Agriculture’s Sectors
Monday, 08 March 2010 20:30

Agriculture's Sectors




The Sudan has great agricultural resources; between 300 to 400 million arable lands, 135 million head of cattle, fish, forests and vast natural resources. World Food Conference held in Rome in 1974, considered the Sudan as the World Food Basket; as it could be capable to feed quarter of the world and five times population of the Arab region if agricultural potentialities of Sudan had been properly utilized.

The agricultural sector contributes effectively in the national economy and in the industries of weaving and spinnmg, sugar, edible oils, mills, canning, dairy and wood industry.

Agricultural System:

Crop production in Sudan is practiced under three patterns; irrigated agriculture, mechanized rain-fed agriculture and conventional rain-fed agriculture.

A) Irrigated Agriculture:

Crops of irrigated agriculture contribute by about 64% Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This sector uses most of the imported agricultural inputs. Irrigated agriculture in governmental or private schemes covers about two million hectares, irrigated mainly from the River Nile and its tributaries either through flow irrigation from dams by means of pumps or by flood irrigation from Gash and Toker rivers. Main crops of irrigated sector include sugar, cotton, sorghum, ground nuts, vegetable, fruits and green fodders.

B) Mechanized Rain-Fed Agriculture:

It has started since 1940s and is considered as the most suitable means of agriculture in middle clay plains, because of heavy muddy soil, and vast areas with low number of population and scarcity of drinking water during harvest time. Individual schemes form 78% of the allotted land and 65% of the total.

Sorghum is the main crop in this sector which covers an area of about 85% of the cultivated land, followed by sesame 10%, cotton, millet, sunflower and guar in small areas. Mechanized rain-fed agriculture constitutes 65% of sorghum production and 53% of sesame in Sudan.

C) Conventional Rain-Fed Agriculture:

The area of this sector is estimated at around 9 million hectares and mainly practiced in west, south and central Sudan. The importance of this sector is attributed to its contribution in the national economy by 90% of millet production, 48% of sorghum and 100% of gum arabic besides other crops. Animal husbandry constitutes an important portion in this sector.

Kinds of crops in Sudan

Crops are divided into cereals and horticultural crops.

A) Cereal Crops:

1. Cereal such as sorghum, millet, rice and wheat

2. Oil crops include sesame, ground nuts, sunflower, and there are some promising crops such safflower, sugar beet and soya beans. Cotton seeds are a major source of edible oils.

3. Legumes; broad beans, beans, chick peas, lentils, lupine and cow pea.


4. Fibber crops; cotton is the main fibre crops, and kenaf is cultivated in small areas.

5. Fodder crops; the production is estimated at 86.6 million tons of dry fodders yearly. It includes natural pasture, agricultural waste, green fodder, concentrated fodders and sugar cane.

B) Horticultural Crops:

Vegetable Crops: onion, tomatoes, okra, egg plant, peseta, potatoes, watermelon, green vegetable. Onion and tomatoes occupied more than 50% vegetables area in Sudan and constitute a high percentage of food stuff.


Variety in climate, soil and the adequacy of water resources helped in the production of different kinds of fruits from tropical to equatorial crops.

Medical and Aromatic Plants:

These are the main sources of medicines, spices and taste additives. They help also in the production of home made perfurmes, cosmetics and medical purposes.


Plant sources used in Sudan are divided into three major groups:

1. Wild plants that grow naturally.

2. Plants introduced and adapted to the environment of Sudan.

3. Non-Sudanese plants imported and grown in Sudan.

Forest and Forest Products:

Sudan is endowed with different kinds of forest that produce wood for industry, such as Sunt (Acacia) as well as African indigenous trees like mahogany and teak which are highly prefered in luxurious furniture industry.

Forests provide 78% of the Sudanese needs of energy, an equivalent to 4,011,000 tones of petroleum products, which would have been a burden on the country had they been imported.

Afler the exploration and the exploitation of oil in huge quantities in Sudan, the government encouraged the use of gas and introduce laws banning the cutting of trees to preserve forests and stop environmental deterioration.

