Production of agricultural crops in the Sudan

Mon, 25 Sep 2017


Dr.  Muzamil Osman Saeed


    This paper addresses production of the important agricultural crops in the Sudan. In its context, the paper states the impact of the natural diverse environments on the production of different crops along with the more important geographical elements needed for production of these crops. Also, the paper addresses, in details, the main agricultural crops produced in the Sudan such as grains, oils, cotton, sugar cane, legumes, vegetables and fruit. To this end, the material of the study was collected from a set of sources and references which tackled this matter, besides reports and statistics prepared by available institutions, particularly by Sudan Ministry of Agriculture.
    Finally, the study concluded that Sudan possesses numerous geographical elements which may make the country pioneer the production of different agricultural crops. On their part, these agricultural yields may contribute to food security, poverty alleviation, and socio-economic development sustained by agricultural production. However, these elements are represented by the following: Diversity of climate and soils, Availability of water resources from different sources such as the Nile and its tributaries, underground waters and rain waters, Availability of arable areas, Agricultural workforce with wide knowledge of agriculture.
    As well, the study concluded that agricultural sector in the Sudan produces diverse crops but it is faced with a number of problems which negatively impact the acreages of crops and the quantities of crops produced of them. These problems are drought and desertification, poor agricultural financing, usage of poor scientific methods of agriculture, poor markets and reduction of prices of agricultural proceeds in comparison to their cost of production. To boost the production of agricultural crops in the Sudan, the study sets the following recommendations: Provide agricultural financing, Open new abroad markets, Increase technological methods and obtain new species of improved crop seeds, Combat drought and desertification in the vulnerable environments of the Sudan.

•    Introduction
•    Diversity of environments in the Sudan and its impact on production of agricultural crops
•    Yield crops
•    Oil crops
•    Legume crops
•    Fibers, palms and sugar
•    Vegetables
•    Hibiscus and melon
•    Conclusion
•    Sources and references



Agricultural production in the Sudan represents the backbone of Sudanese economy vis-à-vis the other sectors of production. This production has such become a leading one thanks to the methods involved in agricultural development since the 1st World War. In the economic point of view, this status of agricultural production has been connected with important and beneficial transformations while these changes have been hazardous in both social and civic points of view. Unquestionably, agriculture has played a greater part in settlement as it contributed to a considerable high standard of living through production of the main agricultural crops on which, as a food source, Sudanese inhabitants depend. In this respect, diversity of natural environments in the Sudan helps diversify agricultural activity and multiply the cultivated agricultural crops in the different regions of the Sudan, the more important of which are the following:
•    Yield crops such as sorghum, millet and wheat.
•     Oil seeds such as sesame, groundnuts and sunflower.
•    Legume crops such as faba beans, haricot beans, lentils and cowpea.
•    Fiber crops such as cotton and hemp.
•    Other seasonal plants like melon and hibiscus.
•    Trees like Heglig, i.e. desert date and huhuba whose seeds contain oils or fats with economic importance.
•    Crops of vegetables and fruit are grown in the different environments of the Sudan.
Agricultural crops in the Sudan particularly yield and legume crops are regarded as main food crops on which people depend and with which food security is achieved for the country. To this end, it is necessary to boost up the production of these crops insofar as to make it keep up with the annually growing number of population.
However, the possible way to increase this production is to vertically increase the productivity of these crops by choosing appropriate kinds to every natural environment with determining and applying the best technological packages for every crop.  

Diversity of environments in the Sudan and its impact on production of agricultural crops;

