Sudan Arab is considered the largest country among and African states, with an area of about one million square miles. It is surrounded by nine Arab and African states: Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, Central Africa, Zaire, Uganda, and Kenya. As well, it borders Saudi Arabia via the Red Sea. Topographically, most of the Sudan’s physical features are plain-lands.

Sudan is very rich in natural resources, a fact that has inevitably made the country base its economics on agricultural and animal production. Consequently, agriculture is considered the backbone of the economy in the country. The society is conditioned by anthropological and climatic factors, as well as the nature of the land, but agriculture is the foundation of the social structure. Although there is great potential in the field of agriculture, development and reaping maximum benefit from this sector needs more effort to move the wheel of production forward towards improvement and progress.

Statistics and economic analyses show that the agricultural sector is pioneering in the country’s economy. It contributes about 45.5% of the total national growth (2002), and 80% of the population depends on it. Of Sudan’s exports,90% are agricultural products such as cotton, Gum Arabic, cattle, meat, oil seeds, sorghum, vegetables and fruits.

The agricultural sector has many opportunities and enormous resources that make good bases for development and investment. Sudan is named as one of three countries, with Australia and Canada, to solve the problem of food insufficiency in the world. Sudan is the only Arab country where agricultural balance is positive, and actively contributing to food security in the Arab world. Its agricultural exports estimated as 106 thousand tons during 2002.

Natural Resources

1. Land and Climate

The topography of Sudan is mainly plains, valleys, plateaus, sand dunes, and mountains. Most of these locations are rich with underground water.

The suitable arable land in Sudan is around 84 million hectare, but only 12.6 millions hectare, about 15%, is presently being cultivated. There are other areas covered with forests, bushes, and natural pastures that enable the breeding of various kinds of animals. There are other areas all over the country that are covered with rivers, valleys And reservoirs. The diversity in soil corresponds with the diversity of climate countrywide.

This diversity in the nature of soil and climate enables the country to have abundant opportunities in producing manifold agricultural and animal products during all seasons.

2. Water Resources

Water resources in Sudan consist of rainwater, rivers, surface and deep underground water. There is heavy rainfall in the south and the middle of the country. The north is arid but rich with enormous underground water reserves.

According to the Nile Basin Water Agreement of 1959, Sudan’s share of the Nile’s water is about 18.5 billion cubic metres per year, but Sudan is using only 12.2 billion c/metres out of its share. The total seasonal inflow of water is around 3.3 billion c/metres.

Water coming from the valleys can be kept in reservoirs, or behind earth dams, to supply drinking water for man and animal. The swampy lower plains and pools is traditionally the main source of water for animal needs.

The underground water resources are found under 50% of the lands of Sudan, and it is estimated to be 15,200 billion c/m. This strategic reserve is more than 200 times the total annual inflow from the Nile per year.

3. Human Resources

The population of the Sudan was estimated to be about 24.9 million people in 1993, and about 33 million people in 1998 (projected census) with an annual growth rate of nearly 2.6%. About 80% of the population work in various aspects of agriculture. Since independence, Sudan has been keen about agricultural education and qualifying managerial agricultural scientists, as the country is primarily an agricultural country.

There are highly sophisticated research centres that cover most of the scientific agricultural fields, and they have actually contributed a lot to the development of agriculture in Sudan, and have a commendable name in scientific research circles world-wide.

Polices & Strategies

There is a great opportunity, under the new policies and basic orientations adopted by the present political system in Sudan, to save the Sudanese economy through agricultural development and production. Special attention is paid to achieving balanced development. A lot of economic efforts and investments are dedicated and directed toward rural development, which is the object of economic salvation.

The State has planned an agricultural policy geared toward multiplying Agricultural produce to satisfy local needs and realize a large surplus for export. Consequently, the policy has assigned specific priorities of investments that provide support, facilities and special privileges, such as granting lands for investment and exemptions from custom duties and profit taxes.

The period that followed the Salvation Revolution was distinguished by seriousness towards food security by increasing lands for growing wheat and concentrating on cultivating sorghum in the irrigated areas, to allow growth of production. As well, there was an expansion of planted areas fed by rain. The State announced a lot of encouraging policies to widen the cultivation of cotton in the rain-fed areas.

The same period witnessed concentration on being fair to small-scale producers as standard practice for agricultural development. Efforts were intensified to diversify and add new crops, such as fodder, sunflower and corn.

The policies also tended to give maximum priority to securing agricultural inputs and introducing animal breeding into the crop rotation.