Crops Protection:


Plants protection has started in Sudan since 1903, including pest control research as part of its activities. Crop protection administrations, in irrigated schemes, e.g. Gezira, Rahad, Suki and Halfa, have the authority to manage the application of crops protection in addition to the use sterilized seeds as a preventive measure. The Central Plant Protection Administration is responsible for combating nationwide pests found in stores; Nile water herbs, locusts, birds and rats. Farmers planting horticultural crops spray pesticides and herbicides.

Agricultural Quarantine:

Sudan is among the pioneering countries in the Arab and African worlds which enacted laws and adopted legislation to preserve agricultural production. The first agricultural quarantine law, Plant Disease law was enacted in 1911 and went into effect by the year 1913.

Agricultural quarantine protects the country's resources, as it combats pests or delays their unwelcomed coming inside the country. It also works in protecting cultivated crops from the damaging effects of pests and make Sudanese exports free of any quarantine pest in accordance with international agreement of combating pests.

National Agricultural Schemes:

Irrigated schemes in Sudan are estimated to cover about 4 million feddans (1.68 million hectares) all managed by the public sector.

Within the framework of privatization policy adopted by the government, a lot of schemes were transferred into agricultural companies; all pump schemes along the Blue Nile (730,000 feddans) and the White Nile (620,000 feddans), major Nile Pump Schemes (400,000 feddans) sugar schemes on White Nile (Kenana and Hajar Asalaya (110,000 feddans)), Sugar schemes on Blue Nile (North West sennar (75,000 feddans)) and New Halfa Sugar Scheme (83,000 feddans). Federal agricultural schemes are estimated to cover about three million feddans; Gezira, Rahad, Suki and New Halfa.

1) Gezira Scheme:

It is the oldest agricultural scheme in Sudan established in 1925 as the biggest irrigated farm in the world in an area of 2.1 million feddans. The scheme extends through Gezira and Sennar states and irrigated by flowing irrigation. The scheme depends on small-farm ownership (Hawashat) with an area ranging between 15 to 40 feddans.

The scheme contributes by 65% of the country's cotton production, and about 70% of wheat production, 15% of groundnuts, 12% of sorghum, in addition to 70 thousand feddans cultivated by horticultural products, forest and fodders. Moreover, there are around 2 million cattles and goats in the area of the scheme.

The Scheme provides great opportunities for investment in agricultural imdustries, weaving and spinning, grain rnills, edible oils and food industry.

In 2005 a new Act for Gezira Scheme was issued as part of the privatization policy.

Gezira Scheme Act for 2005:

Taking into account the unique situation of the scheme regarding its ownership; (government, administration and farmers) and coping with the declared privatization policy in addition to the need for institutional reformation, the Gezira Scheme Act was issued in 2005. The act asserts that the infrastructures of the scheme are considered to be part of the national resources; that the integrity of the scheme land and its agricultural aims are to be emphasized, and that the scheme administrative unity - which includes agricultural, irrigation, research and agricultural and industrial elements- should constitute the essential factors and basic components. Moreover, it ensures the necessity of the comprehensive sponsorship of the state. The Act states the right of farmers' participation in decision making with regard to agricultural activities, options of crops, financing, marketing, commerce and investment. The farmers own the land through a lease contract with the government renewed every 40 years to settle duplication of ownership of the scheme and to unify the ownership system.

2) Halfa Al jadeeda Scheme:


This project is associated with Nile Water Agreement for 1959 which divided the Nile water between Sudan and Egypt. Egypt was allowed to build the High Dam to store its share. Consequently, the Nuba Lake was formed extending in the northern sudanese territories. As a result the water flooded the Historical town of Halfa and the inhabitants had to be relocated to Butana area in Kassala State. The government, in an attempt to resettle the emigrated population and to encourage and facilitate their involvement in agriculture, established Khashm Al-Gerba Dam in Eastern Sudan to irrigate 500,000 feddans, 20,000 feddans of the area were allotted to compensate the emigrated population for their lands submerged by the Lake and 60,000 for the establishment of a sugar, groundnuts and wheat production complex in an area of 450,000 feddans.