In relation to area, Sudan is one of the biggest Arab and African states with 1882000 square kilometers and the arable area is estimated to be about 200 million acres, i.e. third the area of the country, though only precious little of this area is invested, i.e. about 42 million acres ( Al Tom and Abdel Rahman). Helpfully, astronomical and geographical location of the Sudan helps diversify climates as regions of the country range, according to incrementalism of quantities of rain, from a desert one in the north to semi-desert and poor savanna in the middle and up to rich savanna with dense trees in the south. In fact, Sudan possesses large water resources of rain, out of which nearly 1000 billion cubic meters fall yearly, and surface water of the River Nile and its tributaries whose yearly waters reach 74 billion cubic meters. According to the Nile Waters Agreement signed between Sudan and Egypt in 1959, the share of the Sudan out of the latter is 18.5 billion cubic meters. Additionally, there are underground stocks of water contained in the Nubian sandstone rocks and sediments of Umm Ruwaba (Saudi, 1983).
Natural and human elements which impact on the production of agricultural crops in the Sudan are represented by the following:
1.    Diversity of climate: study of climate and learning of the prevailing climate types in the Sudan, along with their ensuing direct and indirect impact, are shown in the natural growth of plants and their deep and wide spreading on earth surface. Here, climate and climatic elements take part in the natural growth of plant and the various types of plant. In fact, Sudan possesses wide agricultural lands that produce a lot of agricultural crops,
given that Sudanese land is enjoyed with a geographical location and conditions that create some levels of diverse climates paradoxically ranging from the humid tropical climate to the dry desert one. On this landscape, the land sectors are changed from a climate to another one and, consequently, this has an impact on the diversity and change and incrementalism of qualities of the natural plant growth which includes all agricultural crops. In this respect, the Sudan is physically, but widely, affected by its tropical location on which the sun perpendicularly passes as it is similarly affected by the changing distribution of the conditions of atmospheric pressure on the areas of land around it. However, the big difference in the condition of this pressure, from season to season, impacts the types of the cultivated crops because every crop has its own particular need which is met by one of the different elements of climate. Luckily, astronomical and geographical location of the Sudan helps diversify the climate and natural environment from a desert climate in the north to semi-desert one in the northern parts of central Sudan, poor and moderate savanna and rich savanna with good rains ranging from 400 to 600 mm. accordingly, this climatic disparities again help diversify the following cultivated crops:
•    Legumes which are grown in the north.
•    Cotton, sorghum, millet, sesame in western and eastern and central Sudan.
•    Prospects of cultivation of tropical fruits such as banana, guava and mango in most parts of Sudan.
•    Cultivation of the Mediterranean fruit such as citruses, grapes and apple in the area of Jebel Marra of the moderate climate (Shami, 2000).
2.    Water resources:
Sudan possesses large water resources such as the following:
a)    The Nile with its perennial and seasonal tributaries and branches. Remarkably, the Nile and its branches pose the main and more outstanding terrain feature in the Sudan where they generally pose a mammoth riverine basin straddling on most area of the Sudan and passing its way through plains thanks to the general downstream slope of Sudanese land from south to north.
The River Nile consists of two main branches: the White Nile which runs down from Equatorial Plateau and the Blue Nile from Ethiopian Plateau. Both branches originate outside the political borders of the Sudan and make their confluence at Khartoum town to form the River Nile whose rich waters and natural components made a foundation for great civilizations which had prevailed and perished along the banks of this Great River. As well, rivers like Atbara, Dindir, Rahad, Subat, Bahr al Arab and Bahr al Ghazal are main tributaries coming from beyond the political borders of the Sudan to feed the Nile, while there are less important streamlets and wadis, most of which are seasonal and some other few ones are perennial yet the amount of their flowing waters are remarkably seasonal. However, most of these streamlets and wadis are found in the eastern and southern areas of the country. In addition to these tributaries and branches of the River Nile, there is a group of big seasonal wadis such as Almilk, Hawar, Mugaddam and Azoum all of which belong to the western part of the Sudan. As to the eastern area of the country, there are khors of Baraka and Algash, both of which pose large seasonal wadis which have great impact on formation of earth surface and production of different crops. It is worth noting that all wadis of the eastern area get their waters from external sources and therefore they are marked with plentiful waters and seasonal flooding. Besides these two big wadis which come in from beyond the borders, the eastern area contains a group of wadis originating on the Red Sea Hills to seasonally flow to the east and west. Yet, all these wadis are of limited importance and impact save khor Arbaat which is nearly perennially flowing. This latter khor, though with limited waters, represents the main source of fresh water for Port Sudan and its vicinities (Ibid.).
In a nutshell, the Nile has early contributed to settlement of big numbers of humans as these human beings used to utilize its waters in agriculture and production of different crops to meet the population need of food. On another hand, the Nile waters play a principal part in irrigating the grand agricultural schemes in Gezira, Suki, Rahad, and New Halfa, besides irrigating pump schemes at the White and Blue Niles and the Nubian Nile in northern Sudan. Moreover, these waters are relied upon for future agricultural development.
b)    Rain waters: Sudan rains are related to an atmospheric phenomenon called inter-tropical convergence zone. According to this phenomenon, rains in the Sudan fall in summer except for the Red Sea coast which is subject to different weather conditions that make the littoral plain receive winter rains. Nevertheless, these weather conditions make summits of the Hills receive rains of dual season, namely winter rains which represent a natural extension for the rains of the littoral plain and summer rains which are not different in nature from the inland rains, because these latter rains are related to the movement of inter-tropical convergence zone which prevails over the Sudan during summer months and absolutely vanishes during winter months. Generally, distribution of rain rates in the Sudan is marked with simplicity and incrementalism. Here, concerning Sudan land, simplicity means the steppe nature of this land besides that the country is devoid of mountain ranges that can obstruct the movement of humid winds except for the state of the Red Sea Hills whose extension from north west to south east poses a natural obstruction before the humid north eastern winds coming from over the Red Sea waters and before the humid south western winds coming from Sudan inland behind the inter-tropical convergence zone. Regarding other mountainous territories, particularly Jebel Marra and Nuba Mountains, their limited extension and their being relatively low are of locally terrain height nearly confined to edges of those mountains. Yet, this mountainous height doesn’t pose an actual hindrance before the movement of humid winds that blow behind the inter-tropical convergence zone while carrying with them water steam needed for feeding summer rains in the Sudan. However, climatic incrementalism which marks Sudan rains occurs as summer rain causing winds cross south western borders of the Sudan. these humid winds actually come from over Guinea Gulf and, also, from over forests and swamps of the Equatorial Plateau to penetrate inside the Sudan from south west to north east (Al Tom and Abdel Rahman).
Rains falling on the Sudan are estimated to be about thousand billion cubic meters in the year. Naturally, depending on these rains is the traditional rain-fed agriculture in western Sudan and mechanized agricultural schemes in Gedarif, Nuba Mountains, Dali, Mazmoum, Dindir, Blue Nile and cultivation of farms in the Central Sudan. Unluckily, in some years, droughts contributed to failure of agriculture. Therefore, the agriculture depending on rains will face hazards and this entails expansion of irrigated sector, diversification of agricultural crops and utilization of agricultural rotations to preserve soil (Shami, 2000).
c)    Underground waters: aquifers spread out in more than 50% of Sudan area while their stock is estimated to be about 15,200 billion cubic meters. This huge stock is found in the Nubian Basin, Umm Ruwaba Basin (North Kordofan) and Baggara Basin in Darfur where geological structure of the Sudan includes a number of aquifer-bearing porous rocks, the more important of which are formations of the Nubian sandstone (northern Sudan) which covers 28% of Sudan area and formations of Umm Ruwaba which cover 20% of Sudan area. However, the annually siphoned underground water is estimated to be about seven billion cubic meters used for different ends such as irrigating cultivated crops and supplying population with drinking water (Saudi, 1983).
d)    Seasonal wadis: in Sudan, there are more than forty seasonal valleys discharging upwards of seven billion cubic meters of water in the year. This discharged water is used in cultivation of seasonal crops and legumes and in watering animals as the case is in Al Gash, Baraka, Al Milk, Mugaddam, Azoum and khor Abu Habil. Nevertheless, the best utilization of waters of these wadis requires expanding water harvesting projects (Ibid.).
2.    Soil: Sudan is marked with diverse soils which are almost appropriate for cultivation of many crops such as yields, soil crops or legumes. Similarly, these soils help produce citruses in Northern Sudan and Jebel Marra. However, the more important soils produced in the Sudan are the following:
A.    Spate soils: they were formed as a result of sedimentations of valleys. These soils are found at banks of the Nile, basins and islands besides khor Abu Habil and deltas of Toker and Al Gash. The soils are fertile with high productivity while they are yearly renewed by floods.
B.    Clay soils: they cover the central and southern Sudan in the Gezira, Gedarif, South Kordofan and the White and Blue Niles. They are of medium fertility while their exploitation entails caring for methods of soil maintenance because the randomly continued cultivation in these slimy soils renders them solid and salinized and reduce their productivity. The clay soil domain is of paramount importance for Sudan population and economy because most of the major schemes of irrigated and rain-fed agriculture are concentrated in this domain which is cultivated with sorghum, cotton, sesame and sugar cane. In fact, all these crops are important for self-sufficiency and for supplying the exchequer with hard currencies thanks to exportation of cash commodities like cotton and oil seeds (Al Hafyan, 1995).
C.    Guz soils: found in North Kordofan, North Darfur and the Butana. These soils had been formed millions of years ago, yet their cultivation entails adoption of suitable methods because they contain high proportions of mineral salts but small proportions of organic substances. Unconstructively, the removal of vegetation by logging and illegal farming and grazing in this domain caused deterioration of the soil, reduction of crop productivity and shrinkage of arable areas owing to desertification and desert creep. To stop deterioration of the soil entails intensive efforts by the state, local inhabitants and organizations concerned with environmental issues (Khojali, 2012). The more important crops cultivated in these soils are sorghum, millet, melon seeds, hibiscus, sesame and, moreover, pastures and acacia trees cover most of this domain (Al Hafyan, 1995).
D.    Local soils: they are concentrated in areas of the Red Sea Hills and Jebel Marra in western Sudan. These soils were formed as a result of air and water sedimentations as the case is in the Red Sea Hills or as a result of volcanic activity in ancient times as is in Jebel Marra of the fertile soil (Saudi, 1983).
E.    Desert soils: they are found in northern Sudan. These soils are poor and contain high proportions of salts. for these soils to be utilized, further efforts must be exerted in the processes of agricultural reformation on both prospective and long runs, given the available underground waters which can be used in irrigating these lands. But exploitation of these soils is narrowly carried out as the case is in the high terrace lands in the Northern State (Ibrahim, 2010).
3.    Provision of expertise: the Sudanese farmer is largely experienced in agricultural operations, because, for him, agriculture is an old occupation which he has practiced for more than 4000 years. So, this agricultural know-how provided the farmer with the required experience to cultivate different crops. For instance, according to the natural environment of the farmer, peasants in central Sudan possess the needed experience for cultivating cotton and sorghum while farmers in the areas of mechanized and traditional rain-fed agricultures possess the needed expertise for cultivating sorghum, sesame, millet, melon, sunflower and short staple cotton (Ibid). likewise, practicing cultivation for long periods provided the farmer with necessary experience for preparing the land, selecting seeds, irrigating and fostering crops, innovating and developing appropriate machineries and methods in order to address the conditions of natural environment and overcome problems that face him, for instance deterioration of soil and its fertility or drought and desertification and desert creep (Khojali, 2012).
4.    Abundant arable areas: in the Sudan, there are more than 200 million arable acres which are appropriate for agricultural expansion. The ownership of these lands are distributed as follows:
•    Lands of free ownership: the more important of these lands are waterwheels in the Northern State and River Nile State. Most of these lands are of small areas because of division of ownership caused by way of inheritance.
•    Lands of cooperative societies: capitals spent on these lands consist of contributions paid by members of these societies in addition to government contributions. Unluckily, the numbers of these societies were reduced on the adoption of privatization and economic liberalization policy since 1992 (Ibrahim, 2010).
•    Agricultural companies: they own comparatively large agricultural schemes whose areas ranging between 1000 – 10000 acres or more than that number. Most of these schemes are found in lands of mechanized rain-fed agriculture.
•    Schemes of agricultural expansion: the state contributed to construction and management of these schemes for increasing agricultural area or for collecting the small land ownerships so as to obtain the advantages of economic processing of the grand units or to realize socio-economic settlement for the population as the case is in Rahad, Gineid, New Halfa or in Subsistence Schemes in the White Nile.
•    Lands of traditional rain-fed agriculture: here, land is owned through commonness and it is exploited according to the need of local inhabitants. As most of such lands are unregistered, the owner individual acquires the land by habitually cultivating it and traditionally inheriting it through generations (Al Hafyan, 1995).
•    Public lands: according to lands law, 1970, all unregistered lands are necessarily owned by the government of the Sudan. Therefore, the government has the disposal right over these lands if public interest entails. Accordingly, most of projects of service, agricultural and urban expansions were built on these lands (Ibid).
5.    Availability of labour: more than 65% of manpower works in agricultural sector and practices farming, grazing, logging and collection of gum Arabic. So, agricultural sector, with its various crops, represents the backbone of the GDP since the contribution of this sector to the GNI had invariably increased from 33.7% in 1992 to 49.8% in 1999. Reversely, due to reduction of the contribution of the mechanized rain-fed sector, the percentage had also invariably dwindled to 33.6% in 2007, i.e. the same way it was in 1992. However, the contribution of irrigated and traditional rain-fed agricultures has almost become invariable. But when the input of all agricultural sector began to decrease during 2003 – 2007, the contributions of this sector began dwindling as follows:
•    the rain-fed sector had largely diminished from 7% to 4.7%
•    the traditional irrigated sector from 11% to 9.9%
•    production of yields in the mechanized rain-fed sector decreased from 2.0% to 0.9%
•    Contribution of agricultural sector to the total income of exportations had severely retreated from 90% in the past to 7% -- 15%.
Depending on agricultural sector to improve the living standard of population and generate hard currencies and annihilate unemployment requires further efforts to attract investments for developing this sector. In so doing, scientific and technological methods should be adopted to horizontally and perpendicularly expand production and productivity, given that primary elements necessary for agricultural boom in the Sudan are accessible (Al Tom and Abdel Rahman, 2010).

