With over 80 per cent of the Sudanese labour force engaged in agriculture, a new €77.7 million programme that aims to increase food security and ensure access to natural resources is a vital investment in Sudan’s future.
The project will benefit about 720,000 vulnerable smallholders, pastoralists and agropastoralists in nine states, across three regions.
The financing agreement for the Sustainable Natural Resources and Livelihoods Programme (SNRLP) was signed today by Cornelia Richter, Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Abdelwahab Mohamed Elhijazi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Sudan.
Project financing includes €45.2 million grant and €11.3 million loan from IFAD. The project will be co-financed by the Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund grant (€1.8 million); the Government of Sudan (€11.7 million); the private sector (€3.3 million) and the beneficiaries themselves (€4.4 million).
Sudan’s economy is increasingly dependent on agriculture because of declining oil revenues. However, unsustainable farming practices and mining on land traditionally used by agropastoral communities are causing a decline in natural resources. In addition, as farming is predominantly rain-fed, it is highly sensitive to a changing climate and fluctuations in rainfall are affecting livelihoods and food security. Other challenges include the fragility of natural resources, unendurable land tenure arrangements, and competition between the users of natural resources that can lead to conflict.
The new programme will help smallholder farmers manage natural resources to better farm their lands and improve their incomes. It will help agropastoralists get access to better fodder and animal health services, and enable pastoralists to diversify their livelihoods through small enterprises.
”This new programme will not duplicate our past investments in Sudan but will capitalize on them to consolidate social infrastructures and strengthen natural resources management, and thereby amplify the benefits and sustainability of the previous projects,” said Tarek Ahmed, IFAD Country Director for Sudan.
SNRLP will be implemented in Butana in the east, Sennar in the south-east and Kordofan in the west. It will target poor smallholder farmers and give special attention to youth (30 per cent of participants) and women (50 per cent).
The programme will also introduce gas stoves to replace dependency on firewood, which will particularly benefit vulnerable women. Training in better nutrition practices and promotion of rural youth involvement in crop, fodder and forestry development activities are also planned.
Since 1979, IFAD has co-financed 22 rural development programmes and projects in Sudan, at a total cost of $873.5 million, with an IFAD investment of $381.1 million. These projects and programmes have directly benefited than four million rural household members.