread and fuel.

* As effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the Market Makers Mechanism-determined daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).

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