Important agricultural crops in the Sudan;

Variety of natural environments in the Sudan helps diversify agricultural types and increase crops cultivated in the different regions of the Sudan, the more important of which are the following:
•    Yield crops: sorghum, millet, wheat, rice, maize.
•    Oil crops: sesame, groundnut, sunflower, soybean, safflower.
•    Seasonal plants: melon, hibiscus.
•    Trees like desert date, i.e. balanites aegyptiaca and huhuba whose seeds contain oils or fats with economic importance.
•    Legume crops: faba bean, haricot bean, lentil and cowpea.
•    Fiber crops: cotton and hemp.
•    Vegetables and fruit crops (Ibid).
In the past, agricultural production had been confined to agricultural food yields. Later, after the 2nd World War, cash crops, particularly cotton, was boosted up besides increasing cultivation of food crops to meet the population need for food, food security and protection against famines.

Yield crops;

The important yield crops cultivated in the Sudan are sorghum, millet and wheat.
1.    Sorghum:
Sorghum belongs to gramineae family and is scientifically known as zea mais. This crop is of American origin and, on the discovery of the New World, Columbus transferred the plant to Europe. Because of its American origin, the crop is often known as Indian corn and, thereafter, it has been largely cultivated in the rest of continents insofar as it has now become the main food for a great number of the world population, particularly in tropical regions in continents of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Sardonically, in North America, most of the crop production is used as food for animals for producing meats and different animal products (Zouka, 1995).

Natural geographical conditions for cultivation of sorghum;

Cultivation of sorghum needs the following natural conditions:

a)    Temperature: in spite of multitude of sorghum types and disparity of the appropriate temperature for any type which can be cultivated even in cold areas, sorghum generally needs high temperature, especially during the period of growth. Hence, if the daily average temperature is 28 °C the plant can rapidly grow. For this reason, sorghum is cultivated in Sudan as a summer crop when temperature gets high and sunlight is available to help ripen the crop. Generally, latitude circle 58° north of equatorial circle represents the upper limit where the domain of sorghum cultivation ends in the northern hemisphere, while latitude circle 45° south of equatorial circle represents the upper limit where the domain of sorghum cultivation ends in the southern hemisphere (Zouka, 1995).
b)    Rains: cultivation of sorghum in the Sudan depends on summer rain waters while its cultivation in the different areas of the Sudan depends on irrigation from rivers. It is cultivated in rainy areas whose rains ranging between 250 mm – 850 mm. however, cultivated areas of sorghum are subject to instability from season to another due to the impact of the amounts and distribution of the falling rains and, similarly, they are affected by drought and desertification and deterioration of soil which negatively impact the acre productivity which ranges in average between 6 – 7 bags of sorghum. In the Sudan, sorghum has numerous kinds, the important of which are locally known as fatarita, qassabi, tilleib and bahana, yet the former two types are more famous and spreading as they endure conditions of drought (Al Khidir, 2007).
c)    Soil: being too sensitive, sorghum cannot be cultivated in salty soils. Yet, this crop is largely cultivated in most of soil types in the Sudan, provided these soils contain high proportion of different food elements whether they are organic or mineral substances. In this regard, fertile soils with good drainage are more appropriate for cultivation of sorghum.
d)    Surface: sorghum crop successfully grows on different levels starting from sea level up to roughly 3000 meters above sea level. Physically, the strong stalk of this plant helps it to grow on such levels, knowing that its length ranges between less than a meter and more than five meters according to the crop type (Zouka, 1995).
e)    Humidity: cultivation of sorghum succeeds under limited amount of rains ranging between 400 mm to 600 mm, with irrigation system that may offer high productivity of seeds while it is also can be produced in humid areas (Al Khidir, 2007). 
f)    Lighting: sorghum is one of short day plants but, according to this factor, there are big differences between the crop types where it is divided into the following three groups:
-    Sensitive types for the long day.
-    Moderate types.
-    Medium types that slowly respond to light period (Ibid).
In fact, sorghum crop in the Sudan is of paramount economic importance as it is introduced in human and animal food, besides the increase of its markets on both global and regional levels. Of late, the importance of the crop has grown as it is utilized in production of biofuel.