The Butana area is rich in its animal resources, especially cattle and sheep, therefore, it allows more opportunities for investment in dairy products and fattening schemes and other facilities related to animal production for export. The Scheme is linked with Port Sudan by an asphalt paved road.

3) Rahad Agricultural Scheme:

This Scheme was established in the 2nd half of the seventies and extends through Gadaref and Gezira States. The area of the Scheme is estimated at 800,000 feddans, and 30,000 feddans of the area were cultivated. Other preparations are underway for the remaining area. The system adopted in the Scheme is the intensive rotation system whereby all the area of the Scheme are cultivated in quarterly rotation to produce cotton (medium staple) groundnuts, sorghum and wheat.

The various parts of the Scheme are linked with an internal asphalt network of roads and with the main motor -way that links the capital with the main port on the Red Sea. The Scheme produces horticultural products in addition to animal products for export.

The Scheme is irrigated from the Blue Nile by giant pumps pushing water through the main canal at the Southern parts of the Scheme. Then it passes through a siphon crossing the Dinder, river to flow on the Scheme.

4) Suki Agricultural Scheme:

The Scheme is located in Sennar State and is considered as the smallest federal scheme in an area of 85,000 feddans. The cost of the irrigation in the Scheme is the highest when compared with other irrigated schemes because of the pump irrigation system. The quarterly rotation system is designed to grow cotton (medium staple), ground nuts sorghum, wheat and sunflower.

The Scheme lands provide the natural pastures for Kenana cattle which are known for their rich flow of milk. This makes the Scheme more suitable for the establishment of several dairy schemes and other related projects.

5) Sondus Agricultural Scheme:

It presents one of the modern activities of East Jebel Awlia Development Company and one of the leading investment projects for the private sector. The Scheme lies in the area south Khartoum State through 3 states (Khartoum, Gezira and White Nile) in an area of around 100,000 feddans.

The project aims to achieve food security and provides chances for commercial, agricultural and industrial investments.

The project is irrigated by electrical pumps raising water from the White Nile. The soil is favourable for the cultivation of a wide variety of cash and subsistence crops, vegetables, fodder and non-wood products. There is a wide opportunity for animal husbandry, dairy and meat production.


There is a promising diversity of investments at the project. In the field of agriculture, farms with or without areas for houses are available. In the area of urban investment, the Al-Gairwan town is a planned residential area with plots of areas ranging from 600 to 900 square meters, provided with all basic services, as well as the availability of industrial, commercial and tourism investments.

The Contribution of Agriculture in domestic, gross product and export value:

The contribution of agriculture in the domestic and gross product has increased from nearly 20% in the year 1988/89 and up to nearly 45% in the year 2003/04. The agricultural export sector has witnessed a steady growth since the mid 1990s when the value of agricultural exports increased from $85 million in 1995 to $369.5 million in 2004, which represents 50% of the total non-petroleum exports.

Animal and Fishery Resources:

Sudan is considered as the first country in terms of having great numbers of animals in the Arab region and the second in Africa.


The country's animal wealth is estimated at 135 million heads of sheep, cattle, goats and horses in addition to poultry. The country has also a large number of wildlife variety.

Sudan has also a high stock of river and sea fish wealth, which is estimated at more than 110 tonnes annually. Other hydro-organisms are found in fresh and marine waters.

Animal production patterns in the Sudan are divided into:

a) Traditional pattern: Regarded as one of the most common patterns, claiming 80-90% of the total number of the animal wealth and constituting the main source of red meat for export and local consumption.
b) Modern pattern: Depending on cattle husbandry for milk production and on poultry in different parts of the federal capital and urban centres.
c) Transitional stage pattern
d) House stockbreeding

The contribution of the animal resources is estimated at 20% of the domestic and gross product. Sudan achieved self-sufficiency in white and red meat and more than 70% of milk.

Sudan enjoys an excellent institutional infrastructure for animal production, where a specialized veterinary laboratory with ten branch labs in the states, was established and developed into the biggest veterinary laboratory in Africa. Breeding improvement stations were also established in addition to animal health facilities and epidemic control in the states as well as pilot dairy and poultry farms, quarantines, slaughter houses and veterinary check points.

