Animal Resources in Sudan

Thu, 28 Sep 2017


This research focuses on the study and analysis of animal resources in Sudan in terms of the animals' types, numbers, their products and their role in the Sudanese economy. In addition, the study casts light on the grazing patterns, problems and obstacles facing animal resources and suggests solutions to these problems.  A quantitative and qualitative methodology was followed in the study. The data were collected from official statistics and secondary sources. The coefficient of variation and measures of central tendency were used in analyzing the data. The findings of the study show that Sudan has enormous animal resources amounting to  one hundred and five million heads. The resources include sheep, cows, goats and camels scattering in all the states of the Sudan at different percentages. About 50% of the livestock, which represents an important source of food, is in the states of Kordofan, Darfur and Kassala. The study also found that the livestock is a major source of hard currency, and it contributes to the GDP and a growth rate by (18-25%). The animal resources in the Sudan depend on natural pasture as a main source of fodder and agriculture residues as a subsidiary source. The grazing pattern of livestock follows pastoral nomadic and semi nomadic systems, as well as settle system in irrigated areas.
The Livestock suffers several problems including geographical marginalization of pastoralists, environmental and political marginalization of livestock. These problems coupled with improper distribution of water resources, seasonality of good pastures, and communal ownership of pasture which associated with the tragedy of the commons. To address these problems,  the study recommends an existence of administrative system as a necessity  to ensure the integration of the agricultural  and  livestock sectors, and the amalgamation of the animal in the agricultural rotation, the conservation and  maintenance of pastures, the provision of fodders  and scattering of improved seeds to improve pasture productivity, and the expansion of veterinary services. The study also recommends providing correct information and precise statistics on the animal and animal products in order to develop and promote the livestock in Sudan.
• Introduction
• Types of animals in Sudan
• Livestock distribution in the States of Sudan
• Patterns of Livestock breeding in Sudan
• Animal products in Sudan:
• The role of livestock in the economy
• Problems and obstacles facing the livestock sector
• References

Sudan as shown in Figure 1 is located between longitudes 380 35' 29''-210 48' 58'' E and latitudes 36َ 38َ 8ْ -34ً 8َ 23ْ-  N with an area of 1882000 km2 (Sudan, Surveying Authority 2015). It has different climatic and vegetation zones. A desert and semi-desert climate in Northern and poor savannah climate in the south-western of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.  The mountainous regions have a special climate, particularly Jebel Marra, where the prevailing climate is similar to the climate of the Mediterranean Sea. Rains of Sudan come in summer. Rains begin in late June until mid-October except   the Red Sea Coast where rains come in winter (ELtom, 1975).
This variety in climate enables Sudan to have different livestock types comprising: cows, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys and horses (Mohamed 2008).  According to the estimations of the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries for the year 2014, the numbers of livestock was about one hundred and five million and eighty-six thousand head (10586000 heads) as shown in table 1. Sudan is free of endemic diseases, an advantage in the export of livestock and livestock products. However, after the separation of the south in 2011, livestock numbers have fallen; nevertheless, it remains within 105 million head, which is a large and considerable number.
The cattle and sheep of the best meat are used for domestic consumption and export, and the goats are for local consumption. Most of these animals are breeding under the umbrella of the traditional pastoral system, which is characterized by low production, inability to benefits from available resources, and dependence on the natural pastures. Hence, the current research focuses on livestock in Sudan in terms of: the types of animals, numbers, animal products, and their role in the Sudanese economy. The research also highlights the grazing patterns prevailing in Sudan, the problems and obstacles facing livestock and proposes solutions to those problems. The research depends on the statistical information collected from official and secondary sources. The researcher adopted quantitative and qualitative methodology and the coefficient of variation and measures of central tendency to analyze the data and information.

