The UK Commits $50 Million for Wheat Availability in Sudan
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Sudan has been relying on imports from Russia and Ukraine for its Wheat and Wheat flour consumption over the past few years, the data on foreign trade from the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) corroborate. Since 2017, the imports of the strategic commodity from the two countries combined accounted for about 26-80 percent of the country’s total Wheat and Wheat flour imports. During 2018-2020, Wheat supplies from Russia and Ukraine accounted for 73-80 percent of all Wheat imports of Sudan, according to the CBoS.
Currently, Sudan has a population of 46.7 million. Sudan will need to import 3.5 million tons of Wheat this year because of a 30 percent drop in the projected local harvest after farmers switched to planting different crops, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. Some farmers report that the Government had failed to buy their Wheat on promised terms last year, leaving them reluctant or without the money to plant a new crop.
According to AgFlow data, Sudan imported 0.34 million tons of Wheat in Q1 2023. The leading suppliers were Russia (0.2 million tons), Canada (0.1 million tons), and Romania (31,709 tons). FAO says that an interruption in grain flow into Sudan will raise prices and make Wheat imports more complex. Prices of Wheat from the Black Sea region were over US$550 per ton in mid-2022, representing a 180 percent rise compared with the same period in 2021.
In 2022, Sudan imported 2.7 million tons of Wheat and flour for $1.06 billion, with Russia, Australia, and Romania being the top import origins, according to Central Bank data. In 2021, Sudan imported Wheat for $508 million, becoming the 33rd most significant importer of Wheat in the world. In the same year, Wheat was Sudan’s 3rd most imported product. Sudan imports Wheat primarily from: Russia ($203 million), Romania ($116 million), the United States ($69.2 million), Australia ($51.9 million), and Canada ($31.8 million).
This year, the FAO said that the production of sorghum, a staple in Sudan, and of millet is expected to recover, helped by favorable rains. Projected Wheat imports will, therefore, account for nearly all of Sudan’s expected cereal import requirements of 3.6 million tons.
“This will have a major impact on the food security of millions of Sudanese people, as international prices of Wheat continue to increase and the country’s national currency weakens,” the FAO stated.
Humanitarian agencies have warned of rising levels of hunger in Sudan, where more than one-third of the population faced acute food insecurity last year. “Communities are facing differing scales of vulnerabilities driven by soaring prices of staple crops, and the combined effects of the current battle, economic downturn, high inflation, climate-induced hazards, and conflict,” the FAO statement quoted its Sudan representative, Adam Yao, as saying.
Sudanese DAL Group to Supply Wheat
UK development finance institution British International Investment (BII) announced in late February it committed $50 million to support food availability in Sudan. The funds will support the acquisition of 280,000 tons of Wheat through the Sudanese group DAL.
Specifically, the funds will strengthen DAL Group’s long-term working capital requirements, enabling the company to import Wheat and boost flour supplies to retail outlets and businesses in Sudan.
The transaction is the BII’s first investment to “directly benefit the people of Sudan.” It reflects the institution’s commitment to supporting the supply of foodstuffs in the country. DAL Group, which operates in several sectors, including food and beverages, agriculture, earthworks, real estate, energy, mining, automotive, health, and education, will leverage the support to anchor its operations in South Sudan further.
Other sources: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
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