Livestock Breeds:



Cattle: The geographical distribution of these kinds has been linked to the po distribution of populations, where cattle are found in western, southern and central regions of the Sudan.

Based on productivity they are divided into:

Milk producing cattle (Kinana - Buttana)
Meat producing cattle (Sanga and Nilotic)
Nilotic cattle breed include: Dinka and Shuluk cattle, Buttana cattle, Kinnana cattle, Baggara cattle, Beja cattle, Ingassena cattle, Tabossa cattle including Mureli and Tabossa, and the Nuba cattle.


Sheep: Two distinct types of sheep are found in Sudan: The first type is the slim tailed sheep, including the sheep of Northern Sudan, West Africa sheep and Southern Sudan sheep.

Northern Sudan sheep: including the desert sheep, found in the Nile Basin up to the Ethiopian borders in the east and Jebel Marra on the western borders of the Sudan.

Gezira and Buttana sheep: also called the Al-Abraq, Al-Gezira and Al-Dabass.

Wanteesh sheep: Living in the clay soil areas up to the White Nile to the west and south of Al-Gezira until the Tonj area of Upper Nile.

Al-Kabashi sheep: in Northern Kordofan, is one of the most important desert sheep in terms of number and contribution to export and domestic consumption.

Al-Meidoub sheep: in Northern Darfur.

Beja sheep: in Eastern Sudan.



Four types of goats are found in Sudan: the Nuba goats, the desert goats, the Nubian (Nilotic) goats and the Hill goats (Al-Tagar).


It is the main food source in the desert and semi-desert areas where camel's herders depend on its milk. Sudan in terms of number of camels ranks number two globally and number one in Africa and Arab region. Camels are categorized into:


Pack camels: represents (90%) of the total number and spread over wide areas in the desert and semi desert areas and includes:

a) Al-Rashiydi, spreading in the Red Sea region.
b) Arab camel, spreading over large areas in the country, especially east of the Nile, including the Light and the Large.
c) Al-Arabawai, spreading in Darfur up to the Libyan borders.

Riding camels, includes:

a) Al-Shukri and al-Juhani: spread in the region of Kassala, it is a racing camel and usually exported to Arab countries.
b) Al-Bishari: it is the best riding camel and spreading in the westem states.

Production patterns:

Divided into two patterns; traditional and modern:

The traditional pattern: Pastoral Nomadic, Pastoral shifting, pastoral semi sedentary, and pastoral sedentary.

The modern pattern: family intensively integrated in subsistence and cash production, basic infra-structure and supportive services.

Animal health services:

In regard to the animal health and epidemic control, the Ministry of Animal Resources relies on the plans of the International Epizootic Office to develop a strategy of a country free from epidemics depending on strengthening of the basic infra-structure.

In the field of animal health, the Sudan has been divided into four veterinary health belts; each belt is dealing with control and eradication of epidemics.

Veterinary quarantines:

The Veterinary Quarantines include the quarantines of Port Sudan, Al-Kadro, Wadi Halafa and Al-Rahad with a capacity of 223,000 head of goats and sheep and 12,000 of cattle and camels. Effort is maximized to expand the export capacity through the opening of new quarantines in Malit, Kutum, Dongla, Hamarat al-Wizz, al-Ebaidiya, al-Gadrif, and inspection stations at Argin, Um-Rawaba, al-Khewyi on top of the existing inspection points.

Slaughter houses:

They are seven slaughter houses in Omdurman, Ghanawa, Nyala, Red Sea, Al-Sabloaqa and Gemico, with a total capacity of 610 tonnes of sheep and 70 tonnes of cattle per day.

Production ot vaccines, serums and antigens:


The Animal Resources Research Corporation gives a maximum concern to field surveys on animal resources, disease diagnosis, assessment of the degree of immunity against epidemics with due care to export disease and those diseases communicated across the borders. It is also concerned with quantitative and qualitative vaccine production. As a result of research development and introduction of new technologies by using the system of fermenters leading to multiplicity of vaccine production for blood poisoning and other animal diseases. The Public Corporation for Veterinary Supplies as well as the private sector undertakes the provision of drugs and veterinary equipment.

