For more than 20 years the Sudan has been a priority country for IFAD. Since 1979 the organization has invested a total of US$251.4 million in financing for 19 programmes and projects of a total value of US$596.2 million.
To ensure a balanced allocation of public resources to the agricultural sector, IFAD's activities in the Sudan target areas in which there is a concentration of poor rural people. In the first half of the 1980s IFAD's work focused on rehabilitation of the irrigated farming sector. From the mid-1980s the emphasis began to shift towards developing the traditional rainfed farming sector.
Although some operations have been hindered by the prolonged conflict in the country, 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. IFAD supports the government's efforts to promote decentralization and strengthen local governance of natural resources as part of its commitment to reduce rural poverty and build social and economic stability in the country.
IFAD supports the efforts of the Government of the Republic of the Sudan to improve the living conditions, income and productivity of poor rural people as part of a comprehensive development and peace-building process. In particular, as the country emerges from civil war, the principal aim of IFAD's work is to tackle issues that underlie conflict and aggravate poverty by promoting support for the agricultural sector, improved land reforms, equitable distribution of resources, participation of local communities in decision-making and poor people's access to water and land.
In line with the government's decentralization policy, IFAD's programme in the Sudan helps empower local communities, protect and assert traditional rights to resources, and promote good local governance. Empowering local management of land and water rights is an important feature of IFAD-funded projects
IFAD's Country Strategic Opportunities Programme 2009–2012, approved in April 2009, highlights the organization's aim of building the financial and social asset base of poor rural people, supporting their capacities to adapt and their ability to influence policy decisions that affect them. The overall goal is to empower rural poor people so they can increase their food security, incomes and resilience to shocks.
The country programme will work to:
- Leverage opportunities for rural poverty reduction created by the peace agreement and by the central position that agricultural development occupies in the growth strategies of both governments
- Enable poor rural people to cope with the political risks related to continued civil and resource-based coflicts and with the environmental risks of climatic variability.
The programme's strategic objectives are to increase:
- Capacity of producers' organizations to participate in policy planning and monitoring for sustainable development
- Access of poor rural people to agricultural services such as inputs supply and technical advice
- Access of poor rural women and men to markets and microfinance.
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 all projects. Activities encourage community members to form their own organizations to manage credit services. Activities tend to bring together a broad range of community members representing different socio-economic groups, and they actively involve women in the development process. Through women-oriented activities, programmes and projects work 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 provide crucial infrastructure. IFAD's programme in the country will continue to target rural poor people in the rainfed sector