Sudan will need to import 3.5 million tonnes of wheat this year because of a 30 per cent drop in the projected local harvest after farmers switched to planting different crops, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
Some farmers told Reuters the government had failed to buy their wheat on promised terms last year, leaving them reluctant or without the money to plant a new crop.
This year, production of sorghum, a staple in Sudan, and of millet, is expected to recover, helped by favourable rains, the FAO said. Projected wheat imports will, therefore, account for nearly all Sudan's expected cereal import requirements of 3.6 million tonnes, it added.
"This will have a major impact on the food security of millions of Sudanese people, as international prices of wheat continue to increase and the country's national currency weakens," the Agency said in a statement.
In 2022, Sudan imported 2.7 million tonnes of wheat and flour at a cost of $1.06 billion, with Russia, Australia and Romania being the top import origins, according to Central Bank data.
Humanitarian agencies have warned of rising levels of hunger in Sudan, where more than one third of the population faced acute food insecurity last year.
"Communities are facing differing scales of vulnerabilities driven by soaring prices of staple crops, and the combined effects of economic downturn, high inflation, climate-induced hazards and conflict," the FAO statement quoted its Sudan representative, Adam Yao, as saying.
READ: Sudan military will not take part in politics: Army chief