                                                                 Map (1): Vegetation regions in Sudan
                           Source: The work of a researcher based on the Maps of Sudan Surveying Authority 2015
Types of animals in Sudan

Livestock has many types including:

Several types of sheep are found in Sudan such as: Elhamri, Elkabashi, Butana, Elgazeira, Elbeja sheep, Nile sheep and hybrid sheep. Based on the estimations of the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries for the year 2014, the numbers of sheep was about thirty-nine million eight hundred and forty-six thousand head (39.846 million heads).  The export and domestic consumption depends on these types of sheep which accounted for 80% of sheep in Sudan. The most breeding areas of sheep are Ghuybaish, Elkhuwie, North Kordofan, White Nile, and Darfur, (Abusalih 2005).
Second: Cattle:
Studies show that the cattle breeds in Sudan owe their origin to the Central Asia and crossed to Sudan through the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, which include cows (Baggara, Kenana, the Beja, Butana, Nubia, and Inqasna). The number of these animals has been fluctuating between increases and decreases as shown (Table 1 and Figure 1). Based on the statistics of the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries for the year 2014, the numbers of cattle was about thirty million, one hundred and ninety-one thousand (30.191 million head), Kenana   cattle spreads in Kosti area, Sennar, Sinja, and Roseires, while Butana cattle spreads in Butana area between the river Nile and Atbara, which includes the area of Gedaref, Kassala, River Nile, Northern State and Red Sea area (Abdullah, 2006). The Baggara cattle are deployed in Darfur and Kordofan, especially in the area between latitudes 140-150 N and are highly migratory cattle in search of water and pasture. They migrate south to Bahr- Alarab in southern Sudan (Abdel-Rahman, 2005).
Third: camels
Camels of one humped type entered Sudan from Southwest Asia. These camels have large sizes and are used for carrying heavy loads (Elshami 2000). Another type of camels is used for riding and is characterized by light weight and fast movement. Camels spread in all Sudan, northern latitude 130N in arid and semi-environments and feed on grass and trees (Balila 2012). The prevailing types in Sudan are: Elshukri, Elhamri, Elkabashi, Arashaida, and Elsahili. These names refer to the tribes that breed such camel or to the region in which they live (Ahmed 2007). The number of camels has been constantly increasing. In 1991, the number of Sudanese camels was estimated at two million and seven hundred thousand (2.7 million head), while in the year 1998 were increased to three million, one hundred thousand (3.1 million head) (League of Arab States, 2000). Despite the fact that these figures match with the estimation of  Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries for the year 2014, however, the difference is not statistically significant. As shown in Table 1, the total number of Sudanese camels in the year 2014 was approximately four million seven hundred ninety-two thousand (4.792 million head) (Ministry of Animal Resources and fisheries 2014), representing 21.3% of Africa's camels and about 25.7% of the Arabian camel (League of Arab States, 2000).
Fourth: Goats:
Goats includes several kinds: Nubian goats and represents 50%  out of the total  goats in Sudan and desert goats, which are raised in the traditional pastoral sector  in dry and semi-dry areas  north of latitude 120N and represents 17% of the total number of goats in Sudan (Rahman, 2005). The goat's numbers have increased continuously. Based on the estimations of the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries for the year 2014, the number of goats was one million and thirty nine thousand head as shown in table 1 and Figure 1.
                                                                                                              Table 1: Estimated Number of livestock (000) head for the  period 1991-2014






























































































































































































                                                                                                                                 Source: Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries 2015

Livestock distribution in the States of Sudan:

All states of Sudan have livestock especially sheep, cattle, camels, goats, but their numbers vary from one state to another (Appendix 1). Simultaneously, the degree of intensity of the animals varies from one state to another, as illustrated in maps (2-5).
 According to map (2) the state of North Kordofan, where 18.44% of the total sheep found in Sudan are raised, is a top state in the breeding of sheep, followed by the states of North Darfur, Blue Nile, and Southern Kordofan, respectively. The states of the Red Sea and Khartoum, only 1.06% and 1.13% of the total sheep are found respectively, have the lowest interest in raising sheep. This is probably due to the unfavorable climate of the Red sea area for breeding sheep, while the high cost of rearing sheep in the state of Khartoum.
 The cattle-breeding is heavily concentrated in the state of South Kordofan, which include most of the Baggara areas and it has 25.13% of the cattle in Sudan, followed by the White Nile State (11.85%), the state of the Elgazeira ( 8.41%), the state of South Darfur (7.87%), the state of West Darfur (7.65%), and the Blue Nile State (6.83%). The numbers of cows decreased significantly in the states of the River Nile and Khartoum, where about 0.34% and 0.82% of the cows are found respectively. This is due to lack of natural pastures needed for breeding cows. The existing ones are breeding in the modern farms, and different irrigated areas and this represent  flexibility in the processes of selling and buying as well as a source of milk and milk products.
           Map 4 reflects the presence of camels in the state of North Kordofan, where climatic conditions are favorable for camel breeding. In this state, 26.23% of the total camel in Sudan are found, followed by the states of Kassala, North Darfur, and South Kordofan with percentages of 14.59%, 12.51% and 11.23% respectively. Meanwhile in the states of Khartoum and Blue Nile, camels are found in a very low percentage (0.14%) in the state of Khartoum, and 0.30% in Blue Nile state. Camels are also found in a very low percentage in the states of White Nile and North.
In terms of importance, goats come in the fourth place in the livestock sector in Sudan, after the sheep, cows and camels. About 40% of the goats concentrated in the states of North Kordofan, South Kordofan, North Darfur and White Nile. Goats are found in other states of the Sudan with close and similar percentages as shown in map 5. Few numbers of goats (1.48%)  are found in the Blue Nile state. The presence of goats in all parts of Sudan reflects the ability of the Sudanese goats to cope with different climatic conditions.
Patterns of Livestock breeding in Sudan

More than 90% of the livestock in Sudan are breeding in the traditional pastoral sector depending on natural pasture (Ahmed 2013). This natural pasture represents more than 58% of the country's total area (Ahmed and Tayeb 2007). The pasture basically depends on natural vegetation and crops residues after harvesting season as a complementary source. These breeding

patterns can be classified as follows:

1.    pastoral system of nomadic tribes:
    Under the pastoral system of nomadic tribes, breeders and their animals move from one location to another during the year in search of water and pasture. In western Sudan, and with the onset of the rainy season, the  Baggara tribes move northward to Elkhuwie, Ennuhud and Barra  areas in North and West Kordofan, while in the summer they move  northward to Bahr Alarab area. This situation is applicable to camel and sheep herders in their seasonal movement in different areas of Sudan searching for water and better pasture.
2.    Pastoral system of semi-nomadic tribes:
 This type of pastoral system essentially exists in the areas lies between latitudes 100-140 N where the rainfall ranging between 300 - 800mm a year. The cattle are the main raised animal in this system besides, sheep and goats (Mohammed, 2007).
3.    Other pastoral patterns:
Other pastoral patterns include the traditional system of rural villages and pastoral system in irrigated areas like Algazeira scheme, as well as modern livestock farms which take into account the veterinary services as in some rural areas of the state of Khartoum.
Animal products in Sudan:
     Animal product of various types is one of the most attractive areas for domestic and foreign investments, because of large numbers of cattle, sheep, goats and camels. The Baggara cattle are the most important animals for the production of meat and represent the bulk of the cattle in the famous cattle markets in Sudan, such as Nyala, El Deium, El Fasher, Kosti markets and Elmoelh west of Omdurman (Muhammad, 2007). The productivity features, and rates of production of the livestock sector varies according to animal's types and breeding patterns. The livestock sector contributes to satisfy the needs of the Sudan from milk and meats as shown in table (2)

Livestock and animal products as a source of food:

      Livestock play a prominent role in providing food for the Sudanese, and it is a source for subsistence for a considerable segment of the population of Sudan. It also meets human needs and it represents the bulk of the production especially for the nomadic tribes.  It also contributes to improving the standard of living of individuals and ensures their food security.  The Statistics of the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries (2007) for the period between the years 2000-2007 indicated that the growth rate in meat and milk production was (1.95%) and (12%) respectively. However, during the period 2000 - 2005 the consumption of meat increased by 38%.
The most important animal products in Sudan:
First: Dairy:
Despite the presence of large numbers of livestock, the production of dairy in Sudan is not enough for domestic consumption. Therefore, Sudan imports about forty three thousand tons (43,000 tons) of different dairy products at a cost of $ 212 million ( Big quantities of milk are produced in the nomadic herders' areas, especially in the rainy season but are difficult to access and benefit from them. The Statistics of the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries (2014) indicated that dairy production has been steady increasing since 1991, when the production was 2402 thousand tons and it has reached its peak in 2007, when the production was 7534 thousand tons and began to fluctuate again until it reached 4359 thousand tons in the year 2013 as shown in table 2.
Second: Meat:
The livestock provides meat for all Sudanese and it satisfied the population need by 100% (Ahmed Tayeb, 2007). Meat production has been in a steady increase during the years 1991 – 2013 as shown in Table 2. Meat production reached its peak in 2010, with total production of 1.859 million tons (Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries, 2014). This increment is due to the availability of livestock and population growth.
Third: hides and Skins:
Leathers production is closely linked to the production of meat and the number of animals slaughtered. The production of hides and skins has continuously been increasing since 1991, when the production of leathers was 22900 tons, reached 53,500 tons in the year 2013, and reached its peak in the year 2010, when the production was 77600 tons. This increment was in accordance with meat production in the same year, as shown in table 2 (Ministry of Animal Resources and fisheries, 2014).
The role of livestock in the economy:
The livestock sector has an effective contribution to the Sudanese economy. It contributes to gross domestic product by 18-25%. However, its contribution to GDP began to decrease from 22% and gross rate of 5.6% in the year 2000 to 19.3%, with a growth rate of 0.1% in 2005. This  perhaps due to security situation in Darfur, where  more than 20% of the livestock are found, and the great  drop in return of  oil in that period.  Nevertheless, the livestock provides meat for  local consumption as shown in Table 3. There is also a surplus of four hundred thirty-nine thousand (43,930) tons of meat available for export in the year 2013, but what was actually released for export was six thousand nine hundred (6,900) tons of meat, representing 1.6% of the total meat available for export. This small percentage reflects the weakness in meat exports as a result of the problems related to the economy, marketing and the weakness of the livestock sector structures in general, (Central Bureau of Statistics 2014).
The data of the Central Bureau of Statistics for the year 2014 (Table 4), indicated that there was a considerable exported amount of hides and skins, especially leathers of goats, with a total number of 4,744,347 pieces, followed by the hides and skins of cows which was estimated at 3,534,044 pieces, and then the skins of sheep, which was estimated at 3,025,085 pieces in the year 2013.  The availability and abundance of goat skins compared to the skins of other animals was due to the fact that most of the goats' meat consumed locally. In addition, the low prices of these animals compared to the meat of sheep and cows has led to an increment in the number of slaughtered goats and then skins available for export.
The Statistical data as shown in table (5) for exports of meat also indicates the fluctuation and few amount of exported meat compared with the available meat for the export.  The actual exported meat in the year 2013 accounts for about 30% of the total meat available for export, which reflects the weakness in the export processes. This was perhaps due to the lack of resources of the state or exporters or credit available for export, as this sector is suffering from measures related to export and other logistical procedures, particularly meat exports susceptible to damage unless it handles with care.
    Livestock and livestock products and exports have played an important role, representing approximately 16.3% in 2007, 17.1% in 2008 , 16.9% in 2009 and 17% in 2010, of total GDP. The sheep exports comes at the forefront of live exports, followed by camels  . Sudan has exported three million seven hundred and fifty-seven thousand three hundred sixty-three (3757363) of sheep, followed by the export of camels, goats and cattle in less amount. Sheep exports have significantly been increasing since 2011, especially during the years 2012 and 2015 (Table 6). This is most probably due to the separation of the south Sudan from the Sudanese states, which makes Sudan depending on livestock export in order to obtain hard currency and to compensate for the confiscated oil.
Problems and obstacles facing the livestock sector:
The livestock sector in Sudan is facing many problems in spite of its economic and social role.

