Khartoum — Some farmers call strawberries "red gold" because they are highly financially lucrative fruit. That in addition to their high nutritional value.
The strawberry, otherwise known with its scientific name "Fragaria Duch ananassa", has been found to flourish in many parts of the Sudan, a matter that can open avenues for its export to provide greatly need foreign cash.
In some farms, an acre of strawberries has produced between 10-15 tons of strawberry fruits.
Strawberry cultivation in Sudan is a relatively new practice. Nevertheless, it was found to adapt to the country's hot weather.
The first person to have grown strawberries in Sudan is believed to be former Foreign Minister Mansour Khalid in his farm in Soba neighborhood here in the early 1980s. The late Khalid's experiment was considered a success. The fruits he had grown were described to be suitable for both local consumption and export.
The DAL group and the Alkalthoum Company followed with strawberry farms in Western Omdurman.
There were some other individual experiments that succeeded in growing and exporting strawberries
One of these was made by Ms. Ranad Hashim, a dental medicine student at the Almada'en University.
"I have loved farming as a young girl, having been born in a farming family," she told Sudanow.
She said she has faith in farming and is convinced that agricultural production is Sudan's only way out of its economic problems.
"There is no need for us to import frozen strawberries instead of growing them here," she stated.
"As you can see, I have a successful farming project here," she said, pointing to her field of strawberries.
She said she first started to obtain strawberry seedlings from a Syrian national and sell them to farm owners.
"That experiment had convinced me that strawberries can be grown successfully in Sudan, in particular in the State of Khartoum, the Eastt, the North and the West, in particular the Marra Mountain district of Darfur.
Strawberries can be grown in all types of soil, but they flourish better in sandy soil, preferably with no salinity. The soil should also have good drainage and should be free from weeds.
Strawberries are planted between October mid November.
There are different strawberry varieties. But the best that can flourish in Sudan is the heat-resistant variety known as 'Festival California'
This variety is special in that its fruits are big, very sweet and suitable for exportation.
Randa considers her project successful by all accounts where she achieves a return double what she invests.
"One acre can accommodate 20000 seedlings, producing 10-15 tons of strawberry fruits that can also go up to 20-30 tons with more attention and care," she said.
Randa is urging all youths and housewives to try this successful and financially lucrative business.
About the nutritional and therapeutic benefits of strawberries, researcher Nazik Mohammad Ahmed Alfadl says the fruit contains a high rate of fibers that help digestion and cut on cholesterol and blood sugar in the body. They also contain a lot of vitamins like vitamins K, omega B3 and minerals like manganese, folic acid, potassium, copper and magnesium.
Each strawberry fruit gives just 32 calories. For this, it does not raise sugar blood. Consuming 8 strawberry fruits helps with more Vitamin C than in an orange, thus raises immunity of the body.
Strawberries are antioxidant and so they help prevent cancer. They reduce heart and blood vessels trouble. They also reduce blood coagulation, protect the heart and reduce inflammations, in particular arthritis .
Strawberries can be taken fresh and they also enter in the processing of juices and jams.