Muawad Mustafa Rashid
Groundnut (peanut) is a leguminous crop with a high nutritional and health value. It is one of the most important export crops of Sudan. Until very recent years Sudan topped other African countries in groundnut production and export.
Groundnut is an important source of calories necessary for human and livestock consumption. It enters into the manufacturing of many food products. It is a good source of edible oil and its residues and shells are processed into highly nutritional animal fodder.
Groundnuts flourish better in light sandy soil with good drainage. By that definition, most of Sudan’s arable lands are qualified to grow groundnuts. It is grown in both irrigated and rain-fed schemes in Sudan. The areas of Gezira, Gedarif, Kordofan, and Darfur in the West and the Blue and Northern Sudan plains grow much of Sudan’s groundnuts. By increasing the cultivated area and by exporting groundnuts in manufactured form, Sudan can earn a lot of badly needed hard currency, taking into consideration the wide gap in edible oils on the international market. When roasted groundnuts make pleasant crackers. Groundnut butter is widely used around the world as a food and important ingredient in many food industries.
Groundnuts are rich in several nutritional substances and antioxidants. This makes it very helpful for heart health. It is also an important source of energy and anti-cancerous substances. It reduces the level of sugar in the blood, thus reducing the possibility of contracting type 2 diabetes.
Groundnuts are anti-inflammatory and anti-viral and contain anti-aging properties. It is an antidote against slimming. Here a big spoon of groundnuts five times a week can help increase weight. Equally, moderately taking groundnuts can reduce weight, by cutting fats. Mono-saturated fats contained in groundnuts help cut cholesterol in the blood.
Groundnuts also contain resveratrol that increases the flow of blood in blood vessels, thus reducing the possibility of apoplexies. In addition, groundnut motivates the production of female and male hormones, thanks to its high content of niacin. Taking groundnuts regularly helps guard against Alzheimer’s as well as activates the nervous system and enhances the health of bones.
Nutrition-wise, groundnuts contain vitamin B Complex, vitamin E, zinc, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, folic acid, choline, selenium, fibers, and several other nutritional substances.
Its richness in antioxidants helps protect the body from heart and blood vessels disease and cancer. A scientific study has revealed that taking a regular 200 grams of groundnuts reduces the formation of gallbladder stones.
Though groundnut has a high rate of proteins, it is advised not to take it in excess, because of its high rate of calories.
Transitional Government Moves to Revive Groundnuts Sector
The Sudanese government has revealed its intention to form a council of Groundnuts similar to those formed for Gum Arabic and cotton.
Sudan is considered one of the most important exporting states of groundnuts, but this sector is facing several complications on top of which is the speculations which affect the small producers.
Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources announced the formation of the groundnuts crop to reform this sector through providing the required finance to the small producers, calling for finding out acceptable formulas to allow for such funding.
The agricultural sector is the only way out for Sudan to overcome its crises a matter that requires more attention to this sector through availing all the required capabilities.
One of the main problems of groundnuts is that most of the production is exported a matter that affects the small producers.
A study conducted by the agriculture and livestock chambers of the Sudanese Businessmen Union has concluded that Sudan can collect the worth of $6 Billion in groundnut export proceeds if the commodity’s production is promoted.
A conference organized recently by the Sudan Businessmen Union and its two affiliate chambers deliberated upon the promotion of groundnut production, manufacturing, and marketing to achieve the returns in the hard currency indicated in the study… Sudan had used to rank high in the world list of its producers and exporters. But this position of Sudan has retreated in recent years with the country now ranking fifth among groundnut producers. China tops the world countries in this commodity’s production. In 2019 Sudan earned 205.7 million dollars from groundnut exports.
The groundnut conference was mainly concerned with uplifting agricultural activity in Sudan, starting with the economically crucial groundnuts, according to the chairman of the agriculture and livestock chambers, Engineer Ahmed Abdelrahman Aldooma, adding that the area now cultivated with groundnuts does not exceed 8,250,000 acres in both the rain-fed and the perennially irrigated areas, with an average output that does not exceed 200 kilograms of groundnut per acre.
“With a little use of farming technology we can increase productivity per acre in a way that affects a radical change in groundnut output and agricultural output in general,” he said.
According to the experts who attended the conference, it is the first time for a conference of this magnitude to be held in Sudan, which was prompted by the vast challenges and suffering endured by the farmers and the huge deterioration in the groundnut sector.
The conference was aimed at discussing the problems facing groundnut production to find remedies for them in a bid to achieve the aspired agricultural renaissance.
Chairman of the Sudan Businessmen Union Hashim Salah Hassan Matar said the conference was part of the private sector’s endeavor to support the transitional period of Sudan through the promotion of the agriculture sector to address the structural problems of the economy and narrow the gap in the country’s trade balance.
Groundnut production is seeing yet another boost when the North Kordofan agricultural research unit at the city of El-Obied produced drought-resisting groundnut seeds with assistance from the International Atomic Energy Agency, in collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Experimentation on the project had started two years ago in Kordofan (Midwest of Sudan), a district experiencing a wave of drought and which produces 70 percent of the country’s groundnut output.
Groundnut, also known by the scientific name Arachis hypogaea, grows up between one to three feet high with a yellow flower and stalks that dangle towards the soil. Its long pods (with each containing two to three grains) mature inside the soil.
Groundnut is rich in fats (44-56 percent) and for this much of it is pressed into cooking oil around the World. The crop enters into a lot of industries and food substances in the form of groundnut butter and roast and boiled groundnut.
It is also a good source of protein and contains 22-30 percent of calories.
Groundnut is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals of sorts that include pectin, vitamins B3, B9, and H, in addition to the content of copper and manganese.
It is also used as animal fodder and soil fertilizer. Efforts are being made to open markets in East Asia and India, to join the research and marketing centers in which Sudan participates in China, Malaysia, and a number of universities in Asian countries, in addition to allowing international and regional companies to import directly from Sudan, and invest with the national private sector in the groundnuts industries. Efforts are complementary, Sudan gathers its forces, and African endeavors are united to advance this important strategic commodity.