Economic importance of sorghum;

Sorghum is one of the more important food crops in the Sudan as the population depends on as a basic nutrition, particularly in rural areas. Notably, areas cultivated with sorghum range between 15 -- 16 million acres in the year while the total production of the crop is between (3.8 – 5) million metric tons. Importantly, the farmer gained more sufficient experience of its cultivation than any other crop. Also, good and improved types of seeds were created to raise the acre productivity (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015). Distinctively, sorghum acquires the first class in relation to the cultivated area in the lands of traditional rain-fed agriculture. At the level of the country, sorghum is considered as one of the more important food yields as it occupies more than 40% of the total cultivated areas. More importantly, sorghum represents the main food for about 65% of the total population, particularly in rural areas. As to the traditional rain-fed sector, the crop poses 26% of the total cultivated areas. But there is instability in the cultivated area as well as in the growth of agricultural production. Likewise, there is remarkable disparity in acreage productivity, for instance in agricultural season, 2003 – 2004, the highest productivity was produced in Sennar State with about 351 kg for the acre while the lowest level of productivity was about 150 kg for the acre in North Kordofan State (Al Tom and Abdel Rahman, 2010). 

Table (1): production of sorghum in the Sudan for the period (1974 – 2005)


Irrigated sector

Rain-fed sector


Area (1000 acres)

Production (1000 tons)

Productivity )kg/acre)

Area (1000 acres)

Production (1000 tons)

Productivity (kg/acre)
















































































































































































































































































































































Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Forests: time sequences for areas, production and productivity of the main crops, 2015.
Cultivation of sorghum in the Sudan is concentrated in the following areas:
-    Traditional rain-fed lands in Kordofan, Darfur, the Butana, Blue Nile and Sennar.
-    Mechanized rain-fed lands in Gedarif, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Sennar State.
-    Areas of irrigated agriculture in Gezira, Rahad, Suki, New Halfa and deltas of Toker and Al Gash.
-    Subsistence Schemes in the White Nile State (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015).
The cultivated area of sorghum was estimated to be about 2.5 million acres in the agricultural season, 2014/2015, when its total production reached 6207000 metric tons, while average acre productivity was estimated to be about 306 kg (Ibid).
Table (2): production of sorghum in the Sudan in thousands of metric tons in both seasons (2013/2014 – 2014/2015)

Source: agricultural statistics management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015.
2.    Millet: millet is the best food crop for most of population of western Sudan (States of Kordofan Darfur). For importance, it comes second to sorghum and it is mainly cultivated in sandy lands, i.e. Guz, which cover northern parts of Kordofan and Darfur. So, as these areas are marginal where annual rates of rains are mostly less than 400 mm, millet becomes the main food crop and thus crops of other grains, like sorghum, cannot endure being cultivated in this dry environment the way the millet does (food security management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). Naturally, cultivation of millet depends on rains with a limited area depending on spate irrigation at Toker district (Saudi, 1983).
Cultivation of millet in the Sudan is concentrated in the following areas:
-    Kordofan and Darfur where it is basically cultivated in guz lands in north and west of Kordofan and a part of north Darfur.
-    Areas of mechanized agriculture in Gedarif, Sennar, Blue Nile and Delenj.
-    It is cultivated in small owned lands in Gezira and Blue Nile. 
-    It is cultivated by flooding in small areas at Toker district.
98% of millet cultivation is carried out in the traditional rain-fed sector but, in the last years, the cultivated area of millet has increased to reach upwards of 7 million feddans in some seasons. Nevertheless, productivity of the crop has remained in a low level and not increased in average to more than 100 kg/feddan. However, the reduction of productivity is attributed to a number of obstacles, which are:
-    Shortage and fluctuation of rains.
-    Poor productivity of cultivated species and types.
-    Suffering from pests and diseases. 
-    Poor agricultural processes.
-    New scientific methods, such as utilization of insecticides and fertilizers, are not used or cared for by the farmer because of the poor agricultural financing and high cost of production (Ibid).

Economic importance of millet crop;

Millet is a main food for people of western Sudan and it is of a high food value. Comparatively, as food stuff, millet outmatches sorghum while its grains encapsulate protein with 12% of the total dry weight, about 70% starches, 45% lipids and 4.3% metals. Yet, regarding production and cultivated area, millet comes second to sorghum. In average, the cultivated area of millet is estimated to be about 5 million feddans in the year, while the total production ranges between 600,000—800000 tons (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015). As shown in table (3) below, production and productivity of millet raised with a change ratio reaching 247% as a result of the augmentation of cultivated and harvested areas and of the high productivity of the feddan from 100 kg/feddan to 158 kg/feddan (Ibid).

Table (3): production of millet in the Sudan for both seasons (2013/2014 – 2014/2015) 

Source: agricultural statistics management, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 2015.
3.    Wheat:
Wheat is one of eldest and more important food grains in the world, besides being more valuable and widely spreading crop. It belongs to Gramineae family. Furthermore, types of wheat became numerous due to its wide spreading, variation of natural conditions in which it grows and the different seasons of its cultivation. Therefore, wheat can be divided into two main bases stated as follows:
a)    On the base of its cultivation season which is again divided into the following:
-    Winter wheat: it is grown at the end of summer and beginning of autumn, and then it remains in the ground all through winter months to get ripened in spring and to be reaped at the end of this month or at the beginning of summer. 
-    Spring wheat: it is planted in severely cold places at the end of winter and beginning of spring and it is harvested at the end of summer and beginning of autumn.
b)    On the base of its natural qualities which are divided into the following:
-    Soft wheat: it is planted in places with torrential rains.
-    Hard wheat: it is planted in places with few rains (Haroun, 2005). 

Natural geographical conditions necessary for cultivation of wheat:
A.    Temperature:
Wheat is a crop of moderate places in which temperatures range between 15—20 °C. Relatively, wheat is marked with longer period of growth and minor temperatures are higher than that of other winter crops, knowing that the minor temperature degree for cultivation of the crop ranges between 2—3 °C. while the optimum one ranges between 12—15 °C. However, in the first stages of growth, wheat needs low temperatures while the temperature of 12—15 °C. is considered as an optimum degree at the stage of sprouting of wheat. As to the late growth stages, the crop increasingly needs high temperatures, for instance 20 °C. is an optimum degree of growth. but temperature higher than 35 °C. at the stage of florescence and creation of grains has negative impact on productivity as this degree of heat renders grains dry before these they become fully grown and, thus, only high amount of feeble grains is produced (Ibid).
B.    Water needs: wheat in the world grows in areas where winter rain rates ranging between 10—70 inches, but about 75% of the cultivated areas of wheat are found in places with annual rains ranging between 15—45 inches (375—1125 mm). Notably, impact of rains on wheat productivity depends mainly on the amounts and distribution of rains during growth season as well as it depends on temperatures. Similarly, wheat can be produced under irrigation system in areas with summer rains as in the Sudan (Al Khidir, 2007).
C.    Humidity: the largest amount of humidity the crop needs is at the stage of elongation of the plant and creation of spikelets. During this period, a greatest amount of the dry stuff gathers while productivity decreases with 45%—50% due to dryness in this period. However, water needs during this period represent from 50% to 60% of the total need for the crop during growth season. But, water needs of the crop vary during the different stages of growth as these needs diminish in the beginning and end of the crop life and increase during the growth stage (Ibid).
Traditionally and since old ages, wheat is cultivated in northern Sudan (River Nile State and Northern State). There, it is planted between latitude circles 17—22 in the narrow lands along the banks of the Nile in an area not exceeding 30,000 feddans. But, production of the crop is locally consumed in those areas while other areas of the Sudan depend on maize and millet in their food (food security management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). Notably, Sudan consumption f wheat has increased during the last four decades from fewer than 100,000 tons in the year to more than 800,000 tons as a result of the growing urban communities. For this reason, the gap between production and consumption has been bridged by importing wheat from abroad. Unhelpfully, this importation of wheat has formidably saddled Sudan resources with foreign exchange and often become a political blackmail against governments of the Sudan. so, reasonably, the country has depended on local production which proved to be more feasible in the irrigated plains of the central and eastern Sudan. Though these new areas are marked with high temperatures and short season of production, they are still wide and easily irrigated with comparison to traditional areas. Accordingly, the cultivated area of wheat has enlarged to become a part of the agricultural rotation in New Halfa (since the establishment of this town), Gezira Scheme (agricultural season 1975/1976), Rahad Scheme (agricultural season 1990/1991) and also in both Schemes of White Nile and Blue Nile. So, the new areas of wheat cultivation have posed 70% to 80% of the total cultivated area (Ibid).
In the time being, wheat is cultivated in winter season by irrigated system in the following areas:
-    Northern State.
-    River Nile State.
-    White Nile State.
-    Irrigated schemes in Gezira, Rahad and New Halfa (Ibrahim, 2010).
Types of cultivated wheat in the Sudan are kandur, dubeira, wadi el Nil, al-Nilein and sasrib, all of which were endorsed by agricultural research corporation as they are adapted to natural environmental conditions (Al Khidir, 2007). 

