Sudan Says Livestock and Exports Tops U.S.$408 Million

Khartoum — The Sudanese Minister of Livestock and Fisheries and Pastures Faisal Hassan Ibrahim disclosed today that the country's exports on a year-to-date basis reached $408 million.

The official warned however in his statement before the States Council that the returns on livestock are far below the potential due to smuggling particularly in Darfur and Northern states.

He added that non-institutionalized fees and levies imposed by some localities are leading to higher livestock prices for domestic consumption and exports which reduces its competitiveness.

Ibrahim pointed out that the livestock exports contribute about 20% of the national GDP and 50% of the agricultural output despite financing impediments.

This is an increase over the roughly $ 333 million earned in 2011, he said adding that the country's exports of livestock for the year reached 3,365,481 heads.

The minister called for the establishment of an independent body to oversee exports of livestock and fishery products, organize domestic and foreign markets and facilitate the movement and flow of cattle from production sites to places of consumption.

Ibrahim criticized what he described as land misuse in the country stressing that this is a real obstacle in the way of advancement of this sector.

Livestock and agriculture is one sector Sudan hopes to boost amid a deepening economic crisis caused by the secession of the oil rich South Sudan last year.

Critics say that the government squandered an opportunity over the years to utilize the oil revenues in developing non-oil sectors which could have provided the basis for a diversified economy.

Last month Sudan granted China permission to set up a free-trade zone for agricultural products and livestock to boost bilateral transactions.

Analysts say that financing issues and debt facing farmers as well as lack of technology hinders the growth of agricultural sector in Sudan.

In 2010 the United States announced it was easing sanctions on agriculture equipment and services and gave six U.S. firms licenses to export to the East African nation.

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