These problems can be summarized as follows:
1. Geographical marginalization of the pastoralists:
Geographical marginalization of pastoralists means the decrease in space available for livestock sector for grazing and movement. As the movement of livestock today depends on the specified animal's routes, especially in the rainy season, during agriculture period and harvesting time. Many agricultural projects has been established in central Sudan since the thirties of the last century for example, the Gazeria project in the area of more than two million acres, and sugar projects like Kenana, Assalaya, Junaid, West Sennar, White Nile and Elsuki agricultural project in a considerable area.  Thus, the pastoral land has been changed to agricultural land, particularly in the mechanized farming areas in Eastern Sudan and South Kordofan. These lands used to be grazing area and inhabitants for various types of domestics and wild animals.
The animals were not incorporated into the agricultural rotation, which means lack of institutional coordination between various agricultural and pastoral sectors; therefore, narrowness and seasonality of pasture coupled with the decrease of forage created a genetic situation which resulted in weakness and inefficiency of food digestive processes that affect the animal production of meat and milk. This is evident when comparing the weight of twenty-month calves which weigh two hundred and fifty (250 kg) with those in Europe, which weigh a thousand kg (Syed 1997). Scarcity of grazing also affects the average age of cows at first reproduction as in the Europe it would be of twenty-seven (27) months while it would be of forty-four (44) months of the Sudanese cows (Syed 1997).
2. Ecological marginalization:
 Livestock sector is suffering from ecological marginalization - a decrease of land’s ability to produce-, which negatively affects the available natural fodder for livestock and leads to a decrease in the pasture carrying capacity; though this has not sufficiently been studied in all Sudan. This has led to overgrazing, soil erosion, desertification and desert creep. This is further aggravated by spread of fires in some pastoralists areas, according to estimations of Animal Pasture Department of the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries, the amount of feed that damage and lost every year due to fires is about seventy-five million tons. The firing of pasture closely linked to the concept of "Tragedy of the Commons". Therefore, the pastoralist  feel that they are not linked  to a certain land and pasture, making them indifferent to what is happening to pasture in the future and focus on the current use of the pasture regardless of the results. As a result, the density vegetation decreased the types of many palatable grasses with high nutritional value for animals such as Aristida funiculate and Schoene feldlagracilis replaced by unpalatable grasses with low nutritional value, such as Sorghum arundinaceum and Tribulus pentrandus (Elfaig et. al., 2013).
3. Political marginalization of the livestock sector:
The political marginalization of the livestock sector means failure, or the inability of the state, official and government agencies to deliver basic services to the livestock sector. Simultaneously, the unions of pastoralist and their associations are unable to influence in decision-making processes for the benefit of the livestock sector, especially aspects relating to the provision of feed and veterinary services. Therefore, animals are often exposed to risk of infected diseases such as rinderpest, foot and mouth disease, and the disease Oboguenit. There are also some diseases that infect sheep and camels which lead to high mortality rate among animals and reduce their productivity, but it is difficult to estimate the mortality rate due to diseases because of the lack of accurate statistical information on animals' mortality. It is worth mentioning that the means of transport and veterinary services for combating diseases are not commensurate with the size of livestock. The veterinary services in Sudan are limited and its effectiveness is low, the number of veterinarians in Sudan is about 8020 which is considered a small number compared with the number of animals estimated at about one hundred and fifty million head in Sudan.  So, the number of animals per veterinarian is thirteen head, but it should be noted that the veterinary services play a significant role in vaccinating herds in the different regions of Sudan.
4. Communal ownership of pasture:
      The pasture ownership and use of pasture is based on the communal use and ownership which means the difficulty of conserving and maintaining the pasture, and lead to what is known as the tragedy of the commons. This system encourages pastoralist and animals' owner to increase their herds. In the traditional pastoral sector , a  rational and wise pastoralist is the one who adds a new head-to-herds successively without any new economic cost in relation to pasture, regardless to pasture carrying capacity or ability to germinate has led to degradation and desertification of large tracts of grassland. Despite of these the livestock numbers increased to hundred and five million head in the year 2014. These figures are of great importance because it is issued by official authorities in the field of livestock. The communal system of pasture ownership and use aligned substantially with the traditional pattern of livestock breeding in Sudan, which encourages the expansion of unplanned production, leading to many natural and environmental problems, creates a conflict over resources and between the individuals of different interests (Muhammad, 2007).