Production and productivity;

Wheat gets fully matured when the field plants become yellowish but the crop will be ready to be harvested when it gets desiccated and when it is easy to separate seeds from spikes. Though the cultivated types of the crop resist being dispersed, high temperatures in March and April, low humid air and severity of winds make a part of productivity get lost as these natural factors render spikes broken, plants fallen and seeds scattered. Experimentally, experiences in New Halfa showed that delay of harvest for four weeks reduces productivity and even the loss reaches 40% in eight weeks. Even according to modern researches, process of harvesting itself causes a loss of part of productivity insofar as loss reaches about 13% in Gezira while it gets to 24—31% in Ne Halfa (Ibid).
To achieve self-sufficiency of wheat and boost its production, the following should be done:
A.    Provide required financing for the farmer in due course.
B.    Polarize further capitals and expand cultivation of wheat in northern Sudan due to the available climatic conditions.
C.    Enlarge utilization of technological packages to horizontally and vertically boost production.
D.    Provide different production inputs for the farmer in due course.
E.    Adopt serious agricultural policy built on sound planning (Ibrahim, 2010).
4. Rice:
Rice is one of the more important food crops in the world. Regarding Sudan, rice naturally grows in some States, for example States of South Darfur and the White Nile. In the ‘sixties of the last century, it was decided that the crop should have been introduced in the agricultural rotation of the Gezira Scheme but the idea was aborted owing to the large water needs of the crop, spreading of water weeds and the solid layer formed on soil surface. So, its cultivation became restricted to small areas in the White Nile State (food security management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015).

Natural geographical conditions for cultivation of Rice;

The following are the available natural conditions required for cultivation of rice:
A.    Temperature: rice needs high temperature all through period of growing. However, some of its types do not grow if temperature is lower than 68 F, therefore it is cultivated in the warm tropical areas during summer months when the day gets longer and temperature gets high. Yet, it is not cultivated in cold latitudes because the crop needs a temperature ranging between 75—85 F. (Zouka, 1995).  
B.    Rains: rice fields need amounts of waters to be submerged with all through growth period. So, its need of rain waters range between 40—80 inches with the same proportion needed from river irrigation. Therefore, rice becomes the main dominant crop if annual rain rates are more than 80 inches.
C.    Soil: rice needs fertile soil with thick texture which forbids leakage of waters that cover its fields. Naturally, some rice types grow in high salty soils. Similarly, the crop requires an even surface to stop drainage of water which covers fields all through growth period, provided that the surface must be slightly inclined to gradually drain waters (Ibid). For that reason, clay steppes in central and southern Sudan can be the best soils for expanding cultivation of rice in the country.

Table (4): production of rice in the Sudan for the period 2013—2015

Source: agricultural statistics management, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 2015.

Oil crops;

The more important oil crops cultivated in the Sudan are sesame, groundnuts, sunflower and safflower.
Sesame (Sesame indicium): oil is one of economically important oil crops and it is marketed in form of seeds while limited quantities of sesame find their way to the international market. However, sesame seeds are immediately used in human food because, when their crust is peeled off, they will be scattered on kinds of bread and pastries before cooking process. Similarly, while mixed with flour and sugar, sesame seeds are introduced in sesame sweets and tahini. Physically, these seeds are rich with calcium (about 1%), phosphor (about 0.7%) and vitamin (E) where most of calcium found in the seed crust. Also, sesame seeds contain about 50% of half dry oil and oil ratio normally ranging between 45% --55% but this ratio may get low to 40% or higher to 60% in some stocks (Khidir). 
In the northern provinces of Yemen, sesame is called juljulan and it is the eldest crop of oil yields which have been exploited by humans, yet it is considered a secondary crop in world trade. However, Sudan is ranked first in production of sesame among African and Arab states as the country cultivated 82% of the total area of sesame in Arab countries and produced, in average, 60% of the total production for the period 1986 –1993. Superlatively, sesame is outstandingly positioned among Sudanese agriculture as this crop comes third to sorghum and millet as far as cultivated areas are concerned. Moreover, the crop has an important status in Sudanese economy as it is locally consumed and listed among exportations of the nation. So, in many years, exportation of sesame represented the third source of hard currencies and contributed to the total value of exportations with 8.8%. In this respect, Sudan is one of the biggest sesame exporting countries in the world as, till late ‘sixties of last century, about 50.5% of exhibited sesame in the world market had been brought from the Sudan. Regrettably, during the two following decades, the proportion of the globally marketed crop had dwindled to about 36% and 18.5% during the ‘seventies and ‘eighties respectively. This unfortunate decline in the exhibited amount of sesame came as a result of deterioration of production, productivity and quality of sesame besides the then high costs of the crop (Ibid).
Cultivated sesame in the Sudan is divided into two kinds: red sesame and white sesame. Generally, it is cultivated in light sandy lands in the rain-fed sector but it is narrowly planted in irrigated schemes. As to the red sesame, it is cultivated in areas of rain-fed agriculture in central and southern Kordofan and Darfur. On another hand, white sesame is cultivated in Gedarif, Sennar, Mafazah, the Blue Nile and both areas of Dali and Mazmoum (Shami, 2000).

Production and productivity;

Natural appropriate conditions in Central Sudan help increase cultivated areas of sesame in a latitude extending from east to west, i.e. from the Butana in the east to Kordofan in the west. In these latitudinal areas, rain rates range between 400 mm to 500 mm and, thus, the amount of the crop produced here is sufficient to meet local needs and support outcome of exportations (Shami, 2000).
Cultivated areas of sesame oscillate from season to season while ranging in average between a million to two millions feddans. However, this oscillation is attributed to concentration of the most cultivated areas in rain-fed sector with its both branches, traditional and mechanized, which is subject to fluctuation of rains from a season to another. Since 1970, produced quantities of sesame have ranged between 220,000 tons to 400,000 tons in the year (Al Tom and Abdel Rahman, 2010). Of late, in the agricultural season, 2014/2015, cultivated areas of sesame reached 764,000 feddans while its production was estimated to be about 721 metric tons and productivity of the feddan was about 114 kg (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015).
Table (5): production of sesame in the Sudan for both seasons (2013/2014—2014/2015)

        Source: (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015).


