Agriculture in Sudan

Agriculture in Sudan Last updated on Saturday 24th April 2010

Sudan's economy is mostly agricultural and pastoral, with about 65% of its population making its living through crop growing or animal grazing. Lack of irrigation schemes and poor general infrastructure, however, mean that the full potential of the land is not being exploited. Indeed, only about 5% of the Sudan's land area is used for farming.

Principal food crops consist. of millet, sorghum, rice, cassava, wheat, peanuts, beans and bananas. The main export crops are sorghum and cotton. The latter is produced in the Gezira (al-Jazirah) region, between the Blue and the White Nile. In the south, agricultural activity is mainly pastoral, with the main domestic livestock being cattle. Sheep, goats, camels and chickens are also reared.

There is some fishing along rivers and coastline. Forestry activities include the production of gum Arabic, (an ingredient in sweets, perfumes and processed food) beeswax, tannin, senna and timber, principally mahogany.

The agricultural sector in Sudan employs the majority of the work force, but poor performance in this particular economic sector has largely been due to declining annual rainfall. The country has freshwater and marine-fishing potential that is not fully exploited. In spite of the rapid decrease in other parts of Sudan, the south natural forest cover still exists, albeit the civil war has its negative impact on the environment.

The majority of Sudan's population derives its living from crop farming or grazing, but only 7 percent of the country's land area is cultivated. Crop production in 2000 included large quantities of cereal grains, such as sorghum and wheat (3.9 million metric tons); root crops, such as potatoes and yams (170,100 metric tons); fruits, such as dates (963,580 metric tons); and pulses (178,500 metric tons). Sugarcane, processed into sugar by local industry, is also grown. Cotton is Sudan's leading cash crop; it is produced in large amounts in the Al Jazirah (Gezira) region between the Blue Nile and White Nile. The livestock population in 2000 included 35.3 million cattle, 42.8 million sheep, 37.8 million goats, 3.2 million camels, and 42 million poultry.

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