The Sudan is an Arab state situated in northeast Africa, with a 530 miles coastline along the Red Sea. Its capital is Khartoum. The population is about 30 million (excluding the South Sudan), growing at an annual rate of about 2.55 percent. The country is divided into 17 decentralized states (wilayah), which are further divided into 133 districts.
Agriculture is the main economic sector contributing 39 per cent to the GDP and employing about 80 percent of the workforce. Livestock and fisheries are also important sectors. The main export crop is cotton although its volume has been declining in recent years. Also, this crop is being replaced by sorghum, wheat and groundnuts in the interest of food security.
The Sudan is divided into several zones namely desert, semi-desert, low rainfall savanna, high rainfall savanna, flood, and mountain vegetation. The Gezira agricultural irrigation system, located between the Blue and the White Nile rivers, is considered as the largest project of its kind in the world. In addition,, there are seasonal rivers and water courses, and groundwater. Irrigated and rain-fed areas have good farming but semi-desert areas confront sand storms, and their nomadic population keeps traveling with its herds of sheep and camels. Land tenure is a serious issue both in cultivated and pasture areas.
Key Statistics and Indicators
Agricultural land (sq km)
Agricultural land (% of land area)
Arable land (hectares)
Arable land (% of land area)
Arable land (hectares per person)
|Fertilizer consumption (Kg per hectare of arable land)||7.86||2009|
Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)
Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)
Food exports (% of merchandise exports)
Food imports (% of merchandise imports)
|GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)||1270||2010|
Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)
Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)
Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)
Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)
Internet users (per 100 people)
Population density (people per sq. km of land area)
Rural population (% of total population)*
Agricultural population (% of total population)*
Total economically active population in agriculture*
Total economically active population in agriculture (%
of total economically active population)
Female economically active population in agriculture (% of
total economically active population in agriculture)*
History of Extension and the Enabling/Disabling Environment
The famous Gezira Scheme was initiated in 1925 over two million hectares, mostly focusing on irrigated agriculture where extension played an active role. After independence in 1956, USAID assisted the government in establishing agricultural extension services. The country has tried a number of extension approaches including commodity approach, Training & Visit system, community development, and Farmer Field School (FFS). The extension services in the Sudan are entirely public. Main providers of extension services are the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries. Only in some states, where donor-funded projects were or are being implemented, certain NGOs—such as Plan Sudan—receive project funding to perform extension activities within the framework of particular projects. Their operations, however, stop as soon as the projects end. The private sector is engaged in selling farm inputs and as such casually instructs producers in applying those inputs, but it is not involved in extension work in a major way.
The government is keen to convert its agriculture sector into an agri-business entity and attaches great importance to the strengthening of extension services. Changing farmers’ organizations into producers’ associations is evidence of that interest. Agriculture sector which was relatively ignored after the advent of oil many years ago has now become one of the top priorities due to the loss of considerable oil sources and revenues resulting from the creation of South Sudan. Among a number of programs under the Agricultural Revival strategy formulated by the government a few years ago, one program focuses on “enhancing the capacity of technology transfer and extension services using the village as a centre for providing services and agricultural knowledge, in addition to introducing and adopting successful technologies aiming at increasing the productivity and improving the quality of products”.
A national extension policy and strategic action plan have been developed in 2012 with the assistance of FAO under the European Union funded Sudan Productive Capacity Recovery Program (SPCRP-CB). The objective of these activities is to introduce a demand-driven, pluralistic and gender-sensitive extension system in place of the existing top-down, supply-driven extension services. The Program is scheduled to end in December 2012.
The Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) has been providing assistance in establishing schools for rural women in the Khartoum State.
Major Institutions Providing Extension/Advisory Services
Technology Transfer and Extension Administration (TTEA), Ministry of Agriculture
At national level, the Technology Transfer and Extension Administration is responsible for agricultural extension matters. The objectives of TTEA include the development of agriculture; improvement in the production quality; enhancement of farmers’ income through rational exploitation of natural resources; comprehensive human prosperity via profitable, sustainable agriculture; and making agricultural products competitive in international markets with the aim of assuring food security and increasing agricultural revenues.
The mandate of the TTEA covers the transfer of research-endorsed technologies to the farmers for adoption; development of agricultural institutions; mobilization and participation of stakeholders including farmers, financiers, scientists, private input dealers, service providers, marketing specialists and agricultural practitioners in the process of agricultural development.
The TTEA comprises Seed Division (seed certification, monitoring of seed import and export, development of seed production and processing, and technical advice on seed matters), Agricultural Engineering Division (technology transfer, farm machinery feasibility tests, training in the use of machinery, encouraging local manufacturing of machinery and tools, adapting modern irrigation equipment to local conditions, resolving issues related to post-harvest agricultural products, upgrading of agro-based and cottage industries, and promotion of locally available intermediate technologies), Agricultural Information Division (production of radio and television programs in support of extension, coverage and documentation of formal training events, field days, festivals, etc., and organization of permanent exhibition to diffuse information of interest to producers and investors), Agricultural Extension Division (extension research studies, evaluation of extension events, support to states’ extension programs, capacity building of extension staff and other stakeholders, improving rural livelihoods, field supervision, institutional coordination, and exchange of Sudanese experiences nationally and internationally), and Human Resources Development Division (organization of training activities at various levels). Each division is headed by a director. The TTEA also maintains a Technology Transfer Center and relevant Station whose mandate is to transfer technical information to stakeholders including farmers.
