Sudan to fight famine with help from its private sector
The Sudanese government has acknowledged that the country is suffering from a drought and from food shortages and urged the international community to assist in averting famine, a press report said Thursday.
The Sudanese government and its private sector will embark on a joint program to distribute grains to areas in the country affected by severe drought, said a senior government official Monday. Sudan faces a 1.6 million ton grain deficit and a shortage in potable water this coming year, Humanitarian Aid Commissioner (HAC) Sulaf Eddin Mohamed Salih said.
Salih added the finance ministry has allocated funds to purchase a reserve grain supply from both local and foreign markets. The state and the private sector will acquire the grain supply in the coming weeks, he said.
Salih indicated that five states need assistance urgently: Kordofan, Darfur, North Bahr Al-Ghazal, East Equatoria and the pastoral parts of the Gezira state. A grain shortage is reported in those areas, where the price of the staple sorghum is soaring. The World Food Program has already appealed to donors for assistance in overcoming the food shortages, he added.
On a suggestion from the agriculture ministry, additional areas along the Nile River and in the northern states will be cultivated with maize in January and sorghum in March to combat the shortages.
Salih said the irrigation ministry and the UN will carry out an emergency program for providing water to the needy states by drilling new surface wells and maintaining the old ones.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail was quoted by the As-Sahafi Ad-Dawli as saying there were food shortages in various parts of the country, attributing this to scarce rainfall. ¯ (AFP, Khartoum)
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