Sudan – the picture of a little known cotton producer
Cotton is very important for the population of Sudan, because around 300000 families depend directly on it and several other thousand indirectly, and it is also a major export factor contributing foreign exchange
Cotton is grown under various topographical and environmental conditions, utilising various methods of irrigation and using different applications of chemical inputs.
The major planting areas are cultivated in clay soil in Gezira, Rahad, New Halfa, Suki, Blue Nile, White Nile. Other panting areas in sit soil are Tokar of Eastern Sudan and in heavy clay soil in Nuba Mountains area of Western Sudan. It is categorised by system of irrigation and grown by gravity and pumps in _Gezhira, Rahad, NBew Halfa (Girbal, White Nile, Blue Nile, and Suki schemes. By flood in Tokar Delta and Khor Abohabil. By rain in Kurdofan, Darfur, Blue Nile, Senar and Gdarif.
The season 2012-13 shows a distinct decline in Sudan cotton area and production. The total cotton planting area was 48500 ha compared to 123000 ha grown in the previous season, thus Sudan cotton production declines fro9m 423090 t to 14600 t.
To some extend EPAR European public assessment reports tried to mobilise the whole community by encouraging its participation in agricultural-activities. The programme gave some support to the private sector by empowering it to play cotton programmes. Private companies were strongly encouraged to invest in cotton production but the response was weak. The Sudan Cotton Company Ltd. and some companies like the Arab authority for investment and agricultural development, a Brazilian company and some Chinese firms entered slowly in Sudan cotton growing and ginning. Individual farmers have financed and managed cotton production in small areas in Sudan.
The adopted policies for the season 2013-14 are oriented towards rain fed sector, because it offers huge prospective potentials suitable for cotton production. These are vast land areas, the great untapped water resources and with the availability of a great manual labour forced. Therefore, studies were made with recommendations of making structural changes in methods of agriculture by introducing agricultural mechanisation at all stages, by using of fertilisers and chemicals, as well as capacity building and training.
In the irrigated sector a modernisation of irrigation systems was attained to gain efficiency and optimisation of irrigation waters along with perfection of other production practices. As from this season and based on the latest technologies, genetically modified crops were planted to solve the problems of low productivity and high cost of production. Seeds were brought from countries like Brazil and China. The modernisation of agricultural operations, particularly in the process of fertilisers and pesticides application and in using machine planters and harvesters were initiated.
This picture was drawn by the Sudan government at the late ICAC Plenary Session in Cartagena, Columbia.