5. Maldistribution of water resources:
Sudan has enormous water resources represented in water of rains, the River Nile and its tributaries, seasonal waters courses (khors) and groundwater. The livestock that spread near the rivers do not suffer from a shortage of drinking water, but most of the cattle that are found in western Sudan in Kordofan and Darfur which account for 63% of the total cattle in Sudan suffer from shortage of drinking water, especially in summer. This leads to the concentration of animals near permanent water sources, especially around groundwater. The situation even become worse because the distribution and places of drilled wells are politically motivated especially in the seventies (livestock routes) which led to the concentration of animals in a certain zones and exceeding the carrying capacity of that zones as a result of overgrazing around the water area (Saied 1997). As a consequence the pastures have exposed to strong pressure and overgrazing and pastoralists are forced to move and cross long distances in searching for pasture. Therefore,  the productive capacity of these animals is reduced  and the mortality rate is increased, especially for large  and old animals (Saeeid, 1997). The continuous movement of livestock and the nomadic life make the process of prevention against diseases and use of modern methods of breeding and feeding for animals is extremely difficult.
6. Seasonality of good pasture:
It is known that the  rains of Sudan are summer rains fall between late June to mid-October, which means that the high palatable and nutritional plants and grasses  are available in this period. Most of Sudan's lands are located in arid and semiarid land of the Sahelian Zone like other African countries which suffers from lack and fluctuation of rainfall. The analysis of rainfall data indicates that the coefficient of variation for the period 1970-2014 was 0.38 for El Fasher, 0.34 for Ennuhud, 0.30 for Elobied and 0.30 for Edueium area. These areas represent the most important areas of livestock in Sudan where majority of livestock are concentrated, leading to deterioration and reduction in pasture area (Balila 2012). The seasonality of good pasture is forcing many pastoralists and livestock owners to purchase concentrated feed and agricultural residues with high prices (Ahmed 2013).
7. Lack of water and pasture in one place:
     Water and pasture are not available in some areas throughout the year which makes the shepherds in continuous movement. This makes the availability of dairy in large quantities, which is necessary for the establishment of dairy plants in that specific area is impossible. The failure of Babanusa dairy plant is a typical example
8. Difficulties in transporting dairy from production areas to consumption areas:
It is difficult to transport dairy from production areas to consumption areas, especially to the major cities due to the poor infrastructure for keeping and transporting diary.
 Solutions to the problems and obstacles facing the livestock sector:
The livestock sector with its various components and huge numbers associated with several sectors, including the agricultural sector, pastures and veterinary services. It is also linked to domestic production and export sector. In order to solve the problems and obstacles faced the livestock sector, and make it more proactive, the study suggests the following solutions and recommendations:
1. The establishment of an  administrative system that  ensures integration of the agricultural sectors and pastoral sector by integrating the pastoral sector into the  agricultural rotation to take advantage of residues and wastes from agriculture which partly provides feed for livestock and  reduce the phenomenon of geographical marginalization.
2.  Conservation of natural pastures, providing fodder by cultivation of good and high nutritional plants adaptable to the climatic conditions of the Sudan.
3. Providing accurate statistical information relating to livestock health and livestock products in order to make a good livestock planning projects.
4. Expansion in veterinary services for the protection of livestock from diseases in order to reduce the phenomenon of political marginalization of livestock.
5. Opening the fire lines, collection of improved plant seeds and scattering these seeds in various pastoral areas in the rainy season to improve the production of land and  reduce the phenomenon of ecological marginalization.
6. Improving the basic infrastructure related to livestock and quarrying sector and water resources coupled with facilitation and improve efficiency of export processes.
7. Focusing on export of meat instead of exporting live cattle as well as the manufacture of leathers instead of exported crude skins in order to add value to Sudanese economy.
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