Panafrican News Agency

Sudan, FAO and WFP call for investment in agriculture

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, along with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), have called for greater investment in Sudan’s agriculture and humanitarian assistance, as a new food security assessment shows that a record number of Sudanese will face acute food insecurity in the coming lean season.

The UN Office for coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) pointed out in a report, publlished on Monday, that the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) results for Sudan say 9.8 million people are projected to be acutely food insecure across the country throughout the lean season from June through September. 

It warns that this would mean more than 20 per cent of Sudan’s population is projected to be experiencing acute food insecurity starting this month, the highest figure reported in the history of the IPC in Sudan.

Eltahir Harbi, Sudan’s Minister of Agriculture and Forests, said that his ministry’s main objective is to combat poverty and avail food for the nation, urging support for the government, FAO and WFP and other partners.

The key drivers of food insecurity in Sudan include floods, recurrent droughts, economic decline, inflation and displacement because of conflict.

The economy of Sudan is highly dependent on agriculture, which is the most important economic sector. Agriculture employs 43 per cent of Sudan’s labour force and accounts for about 30 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates (2019) and the World Bank.

Sudan is one of the largest livestock producing countries in Africa and the Arab world, where the livestock sector contributes to the livelihoods of at least 26 million people.

“Agricultural production promotes livelihoods, saves lives and restores livelihoods. Urgent action is needed to safeguard livelihoods and promote recovery through cash interventions, supplementary livestock feeding, and livelihood recovery and farming packages,’’ Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative in Sudan, was quoted as saying.

The latest IPC results revealed that major acute food insecurity exists in 10 out of the 18 states in terms of caseload and proportion of food insecure populations compared to only two states in the penultimate IPC analysis from June to August 2019.

 According to Eddie Rowe, WFP Representative in Sudan, “urgent action is required to save lives and that is our priority as WFP. It is not just about saving lives; it is about changing lives. All partners – UN, INGOs, Government, and private sector, including potential investors – must come together to reduce food insecurity in the country so we can reach zero hunger by 2030.”

The latest IPC analysis was released just a week after a high-level meeting in Paris, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, which advocated for broader economic reforms.

The high levels of food insecurity underscore the need for investments in Sudan’s agricultural sector and productivity.

‘‘Creating an investment climate for the private sector to be actively involved in agriculture and agribusiness should be emphasized at all levels to pave the way for small farmers and agro-industry owners to play a significant role in the development of the agriculture sector,” said Ahmadu

-0- PANA MO/VAO14June2021