The export of live animals is already an important contributor to Sudan’s economy. However, Dr Prof Musa Tibin Musa (MT), Minister of Livestock, wants to see more added value in the sector, through the development of a domestic meat processing industry
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LE: How much does the agricultural sector contribute to Sudan’s GDP?
MT: Sudan is a large country with nearly two million km2 of land and a variety of climates, which in turn creates diversity in wildlife. The sector currently contributes about 20% of GDP, mainly from exports of live animals to the Middle East and North Africa.
Each year, exports of meat and live animals increase, but the real opportunity lies in meat processing. There are high levels of exports of meat and live camels to the Gulf, where they are used for racing and breeding. Sudanese camels are very popular for racing, and stand up well against other breeds of camel. In Europe, camel meat is not popular yet because people haven’t had the chance to taste it. Therefore, we need to market our camel meat to Europe, which will help our future exports when the product gains acceptance there. Camels do not contract diseases such as foot and mouth and this is an advantage of the species.
LE: What would you recommend to foreign companies looking to find strategic partners with local representatives, in order to export processed meat instead of live animals?
MT: We need more technology. If European companies come to Sudan, they can take advantage of the incredible resources, by creating added value in our sector, and also export to our neighbouring countries in the Gulf and Africa. Sudan has been used by China as its gateway into Africa, which has led to very good ties between both countries. These ties can also help to export our meat products to China in the future. Since the Chinese population is growing steadily, they will need more food, and meat is one of the products they will require more of in the future.
LE: Aquaculture is in its early developmental stage but has enormous potential to create an upward paradigm shift in the national fish production. What investments in aquaculture and aqua-processing are needed in order to increase output?
MT: Aquaculture could be a great industry in Sudan. It still needs to be developed and therefore we are looking for partners to take advantage of its enormous potential. With both the Nile River and the Red Sea, Sudan has a lot of water where aquaculture can be developed. We have 830km of coastline, with many different types of fish. Currently there is very little fish consumption and a regular fishing industry does not even exist yet. However, Europe has a lot of experience in fishing, which can be used here in Sudan to help develop the industry. With more boats, fishing nets and other basic material, we can start building up the sector. As Japan’s waters are overfished, they need to look for other resources for their fish consuming culture. Sudan has untapped resources that are at their disposal.
LE: What would be your dream project — one you would like to make happen during your tenure as Minister of Livestock?
MT: To have meat processing become one of the main industries in Sudan. With all the resources we have in livestock, it is a missed opportunity not to develop meat processing operations here. Our livestock is of premium quality. We produce biological meat, but have to attract the technology to build up the processing stage. If that can be done during my tenure, then I will be a very happy minister. The more value we add to our resources, the more the sector will contribute to GDP. This is my goal; to make the animal resources sector contribute more to Sudan’s economy, and to feed not only the local population but also our neighbours.
LE: What is your final message to investors?
MT: Sudan has a wide range of opportunities. We welcome investors to come to Sudan and invest in livestock and any of the other agricultural sectors.