The Revolution brought the system of commercial bank funding up to date. This has led to improved performance in the field of agriculture and promoted its efficiency. Funds and specialized banks have been established to finance agricultural activities, such as the Farmer’s Bank and Animal Resources Bank. The State has also decided to liberate prices of agricultural products as an incentive to the producers, as well as to support production.

The most important strategic orientations for the agricultural sector:

  • Ideal investments in available resources
  • Maintaining environmental balance by reserving special areas for pasture, and others for forests and farming (plant & animal)
  • Securing water supply
  • Increasing production through the introduction of advanced technology
  • Complimenting agricultural production factors
  • Achieving high production to assure real independence of the country by realizing food security
  • Increase, variate and improving quality of export produce

Concentrating on supporting small producers as a basic pattern of agricultural development and justice.

Investment Opportunities

1. Irrigated Areas

The irrigated areas produce a number of crops such as cotton, groundnuts, sugar cane, spices, wheat, and legumes, in addition to a variety of vegetables such as okra, eggplant, tomatoe, and fruits like bananas, dates, mangoes, lemon and grapefruit, etc.,.

Here we show the available investment opportunities in this area:

Direct investment in irrigation canals that take water directly from the Nile or its branches, and agricultural schemes

  • irrigated by underground water;
  • Irrigation services, especially companies to drill for underground water, maintain reservoirs and surface water resources
  • Agricultural mechanization, seed propagation, and pest control; iv. Investment in bringing animals into crop rotation in the modern irrigated schemes. This kind of investment is very economical in capital and operation costs because foundations for such projects exist, and we can make use of crop remnants as fodder to which can be added specially grown legumes and green grass; and
  • Support systems for irrigation projects, from which we can mention the following: 
    • Manufacturing pipes for well casing, and water connections, especially PVC, to support the services of drilling for underground water, 
    •  Manufacturing motor-driven pumps as well as their spare parts, and,
    • Manufacturing manual water pumps.

2. Rain-Fed areas

The sectors that are fed by rain produce agricultural crops such as sesame, sorghum, beans, sunflower, rain cotton, corn, millet, and karkade. Hashab trees can also be grown to produce Gum Arabic, which is an important cash crop for the country. The ‘gwar’ has proved its feasibility as a rain crop. It is used to make glue, and as feed for chickens because of its high protein content.

The most important fields of investment in this sector:

  • Vertical expansion in increasing the production of food in the present projects through rehabilitating and re-designing them with the introduction of animal breeding in some of them to make use of the crop reminants as fodder;
  • Horizontal expansion by establishing new projects in unused areas to increase growing cash crops such as oil seeds, cotton and different varieties of sorghum;
  • Crop dusting companies to provide crop protection from epidemics and infestation; and
  • Seed improvement, and services of transportation and storage.

3. Horticulture

The diversity in climate and natural resources of Sudan (land and water) allows for very broad prospects in garden production all year round, especially in winter. This distinction gives extra advantages in the production of vegetables and fruits in seasons where they are not grown in Europe. There is a big demand in foreign markets, especially in the Arab world and some European countries, for garden products. The foremost marketable products are mango, lemon, grapefruit and vegetables such as onion, eggplant, hot pepper, okra and cucumber.

4. Forest Resources & Natural Pastures

There are great parts of Sudan that are covered with forest, bush and natural pasture; an estimated 1,050 million hectare. This has made possible substantial wealth in the variety of animals, estimated to be 132 million head, according to statistics attained in 2002.

Here are the main investment fields of this sector:

  • Charcoal production; 
  • Gum Arabic production; 
  • Animal food pellet production; 
  • Development of rural craft products from the forest, such as rope; 
  • Railway tie production; and, 
  • Tannery ingredient production.

5. Medicinal and Aromatic plants

Sudan has the advantage of having many medicinal and aromatic plants, such as Hibiscus Flowers, henna, Senna Pods, “harjal”, cumin, “yansoon”, “hilba”, and others. Most of these crops are highly marketable.

 6. Animal Production

This sector contributed 21% of total national production in 2002. Live animals, meat and leather contribute a considerable share to exports. The fish reserves is estimated at 110 thousand tons in the coastal and interior waters, while up to 9 thousand tons are estimated to be in the deep waters of the Red Sea, which can also be used for investment. There are also large stocks of wild animals and birds that can be of great interest to tourism.

