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Viral disease ruins sesame crops in Sudan’s El Gedaref

September 3 - 2018 EL GEDAREF
Sesame crops infected with Phyllody showing twisted leaves without flowers (File photo: William M. Brown Jr, Colorado State University)
Sesame crops infected with Phyllody showing twisted leaves without flowers (File photo: William M. Brown Jr, Colorado State University)

A plant virus spread by leafhoppers has devastated vast tracts of sesame crops in Sudan’s vital El Gedaref agricultural area resulting in an estimated 90 per cent loss, according to farmers.

The disease known scientifically as Phyllody and locally as Masih El Simsim is spread by jassid leafhoppers, and has reportedly infected the sesame crops in several areas of El Gedaref state.

An agricultural engineer said that the damage to the sesame crop has reached about 90 per cent of the area south of El Gedaref. The disease attacks the flowers of the sesame plant, preventing viable blooms and making it impossible for the plant to produce seed.

The head of the agricultural committee of the State Council, Waleed Hassan Ali, confirmed that the pest has swept across tens of thousands of acres.

Farmers in El Gedaref state have warned that the lack of liquidity would disrupt the clean-up and then would lead to the failure of the agricultural season.

A source at the Agricultural Bank has acknowledged the difficulty of farmers’ position because of these conditions.

Crop dusting

As reported by Radio Dabanga yesterday, More than 50 farmers in Sudan’s El Gedaref state have filed a criminal complaint for damage to vital crops by aerial pesticide spraying operations.

Farmers told Radio Dabanga that large areas planted with sorghum, sesame, and sunflowers in the southern region of El Gedaref state have been damaged. Farmers said a foreign company and a Russian investor used a defective pesticide sprayed from an aircraft. The report that more than 25,000 acres of sesame, sorghum and sunflowers, which had reached the production stage, are affected.

 


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