FAO emergencies and resilience

In times of crisis, every seed counts

As conflict rages across Sudan, agriculture – a key pillar of food and income – is jeopardized for millions of people. Yet, some farmers have held the line. This photo series celebrates those farmers who cultivate against the odds to feed their families – and the nation.

A farmer and his two sons from Gonova village in Sennar State closely observe the growth of their sorghum crops, eagerly anticipating a fruitful harvest.

©FAO/Khalid Ali


The outbreak of conflict in Sudan has upended the lives of millions of people. As of now, Sudan has become the largest displacement crisis in the world, with over 9 million people fleeing under fire and flame.

Yet, some farmers are holding steady on their plots. And they have no small task. Amid a catastrophic economic crisis, market disruptions and critical input shortages, national agricultural production is expected to drop. This translates into eroded incomes and rising hunger.  

Smallholder farmers are not only the nation’s backbone of food security. Sudan once heralded the title of future breadbasket for all East Africa. But with nearly 18 million people facing crisis or worse levels of hunger, this accolade and people's lives are in jeopardy. Farmers’ contributions are now more valuable than ever. 

To support these farmers on the frontlines, FAO supplied 1 million farming households – 5 million people – with 10 000 tonnes of seeds in 16 out of the 18 states in Sudan. Our teams worked swiftly to ensure farmers could cultivate just in time for the critical planting season.

And the results of farmers’ perseverance are starting to show. Ahead of FAO’s latest publication demonstrating crop progress set for release in March 2024, we share some of the farmers’ smiling faces as they begin to witness the rewards. 

Children of Al Aydin village in Sennar State overflow with joy, while they playfully showcase their sorghum harvest. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

Farmers of Sharashra village, Sennar State, begin to witness a successful harvest, thanks to FAO’s time-critical support. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

Alhadi Ali, a farmer from Gonofa village, Sennar State, expressed that he was impressed by the quality of the seeds he received. This has so far led to a significant increase in his sorghum production. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

Nour Al Sham Al Habib, a farmer and a mother of eight from Al Dali and Al Mazmoum locality, Sennar State, supports her partner in cultivating their land to feed their family. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

Al Aydin village farmers and their families laugh, and snap photos in celebration of an abundant harvest. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

Elham Mohamed, a farmer and mother of four from Al Ramash Area, Sennar State, believes agriculture is the key to unlocking educational opportunities that weren’t available to her. With a determined spirit, Elham cultivates sorghum to grow a future for her children. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

Fadallah Moahmed, an Agricultural Inspector in Karkoj Administrative Unit, Sennar State, applauds the unit's accomplishment of planting 50 000 feddan with FAO’s support. This enriched 20 percent of the total land area. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

Salah Mohamed, a farmer from Al Suki locality, Sennar State, cultivated a total area of 5 feddan and expects a successful yield. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

Karkoj Administrative Unit community stands surrounded by their sorghum filed, as they evaluate the success of the harvest and its important contribution to food security. ©FAO/Khalid Ali.

More on this topic:

See the full photo album here.

FAO thanks its resource partners for their generous contributions to ensure every seed counts. In particular, the Governments of Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States of America, as well as the Central Emergency Response Fund and Sudan Humanitarian Fund, for their contribution to the 2023 seed distribution campaign; and the Government of Switzerland and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for their contribution to the ongoing 2024 campaign.