Some crops, such as sesame and dates, are sold at prices that are about 20 percent lower than the cost of production, which put farmers in front of one of two options, either selling at a loss and thus inability to pay the funds they obtained from banks during the planting season, or waiting and taking risks in light of the current state of uncertainty in the market.
Muhammad al-Sir, a trader in the main date market in the city of Omdurman in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, estimates the decline in date prices between 15 and 25 percent.
Al-Sir told Sky News Arabia that the decline is mainly due to the lack of liquidity and the reluctance of traders to export due to security conditions and the large increase in shipping costs, road fees, levies, imbalances and other difficulties related to export policies.
In the same context, Amin Muhammad Elias, a merchant in the field of date crops, points out that many types of imported dates have entered, which are sold at lower prices than the prices of the local product, whose production costs are very high.
Elias told Sky News Arabia that many date producers in the north of the country stopped harvesting for fear of bearing its high costs, which may not be compensated in light of the current prices, which range from $75 for the best quality and $13 for the lowest.
Sesame price collapse
The sesame crop – one of the main export products – was affected by the low auction prices in the crop market in the city of Gedaref in the east of the country, as the price of a quintal amounted to 34,000 pounds, equivalent to 60 dollars.
A member of the Farmers’ Committee in the Gedaref project, Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, told Sky News Arabia that the current sesame prices may lead to huge financial losses, leading to the imprisonment of dozens of farmers due to failure to pay the loans they financed sesame cultivation.
Abdul Rahim pointed out that sesame cultivation decreased this year from 1.2 million feddans to 650 thousand feddans, or about 50 percent, due to banks stopping financing farmers, in addition to the changes that affected the financing policies of the Central Bank of Sudan.
Abdel Rahim explains that banks also refrained from financing major exporters of the sesame crop, which led to a scarcity of cash liquidity and thus stopped many export operations.
In a clear indication of the great recession hitting the crop markets; The number of companies that used to work as buyers of sesame in the Gedaref market decreased from 100 companies to less than 10 companies in the current season. Because of concerns about the instability of government policies along with export risks.
Ghaleb Haroun, a farmer and investor in sesame cultivation in the Gedaref project, believes that the current problem does not lie in low production, but rather in the difficulty of marketing the product due to the scarcity of cash liquidity and the suspension of bank financing for major exporters.
Haroun told Sky News Arabia that farmers may refrain from planting sesame in the next season because of the heavy losses they suffered in the current season.
He added, “The sesame crop is sometimes sold in the current season at prices equal to about 60 percent of the cost of production, which rises significantly due to the high prices of production inputs and the costs of agricultural preparations. at the beginning of the season.”
For his part, expert in banking policies, Mohamed Abdel Aziz, warns that the lack of bank coverage of important crops such as dates, sesame and potatoes may lead to the loss of $500 million annually in Sudanese export revenues.
Abdel Aziz told Sky News Arabia that the Central Bank failed to develop appropriate financing formulas for cash crops, which causes major problems that result in catastrophic effects on the national economy and the trade balance, in which exports of sesame and agricultural products are an important element.