PORT SUDAN, SUDAN — Wheat production increased by up to 70% in Sudan through an emergency wheat production project financed by the African Development Bank and executed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The project distributed climate-adapted wheat seeds and fertilizers to over 170,000 smallholder farmers in five states during the 2023-24 agricultural season, covering areas largely located in the relatively stable northern and eastern states of Sudan where conflict has not yet spread, as well as conflict-affected areas such as Gezira and White Nile states.    

The yield of 645,000 tonnes of wheat this year accounted for 22% of the total wheat consumption needs of Sudan.   On average, farmers reported a 44% increase in productivity per hectare as compared to the previous season. Around 16,000 of the farmers who received support had been newly displaced by conflict in the last 13 months.

The project offered support and resources for these farmers to rebuild their livelihoods. In addition, 12 harvester machines were provided to farmers’ associations in River Nile and Northern states to enable them harvest more efficiently to significantly reduce losses.

The African Development Bank provided a total of $75 million to WFP for the implementation of the Sudan Emergency Wheat Production Project over the course of two years.  

“This development comes at a critical time for Sudan, which is facing a looming hunger catastrophe due to the ongoing conflict, that has slowed down production in the past agricultural season,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, the Bank’s director general for Eastern Africa region. “Given the great potential that agriculture offers even under circumstances of active conflict, and with famine in Sudan on the horizon, threatening millions of lives, this project has brought a lot of hope.”

Mary Monyau, the bank’s country manager, said the project was anchored by wheat production initiatives under the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation project implemented from 2018-21.

“We thank our development partner, the World Food Program, for implementing this project and ensuring positive outcomes in at least five states, namely Gezira, Kassala, River Nile, White Nile, and Northern States, despite the active conflict in the country,” she said.

Sudan, which is facing an unprecedented hunger catastrophe, risks becoming the world’s largest hunger crisis. A new WFP analysis has identified 41 hunger hotspots, noting that about 2.1 million people are at high risk of falling into IPC 5 (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) if they do not urgently receive humanitarian assistance.