Sunflower is a seasonal oil crop lately cultivated in the Sudan. It is economically important because its seeds encapsulate about 20% of digestible protein and 25—45% of food oil which is also advantageous for manufacturing food, margarines, soaps and dyes (food security management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). In a way or another, sunflower contributes to food industries such as oil industry which has an effective role in achievement of food security. On another hand, the sunflower cane represents a good food for cattle while its seed cake, i.e. umbaz, is devoid of aflatoxins. In addition, the seed crust and vegetative part of the plant are used as fodder for animals while fields of sunflower are used for beekeeping (food security management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). 
Factors of climate and soil in the Sudan pose a suitable environment for production of sunflower crop. The plant itself is a summer rain-fed crop cultivated on a large commercial scale by private sector in states of Gedarif, Blue Nile, Sennar, Gezira and Rahad (Khidir).
Cultivated areas of sunflower, in agricultural season 2014/2015, reached about 180,000 feddans while the total production was estimated to be about 51,000 metric tons and productivity of the feddan was about 336 kg (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015).

Table (6) production of sunflower in the Sudan for seasons (2013/2014—2014/2015)

        Source: (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015).


At Arab and African levels, Sudan is ranked first in production of groundnut while, among groundnut exporting nations, it comes second to the United States. The crop is cultivated in areas of rain-fed agriculture of central Sudan as well as in areas of traditional rain-fed agriculture of western Sudan. To groundnut, light sandy soils represent the best soils for cultivation. As to irrigation, the crop needs no less than 300 mm amount of rains for at least four months, therefore it is successfully farmed in rain-fed lands (Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 2016).
Currently, most of groundnut production comes from areas of rain-fed agriculture where average productivity of the feddan ranges between 5—6 ardabs but where production of the crop oscillates in some seasons, especially dry seasons. Through time, cultivated areas of groundnut have expanded to rise from 150,000 feddans in the ‘fifties of last century to about half a million feddans in the ‘sixties and to 3 million—4.5 millions feddans in the time being. In fact, cultivated areas of the crop depend on amounts of rains and prices while, since 1970, magnitude of production has ranged between 500,000 – 900,000 tons in most seasons (Al Tom and Abdel Rahman, 2010).  
It is possible to enlarge cultivation of groundnut thanks to diversity of environments in the Sudan in the following areas:
-    Grand irrigated schemes.
-    Areas of south Blue Nile and White Nile.
-    Nuba Mountains and southern areas of both Kordofan and Darfur.
-    South to Kosti—Sennar railway (Shami, 2000).


Safflower crop has been cultivated for several years in small areas around the fields located at the Nile in the Northern State. However, the crop was experimentally cultivated on commercial scale in the ‘forties of last century in the mechanized agriculture schemes in Gedarif. Possibly, safflower can be cultivated as a winter crop in the River Nile State, Northern State and central Sudan, particularly in schemes of Gezira and New Halfa. Beneficially, a red dye called qurtamin is derived from flowers of safflower. This kind of dye is insoluble in water and used in tincturing cotton and silky clothes and in production of cosmetics. In the uttermost northern Sudan, flowers of this crop are dried, grinded and mixed by ladies who add the ensuing mixture to some perfumes for their own feminine usage. Physically, unshelled seeds of the crop contain 25—45% of dry oil with light colour and great proportion of Linoleic acid estimated with about 75% as this acid helps reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood (Khidir).

Legume crops;

These crops are one of the eldest and more important food plants cultivated by the man. They contain more than 13,000 types and the more important legumes cultivated in the Sudan are the following:
1.    Faba bean:
Faba bean is rich with protein and used as food for the humans. It is of extreme importance, particularly in developing countries as it is cheap and rich with vitamins. Faba bean is cultivated in hot and moderate areas as, contradictorily, severe cold and torrential rains and harsh winds cause flowers of the plant fall down and largely reduce production of the crop. However, the favourite temperature for germination ranges between 9—12 °C. and that for growth ranges between 12—20 °C. in the stage of post-florescence fruiting growth (food security management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015).
In the Sudan, faba bean is intensively cultivated in the River Nile State and Northern State owing to the appropriate climate when in winter season temperatures get low besides fertile soil in spate lands on the Nile. However, cultivated areas of faba bean range between 50,000—60,000 feddans in the year while their total production is between a minimum of 90,000 metric tons and a maximum of 175,000 metric tons. Notably, this disparity in production is attributed to oscillation of high and low temperatures from a season to another (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015).

Table (7): production of faba bean in the Sudan from 1997 to 2003

      Source: (Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural statistics management, 2015)
2.    Lentil (Lens esculenta):
Lentil is a crop with high food value as its seeds are consumed as food for humans because of the high proportion of protein they contain (28%). On the agricultural side, lentil is of paramount importance because it is a soil fertilizing crop and it surpasses many crops in agricultural rotation.
In Sudan, lentil is cultivated in the River Nile State, the Northern State and Jebel Marra in western Sudan. Productively, the total cultivated area of lentil in the Sudan reached about 1.21 thousand acres in 2001 with average productivity of 1587 kg/acre and total production of 1.92 thousand tons. However, it is recommended that types of lentil such as Rubatab, Aribu and Sileim are to be cultivated in northern Sudan, Jebel Marra and northern Sudan, and Nile Valley respectively (Al Khidir, 2007).

3.    haricot beans (Phaseolus vulgaris):
Haricot beans is a basic source for protein in the world and the flour of the crop seeds can be used in making bread and macaroni with a ratio approaching 5—10% and reaching 30% respectively. In the Sudan, haricot beans are cultivated in the Northern State and on a large scale in the River Nile State but with small areas in Khartoum State. Methodologically, haricot beans are cultivated with various ways like digging and contour farming where the span between the dug holes is 15—20 cm. The crop is cultivated in damp soil with a ratio of 50% so as to expedite germination.
However, plant density has an impact on the crop productivity, knowing that optimum density of haricot beans is ranging between 25—50 kg/feddan. Remarkably, the due time for cultivation of this crop is when soil temperature reaches 12 °C. with 5—6 cm deep in the soil (Ibid).
Moreover, some legume crops in the Sudan are cultivated in limited areas and more important of these legumes are chickpeas, thermos and cowpea in States of River Nile, Gezira, Sennar, Kordofan and Northern State.

