May 26, 2024

Need for international support to save Sudan’s planting season amid hunger fueled by conflict in North Africa.

War wrecks Sudan preparations for farming season

Peter Hendricks in Sudan

According to Islamic Relief, there is an urgent need for the international community to increase their efforts in saving the planting season in Sudan and assisting struggling farmers.

Due to the ongoing violent strife in Sudan that has persisted for three months, several farmers have been incapable of commencing the crucial agricultural planting season of the country, which denotes the start of the rainy season. The consequences of farmers being unable to plant at this time would be catastrophic, leading to the destruction of the upcoming harvest later this year and causing millions more individuals to suffer from starvation and poverty.

According to Islamic Relief, certain farmers in Sudan have reached the point of extreme hunger that they have consumed their entire seed inventory, leaving them with no means to sow crops. This was confirmed by agricultural specialists. Due to the dire conditions in Darfur, Kordofan, White Nile, and Sennar, families are resorting to consuming sorghum and millet seeds as their only source of sustenance, given the lack of other food options.

The war has compelled numerous farmers with small plots of land to leave and ruined their seed  stores and commercial opportunities. Due to the increasingly expensive cost of fertilisers and seeds, coupled with the persistent disturbance in the banking sector and limited accessibility to cash, numerous farmers are unable to acquire additional resources or operate vital equipment.

The agricultural industry accounts for approximately 40%of Sudan’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provides employment to roughly 80% of the population. Considering this, a collapse of the agricultural sector would have catastrophic consequences for the entire nation.

Humanitarian organizations are tirelessly striving to provide assistance to those who require it. Islamic Relief has provided food assistance to over 40,000 people in Central Darfur and Al Jazirah in recent weeks, and is also aiding medical facilities in Darfur in treating malnourished young children and expectant mothers. Our future plans include providing seeds to farmers located in South Kordofan and Gedaref states.

Despite efforts, significant hindrances including security, bureaucratic, and logistical obstacles persist in distributing assistance throughout Sudan. Additional intervention is imperative to swiftly provide crops and necessary resources to farmers.

The international donor conference has promised a sum of $1.5 billion towards the humanitarian response in Sudan this week. However, the success of this initiative can only be determined by the promptness with which these funds are delivered to the people affected.

Following an intense combat spanning 60 days, a staggering 2.2 million individuals have been displaced from their residences and the death toll has reached 2,000. The most pressing concern voiced by numerous displaced families is their immediate requirement for sustenance. Currently, there is a severe hunger crisis affecting over 17 million people in Sudan, and the situation is particularly dire for young children. Currently, more than three million children are suffering from malnutrition.

According to Yusuf Roble, the Regional Director of Islamic Relief for East Africa, he believes that.

An increasing number of individuals residing in Sudan are experiencing food insecurity and are confronted with a daily challenge to provide sustenance for themselves as well as their offspring. The present strife is impeding the sowing of seeds by farmers, and the probability of obtaining a bountiful yield at a later date is declining. Several highly productive areas in the country have been impacted.

The planting season in Sudan urgently requires intervention from international governments and donors in order to provide assistance to struggling farmers. A disappointing agricultural season with low yields would have devastating consequences not just for Sudan, but also for the surrounding area. In the event of food scarcity, individuals will seek out alternate locations where they can access sustenance, leading to increased migration and an additional 2.2 million individuals being displaced as a result of this ongoing conflict.

If Sudan experiences a crop failure, it could have adverse effects on nearby countries like South Sudan, who rely heavily on Sudan to import their grain. This could aggravate instability not only within Sudan but also in the surrounding regions.