Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sudan Warns of Serious Food Gap in 2010

Sudan warns of serious food gap in 2010

Thursday 22 October 2009.

October 21, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan may be facing a serious food gap starting later this year and intensifying in 2010, a senior official said.

The Sudanese agricultural minister Abdel-Haleem Ismail Al-Mutaa’fi made the remarks before lawmakers where some have complained that their constituencies are on the verge of a famine.

This week, Mansour Al-Agab, a Sudanese lawmaker burst in tears saying that Al-Dandar region in Southeast Sudan is confronted with a sharp food deficit and on the borderline of a famine.

Al-Agab urged the government to provide aid to Al-Dandar residents or declare emergency in the area. He warned that thousands of heads of livestock could perish due to lack of water.

Al-Mutaa’fi, according to the independent Al-Sahafa newspaper, assured the legislators that his ministry would dispatch teams to the states to evaluate the food production in relation to the population needs in the respective areas.

The Sudanese official did not say when the surveyors would be sent out but projected that they would complete their work by early January.

“After careful evaluation beyond December, if there a proven need we will move and starting import food” Al-Mutaa’fi said.

He downplayed the severity of any food gap this year but said that 2010 will be critical and called for devising a plan to avoid it.

The irrigation minister Kamal Hassan Ali, on the other hand, revealed that drought with low rainfall levels has negatively impacted agriculture and farming.

He cited technical problems and abuse of water resources as reasons behind drought in some agricultural projects.

However, the head of Farmers’ Union in Sudan Ghareeg Kambal dismissed a talk on a food gap suggesting it is exaggerated “despite problems in the states of White Nile, Sinnar and Darfur”.

Kambal said that those speaking of a food gap “have no experience in agriculture” noting that the season is not over yet.

The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that 5.9 million people in Sudan are in need of food assistance this year.


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