The World Food Programme will procure 200,000 tonnes of wheat for Sudan in 2021, in the second year of a programme that allows the country to help prevent shortages while preserving precious foreign currency reserves, a WFP official told Reuters.
The system agreed with the WFP last year allows Sudan to reimburse the organization for the wheat in local currency, and aims to help reduce the impact of frequent shortages of wheat, which have become common as Sudan suffers a protracted economic crisis. “We did that last year, just about 200,000 tonnes, and they’ve asked us to do the same this year, so we’ll do another 200,000 tonnes,” Marianne Ward, acting country head for Sudan, said in an interview.
“[The wheat programme] allows the government to keep their foreign exchange, and we get SDGs (Sudanese pounds) for our programmes,” said Ward.
Last month, Sudan devalued its currency as part of an IMF-monitored programme and is seeking foreign financing to help it build up foreign reserves.
The WFP buys the wheat in a competitive tender on the international market, Ward said, and delivers it to silos in Port Sudan where it is then processed by local millers.
Sudan consumes about 2 million tonnes of wheat per year, officials say. (Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir, editing by Nadine Awadalla and Louise Heavens)