November 2, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese parliamentary investigation committee on the rotten wheat seeds at Gezira Scheme has held the federal ministry of agriculture and the Agricultural Bank responsible for the slow germination of the wheat seeds.
The head of the investigation committee, Habib Makhtoum, said that the federal ministry of agriculture imported the wheat seeds and the Agricultural Bank offered the storage, pointing that they are currently more concerned about saving the agricultural season than determining who must be held accountable for the problem.
He told reporters on Sunday that there is also a shortage in the quantity of seeds, saying that 300.000 acres were due to be cultivated while the available seeds only suffice for 160.000 acres.
Makhtoum further said that wheat seeds variety Imam arrived from Turkey in early December 2012 due the central bank’s inability to provide the necessary foreign exchange in a timely manner.
He pointed out that in March 2013 it appeared that the seeds were hit by an insect. Following what a technical committee formed by the federal agricultural ministry recommended repacking of the seeds and offering suitable storage. The seeds were distributed in October 2013 and the cultivation process began in November 2013.
Makhtoum said that of the 21.000 acres which were initially cultivated using Imam seeds, 16.500 acres showed slow germination, stressing that the percentage of Imam’s low germination ranges from %10 to %50.
He said that Turkey is not responsible for the slow germination of the wheat seeds, adding that seeds purity percentage amounted to %99.6 according to the certificates of origin.
A member of the investigation committee, Al-Fateh Mohamed Saeed, for his part, predicted failure of the agricultural season, saying that they found agricultural machinery worth 7 billion SDG not conforming to the specifications as well as expired pesticides, asking how long will this continue and who would be held accountable ?
The head of the parliamentary agricultural committee, Mohamed Mahmoud, didn’t rule out that farmers would be imprisoned by the agricultural bank if they failed to pay their debts, pointing that a comprehensive not partial solution must be offered for this problem.
The investigation committee recommended compensating farmers after the end of the agricultural season besides localizing wheat seeds cultivation and offering standard-compatible storehouses.
Sudan currently imports more than 2 million tonnes of wheat annually at a cost of $900 million.