Sudan could be the bread-basket of the world: lessons unlearned

Editor: Allam Ahmed, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, UK

This book aims to address the question of how Sudan can realises its potential to be the breadbasket of the world and at least feed its own people.  In doing so, the book will critically analyse the potential for the growth of Sudan’s agricultural and animal sectors, what are the lessons unlearned from the failed attempts to develop Sudan as a breadbasket of the world in the 1970s and what are the challenges for realising its potential, so that Sudan can become, if not an agricultural power, at least an exporter of food, and thus cease to rank among the poorest countries in the world. The book puts together, for the first time, original and cutting-edge contributions aimed at illuminating and charting new directions for researching, teaching and understanding of this subject matter.

CALL FOR CHAPTERS
Sudan could be the bread-basket of the world: lessons unlearned
Deadline for Chapter Submission: 15th April 2019

In order to assess the suitability of any submission for any book in the Series, authors are required to submit an abstract (100–150 words maximum) which concisely and clearly outlines the purpose, methodology, findings, contribution, limitation as well as practical implications (if applicable) of the chapter. Please consult the Guidelines for Chapters Preparation before submitting your abstract/chapter.

Manuscripts, in the first instance, should be forwarded no later than 15th April 2019 to Janet Snow (janet.snow@wasd.org.uk).

Aims and scope
  • The key question the book will attempt to answer is: what Sudan should do to realise its potential of feeding its own people and becoming the bread basket of the world! The recent FAO (2015) report on Sudan argues that the potential opportunities of the Sudanese agriculture sector have remained unchanged since 2007. Therefore, this book aims to critically analyse the potential for the growth of Sudan’s agricultural and animal sectors, what are the lessons unlearned from the failed attempts to develop Sudan as a breadbasket of the world in the 1970s and what are the challenges for realising its potential, so that Sudan can become, if not an agricultural power, at least an exporter of food, and thus cease to rank among the poorest countries in the world.
  • The book will also discuss the low productivity of the agricultural sector in Sudan which is mainly driven by low technical efficiency, moreover issues relating to the role of technology transfer in raising productivity will also be discussed in the book.
  • Promotion, marketing and international trade of Sudan’s agricultural products which have been very poor during the last many years due to severe international sanctions led by the US; and many other problems and challenges facing Sudan will be analysed in the book.
  • Another focus of the book will be on the policy implications and sustainability of any massive agricultural investment in Sudan particularly from the oil-rich gulf countries. Many countries such as United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and others have secured and signed several strategic partnership deals with Sudan to grow wheat and other commodities (The Economist, May 23, 2009). Unsustainable investments will have negative impacts on both investor and recipient countries and on all stakeholders involved. Moreover, Sudan has been criticised with giving less attention to maximizing the positive impacts and domestic linkages of attracting foreign investment in terms of improved food security and the impacts of these investments on the rural populations and the crowding in urban areas (European Report on Development, 2009). According to Revenga et al. (2000), the Nile river basin is expected to be a water-scarce region by 2025 and the region has already witnessed tension and conflict among Sudan’s neighbouring countries.
  • Finally, the book aims to explore how Sudan can benefit from its Diaspora (particularly the youth) towards the vision for the future and involve them directly in formulating the objectives and desired outcomes of any agricultural policy, and the best means of achieving them in Sudan. The Sudanese diasporic community is relatively large and has a significant impact on Sudan development on account of the size and volume of financial remittances, however diasporic contribution is largely neglected within national SD policy and agricultural investment in Sudan.

FAO (2015) Country Programming Framework for Sudan, PLAN OF ACTION (2015-2019): Resilient Livelihoods for Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition. Available online, accessed online on 02/09/2017.
European Report on Development (2009)
Revenga, C., J. Brunner, N. Henninger, R. Payne and K. Kassem. 2000. Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems: Freshwater Systems. Washington DC: World Resources Institute.

Background and content

Sudan could be – with its massive untapped land and water potential – the bread basket of the world. Sudan has always been seen as the “largest farm in the world” in the Gezira irrigated Cotton scheme (Mohamed, et al, 2008; Yousif, 1997) and was until recently the biggest producer of Gum Arabic in the world. Sudan was optimistically referred to as an “awakening giant” by the hype merchants of the 1970s, and its vast plains were seen by development experts as a potential “bread-basket” – either for Africa or for the Arab World across the Red Sea (O’Brian, 1981). In 1974 at the World Food Conference held in Rome, Sudan declared that Sudan alone would be able to produce 40% of the world’s food requirements and therefore Sudan will be one of the largest agricultural power in the world. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations considered Sudan (with Canada and Australia) as the future bread basket of the world (The Economist, May 23, 2009). Sudan also have good access to the sea from many neighbouring countries and therefore, Sudan is also being considered as an investment destination for agricultural investment, particularly from oil-rich Arab countries. However, more than 40 years on, the potential of Sudan to be the bread basket of the world has always been overshadowed by the high level of poverty, food insecurity, food imports and Sudan is faced with many developmental problems. It is therefore not surprising that for many people it is becoming very hard to be optimistic about Sudan’s agricultural potential to feed its own people.

Pedagogical Features:
In keeping with the high standards of books that also serve as texts for student and research audiences this text intends to overcome many of the weaknesses that are ascribable to many texts such as being densely conceptual. These weaknesses have often made them unsuitable for class-room usage at both undergraduate and post graduate levels. This text therefore intends to subscribe to the following pedagogical considerations:

  • Consistency in structure content and general flow will be managed by editors working very closely with contributors to ensure.
  • Each chapter contribution will consist of clearly specified aims/learning objectives, properly defined terms and concepts, illustrations that are of real-life/short cases, relevant end of chapter review questions, useful further readings, etc.
  • The edited text will as a consequence have a clearer positioning and be more market oriented in terms of the targeted audience needs.

Mohamed, A. E., Elhag, A. E. and Ahmed, A. (2008) Food Security in Sudan: Policies and Strategies. UN World Food Programme (UNWFP)/Inderscience, Geneva: Switzerland. 158 Pages.
Yousif, G. M. (1997) The Gezira Scheme: The Greatest on Earth, First print. Earth Council: http://www.ecouncil. ac.cr/.
O’Brian, J. (1981) “Sudan: an Arab breadbasket”, MERIP Reports No. 99, pp.22–26.
The Economist, May 23, 2009.