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Sudan Looks to Nuclear Technology to Double Farmers’ Income, Grow Exports

Sudanese farmers in areas prone to drought now have a drought-tolerant peanut variety, which will improve their livelihoods and increase the country’s exports. This new variety has shown up to 27% improvement in yields while needing less water and has the potential to double farmers’ income. It was developed through nuclear techniques with the support of the IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Peanut, known as groundnut in this part of the world, is commonly pressed into oil or used in various local dishes including salads, soups and stews. Its cake, leaves and stems are popular for livestock feed. Sudan used to be one of the world’s top exporters of peanuts, but its ranking has fallen in recent years. Traditional, small-scale farming in Sudan’s western states produces 70% of the country’s groundnut supply. Since peanuts depend on rainfall to survive, devastating droughts in these regions have significantly affected farmers’ abilities to produce high yields. The government is now looking to regain its footing as a top exporter while improving the livelihoods of subsistence farmers. Achieving this goal requires a variety that can produce high yields in these drought-prone areas. After a decade of research at the Elobeid Research Station, Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry released a variety named Tafra-1 in 2018 and is now in the process of multiplying its seeds for large-scale distribution to farmers.