The most important importer countries of red meat are Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, Egypt, U.A.E, Iraq and Kuwait.

Investments in animal production are:

  • Establishing farms to breed cattle and sheep for meat;
  • Land transportation of livestock and meat;
  • Meat refrigeration and freezing;
  • Modern slaughterhouse construction to make complete use of all the slaughtered animal; to manufacture concentrates, fodder, fertilizer, glue, and others;
  • Breeding sheep and cattle to produce milk and other dairy products - the government encourages self-sufficiency in dairy production and exporting the surplus;
  • Breeding poultry to produce eggs and meat for local needs - the government encourages investment in this field, with special concern for white meat production for local use and red meat for export;
  • Fishing and establishing fish farms, and producing oysters, and fish meal in the Red Sea, and in the fresh waters as well
  • Dried fish production;
  • Growing green grass for producing fodder;
  • Fodder production from the remains of crops, such as the straw of sorghum, wheat, sesame, groundnut shells, and others;
  • Fodder production from industrial remains, such as sugarcane remnants, molasses, oilseed cake, and others;
  • Veterinary medicine production; and

Animal farm services, such as importing improved cross-breeds, breeder chickens, and chicks, and, importing modern equipment, such as electric incubators, components for making concentrated fodder, machines used for poultry production, and machines for making fish meal, tools used in fisheries such as nets, hooks, etc., and packaging for all kinds of animal products.

Sugar Industry

The Sudan has numerous natural resources and potentials that can provide abundant inputs for industrial production. Most important of these are the agricultural elements and products that can insure raw materials for many foodstuff industries, including sugar refining.

Moreover, there are vast arable lands (about two hundred million feddans*) and many assisting factors, such as the appropriate climate, fertile soil, labour and reasonable infrastructures, that provide greater potential for growing sugar cane, which is the mainstay of the sugar industry in Sudan.

The Present condition of the sugar industry

Sugar industry in the Sudan started with the establishment of the Guneid Sugar Factory in the Gazira province in 1962. There are now five sugar factories in the country, four of these factories are state-owned: The Guneid Factory, the New Halfa Factory, the Sinnar Factory and the Assalaya Factory. The fifth one, The Kenana Factory, is a joint venture with Sudanese, Arab and other capital, formed in 1975.

Kenana Sugar Factory is one of the biggest integrated sugar refineries placed under one administrative body in the world. Its total annual production has reached 300,000 tons of white sugar.

This factory is a perfect example of successful joint venture projects in Sudan. It produces a variety of products: white sugar, sugar cubes, sugar syrup and molasses. There is a plan to produce briquettes and animal fodder from the reminants of sugar cane.

Sugar factories are now working with capacity of 106% during 2001-2002.

Strategy of Sugar industry

The government has been taking a great interest in sugar industries in the country. Programmes of rehabilitation and modernization of the factories belonging to the public sector were set up, leading to better and greater production.

Sugar consumption was regulated and a total ban was placed on sugar importation. Self-sufficiency was achieved, and appreciable quantities of sugar were exported. During 1998, 29.3 million dollars of sugar was exported, and for the third quarter of 1999, the figure was 11.5 million dollars.

The government is promoting the sugar industry, encouraging the establishment of small-scale factories, and is planning to increase export volume.

Investment Opportunities

The Sudan has a relatively advantageous distinction of having all the desired factors of sugar cane production, in addition to low production costs compared to international prices. This advantageous circumstance provides great opportunities for further investments in the field of sugar industry.

These include:

  • The establishment of small plantations for sugar cane and sugar beet in the various provinces, and the establishment of small sugar factories for the production of brown sugar (Guggary),
  • The establishment of big farms for sugar cane and big factories for the production of sugar for export (there are feasibility studies in this respect),
  • The promotion of manufacturing by-products from sugar refining, such as syrups and glucose,
  • The establishment of factories for manufacturing other by-products, using the residuals of sugar cane.

These by-products include:

  • Synthetic alcohol and spirit (combined with benzene) as a fuel,
  • Bakers’ and fodder yeast,
  • Chemical products such as acetic and Citric acids… etc., and

Animal fodder.


Bugass are used in furnaces to produce

  • gas for industrial purposes,
  • for the generation of electric power, 
  • for the production of solvents and other chemicals. 
  • for paper pulp and pressed wood,
  • for the production of organic fertilizer

and animal fodder.  

