Sudan Stops Export of Sorghum

Khartoum — The Sudanese Ministry of Industry and Trade has banned the export of sorghum for an indefinite period.

On Thursday, Minister Madani Abbas issued Ministerial Resolution No 41 (2020) with which he instructed a halt on the export of sorghum as of 15 April, until further notice.

Undersecretary of the Ministry, Mohamed Abdallah, told reporters in Khartoum that the decision was made in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, after a gap was identified concerning the sorghum reserves in the country.

Sudan is working to increase its food stockpiles and other reserves, in line with the health emergency measures declared last month to ward off the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country. The measures included the closing of the borders, a dusk-to-dawn curfew, and a ban on gatherings.

The decision was taken because of the poor sorghum yields during the former agricultural season. "This required intervention by the state to build its stocks and reserves of this important citizens' staple food," Abdallah said.

Sorghum exporters who have started export procedures and those who apply for a permission before April 15 are allowed to continue.

In early March, the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources' food supply assessment for Sudan announced that the national total production of sorghum and millet in 2019/20 was estimated at 5.1 million tonnes, which is 36 per cent below the previous year's record output, and 18 per cent less than the past five-year average.

FEWS NET reported in its latest Key Messages Update that the prices of sorghum and millet increased atypically by 10 to 20 per cent in most Sudanese markets between February and March 2020, reaching levels of 75-120 per cent higher than the same period last year, and 250-350 per cent above the five-year average.

Sorghum, millet, and wheat are the most important food commodities in Sudan. Sorghum is the staple food for the majority of households in central and eastern Sudan, sorghum and millet in Darfur and parts of Kordofan. Wheat is the staple food in the northern states.

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