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MPs request: Question finance minister on sorghum price

April 10 - 2018 KHARTOUMx
A variety of sorghum (file photo)
A variety of sorghum (file photo)

A Member of Parliament has requested the Sudanese parliament to question the finance minister about the ongoing rise of prices of essential commodities, especially sorghum and sugar.

MP Mahmoud Abdeljabbar described the price hikes to Radio Dabanga as “unjustified” and held the government responsible. “During my tour of the markets to investigate the facts, I noticed a hunger among the people that has not been officially declared.”

He expects that the continuous rise in the prices of essential commodities will exasperate unemployment that can be reflected negatively on Sudanese citizens and lead to the deviation of theft and bribes in order for people to obtain a living.

Wheat, sorghum, and millet are the main staples in Sudan. Prices for these key staple foods increased on average by 35 percent between December and January, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fews Net) reported last month. According to the Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), inflation in Sudan increased sharply from 25 percent in December to 52 percent in January.

Subsidies

Early March however, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported in its Food Price Monitoring Bulletin that prices of the main staples in Sudan rose sharply for the third consecutive month in January.

The increase in prices was driven by the removal of wheat subsidies under the new budget of 2018, which increased the demand for millet and sorghum as substitutes for wheat, the food agency stated. The strong depreciation of the local currency in the parallel forex market was another cause.

In attempts to control the prices of staple foods and improve market access, the Strategic Reserve Corporation of the Agricultural Bank of Sudan is pre-positioning and selling subsidized sorghum in parts of Kassala and North Darfur affected by poor rains in 2017, and a subsequent poor 2017/2018 harvest.

Yesterday the Agricultural Bank announced that the quantities of sorghum for this season have decreased because of the low amount of rainfall in the areas of production.

The bank announced the opening of a sorghum center in El Gedaref to cover the needs of the local crops market and to maintain a stable sorghum price.

The director of the Agricultural Bank of eastern Sudan sector, Hamad El Awad Hamad, said that the opening of Matamir also came to complete the contract between the bank and the World Food Programme (WFP) which addressed the needs of the Sudanese and African countries in the field of food relief.


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