FAO in Sudan

FAO Sudan Celebrated World Food Day amid Exceptional World Wide Incidents this Year (2020)


With events organised in over 150 countries around the world, World Food Day is one of the most celebrated days in the UN calendar. World Food Day 2020 (16 October) marks the 75th anniversary of FAO with the theme: “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future”. As Sudan is dealing with the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, floods and desert locust (the world’s most destructive migratory pest), FAO Sudan is celebrating the World Food Day this year in a very unique way. Each year there used to be a big festival, but according to the precautions of the covid-19 no gatherings to take place this year. The event is organized through other communication channels widely through the country. During the event of World Food Day FAO Sudan calls on all partners to build more resilient and robust food systems to help the Sudanese nation, and especially the most vulnerable to recover from the crisis of covid-19 and floods.

This year we celebrate the Food Heroes, farmers and workers throughout the food system, who are making sure that food makes its way from farm to table despite these challenging times, and call on the public to become food heroes themselves.

This World Food Day also provides an opportunity to thank our Food Heroes – farmers and workers throughout the food supply chain - who, no matter the circumstances, continue to provide food to their communities and beyond. In the early days of the pandemic, when shelves went empty; when fruit-pickers went missing; when markets fell silent, we realized how we were taking these services and the people that provide them for granted.

We are at a turning point in international efforts to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The year 2020 opens the Decade of Action to Deliver the Global Goals, to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. More than ever, we need innovative solutions and strong partnerships.

Equally urgent is the compounding threat of the pandemic on existing crises - such as conflict, natural disasters, climate change, pests and animal diseases. Sudan is at cautious period facing the desert locusts. There are many more situations where conflict and instability, now also exacerbated by COVID-19, are drivers for more serious hunger and acute food insecurity. The effects of the flooding in combination with the various shocks and threats, including desert locusts, faced by the Sudanese population has left many exposed to increased vulnerabilities and food insecurity. Without urgent livelihood assistance, already vulnerable populations are at risk of falling into more severe phases of acute food insecurity.

Food prices are expected to rise more and availability and access to food continues to be limited due to both COVID-19 related containment measures and the floods. This will worsen the food security of Sudanese farmers, particularly smallholders and vulnerable households who cannot afford to purchase food for their families or agricultural inputs to resume farming.

Preliminary results of the assessment estimate that the floods have affected almost 600,000 farming and pastoral households (2,988,445 people), of whom 42 % are female-headed, and resulted in the flooding of about 2.2 million ha of land and loss of 108,000 heads of livestock, belonging to 20,521 households. In addition to limiting movement and access to farms and agricultural inputs, the floods have also led to the loss of fishing gear and destruction of aquaculture farms; loss of agricultural inputs, tools and pumps; and destruction of agriculture and livestock service facilities.


FAO announced its’ immediate support by 70 million $ in support of the affected ones.


FAO’s 75 anniversary – evolution of the organization, agriculture:

This year’s World Food Day comes as FAO turns 75. FAO was founded on 16 October 1945 – some days before the United Nations itself - to further agricultural knowledge and nutritional wellbeing.  FAO’s foundation was given impetus by the devastation of WW2, which, among many millions of victims, saw many die from starvation. FAO was born in the wake of catastrophe.

 COVID-19 has made it abundantly clear that our mission is as relevant as when our founders created FAO in 1945; the pandemic has reminded everyone that food security and nutritious diets matter to all. FAO has more than 194 member states and works in over 130 countries worldwide. When FAO was founded, the crisis was one of production. FAO’s first years were largely focused on expanding the output of farms, boosting yields, supporting mechanization and irrigation schemes. Over subsequent decades, this vision became immensely more complex, enriched with environmental and sustainability concerns. A more holistic understanding of development set in. Until the mid-2010s, the world was making impressive progress in reducing hunger. But it has since been rising again. Conflict and extreme weather patterns were to be blamed, at least in part.

We also belief that this is an opportunity to transform our agri-food systems to become more resilient and efficient to achieve sustainable development.

What we now need is smart, systemic action to get the food to those who need it and improve it for those who have it. Action to prevent crops from rotting in the field, for lack of efficient supply chains. Action to enhance the use of digital tools and artificial intelligence, so as to predict threats to harvest, automatically trigger crop insurance and cut climate risk. Action to rescue biodiversity from relentless erosion. Action to turn cities into the farms of tomorrow. Action by governments to implement policies that make healthy diets more accessible. Action by agencies like mine to turn to think-tanks and action tanks rolled into one, linking up with the research community and the private sector to unleash the power of innovation.

We need to bring together data, big data, technology, innovation and good governance to achieve better production, better nutrition, better environment and better livelihoods. We need to enhance the use of digital tools and artificial intelligence, so as, for example, to predict threats to harvest, automatically trigger crop insurance and cut climate risk. We must transform the way in which food is produced, processed, traded, consumed, and wasted, to ensure that we can meet our future needs without degrading and depleting the biodiversity and other natural resources on which we all rely. On data and technologies: satellite imaging, remote sensing and mobile and block chain Apps have the potential to optimize food chains, increase access to nutritious foods, reduce food loss and waste, improve water management, fight against pests and diseases, monitor forests or prepare farmers for disasters.

It is worth mentioning here that FAO Representative to Sudan, have said recently during a public event that took place this week, that, “We need to mobilize resources and put all efforts together” said Babagana, that day when I met the farmers who were affected by the floods, they had nothing to eat!” he added.

Dr Babagana also indicated the need to act urgently to prevent the affected communities from adopting negative coping mechanisms such as borrowing and selling productive assets to access food as this would impact negatively on their livelihoods and make recovery difficult.