27 February 2012 A new initiative aimed at improving food security in Sudan will provide the country’s smallholder farmers with improved seeds and soil to fight the threat of drought, the United Nations fund tasked with promoting rural development has announced.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a $10.7 million dollar grant to help Sudanese farmers increase productivity through the use of certified seeds, improved soil and water conservation techniques, with young people and women given priority.
The agricultural sector is Sudan’s most important as it employs 80 per cent of the active population and contributes 39 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The country’s land area, however, is predominantly arid and as a result most of the country’s farms remain reliant on rainfall for water, leaving them particularly susceptible to the ravages of drought.
According to the new plan, IFAD will improve food security, incomes and resilience to environmental shocks among the smallholder producers in areas reliant on rainfall. In addition, the project will promote the public-private partnership for the supply and production of seeds.
More than 108,000 smallholder farmers and 1,280 seed growers in the Sudanese states of Northern Kordofan and Southern Kordofan are expected to benefit from the plan.
The loan agreement was signed on Friday by Kanayo F. Nwanze, the IFAD President, and Gafar Ahmed Abdalla Omer, State Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation of Sudan.
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