Fibers palm and sugar:

Cotton (Gossypium spp.);

Cotton is one of eldest crops utilized by humans, given its importance for industry of textiles. The crop became a backbone of agricultural exportations in the Sudan. Firstly, its cultivation was introduced in deltas of Toker and AL Gash by the Hakimdar Mumtaz Pasha in Turco-Egyptian era. Later, during the Condominium rule and on building of Sennar Dam and establishment of the Gezira Scheme in 1925, cultivation of cotton was expanded. In the Sudan, the crop is grown by irrigation and rain as both long staple and medium staple types are irrigated in the grand agricultural schemes in the Gezira, New Halfa, Suki and Rahad while short staple cotton is rain-fed in cracked clay lands in areas where rain rates are upwards of 500 mm, especially in Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, the Blue Nile district and in less amounts in south Gedarif. As well, cotton is cultivated in small areas with spate irrigation in deltas of Toker and Al Gash (Saudi, 1983).
Cultivated area of cotton reached its maximum limit in Nuba Mountains in the season 1969/1970 when 230,000 feddans had then been cultivated. Unfortunately, that cultivated area of cotton shrunk to 63,000 feddans and 9,000 feddans in the seasons 1980/1981 and 1990/1991 respectively. Still regrettably, in the following two years, the cultivated area contracted to 5,000 feddans. In Gedarif district, the utmost cultivated area of cotton reached about 52,000 feddans in the season 1969/1970 and, ever since, it began dwindling to reach a thousand feddans in 1990/1991.
Generally, cotton is a main crop in the irrigated public schemes in Gezira, New Halfa, Rahad, Suki and White Nile and Blue Nile schemes. During ‘eighties of last century, average production of cotton seed reached 306,000 tons out of an average area of 863,000 feddans. This latter area was cultivated with cotton in different parts of Sudan, for instance Sennar, Hajj Abdallah, Taiba, Barakat, Toker, Al Gash, Gezira and Northern State (Al Khidir, 2007).
In some years, production of cotton rose to record numbers but, reversely, it had declined in some other years owing to oscillation of the cultivated areas of cotton and the decline of productivity of a feddan which ranges between 1.5—2 quintals per feddan. In delta of Toker, the productivity of cotton ranges between 0.7—1.5 quintal per feddan. This fluctuation of productivity means that natural circumstances actually cause great changes in productivity (Shami, 2000).


Cultivation of palm is an important part of agricultural activity in the Sudan. Generally, growth of palm flourishes in areas where annual rate of temperature is higher than 28 °C, but where rains do not fall during period of florescence. Additionally, sufficient waters estimated with about 8,000 cubic meters per acre must be abundant (Al Tom and Abdel Rahman, 2010).
Cultivation of palm in the Sudan spreads out in the following areas:
1.    Northern State: this state includes 2.7 million fruitful palm trees, the most of which is concentrated along the Nile banks in Merowe, Karima, Dabba, Ghaba and districts of Dongola and Mahas, besides oases such as Gu’ub oasis west of Dongola and Salima oasis west to Wadi Halfa.
2.    River Nile State: it includes about 600,000 fruitful palm trees, the most of which are found to north of Atbara, namely in Berber, Bouqa and Abu Hamad. As to southern areas of the River Nile State, cultivation of palm is not successful because of rainfall which macerates fruits.
3.    Other areas, such as Bara, Wadi Hawar (Northern Darfur) and Kasala State (Ibid).
Cultivated areas of palm trees in the Sudan reached 88.3 thousand feddans in 2015 where its total production was estimated to be about 439,000 tons (Horticulture Sector Management, Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). However, palm tree needs care, continuous irrigation and fertilizing. Productively, the palm tree affords in average about 40 kilos of date which is locally consumed. However, the more important kinds of palm trees in the Sudan are jawa, barakawi, gundaila which are dry dates. In addition, palm tree has numerous benefits as its fiber is used for making ropes and stalks and leaves are used for roofs of houses and for making cages and masts. Importantly, expansion of palm cultivation needs the following:
•     Finance the farmer.
•    Import soaked date producing trees.
•    Combat insects, particularly scale insects.
•    Open abroad new markets for selling surplus production (Ibid). 

Sugar cane;

Cultivation of sugar cane in the Sudan was launched in 1962 when Gineid sugar cane factory was established in an area then estimated to be about 40,000 feddans. This area was irrigated by pumps on the eastern bank of the Blue Nile. Thereafter, cultivation of sugar cane had been expanded on establishment of the following schemes and factories of sugar:
-    New Halfa sugar scheme at Khashm al-Qirba with an area little more than 20,000 feddans when production of the crop was started in 1966.
-    West Sennar sugar scheme which was opened in the season 1976—1977.
-    ‘Asalaya sugar scheme which was opened in the season 1979—1980.
-    Kenana sugar scheme on the western bank of the White Nile with an area of 150,000 feddans where production of the crop was started in 1980 (Saudi, 1983).
-    White Nile sugar scheme whose area is estimated to be about 300,000 feddans in which the production was started since 2013. However, the tract cultivated with sugar cane is expected to be increased for production of adequate quantities of locally consumed sugar. The prospects of enlargement of the cultivated area of the scheme will be achieved when the factory reaches the maximum capacity of production.
Sudan sugar companies produce considerable quantities of the crop which was fixed at 700,000 tons during last decade. Locally, the amounts produced in the Sudan cover the most part of consumption (Annual report on production and productivity, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 2014).


Cultivated lands of vegetables in the Sudan represent about 3% of areas of crops. However, commercial production of vegetables is concentrated in the central States, Khartoum State and northern Sudan and, also, vegetables are cultivated in western Sudan for local consumption. Beneficially, vegetables are of important ingredients of balanced food while green and yellow vegetables are rich with vitamin (A) in addition to other important ingredients (general management for agricultural planning and economy, Ministry of Agriculture, 2015).
The following are the more important kinds of vegetables in the Sudan:
1.    Onion: onion is widely cultivated in the Sudan but its cultivation is concentrated in Kasala, Gezira, River Nile State and Northern State. Quantitatively, cultivated areas of onion were estimated to be about 204,000 feddans in the year 2015 while its production was estimated to be about 1,600,000 tons.
2.    Tomato: tomato is produced in states of Khartoum, River Nile, Gezira, Sennar, White Nile, North Kordofan and Northern State. The cultivated areas of tomato were estimated to be about 72,000 feddans in 2007 and its production was about 432,000 tons in the same year. Later on, the cultivated area rose to upwards of 106,000 feddans and the production was estimated to be about 606,000 tons in 2015.
3.    Okra: okra is one of the important vegetables in the Sudan. Its cultivation is concentrated in irrigated schemes of central Sudan as well as in River Nile State, Northern State and areas of traditional rain-fed agriculture in Kordofan and Darfur. However, cultivated areas of okra were estimated to be about 59,000 feddans in 2015 while its production was about 286,000 tons.
4.    Tomato: it is cultivated in River Nile State in an area of 64,000 feddans while the total production is about 413,000 tons, the most of which is consumed in domestic markets of the Sudan. However, prices of tomato vary from one season to another due to difference in the marketed quantities, for instance  when there is plenty in displayed tomato, prices get low and, vice-versa, when there is scarcity in displayed quantities, prices get high, which is not to the benefit of both producers and consumers. So, solution of this dilemma needs delivery of further modern storage facilities (food security management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015).
Additionally, numerous kinds of other vegetable are also cultivated, the more important of which are cucurbits, eggplant, spices, leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes.
5.    Area of lands cultivated with different kinds of vegetables equals 479,000 feddans while its total production was estimated to be about 2.9 million tons in 2007 (Al Tom and Abdel Rahman, 2010). Of late, demand for vegetables has increased due to the growing food awareness and increased income. In this respect, the total cultivated area of vegetables was estimated to be about 649600 feddans in the season 2014/2015 compared to 573800 feddans in 2013/2014 with a change rate of 13%. As to the total production of the agricultural season 2014/2015, it was estimated to be about 3.9 million tons compared to 3.8 million tons for the season 2013/2014 (food security management – Ministry of Agriculture, 2015).
                          Table (8): production of vegetables for the season 14/2015 compared to 13/2014



For season


(1000 feddans)


The season



for season


(1000 tons)


for the season


(1000 tons)































Sweet pumpkins

























































































  Source: Horticulture sector management – Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 2015.

