• Port Sudan

  • Thursday, February 1, 2024 at 7:47:39 AM
    Last Update : Monday, February 12, 2024 at 12:03 PM

Food Insecurity Looms in War-Torn Sudan

(AWP) - Sudanese teacher Abdel-Halim Ibrahim stands baffled inside a market in Port Sudan city as he tries to balance his limited funds with purchasing the goods his family needs, against a backdrop of crippling price hikes.

Ibrahim was forced to displace to the more secure port by the war that has been ongoing for 10 months between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), claiming thousands of lives and causing the displacement of more than 10 million people.

Like many others, Ibrahim has received no salary since April 2023, leaving him unable to afford essentials after prices surged, prompting experts to warn of a potential food crisis.

He says with sadness, “The price hike is oppressive. People cannot endure this at a time when all incomes have ceased. As a teacher, I haven’t received any salary since April. Everyone is looking for any source of income. Even if you get a job, you will not be able to cope with the high living costs.”

The traders discussed a decision by the Sudanese Finance Minister, Jibril Ibrahim in mid-January, to raise the customs dollar rate from 650 to 950 Sudanese pounds, warning the decision could limit their ability to import goods.

Trader Mahdy Ali, at his store in Port Sudan’s market, said, “All routes have been closed off for importers, which makes it difficult for traders to bring in and market goods. The existing merchandise is not enough for the entire state, and we have had to raise prices to be able to bring more goods in.”

Hamad Abdel-Hafiz, a member of Sudan’s National Chamber of Importers, warned that most importers are likely to refrain from importing if the tough conditions continue.

In statements to the Arab World Press (AWP), he said, “If importation stops, there will be a serious food security problem and many other problems such as with medicines and so on. No one will import anything.”

He noted, “We sincerely thank all importers who work under these tough circumstances and high risks. They have already incurred losses but out of their patriotic duty they continue the import process to avoid a gap in pharmaceuticals, petrol and all food items. Everyone is determined that there should be stability in the homeland.”

Teacher Ibrahim, like many of his peers, feels helpless in the face of an inability to secure an income, especially given the exorbitant rates of even the simplest items.

“Even if you want to have a vegetable salad, it will cost 3,000 [Sudanese pounds]. The most minimal meal could cost up to 5,000. Where should we get this from?” he complained.