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‘Sorghum prices too low to harvest’: eastern Sudanese farmers

January 15 - 2017 EL GEDAREF
A variety of sorghum (file photo)
A variety of sorghum (file photo)

The prices of sorghum at the El Gedaref market in eastern Sudan have become too low to cover the production costs.

“The price of an ardeb [about 190 kg] dropped to SDG 456 ($70),” farmer Mustafa Sayed Khalil told Radio Dabanga from El Gedaref.

“With the current sorghum prices, I cannot not cover the production costs, the wages of the workers, the transportation costs, and the government fees,” he said.

The farmer explained that the price of an ardeb specified by the Sudanese Agricultural Bank has not exceeded SDG 500 for five years, and called for an increase to SDG 600 ($92) “so as to cover the minimum farming costs”.

He said that a number of farmers began to sell the sorghum crops to cattle owners because of the high harvesting expenses.

He demanded the authorities immediately intervene and solve the problem.

Sorghum in all its varieties is traditionally the main staple food in Sudan. Wheat only grows in the northern parts of the country, as the climate south of Khartoum is too hot and humid for this kind of grain.

Sudan imports more than two million tons of wheat annually at a cost of $1.5 billion.

On Monday, Radio Dabanga reported an acute shortage of bread in the country. Owing to the lack of hard currency at the Sudanese banks, importers face difficulties buying wheat from abroad.

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