AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK, FISHERIES, AND FORESTRY
In the early 1990s, agriculture and livestock raising were the
main sources of livelihood in Sudan for about 61 percent of the
working population. Agricultural products regularly accounted
for about 95 percent of the country's exports. Industry was mostly
agriculturally-based, accounting for 15 percent of GDP in 1988.
The average annual growth of agricultural production declined
in the 1980s to 0.8 percent for the period 1980-87, as compared
with 2.9 percent for the period 1965-80. Similarly, the sector's
total contribution to GDP declined over the years, as the other
sectors of the economy expanded. Total sectoral activities, which
contributed an estimated 40 percent of GDP in the early 1970s,
had fluctuated during the 1980s and represented about 36 percent
in 1988 (see table 6, Appendix). Crop cultivation was divided
between a modern, market-oriented sector comprising mechanized,
large-scale irrigated and rainfed farming (mainly in central Sudan)
and small-scale farming following traditional practices that was
carried on in the other parts of the country where rainfall or
other water sources were sufficient for cultivation.
Large investments continued to be made in the 1980s in mechanized,
irrigated, and rainfed cultivation, with their combined areas
accounting for roughly two-thirds of Sudan's cultivated land in
the late 1980s. The early emphasis on cotton growing on irrigated
land had decreased. Although cotton remained the most important
crop, peanuts, wheat, and sugarcane had become major crops, and
considerable quantities of sesame also were grown (see table 7,
Appendix). Rainfed mechanized farming continued to produce mostly
sorghum, and short-fiber cotton was also grown. Production in
both subsectors increased domestic supplies and export potentials.
The increase appeared, however, to have been achieved mainly by
expanding the cultivated area rather than by increasing productivity.
To stimulate productivity, in 1981 the government offered various
incentives to cultivators of irrigated land who were almost entirely
government tenants. Subsistence cultivators produced sorghum as
their staple crop, although in the northerly, rainfed, cultivated
areas millet was the principal staple. Subsistence farmers also
grew peanuts and sesame.
Livestock raising, pursued throughout Sudan except in the extremely
dry areas of the north and the tsetse-fly-infested area in the
far south, was almost entirely in the traditional sector. Because
livestock raising provided employment for so many people, modernization
proposals have been based on improving existing practices and
marketing for export, rather than moving toward the modern ranching
that requires few workers.
Fishing was largely carried out by the traditional sector for
subsistence. An unknown number of small operators also used the
country's major reservoirs in the more populated central region
and the rivers to catch fish for sale locally and in nearby larger
urban centers. The few modern fishing ventures, mainly on Lake
Nubia and in the Red Sea, were small.
The forestry subsector comprised both traditional gatherers of
firewood and producers of charcoal--the main sources of fuel for
homes and some industry in urban areas--and a modern timber and
sawmilling industry, the latter government owned. Approximately
21 million cubic meters of wood, mainly for fuel, were cut in
1987. Gum arabic production in FY 1986-87 was about 40,000 tons.
In the late 1980s, it became in most years the second biggest
export after cotton, amounting to about 11 percent of total exports.
Data as of June 1991