Meat Industry

Sudan, due to its location, vast area, and variety of climates, is endowed with huge animal resources. They were judged to be around 132 million head in 2002, with details as follows:

  • 39.4 million head of cows. 
  • 48 million head of sheep. 
  • 41.3  million head of goats. 
  • 3.3 million head of camels

Added to that are a large number of poultry.

Water bodies, approximated to be 42 million square meters, are comprised of rivers and lakes. Most important among them are: The Nile and its branches, lakes behind dams, as well as 700 kms of Red Sea coast.

Large fish resources are approximated at 100,000 tons for internal fisheries, and 10,000 tons for marine fisheries.

Present situation of meat production in the Sudan

Ways of producing and breeding cattle in the Sudan

This differs from one place to another but can be summed up in the following:

  • Cattle pasturing practiced by nomadic tribes;
  • Cattle pasturing practiced by semi-settled tribes;
  • Traditional cattle rearing practiced in rural areas;
  • Modern systems practiced in irrigated areas;
  • Rearing of cattle and poultry by families in towns.

Pastures occupy 10 % of the land of the Sudan. In addition, the traditional system of pasturing takes place after the time of harvest in fields.

There are modern farms for rearing cattle and poultry following modern systems; technologies and veterinary services for bringing up advanced species of both cattle and poultry. In addition to that, there are a number of centers and teams of modern veterinary: some of them stationary, others mobile. They are giving veterinary ser-vices all over the country.

There are 16 schemes for breeding and catching different types of fish in the Sudan at present. There are many investments for export in the fields of shell and crayfish farms in the Red Sea.

Annual demand for various types of meat is increasing in the Sudan due to in-come increase and increased population.

There is self-sufficiency of red and white meats in the Sudan, while red meats are exported.

There are traditional, mechanical and semi-mechanical slaughterhouses in the Sudan administered by Local Government authorities. There are also export slaugh-terhouses. The most important among them are: Kadaru and Omdurman slaughter-ies in Khartoum State.

Four new slaughterhouses were established in four different states in the country. Recently, in December 1999, a new slaughtery was opened at the cost of 15 million dollars, covering an area of 620 feddans. It operates with a cooling capacity of 70 tons per day. Meat is processed at the rate of approximately 14 tons per day. Sudan’s export of live animals reached 436,342  head in 2003 with a value of about 33,984 dollars.

The value of meat exports in the year 2003 (Jan-March) reached about 2,378 dollars.

Sudanese meats are famous for their excellence and being devoid of any chemicals like hormones or antibiotics.

Meat Production Strategies in sudan

The food policy in the Sudan aims at achieving self-sufficiency in food in general, and emphasis white meats for local consumption and designates red meats for export. The Compeer pensive National Strategy has aimed at multiplying the number of cattle by three and the production of red meat for export twenty times. In order to achieve those aims the Animal Resources Bank was established to give animal resources and animal resource products a strong push forward.

In order to achieve the aims of the Comprehensive National Strategy for Animal Resources section in general, and the section concerning meat in particular, the following modern methods should be applied to increase production:

  • Maintaining natural pastures and developing their quality by opening fire-lanes, collecting improved seeds and distributing them to the various areas of pasturing.
  • Introduction of animal rearing to the agricultural rotations of irrigated schemes such as Geezer and Rahad;
  • Increasing veterinary services to protect animals from diseases and epidemics; Continuing to depend on the traditional sector, then moving gradually toward es-tablishing pastoral farms in irrigated and rain-fed areas;

Increase production of white meat to satisfy local consumption demand.

Opportunities and fields of investment in the meat sector in Sudan

  • Breeding and fattening cattle for meat production;
  • Establishing new markets for selling cattle and modern centers for red and white meat;
  • Establishing poultry farms based on modern systems to improve species, increase production and provide veterinary services;
  • Establishing companies for fishing, improving the techniques of fishing and mak-ing modern fishing technology available in the market;
  • Establishing fish farms;
  • Establishing concentrated fodder factories;
  • Making veterinary services available;
  • Expansion of mechanical slaughters for local consumers and export, and mainte-nance of the already available slaughterhouses;
  • Al Kadaru salughtery could be renovated by establishing a packing factory and a scheme for purification of si-phoned water, and widening its canals for irrigating 60 feddans of farmland.
  • Developing the system of preparing white and red meat for display, and supplying them to the markets.
  • Implementing developed systems of refrigerated transportation from areas of pro-duction to areas of consumption.

Making available specialized services in road, sea and air transportation for cattle and meat; and Exporting white and red meats for international markets.



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