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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Editorial: Absence of Agriculture Strategy

In the news, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Prof. Ibrahim Al-Dikhairi said that the destruction of 20,000 palm plants caused SDG15 billion loses to Sudan as a partner by 40% of Amtar Agricultural Project.
He said that the palm plants were infected with a dangerous fungus that might spread and infect all palm trees in the Northern State.
He denied that his ministry delayed in taking the action after the discovery of the fungus by the laboratories.
He affirmed his ministry’s keenness to follow-up all the agricultural activities in the country including the application of procedures.
He disclosed that the test of the palm plants is the job of plants; protection corporation through its classifications.
On the sidelines of the incident of the destruction of palm plants, we ask an important question about the feasibility of planting palm trees in Sudan.
It is true that the Northern State is famous since hundreds of years in planting palm trees and it is apparent that there is no any feasibility in expanding plantation because it is not considered as a cash crop and could not compete in the international market.
Wasn’t it better for the Ministry of Agriculture to make a scientific study in promoting the cash crops or other vegetable which could be exported abroad to replenish our treasury with hard currency?
For instance, wheat as a cash crop could be given priority in the plans of the ministry to expand the areas of its plantation and looking for improved seeds in order to get better production.
We are talking about food security and we have the arable lands which could be used to the maximum in achieving food security for at least the Arab world.
Why doesn’t the Ministry of Agriculture prepare feasibility studies for planting wheat and allocating the suitable areas along with providing it with the required infrastructure to enable foreign investors in entering into such an important project?
In Sudan there are many excellent opportunities for planting fruits e.g. mango, grapefruit, bananas etc. which could be exported and also for processing in Sudan.
All what is needed in this regard is a clear strategy along with feasibility studies to be displayed to the investors; but it is apparent that there is no agriculture strategy.

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