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Soaring grain prices in Sudan, hunger expected

October 16 - 2015 NYALA / KASSALA / PORT SUDAN
Farmers in the Toker delta, Red Sea state (UNEP)
Farmers in the Toker delta, Red Sea state (UNEP)

The prices of sorghum and millet are skyrocketing in western and eastern Sudan. The current agricultural season failed in many parts of the country because of the late and poor rainfall this year.

Market traders in the South Darfur capital of Nyala told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that since the rain stopped end September, the prices of agricultural crops are soaring, especially the prices of sorghum and millet.

“The price of a 100kg sack of sorghum rose from SDG260 ($43) to SDG370 ($61), a sack of millet from SDG340 ($56) to SDG480 ($79),” a trader reported.

The merchants expect a famine, as they are certain that the prices will increase even more because of the failure of this year's main agricultural season.

Kassala

The majority of the states in the country are affected by the delayed rainfall this year, a government official told Radio Dabanga from eastern Sudan's Kassala.

“The proceeds of this year's agricultural season in are far below average,” he said. “The director-general of the state Ministry of Agriculture considers the situation far from not reassuring.”

The source said that the production of sorghum, sesame, and fava beans in Kassala state can be considered “nil”.

Toker

“If the government does not make adequate preparations, the current semi-famine will certainly develop into a real famine in Toker locality the coming months,” lawyer Abdelgader Mohamed Saleh told Radio Dabanga from Port Sudan.

“Because of the poor rainfall and the lack of irrigation canals, the farmers have not been able to cultivate their lands. This naturally led to a rise in the crops' prices,” he said. “A 100kg sack of sorghum now costs about SDG330 ($54).”

The lawyer stressed the need for “an urgent abolition of the ban on humanitarian organisations in Toker. This ban was issued by the former governor of the Red Sea state on the grounds of the dire security situation, but this is not the case any more for a long time.”

He explained that Toker locality, south of Port Sudan, has not yet recovered from the armed conflict between rebels and government forces in the area in the 1990s. “Even after the fighting stopped, the people who fled to the Red Sea capital did not return to their villages. Mesquite shrubs now cover about 70 percent of the agricultural land in Toker.”


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