Approximately one-third of the total area of Sudan, the largest country of the African continent, is suitable for agricultural development and heavier rainfall in the south permits both agriculture and herding by nomadic tribes.
In the early 1990s, agriculture and livestock
(Farming in the Nuba mountains)raising were the main sources of livelihood in Sudan for about 61 % of the working population.
Agricultural products in total account for about 95 % of the country's exports. In 1998 there was an estimated 16.9 million hectares (41.8 million acres) of arable land and app. 1.9 million hectres of land set aside for irrigation, primarily in the north of the country along the banks of the Nile and other rivers.Cash crops grown under irrigantion in these areas include cotton and cottonseeds, which is important in the economy of the country. Amongst other products there are seame, sugarcane, peanuts, citrus fruit, tomatoes, , mangoes, coffee and tobacco.Cotten is the principal export crop and an integral part of of the country's economy and Sudan is the world's third largest producer of sesame after India and China.
The average annual growth of agricultural produuction declined in the 1980s to 0.8 p.c. for the period 1980-1987, as compared with2.9 p.c. for the period 1965-1980. Similarly the setor's total contribution to GDP declined over the years, as the sector of the economy expanded.Total sectoral activities, which contributed an estimated 40 p.c. of GDP in the early 1970s had fluctuated during the 1980s and represented about 36 p.c. in 1988.
Irrigation of the Nile Delta.
By 1991 only partial surveys of
Sudan's land resources had been made, and estimates of the areas included in different landuse categories varied considerably . Figures for potentially arable land ranged from an estimate of 35.9 million hectares made in the 1960s to a figure of 84 million hectares published by the ministry of Agriculture and natural resources in 1974. Estmates of the amount actually under cultivation in the late 1980s , ranging from 7.5 million hectares, including roughly 10 or 11 p.c. in fallow , to 12.6 million hectares.