Wasting wheat in Sudan

Wheat farmers in Sudan are rueing their potential loss as their harvest is at risk of going to waste.

Why is it going to waste?
Amidst a dwindling currency value, the country’s government, which is cash-strapped, has pulled out of promises to purchase the wheat harvest at favorable prices. Sudan’s wheat production had been projected to cover only a quarter of the country’s needs this year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

What do the farmers plan to do?
According to Modawi Ahmed, one of the thousands who cultivated the grain as part of Sudan’s largest agricultural scheme, Al-Gezira, the farmers have little or no alternatives and are rueing their potential loss. “The agricultural bank wants us to pay for our loans in wheat. After calculating the loans, the bank will determine how much each farmer should supply, in bags or kilos, over a certain period of time. And if there is a surplus, they will shelf it, according to what we heard”, said Ahmed.

Waste in the midst of lack?
According to the United Nations, more than 18 million people, nearly half the Sudanese population, could be pushed into extreme hunger by September. This unpleasant forecast has been further complicated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which threatens to compound Sudan’s food security challenges. A 2021 UN report noted that wheat from Russia and Ukraine makes up between 70-80% of Sudan’s market needs.

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