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African Development Bank Group Pledges Nearly USD 74 mn to Boost Wheat Production in Sudan

Agriculture is the backbone of the Sudanese economy, accounting for 60% of total national exports and accounting for one-third of GDP. It employs more than half of the workforce in the country.

Shivam Dwivedi
The funds from the African Development Bank will help procure at large scale and deliver certified seeds of climate-adapted varieties
The funds from the African Development Bank will help procure at large scale and deliver certified seeds of climate-adapted varieties

The African Development Bank Group's Board of Directors approved $73.81 million to finance the Sudan Emergency Wheat Production Project through the Bank's African Emergency Food Production Facility on December 9, 2022 in Abidjan.

Sudan, the world's third-largest country by land area, has long experienced extreme food insecurity due to various factors, including economic decline and hyperinflation, conflict-induced population displacement, and poor agricultural harvests.

This situation has deteriorated due to the current global food and energy price increases, which have significantly impacted the country. Sorghum and millet prices have increased by 150-200% since 2021, while wheat prices have nearly tripled. This is because 60-70% of Sudan's wheat consumption is imported from Russia and Ukraine. Fertilizer and energy prices have also tripled, fueling inflation.

The funds from the African Development Bank will help procure at large scale and deliver certified seeds of climate-adapted varieties, fertilizers, and extension services for smallholder farmers. The project is expected to more-than-double wheat́ production from 630,000 tonnes to 1.52 million tonnes in two years. Some 400,000 smallholder farming households, 40% of women, will benefit from the scheme. Nearly 800,000 casual workers will also benefit from the spin-offs along the wheat́, seed, and fertilizer 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," says Nnenna Nwabufo, African Development Bank'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 World Food Programme in Sudan will implement the project.

"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 African Development Bank's Country Manager in Sudan. Notable among the successful projects is the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Wheat initiative (2018-2021), which has revamped the Sudanese wheat́ sector and increased yields from 1.5 to 2.3 tonnes/hectare and production from less than 350,000 tonnes to 1.1 million tonnes in just five years (from 2014 to 2019).

In May 2022, the Bank established the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Facility to assist African countries in averting a food crisis caused by the disruption of food supplies caused by the war in Ukraine. The Bank currently has 19 operations in Sudan, totaling $486.2 million in commitments. Agriculture is the largest beneficiary of $272.3 million in investments (56% of the portfolio).

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