Sudan Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Two out of three Sudanese feed on agriculture and / or livestock. Base crops are dry, millet and wheat. Cotton was the most important export crop for a long time, but since the 1990s, sesame seeds have held that spot. It also grows a lot of peanuts and sugarcane.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Sudan. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

The most commercially important agricultural area is the land tongue al-Gezira (“the island” in Arabic) between the two arms of the Nile just south of Khartoum, with the semi-state Gezira complex of almost one million hectares. Cotton was grown here with modern irrigation already in the 1920s for British textile factories. In 2010, Egyptian companies were given the right to grow a variety of crops of 420,000 hectares in al-Gezira. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, China and others have also signed agreements to cultivate agricultural land in Sudan.

In several parts of central and eastern Sudan, clay deposits from the rivers have created cultivated land, especially along the Blue Nile. In the desert in the north, Nile’s beaches are the only cultivable areas. Only one third of Sudan’s surface can be grown or used for grazing. Artificial irrigation is lacking in large parts of the country, where the dependence on rain risks the drought and the growth. During the 20th century, Sudan was hit by starvation on several occasions. Even after the turn of the millennium, food shortages have occurred in several places, especially in the conflict-affected Darfur in the west. For Sudan defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.

A 1959 agreement regulates how Nile water is distributed between Sudan and Egypt. However, as early as the 1970s, Sudan utilized its entire quota. In 1978, Sudan and Egypt began to build the 36-mile Jonglei Canal to speed up the White Nile’s run through the Suds, where more than half of the river water evaporates. However, environmental problems, protests from residents around the swamp and sabotage during the run-up to the war that broke out in 1983 meant that the building had to be canceled.

About a tenth of Sudan’s population is nomadic breeders of livestock, mainly camels, goats, sheep and cows. Live animals and meat are sold to Arab countries. According to ancient custom, Arab cattle nomads from the north of the border with the present South Sudan have had the right to drive their animals south during the dry season, into the pastures of the Dinka people. It is uncertain how, in the longer term, South Sudan is positioned to let this custom live on.

There are only small forest areas in Sudan and forestry is insignificant. The forest is mainly used for firewood. In dry areas of Kurdufan and Darfur, acacia trees are planted which secrete rubber arabic, which is an important ingredient in soft drinks and sweets.

In the Nile and its tributaries, house-based fishing is of great importance to the local population.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

31.5 percent (2018)



Battalion to Yemen

Sudan sends ground soldiers to Yemen, where they will be part of the Sunni alliance led by Saudi Arabia, which supports the country’s government in its fight against Shiite Muslim insurgency militia.

National dialogue begins

President al-Bashir is holding a conference with a number of small parties and rebel groups within the framework of the national dialogue he announced in 2014, but which has never started in earnest. Among the issues discussed are the country’s economic problems and the uprisings in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kurdufan. The largest opposition parties refrain from participating.


Al-Bashir is forced to flee from South Africa

In connection with an AU meeting in Johannesburg, a South African court bans al-Bashir from leaving the country. The foreign association depends on the ICC court’s arrest warrant for the president (see Political system). However, Al-Bashir manages to fly home to Sudan, just hours before the Pretoria court issues a warrant for him.

Regional free trade agreement is concluded

Sudan is among the 26 countries that have agreed on a new free trade agreement, called the Tripartite Free Trade Area. It covers most of Africa, from Egypt in the north to South Africa in the south. However, before the agreement can enter into force, negotiations are required and the agreement is approved by the national parliaments.

New NCP government is formed

When President al-Bashir forms a new government after the election victory, the defense minister may leave his post and be appointed governor of the state of Khartoum instead.


The border to the south is closed

The rebel group JEM goes on offensive in southern Darfur, where the government side fighter bombs the region. The government closes the border with South Sudan.

The regime wins the election

As expected, al-Bashir is declared a winner in the presidential election, this time with 94 percent of the vote. NCP wins 323 of the 426 seats in parliament. Several other countries have criticized the Sudanese government, saying that the low turnout is due to restrictions on political rights and freedoms.

General elections are conducted

April 13

A three-day presidential, parliamentary and state elections will begin. The election is boycotted by the established opposition parties. The only opposition to governing NCP consists of a handful of relatively new parties that are not considered to deviate from NCP’s political line on any significant issues. In the presidential election, al-Bashir is challenged by 14 relatively unknown candidates for the public. Two of them withdraw with reference to election fraud.

EU criticism before the elections

EU Secretary of State Federica Mogherini says that there is no prerequisite for a credible election result in Sudan due to the lack of genuine national dialogue. The Government of Sudan submits a formal diplomatic protest to the statement.

Opposition leaders are released

Farouk Abu Issa and Amin Makki Madani are released after four months in custody. They were arrested after taking part in forming a broad opposition alliance ahead of the upcoming elections (see December 2014).


Newspapers are confiscated

The security service seizes the printed editions of 13 newspapers. It is described by a journalist organization as the biggest blow to the media in several years. Both faithful and opposition newspapers are affected, and no explanations are given.

The army is charged with rape

The human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses the government army of raping more than 200 women and girls in Darfur in October 2014. It should have happened during an attack on the city of Tabit when the soldiers also allegedly assaulted civilians and plundered, according to HRW. Information about the rape has led to a conflict between the government and the UN / UN force Unamid in Darfur because the authorities admitted Unamid into the heavily military-controlled city only several weeks after the suspected assaults were committed.


The Ummaparti boycott the election

Sudan’s largest opposition party announces that it will boycott the presidential election in April. The Umma Party justifies the boycott because there are no prerequisites for a free and fair election because the government controls the entire state apparatus. The Uma Party requires a broad unity government to govern the country before the elections.

Constitutional changes strengthen the president

The National Assembly votes to change the constitution so that the governors of the states are appointed by the president instead of being previously elected in direct elections. The constitutional changes also mean that the country’s national intelligence service is given increased powers.

Sudan Agriculture and Fishing