The Sudan has been a priority country for IFAD since 1979. To ensure a balanced allocation of public resources to the agricultural sector, IFAD's activities in the country target areas in which there is a concentration of poor rural people.
In the first half of the 1980s, IFAD's work in the Sudan focused on rehabilitation of the irrigated farming sector. Later, the emphasis shifted towards developing the traditional rainfed farming sector. Today, the country programme focuses on agriculture, livestock and forestry in rainfed areas, targeting smallholder crop producers and subsistence farmers, pastoralists and smallholder agropastoralists, rural women and young people.
Although some operations have been hindered by more than two decades of political strife and armed conflict in the Sudan, they have demonstrated how appropriate incentives can significantly improve agricultural production and consolidate peace initiatives. IFAD has adapted its strategy to the conflict situation, and its programme in the Sudan has adapted to successive shifts in government policies and priorities.
The country programme takes into account the significant economic and social changes brought about by the secession of South Sudan following a prolonged conflict, with negative impacts on agriculture and the rural population. In broad terms, IFAD supports efforts by the Government of the Republic of the Sudan to improve the incomes and food security of poor rural people as part of a comprehensive development and peace-building process. In particular, IFAD aims to help:
- Enhance productivity of crops, livestock and forestry in rainfed farming systems, and make them more resilient
- Increase poor rural households' access to sustainable rural finance services, markets and profitable value chains.
In addition, IFAD supports the government's efforts to promote decentralization and strengthen local governance of natural resources, as part of its commitment to reducing rural poverty and building social and economic stability. In line with the government's decentralization policy, IFAD's programme in the Sudan helps to empower local communities, protect and assert traditional rights to resources, and promote good local governance. Local management of land and water rights is an important feature of IFAD-funded projects.
In fact, all of IFAD's operations in the Sudan feature community-based and community-driven processes. Programmes and projects work with local people to ensure food security and income from agriculture within a framework of sustainable natural resource management.
Establishing self-reliance is an essential aim of these operations. IFAD-supported activities encourage community members to form their own organizations to manage credit services, bringing together a broad range of community members from different socio-economic groups. They actively involve women in the development process, as well, working to ensure representation of women in grass-roots organizations and on project management teams.
Programmes and projects financed by IFAD have helped increase agricultural production and have provided crucial infrastructure. The programme in the country will continue to target rural poor people in the rainfed sector.