Sudan: Ongoing Fuel Shortage, Price Hikes Paralyse Agriculture

El Gedaref / White Nile / Khartoum — The continuing fuel crisis is thwarting the harvest in eastern Sudan's El Gedaref. Farmers in White Nile state expect the coming agricultural season to fail because of the lack of diesel. Observers claim a new undeclared increase in fuel prices is implemented in the country.

Mubarak El Nour, independent MP for El Fashaga constituency in El Gedaref, told Radio Dabanga that the harvesting operations in El Gedaref state have stopped due to the scarcity of diesel.

He said the farmers in the region are "very discontented" and call on the federal government to "urgently intervene to save the situation".

In White Nile state, south of Khartoum, farmers expressed their serious concern that the agricultural season will fail due to the fuel crisis and the price increases this year.

Several farmers complained to this station that they are not able any more to obtain sufficient quantities of diesel for their irrigation pumps and tractors, due to the fuel crisis and the skyrocketing prices at the black market.

"Most of the petrol stations in Rabak and Jebelein are closed. At the other pumps, we are not allowed to buy fuel for more than SDG 100 ($ 5.50*) a day, which is nothing," a farmer said.

The ongoing fuel crisis is as well paralysing the transportation sector in the country.

'Silent increase'

Khartoum is planning to "silently implement another fuel prices increase", according to economic experts and traders in Sudan.

Citing the increase in prices of fuel approved by the state governments of North Darfur, Sennar, and El Gezira, the observers say that the fuel price rises are "similar to the undeclared increase in the prices of medicine in January after raising the customs rate of the Dollar to SDG 18.

In early January, as part of new austerity measures and in an attempt to halt the plummeting Pound on the black market, the Sudanese government raised the customs rate of the US Dollar from SDG 6.7 to an indicative SDG 18. Basic commodities prices skyrocketed immediately. The prices of many medicines, almost all being imported, rose with more than 300 per cent.

* Based on the official US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)

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