SUDAN – Cereal production in Sudan has been severely impacted by the conflict that erupted in April 2023, potentially exacerbating food shortages and hunger, Rein Paulsen, Director of the FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience has warned.

According to him, the situation demands urgent and extensive agricultural assistance in the country ahead of the impending planting season in June.

He highlighted that production of sorghum, millet and wheat in 2023 was estimated at 4.1 million tonnes, down 46 percent from the output obtained in the previous year and about 40 percent below the average of the previous five years.

This stark decline vividly illustrates the devastating impact of conflict and violence on food production. The context is dire and demands immediate and targeted support,” Rein Paulsen said.

This underscores the critical importance of FAO’s interventions at this juncture, remarked Paulsen, who is currently conducting a field assessment of food security in the country.

Speaking about FAO’s response, Paulsen noted that activities are mainly focusing on providing seeds and equipment to allow the cultivation of local staple cereals.

Paulsen emphasized FAO’s efforts, focusing primarily on distributing seeds and equipment crucial for cultivating staple cereals and ensuring livestock survival through emergency veterinary services, water access, and fodder provision.

He stressed the urgency of timely interventions for the upcoming summer planting season

 “We must ensure sufficient seed provision to farmers to guarantee a successful cropping season. Resources need to be available at least two or three months in advance.”

FAO’s Emergency Plan for Sudan in 2024 requires $104 million, yet it remains less than 10 percent funded. “Our ability to swiftly assist vulnerable farming households is paramount,” Paulsen emphasized.

Between July and September 2023, FAO reached one million farming households or five million farmers with time-critical seed support.

During this period, nearly 10 000 tonnes of seeds were delivered to farming households in time for the critical planting season, according to a recent Post-Distribution Monitoring (PDM) Report conducted by FAO.

Despite the multiple challenges, FAO managed to timely deliver seeds to many beneficiaries, as evidenced by 56 percent of the farmers in nine states reporting on-time receipt of seeds.

This achievement is particularly noteworthy considering the large scale of operation and demonstrates FAO’s excellent logistical capabilities and commitment to supporting vulnerable farmers in need during the conflict.

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