General Directorate of Extension, Technology Transfer and Pastoralists’ Development, Federal Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries
The General Directorate of Extension, Technology Transfer and Pastoralists’ Development is responsible for extension matters related to livestock owners, pastoralists and fishermen. The Directorate runs its grassroots programs based on the needs of pastoralists, animal owners, producers and fishermen. It develops strategies and programs of animal resources sector that concentrates on livestock, trans-boundary and zoonotic disease control, in addition to the promotion of animal production and fisheries. The Directorate conducts extension needs assessment surveys, collects technical information from researchers and converts it into simple extension messages, runs field campaigns in collaboration with stakeholders to create ecological awareness among producers, organizes grassroots capacity building programs for pastoralists, participates in rural development and poverty alleviation programs, and makes use of mass media in support of its mandate.
The Directorate comprises three departments, namely Extension and Technology Transfer (has field extension division and research and technology transfer division); Pastoralists’ Development (has pastoralists organizations division and pastoralists services division); and Communication and Documentation (has video and montage division and audio materials division). The Directorate also has a Technical Unit with six (6) veterinary staff.
State Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries
There are Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries, located in each of the 17 states of the country, which have their own extension services. At least in one state, both ministries have been merged to form a single ministry.
Table 1: Human Resources in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s Extension System
|Major categories of extension staff||Secondary school diploma||2 to3-year Agriculture diploma||B.Sc.||M.Sc. /Eng. Agriculture||Ph.D.|
|Senior management staff||3||3||3||4||5||12||4||22||1|
|Subject-matter specialists (SMS)|
|Field-level extension staff||45||13||20||243||109||25||39||1|
|Information, communications & technology (ICT) support staff||7||39||34||11||19|
|In-service training staff|
|Total staff: 656||52||16||24||287||155||40||80||2|
Source: IFPRI/FAO/USAID/IICA; Worldwide Extension Study, 2011
Table 2: Human Resources in the Federal Ministry of Animal Resources & Fisheries’ extension system
|Department||Type of staff||Number of staff|
|Extension & Technology Transfer||Veterinary||11|
|Communication & Documentation||Extension Technician||9|
Source: Hand-written information given by the Director General, Federal Technology Transfer & Extension Administration during an FAO consultancy mission to Sudan in March, 2012
Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC)
The Agricultural Research Corporation is the main public semi-autonomous organization for agricultural research, under the Ministry of Agriculture. Although the corporation has a Technology Transfer and Extension Division yet it does not run any significant extension programs except for sporadic research outreach activities in farmers’ fields.
The Sudan is known for having a large number of universities scattered all over the country. The two major ones, whose contribution to extension is mainly in the area of training, are as follows:
- Sudan University of Science and Technology, College of Agricultural Studies, Extension and Rural Development Department
- University of Khartoum, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development
The extent of private companies’ involvement in agricultural extension does not go beyond their instructions on applying farm inputs, which are printed on labels of containers or verbally told by salesmen to the producers.
- Crop-life Africa & Middle East and the Sudanese Agrochemicals Association cooperated with the TTEA in organizing a Training of Trainers course in the use of pesticides in 2010.
- In Kassala State, the TTEA and Plan Sudan (NGO) have collaborative activities in El-Gash Agricultural Project.
- MADRE (an NGO) in partnership with a community-based organization, Zenab for Women in Development, launched Women Farmers Unite, Sudan’s first and only women farmers’ union. The union provides seed, tools and training to its members.
About 40 percent farmers belong to some sort of farmer or producer organizations. These organizations play key roles in farmer-to-farmer extension activities, influencing extension policy, assessing extension performance, and helping in setting extension priorities.
Many villages in several States have rural women’s groups who are mostly supported by NGOs. The groups are especially successful in dairy processing, and are active in poultry and fisheries. The Gender Mainstreaming in Development Unit of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture organizes frequent capacity building activities for rural women through its gender focal points that are present in all states.
List of Extension Providers
The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Sudan. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.
Training Options for Extension Professionals
Pre-service education and in-service training in extension is provided by all major universities which have faculties of agriculture and/or livestock. The examples are Sudan University of Science and Technology, and University of Khartoum, both located in Khartoum. The University of Khartoum’s Development Studies and Research Institute (DSRI) http://dsri.UofK.edu/index , and Shambat Agricultural Training Center (Tel.: (249) 123789191) also offer training programs. In the area of research, Veterinary Research Institute and Agricultural Research Corporation organize training activities. The Technology Transfer & Extension Administration also organizes training programs for the extension staff.
The Sudan Productive Capacity Recovery Program-Capacity Building (SPCRP-CB/Sudan) Program (OSRO/SUD/622/MUL) is funded by the European Union and executed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Government of Sudan. It started in 2007 and is scheduled to end in December 2012. The six-year project has been providing valuable training to extension professionals and other agricultural staff.
