Translated By: Dr. Belgees Fagier
Khartoum, March 16 (SUNA) - The United Nations announced that this year 2023 is “International Year of Millets (IYM 2023) to create more awareness with importance of producing and consuming millet that is considered a useful food for human health besides the low cost of its cultivation.
Through the International Year of Millets, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hopes to stimulate interest in millet among various stakeholders, including farmers, youth and civil society, and encourage governments and policy makers to prioritize production and trade in this grain.
In Sudan, millet comes after sorghum directly in terms of area and production and its annual average cultivated area amounts to some 6 million feddans, 95% of this area is cultivated in the western states of Sudan of Kordofan and Darfur, then Gedaref, Kassala and Blue Nile.
Member of the Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC) Al-Tahir Abu-Bakr Hajar said in a workshop titled, “Millet Crop: Opportunities and Challenges” organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests recently, that the United Nations’ selection of millet crop as the crop of this year, 2023, should be a motive for those in charge of agriculture in the country to double the effort to increase Sudan’s production of the crop.
Hajar affirmed the importance of the nutritional value of this strategic crop, pointing out that Sudan is one of the main millet-producing countries such as India and China, stressing the need to redouble efforts to increase the productivity of an acre of millet through the use of modern technologies, praising the scientific methodology followed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in increasing production and productivity.
The TSC Member stressed that Sudan owns large resources in the fields of agriculture and animal resources that qualify it to assume leading regional and international role in the field of food security.
On his part, acting Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Abu-Bakr Omer Al-Bushra, said that his ministry has developed a strategic plan to increase the country's production of millet, as it is one of the food crops on which large numbers of Sudanese society depend, pointing out that the last season witnessed production of 8 million tons of millet, indicating that Sudan, with its capabilities, could be at the forefront of millet exporting countries.
The head of the annual millet festival initiative in Nyala, Ashraf Ahmed Saad affirmed that millet is of special importance to the people of Darfur due to its economic, social, and cultural dimensions, in addition to its use in many kinds of food industries.
He said that one of the festival's goals is to preserve human heritage, especially since Darfur has vast, rain-fed agricultural lands suitable for cultivation that they would work to reform after overcoming the challenges represented technology transfer, financing, and seeds provision in order to contribute to the economic recovery.
He noted that there are new partnerships that support and develop millet cultivation, such as the Indian Embassy in Khartoum and the Sudanese Arab Company for Seeds, adding that the International Year of Millet would be celebrated in Nyala, where the Indian Ambassador to Khartoum, Mr. Bawa Sayed Mubarak, affirmed that the embassy would cooperate with South Darfur State to promote the International Year of Millets.
FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said at the opening ceremony of the International Year of Millet recently that millets can play an important role and “contribute to our collective efforts to empower smallholder farmers, achieve sustainable development, eliminate hunger, adapt to climate change, promote biodiversity, and transform agrifood systems.”