El Gedaref — MPs and farmers have estimated the deficit in diesel for agriculture in Sudan's El Gedaref state at more than 80,000 barrels, equivalent to more than 50 per cent of the actual need for the agricultural season.
Mubarak El Nur, an independent MP representing El Fashaga locality in El Gedaref state, told Radio Dabanga that most of the senior and small farmers have not received the second instalment of diesel for agriculture.
He warned of the failure of the current agricultural season because of the lack of sufficient diesel.
He said that the fuel crisis has already led to the failure to cultivate two thirds of the area suitable for agriculture in El Gedaref estimated at eight million acres.
In July, Radio Dabanga reported the repeated warnings of small farmers in El Gedaref state of a failure of the cultivation of sesame and millet in the current season, pointing to a lack of diesel and high production costs. There are reports of the security service targeting small farmers by confiscating their quantities of fuel.
Several farmers from various localities in the eastern Sudanese state told this station that the cost of ploughing five feddans has risen during one week from SDG600 to SDG800 ($28.40*). One feddan is equivalent to 1.038 acres or 0.42 hectares.
Farmers reported there is a lack of fuel which has caused the price of a barrel of diesel in the black market to rise to SDG8,000 ($284.20), while the price of a litre of pesticide has risen to SDG350 ($12.43).
In addition, farmers reported a rise in labour prices. A farmer explained that Ethiopian workers have been reluctant to work on their farms this season because of the deterioration of the Sudanese Pound and the general price hikes in Sudan.
Chronic fuel crisis
Sudan has suffered from a scarcity of fuel and cooking gas and flour crises last year, including in December. In March 2018 however, the crises extended and became acute.
* Based on the indicative US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)