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Post-harvest survey: Severe food gap in North Darfur

May 17 - 2017 EL FASHER
A displaced farmer in Tawila locality, North Darfur (File photo: Albert González Farran / Unamid)
A displaced farmer in Tawila locality, North Darfur (File photo: Albert González Farran / Unamid)

The results of the post-harvest survey in North Darfur for the last agricultural season reveal a severe food gap in the state.

The survey shows that the annual food deficit in North Darfur is 104.808 metric tons, while the monthly deficit is 13.101 metric tons.

The Governor of the state, Abdel Wahid Yousif, said that the group monitoring food security and livelihoods of the state have taken a number of precautionary measures to address the gap.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is to provide 50,000 metric tons, Agricultural Bank 20,000 metric tons, Strategic Storage 20,000 metric tons, the Zakat Chamber 5,000 metric tons and the remaining shortage will be covered through local mechanisms.

Herder raids

Farmers in North Darfur's Kutum locality have complained of herders who drive camels into their farms, sometimes threatening the farmer by force of arms. The grazing destroys the vegetables and fruit.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, farmers reported that on Saturday and Sunday, herders drove their cattle to graze on the gardens on the banks of the river (wadi) in Kutum, causing the destruction of “large areas planted with okra, watermelons, tomatoes and fruit orchards”.

They estimated the losses at thousands of Sudanese pounds, and called on the authorities to stop the herders' activities so that they can harvest the crops.

Climate change

The shortage of food in Darfur, driven by drought and displacement, is exacerbated by frequent raids on farms by herders who allow their livestock to graze on farmers’ crops. A report released in December 2016 warns that parts of Sudan could become uninhabitable as a result of climate change.

“North Africa is already hot and is strongly increasing in temperature. At some point in this century, part of the region will become uninhabitable," Jos Lelieveld, a climate scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, told CNN.

Much of Sudan has become progressively unsuitable for agriculture and villages, as a result of the hotter climate and erratic rainfall, Bianca Britton wrote in an updated report on the CNN site.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), irregular rain has ruined crops, and the country is experiencing both droughts and floods - making arable land unsuitable for cultivation and displacing more than 600,000 people due to flood-related disasters since 2013.

This burden is affecting not only the country's food security and sustainable development, but also the homes of many Sudanese families. It is estimated 1.9 million people will be affected by reduced agricultural and livestock production -- due to smaller farming areas, poor pastures and limited water availability.

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