Animal production services:

In line with the policy of increasing milk production and decreasing of imports, the Ministry of Animal Resources has exerted extensive efforts to upgrade the genetic make-up of milk producing cattle through the expansion of artificial insemination by opening of insemination centers in each of the following states; Khartoum, Al-Gezira, North Kordofan, River Nile and Northern State. Foreign pure cattle breed (Frisian Gerass) and new goat breeds (al-Saanin) were introduced with the aim of achieving milk self-sufficiency. New centers for improving goat breeds were opened at Khartoum and River Nile States as well as the introduction of animal in the agricultural cycle in irrigated schemes and to make use of the agricultural and industrial by-products to produce fodder. The private sector was also encouraged to produce commercial chicks such as (Coral and Al-Gaith companies) to boost poultry industry in the country.

Veterinary Instruction:

It is an important tool to make a quantitative and qualitative shift in the animal resources sector. It acts as a link between the producer and the research centres through the application of scientific research by the beneficiary sectors. It also provides a feedback to develop and orient scientific research to resolve priority field problems.

The veterinary extension plays an effective role in this respect through the establishment of instruction offices at the states and the training of workers as well as creating a mechanism for linking research with the instruction through the provision of specialists and information materials.

The Infrastructures:

Disease-free Zones:

The Disease-free Zone was established in 1972 as to realize the following objectives:
1) Controlling and eradicating of animal epidemics, animal diseases and common diseases.
2) Breaking the epidemic state, resulting Mom the condition inaabiGty and insecurity in the country.
3) Increasing the quantity and quality of animal resources export.
4) Continuing export throughout the year and opening of new markets.

The current boundaries of the free-zone extend from the Red Sea Coast parallel to the railway line which links Khartoum - Atbara - Haiya - Port Sudan.

The zone was designed to ensure that exit of livestock and meat exports. It contains:
1) Veterinary quarantines in Al-Kadro - Halfa - Port Sudan.
2) Establishment of Al-Kadro Slaughter House for export.
3) Veterinary check points along the area east and west of the Nile to monitor the movement of the livestock in abidance with the law of the disease-free-zone.

Commercial livestock routes: There are commercial routes for livestock from the areas of production in east and west Sudan to central Sudan where the consumption and export markets. Veterinary services are provided to livestock producers.




Nile Fisheries:


The Sudan enjoys a large stock of fish resources in the River Nile and its tributaries, dams' lakes, and the Red Sea. Fish breeding is also possible in the non-riverian ponds and water canals of the big agricultural schemes.

Marine Fisheries:

The Sudan has a sea coast of 720 km and entire economic region of 91,600 km. It contains all sorts of marine fishes.

In Port Sudan there are the headquarters of Fisheries, Fishery Research Station, small fish factory, a big central market, cooled warehouses and a workshop for the construction of boats. In Suakin there are the Fishes offices, ice factory and a workshop for boats' construction. Mohamed Gole town is famous for the production of fish, shelves and snails, while in the Dongan Bay there are farms for shelves managed by the people and the Fishery staff in addition to the office of the Fisher and Fish Research station.

Fresh-water Fisheries:


There are fisheries at the Nuba Lake, Fisheries Administration office, a research unit and a very good infrastructure for the fish industry including a 40-tonnes cooled warehouse as well as an ice factory. This infrastructure belongs to the Tirhaga Company as well as the other cooled warehouse owned by Al-Shamal company.

There are also the White Nile Fisheries which extends from Jebel Awliya in the north to El-Renk in the south. It has its headquarters in Kosti where the offices of the research station and all other requirements of fisheries. There is also an ice factory in rabak and fishery offices at Jeblain - El-Duem - Al-Manjara, beside other offices belong to Upper Nile state in El-Gaiger, El-Renk and Wad - Dakona. The area enjoys a good road network and the riverian port of Kosti.

A very good stock of fish is found im Sinar Dam Lake; the area of the Rosaries dam, Jebel Awliya dam and along the River Nile and its tributaries.

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