Names and addresses of certain private firms and individuals that offer training courses in agriculture, rural development, etc. are presented in Table 3.
Table 3: Private Firms and Individuals Offering Training in Agriculture and Rural Development in the Sudan
|1||Atbara Foundation for Development Consultant & Integrated Solution||
P.O Box 17
Khartoum 2, East Gurashi Park
Khartoum; Tel.: (249)912270553
|4||International Training & Consultancy Centre||
Obaid Khatim St.
P.O Box 6702, Khartoum
|5||Development Initiative Group||
P. O. Box: 2196
Bldg. 50, Block 1/2, Khartoum (3)
|6||International Center for Quality||Amarat District, St. Opp. Africa Road, Khartoum||www.icq-international.com|
|8||Top Center for training Consultancy & Quality Services||
P.O. Box 2159
Khartoum - Sudan
Info-mediaries and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension
The Technology Transfer and Extension Administration (TTEA) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has Agricultural Information Division which is responsible for production of radio and television programs in support of extension, for coverage and documentation of formal training events, field days, festivals, etc., and for the organization of permanent exhibitions to diffuse information of interest to producers and investors.
According to the World Bank, in 2010, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) in the Sudan was 40.53. During the same year, the number of Internet users (per 100 people) in the country was 10.16.
The total number of ICT staff in the Ministry of Agriculture is 109, which includes 95 in print and mass media, and 14 in computer-based information technology; all of them enjoy Internet access. The extent of the ICT use is reflected from the following figures: information bulletins and fact sheets (6,600); audio-visual education material for use by extension staff (30); extension materials and publications available on-line (40); television programs (four (4) per month); radio programs (30 per month). Lately, the “Ziraa Mobile (SMS) Service” has been introduced by TTEA through which SMS messages are sent to the producers containing technology packages and current prices of horticultural crops. To subscribe, the interested persons can dial 5084 on the Sudani Network or 1519 on the Zain Network, and send the code of the crop they want information on. The producers can also obtain needed information from the website www.ttea.gov.sd.
The General Directorate of Technology Transfer and Pastoralists’ Development of the Federal Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries also has Department of Communication and Documentation. The department comprises two Divisions: one for video and montage, and the other for audio materials. The divisions have necessary equipment like advanced video, digital cameras and Apple Macintosh computers. Weekly radio programs covering subjects of animal health, technology, pastures development and public health are broadcast through the National Broadcasting Corporation targeting pastoralists, animal owners, producers and fishermen. In addition, the General Directorate has established its own broadcasting studio in order to directly produce programs for wider coverage through the FM broadcasting station in Sudan. The Technical Unit produces a variety of extension materials including posters, brochures, stickers, booklets and documentary films.
There are many government and private institutions in the Sudan that provide training in ICT/ICM. Good example of an active program is the Information and Communication Technologies Programs Coordination Council (ICT-CC) of the Sudan Academy of Sciences (SAS), http://www.sas-sd.net, Ministry of Science and Technology, http://www.most.gov.sd. The ICT-CC was established in 2004 and its main tasks are to coordinate different capacity building skills and research programs in ICT in the country for social and economic development. It collaborates with the following Institutions to perform its tasks:
- Informatics Industry Sector, Ministry of Science and Technology
- National Centre for Research
- Documentation and Information Center (Registrar Office and Laboratory)
- Remote Sensing Authority
- Agricultural Research Corporation (the NARIs of the Sudan and Coordination Council for Agricultural Research Programs in the Sudan Academy of Sciences- SAS as well as the Focal Point of national, regional and international agricultural information networks/systems)
- National Corporation for Telecommunication
- Sudatel, the largest telecommunication company in the Sudan and the region
- Miraag for Space Technologies Company
- Kuch Company
- National Centre for Information
Resources and References
Eltayeb, M.E. 2005. Agricultural Extension in Sudan; Policies and Reality; the Case of Khartoum State. Master’s Thesis No. 27. Uppsala Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Khalil, A.H. Agricultural Extension in the Sudan. 2004. Country Paper presented at the FAO Regional Workshop on Options of Reform for Agricultural Extension in the Near East; 2-4 October; Amman, Jordan
Ministry of Agriculture, Sudan. 2008. Agriculture Revival Program
National Council for Strategic Planning, Sudan. 2007. The Five-Year Plan (2007-2011)
Qamar, M.K. 2012. Participatory development of national agricultural extension policy and strategic action plan for the Sudan. Consultancy Report prepared for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, under The Sudan Productivity Capacity Recovery Program (SPCRP-CBN)
Do you have corrections or additions to this article? Please use the commenting feature below to submit your contribution. And please be specific, point out what is missing, what is wrong, or what needs to be updated.
We will then incorporate your contribution into the main text.
- Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (June 2012)
- Edited by Burt E. Swanson
- The latest information on extension organization was provided by Dr. Adil Yousef, Director-General, Technology Transfer and Extension Administration, Khartoum.
- The information on private training institutions was provided by Ms. Omelnisa El Fakei, National Specialist in Rural Development, EU/FAO project OSRO/SUD/622/MUL.