SASAS: Moving Beyond Humanitarian Response in Sudan

Addressing immediate food security and setting the stage for long-term agricultural development and economic growth in Sudan


Sudan, a nation with a rich history of agricultural cultivation, faces chronic food insecurity due to social and geopolitical issues. With 80% of the labor force engaged in agriculture or pastoralism, the decline in agricultural productivity has severely impacted livelihoods and overall food security. 

In response to this dire situation, the Sustainable Agri Food Systems Approach for Sudan (SASAS) project was initiated. SASAS is a CIMMYT-led, broad-based consortium with USAID, as part of its Feed the Future initiative. The project aims to address the crisis through a modular and multi-crop approach to implementing and integrating agrifood systems that underpin food security, employment, and equity. 

The project is specially working to empower female farmers. As the conflict displaced many men from their households, women are now playing a crucial role in sustaining agricultural activities amidst the crisis. 

Since April 2023, the situation of the country has worsened, when an internal power struggle erupted into a large-scale conflict. This has displaced over 6 million Sudanese and left 18 million people (37% of the population) in high levels of food insecurity, with 5 million facing famine in the upcoming year. As a result, the project pivoted its focus to accommodate the change in situations in the country.


Holistic Support and Financial Resilience

SFSA joined the consortium of partners in June 2023, after the armed conflict started. In collaboration with Ebdaa Microfinance Bank and other partners, endeavored to deliver holistic support to smallholder farmers in Sudan. Central to this effort is the Farmers' Hubs, an agri-entrepreneur model refined by SFSA over the past eight years. The project also aimed at facilitating financial literacy campaigns focused on credit and insurance training and offering access to financing through Ebdaa Bank. Moreover, this financing is intricately linked to a weather index insurance component, a development spearheaded by SFSA, ensuring farmers' resilience in the face of climatic uncertainties.


Achievements of 2023

In 2023, the project narrowed its focus to three key implementation areas:

- Credit and Insurance: Ebdaa Bank provided financing to 2,000 farmers through direct finance and post-harvest financing, enabling them to access machinery, fertilizer, and other essential inputs.

- Agri Advisory and Seasonal Outlook Dissemination: Over 5,000 smallholder farmers received agri advisory services through high-touch and low-touch methods, ensuring they were equipped with essential information for agricultural productivity.

- Financial Literacy Campaigns: The project developed and translated financial literacy materials, incorporating innovative gamification tools for effective learning engagement, thus empowering farmers with financial knowledge.


Looking Ahead

As the SASAS project continues, it brings hope, resilience, and empowerment to the people of Sudan. It's not just addressing immediate food security issues but also setting the stage for long-term agricultural development and economic growth in the region. SFSA’s 2024 activities are very critical for ensuring sufficient food production to weather the ongoing armed conflict in the country, as they coincide with the farming season of 2024.