Production of fruits;

Thanks to variation of climatic conditions and soils with availability of water sources, numerous kinds of fruits in the Sudan are successfully cultivated. As a result, cultivated areas of fruits reached about 300,000 feddans whose total production was estimated to be about 2.1 million tons in 2007. Later, in 2015, areas of fruit jumped up to more than 614,000 feddans while its total production was estimated to be about 3,600,000 tons in the same year (Horticulture sector management – Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 2015).
Kinds of fruit cultivated in the Sudan are the following:
1.    Citruses: they are cultivated in Northern State and in central Sudan besides other areas in eastern Sudan, Kasala State and Jebel Marra in western Sudan. However, important kinds of produced citruses are orange, grape fruit, lemon. In the time being, most of production is brought from River Nile State, Northern State and the Blue Nile.
2.    Mango: it ranked first among horticultural exports. It is cultivated in states of Sennar, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, River Nile, Gineina (western Darfur) and Northern State. Mango is marketed and consumed in domestic markets, especially in big towns of the Sudan like the National Capital while surplus of production is exported to Gulf States, Jordan, Syria and European nations.
3.    Banana: it is cultivated on khor Al Gash, Kasala State, and along the Blue Nile banks in the states of the Blue Nile, Sennar and Gezira. Because of the locally growing domestic demand for banana, the produced quantity of the fruit is locally consumed.
4.    Guava: it is cultivated in different areas of the Sudan like Saqqai and northern countryside of Khartoum State. Additionally, guava is cultivated in states of Kasala, Gezira and the Blue Nile which have best and more plentiful kinds of production. 
5.    Fruit of moderate areas: conditions of its production are available in district of Jebel Marra where rain rates range between 400—500 mm. here, fruits like grape, apple, pears, strawberry and citruses are successfully cultivated. Moreover, cultivation of this fruit can be enlarged in the future to meet domestic consumption and for exportation of surplus production (Horticulture Sector Management -- Ministry of Agriculture, 2015).
Optimistically, cultivation of fruit in the Sudan has a promising future as cultivated areas can be enlarged to meet the growing demand for fruit in foreign and domestic markets. On another hand, Sudan has suitable facilitators for producing such kinds of fruit as agricultural areas, irrigation waters and manpower are available (Ibid).

Table (9): production of fruit in the Sudan for seasons (2013/2014—2014/2015)

Source: (Horticulture Sector Management, Ministry of Agriculture, 2015).

Hibiscus and melon;


It is one of the important crops cultivated in areas of traditional rain-fed agriculture in Kordofan and Darfur. Here, melon represents 11% of cultivated places in an area equaling more than 2.6 million feddans in some seasons. The melon is a multi-benefit crop as its seeds are exported abroad, its crusts are used as fodder for animals and the melon itself is used as a food crop and a source of drinking in drought period (Al Tom and Abdel Rahman, 2010).


Hibiscus is cultivated in an area ranging between 400,000—900,000 feddans in most of seasons and according to amounts of rain. Its cultivation is concentrated in the states of North Kordofan, Sennar and Blue Nile. When harvested, the crop will be exported to the World markets, particularly to European nations like Italy, Germany and Britain (Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, 2015).


Notably, produced crops in the Sudan have the following qualities:
•    They are diverse due to diversity of natural environments in different regions of the country,
•    Achieving food security and thus alleviating poverty,
•    Contributing to comprehensive socio-economic development in the Sudan and generating hard currencies for public exchequer through exportation of these crops.
Notwithstanding the abovementioned advantages of these crops, cultivated areas are subject to oscillation from a season to another while total production and productivity of the feddan decline. Again, though arable areas and water resources are available, still there are obstacles facing these crops. In general, obstacles which are human and natural ones render produced quantities of crops decline and cultivated areas oscillate almost from a season to another. Notably, the more important obstacles are the following:
-    Unavailability of financing for the agricultural sector in due course to cultivate and reap crops.
-    High cost of preparing the land and high price of insecticides and fertilizers.
-    Drought which results in fluctuation of amounts of rain which, in turn, largely impacts cultivated areas and produced quantities of different crops.
-    Continued process of cultivation and removal of vegetation which render soil deteriorated, declined and ossified.
-    Flaw of land ownership system which thwarts projects of agricultural investment for the long run and in most states of Sudan. Similarly, this flawed system makes investors and local natives dispute over lands.
-    Low prices of agricultural products, when harvested, in comparison with their cost of production. This imbalance is due to limited capacity of domestic markets or poor transportation in some areas of production where producers may suffer from losses.
-    Scarcity of drinking water during harvest seasons.
-    Scarcity of manpower in both seasons of cultivation and harvest along with decline of basic service.
-    Low productivity of cadastral unit of different crops but with high cost of its production owing to poor utilization of scientific methods and technological means in most areas of production in the Sudan.
For removing those obstacles and achieving agricultural development built on sound foundations for boosting cultivated areas and producing crops that meet domestic consumption and exportation of surplus to support the economy of the country, the study recommends the following:
-    Expand irrigated agriculture to reduce hazards of depending on rain-fed sector which is susceptible to fluctuation of climatic conditions in some seasons.
-    Provide agricultural financing in due courses for cultivation and harvesting.
-    Modernize both irrigated and rain-fed agricultural sector with providing services of agricultural mechanization in order to avoid delaying times of cultivation and harvesting.
-    Enlarge usage of improved seeds, fertilizers, insecticides and services of agricultural guidance in order to raise productivity of cadastral unit of different crops.
-    Deliver soil maintenance service to preserve fertility of soil and stop its deterioration.
-    Expand transport networks in different areas of production by connecting them with inland areas of consumption and ports of exportation at the Red Sea.
-    Expand storage facilities in different areas of production to avoid spoilage of crops and reduction of their prices in seasons of production, especially fruits and dates.
-    Open new markets for crops of exportation to avoid seasonal disparity in prices of agricultural crops because of the limited capacity of domestic markets and their incapability to assimilate produced quantities of different crops.
-    Redress the flaw of land ownership system in the different regions of the Sudan in order to attract foreign investment and engage local communities in development projects concerning agricultural expansion in their own areas.

Sources and references;

-    Ibrahim, Muzamil Othman Saied, (2010): climate impact on production of wheat and fruit in the Northern State, unpublished Ms, University of Khartoum.
-    Al tom, Mahdi Amin and Babikir Abdallah Abdel Rahman, (2010): Natural and Human Geography of the Sudan, publication of the Open University of Sudan.
-    Al Hafyan, Awad Ibrahim Abdel Rahman, (1995): Foundations of Rural Development and Role of Agriculture in the Sudan, Khartoum University Press, Khartoum.
-    Al Khidir, Ali Othman, (2007): Production of Grains of Food Crops in the Sudan, Sharif Academic Library for Publication and Distribution, Khartoum.
-    Zouka, Mohammed Khamees, (1995): Agricultural Geography, Maarif Establishment, Alexandria.
-    Shami, Salah Addin Ali, (2000): Sudan, Geographical Study, Maarif Establishment, Alexandria. 
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