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Sudan’s Bashir says his country ready to achieve Arab food security

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Sudan's bashir speaks at the opening session of the third Arab Conference for Agriculture Investment in Khartoum on 27 February 2017 (ST Photo)

February 27, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Monday said his country is abundantly blessed with natural and human resources that enable it to achieve Arab food security.

Al-Bashir pointed out that Sudan has 175 million feddans of arable land, 118 million feddans of natural grassland nature and 102 million head of livestock as well as the permanent water resources and natural fisheries on the Red Sea.

The feddan is a unit of area equivalent to 1.038 acres (0.42 ha).

The Sudanese President, who addressed the opening session of the 3rd Arab Conference for Agricultural Investment Monday in Khartoum, added that Sudan’s abundant resources could make a large development boom if properly used.

He stressed that his government has created a suitable environment for investment, pointing to infrastructure development and in particular the building of roads and water dams and provision of electricity.

For his part, Investment Minister Mudathir Abdel-Ghani said Sudan has offered 220 investment projects to achieve the Arab food security, pointing that Arab agricultural and livestock investment represents 85% of the total foreign investment in the two sectors.

He stressed that foreign investment in agriculture and livestock has risen to $13 billion, pointing it created 446,000 job opportunity in the agricultural sector.

The Chairman of investment at the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-Jinan Investment Company Mohamed al-Hallasi, for his part, demanded the Arab countries to establish two funds worth $20 billion to finance infrastructure projects and agricultural investments.

He pointed that his company would establish a large agricultural scheme in Sudan’s North State, saying they will plant 220 million palms by 2035 to produce 44 million tons of dates in order to manufacture 22 million tonnes of sugar to fill the annual shortage in sugar production in the Arab world which amounts to 11 million tonnes.

Al-Hallasi added they will also establish a calves fattening project that would export 240,000 heads of cattle in 2018 and reaches 8 million heads by 2035.

He stressed the two projects would employ 10 million Sudanese, describing Sudan as the first and logical option to achieve the Arab food security due to the availability of all natural advantages for the success of agricultural investment.

He called on the conferees to work with the Sudanese government to avoid all obstacles that hinder investment opportunities, asking them not to waste time and money on infeasible solutions.

The 3rd Arab Conference for Agricultural Investment is organised by Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID) under the Theme: “Our Food. Our Responsibility”.

The conference is the largest of its kind in the region organised to serve AAAID’s vision to reinforce Arab food security through agricultural investment and development.

It gathers more than 500 high-level stakeholders in the agricultural sector to enhance the investment climate, explore and promote investment opportunities and find sustainable solutions to investment challenges.

It is noteworthy that during the meetings of the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Riyadh in 2013, al-Bashir launched an initiative to achieve Arab food security through offering investment opportunities in agriculture and livestock in Sudan.

Once hoped to be the breadbasket of the Arab world, Sudan’s agricultural sector has continued to deteriorate over the years mainly as a result of negligence, drought, mismanagement, high taxes and the overall economic climate.

(ST)

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