Sudan’s ‘sudden’ peanut export ban baffles traders

nuts
nuts

What you need to know:

  • The government says it wants Sudan to process the nuts inside the country to earn more money.
  • The two main customers for Sudan’s peanuts were China and Indonesia.

Khartoum

Sudan has been a top producer of peanuts for so long that the nutritious variety is called the “Sudani” — but a government export ban has left traders reeling.

Rimaz Ahmed, commercial director of Abnaa Sayed Elobeid, one of Sudan’s major agricultural export companies, was stunned by the sudden decision of the trade ministry to ban the export of raw peanuts.

The government says it wants Sudan to process the nuts inside the country to earn more money.

China and Indonesia

But traders said they were not given time to prepare.

“It’s a shock because we were not warned,” Ahmed said, of the April 1 restrictions. “Overnight, we lost important markets. Immediately, India replaced us.”

The two main customers for Sudan’s peanuts were China and Indonesia.

On the wall of Ahmed’s office, a poster in English praising the crops — “Peanuts: a Culture with the Flavours of Sudan” — seems to be from another time.

Shock for many

The export ban was a shock for many in the African nation, which, according to the UN, is the fifth largest peanut producer, with 14 percent of world production.

Protein-rich peanuts, which are also called groundnuts, provide rural employment and much needed foreign exchange.

Before the trade ban, peanuts were Sudan’s fifth biggest international earner after gold, sesame, oil and livestock.

The decision comes at a tough time for the country.

Sudan has endured years of international isolation and sanctions, and is now emerging from decades of dictatorship.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.