Sudan wheat crop threatened by low prices

The farmers of New Halfa in the north of Sudan are threatening to not plant the wheat crop for this season because of the low focus price of SDG 400 ($60) offered by the government.

The farmers of New Halfa in the north of Sudan are threatening to not plant the wheat crop for this season because of the low focus price of SDG 400 ($60) offered by the government.

Farmer Yasser Shaheen told Radio Dabanga the focus price of wheat has remained steady for a year despite the increase in the cost of production and the price of burlap sacks. “The cost of harvest has amounted to SDG 750 ($112) instead of SDG 250 ($37) this year”.

Shaheen says that wheat production in the agricultural project of New Halfa has been low during the current season. More than 6,000 acres was planted.

Farmers have asked for the price of a sack of wheat to be raised to SDG 600 ($90) and warned about the reluctance of farmers to grow wheat during the coming season.

El Gedaref

Farmers in El Gedaref state have complained of the worsening crisis of bankruptcy among farmers: several have been jailed for non-payment.

On Wednesday Farmers told Radio Dabanga of their exposure to repeated prosecutions by the Agricultural Bank, who file complaints against them and give them 48- hour ultimatums to pay.

They said that the low prices of crops has led farmers suffer huge losses and caused them financial crisis.

They said that crop prices have been stable for more than five years in spite of the steady rise in fuel input and output prices.

Farmers of the El Gezira and Manaqil schemes complain of the rising of cost of harvesting the wheat, and a drop in productivity per acre.

The farmers echoed their northern colleagues and called for the focus price announced by the Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture for the purchase of wheat to be raised from SDG 400 to SDG 600.

Ahmed Abdel Bagi, a member of the secretariat of the alliance of the farmers told Radio Dabanga that the price announced by the government would prompt the farmers to stop growing wheat, and would also make it difficult for them to repay their obligations to the banks.

He predicts that productivity that will not exceed between six and seven sacks per acre.

Corruption and nepotism

According to a report published today by the Sudan Democracy First Group, El Gezira and Manaqil Scheme is one of Africa’s largest public irrigated agricultural schemes operating under one management. It was founded by the colonial authorities in 1925 as a contractual joint venture between the government, the Sudan Plantation Syndicate and farmers.

The scheme occupies a total land area of 2.2 million feddan (one feddan equals 1.083 Acres and 0.42 Hectares), of which the Sudanese government owns 1.63 million feddan (52%). The remaining 980 thousand feddan (48%) are rented from citizens who own them outright. The Scheme constitutes half the irrigated agricultural area in Sudan, consuming about 7 billion cubic metres of water from the Blue Nile, almost one third of Sudan’s share under the Nile Water Agreement.

As the Sudanese people encounter instances of corruption and lack of transparency on a daily basis. The Sudan Democracy First Group launched a project, the Sudan Transparency Initiative, to research, document and disseminate credible information about these illicit practices.

Report: Corruption and Nepotism of Integrated Agricultural Services Companies (IASCs) in the Gezira and Manaqil Scheme