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Northern Sudan farmers suspend road blockades

February 6 - 2022 ED DEBBA / MEROWE
File photo: RD
File photo: RD

Farmers and activists in Sudan’s Northern State have reportedly suspended their blockade of the main roads in the state, including the vital links to the Egyptian border. The blockade, that has hampered especially freight traffic since January 9, was set up in protest against sharp increases in electricity prices, however the organisers lament that their demands have been “politicised in some circles”.

The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that the Chairman of the Farmers Association of the Northern State, Ridha El Idrisi, announced the opening of roads in all areas of the state today. Those would include the Sheryan El Shimal road and the Hamdab Bridge in Merowe, which link Sudan to the Egyptian border at several points.

In a statement via SUNA, El Idrisi said that the blockade began because of humanitarian conditions at the time, as the government did respond to the farmers’ demands, however he added that “some political circles started to exploit the farmers’ demands and directing them to serve their political agenda and for that reason state of blockage was ended”.

He said the Mobilisation Committee would hold a meeting to discuss and assess the matter so as to issue the suitable decisions, expressing hope that the government would respond to the farmers’ demands to cancel the increases in the electricity tariff.

Last year, the federal Ministry of Finance planned a significant increase in electricity prices for 2022, as it decided to continue with lifting subsidies on consumer goods, in order to meet the demands of the World Bank. In early January 2021, the power tariffs already increased by 500 per cent.

Farmers told Radio Dabanga that the increase in electricity prices affects agriculture in Nile River state and Northern State.

They warned authorities of the failure of the current agricultural season if they did not cancel these increases, especially the upcoming wheat harvest, which they said needs to be irrigated before it fails.

(Source: SUNA/RD)

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