On 9 December, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) in Abidjan approved US$73.81mn to finance the Sudan Emergency Wheat Production Project under the Bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility
Agriculture accounts for 60% of total national exports and generates a third of its gross domestic product in Sudan, employing more than half of the country’s workforce. Sudan, the third largest country by land area, has long suffered from extreme food insecurity due to multiple factors, including economic decline and hyperinflation, conflict-induced population displacement, and poor agricultural harvests.
This situation has worsened in the wake of the current global food and energy price hikes which also hit the country severely. The funds from AfDB will help procure at large scale and deliver certified seeds of climate-adapted varieties, fertilisers, and extension services for smallholder farmers. The project is expected to more-than-double wheat́ production from 630,000 tons currently to 1.52 mn tons in two years. Around 400,000 smallholder farming households, 40% of which will comprise of women, are believed to benefit from the scheme. Nearly 800,000 casual workers will also benefit from the spin-offs along the wheat́, seed, and fertiliser value chains.
“Sudan, with the largest irrigated area in sub-Saharan Africa, has enormous potential not only to become self-sufficient in wheat, but also to become an exporter," said Nnenna Nwabufo, the AfDB’s director general for East Africa. The project targets small-scale farmers, seasonal workers, seed producers, and agricultural traders in Sudan's main wheat-growing regions, such as Al-Jazira, New Halfa, Upper Nile, and White Nile, which have large irrigated areas and are more resilient to climate change.
The project in Sudan will be implemented by the World Food Programme. "The Sudan Emergency Wheat Production Project (SEWPP) will benefit from the spillovers and lessons learned from previous projects the Bank has financed in the country," said Mary Monyau, the AfDB’s country manager in Sudan.