El Fasher — Results of an agricultural survey in North Darfur show that the food gap in the state this year amounts to 190,000 metric tons. The state governor has called for more alms.
In a speech to the Zakat (Islamic alms) Chamber of El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, Governor Abdelwahed Yousef acknowledged an increase in the food gap in the state.
In comparison with early 2017, the food gap grew about 10 per cent, from 157,000 metric tons to 190,000 metric tons.
The governor said that in particular the people in Um Keddada, Tawila, El Kuma, and El Taweisha are short of sorghum and millet because of the poor rainfall last year.
He described this year as "a year of hardship", and called on the rich in North Darfur to give alms "to the poor and needy".
The North Darfur government is distributing sorghum for reduced prices to the poor. Yet multiple sources complained to Radio Dabanga from North Darfur in the past few weeks that the prices are still far too high.
"The reduced price of a 100 kg sack of sorghum ranges from SDG 585 to SDG 650, according to the distance of the locality from El Fasher. This means that sorghum is still unaffordable to most of the people," one of them said.
Sorghum, millet, and wheat are the most important food commodities in Sudan. Sorghum is the staple food for the majority of poor households in central and eastern regions, millet for the majority of households in Darfur and some parts of Kordofan, while wheat is the staple food in the northern Sudanese states.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fews Net) reported in January that North Darfur and also Kassala state in eastern Sudan may face crisis levels of food insecurity in the coming months.
The low rainfall last year has also led to poor grazing for livestock which in turn reduced the availability of milk.
In addition, lack of fuel caused large tracts of cultivated land to dry up as the irrigation pumps could not be operated. Especially the harvests of okra, potatoes, tomatoes and onions in North Darfur, Kassala, and the Kordofan states were affected.
North Darfur MPs have called on the state government to declare famine in the region and tackle the corruption by employees of the state Ministry of Social Affairs and members of committees distributing relief goods.