24-February-2024

Sudan: Meeting Growing International Demand for Organic Products

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)— The Sudanese Center for Sterilization of Horticultural Exports (SCHE) is specialized in sterilization and exportation of the horticultural products, applying advanced technological operations with a view to the growing international demand for the organic horticultural products of which the Sudan enjoys preferential merits.

On the sidelines of the 20th Mango Festival that was held in Khartoum's Coral Hotel last Wednesday, SUDANOW had a chat with SCHE Manager Engineer Abdul Rahman Mohamed Abdul Majid who shed light on the objectives and accomplishments of his Center.

SUDANOW:- Would you brief us on SCHE?
Manager:- Established in accordance with the European specifications, the Center began operation in 2013. It is the first center of its kind in Africa and the Middle East and was accepted and accredited by the Jordanian agricultural quarantine which is an international body for environmental approval. The accreditation and authorization of the Center were approved by meetings of the Arab Economic Council of the Arab League in Sudan based on the quality guarantee that was accorded by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which visited the Center to verify the quality of its products and exports. This international license for exportation enables the Sudanese horticultural exports to flow in all parts of the world through the Center which has achieved a major breakthrough for the exports of the horticultural sector to Levant and other countries.

Q:-What are the objectives of the Center?
A:-It was established to fulfill satisfaction of the local and international customer and enlighten and encourage the producers and exporters of the horticultural products for production and exportation in accordance with the global quality standards. It is also aimed at enlightening the consumer and enhancing his taste for selecting the quality products, improvement of the image of the Sudanese horticultural products abroad, boosting their international competitive ability and opening new markets. The objectives of the Center also include contribution to local, regional and international economic solutions, importation and exportation of fruits, preparation of the horticultural exports, by washing sorting, sterilization and packaging in a high technology and by well-trained workers. SCHE sterilizes the horticultural exports against the fruit fly by exposure to a hot water vapor which destroys the fly by 100%. It is an internationally recognized method.

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Q:-What are the kinds of crops SCHE is engaged in?

A:-The Center is engaged in mango, banana, melon, dates, grape-fruit and muskmelon. It began with the mango because it is produced all year round, something which facilitates its exportation to the regional Arab, African and international markets. The Center also sterilizes onions, vegetables like tomatoes, lemon, etc.

Q:-What are your main export markets:
A:-The Center currently exports to Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Holland. It has received numerous calls from some European countries such as Britain and Greece while other Gulf States demand Sudanese exports of mango, melon and muskmelon. Sudan has many kinds of horticultural products which are exportable and are increasingly demanded like the just mentioned three kinds. The sterilization against fruit fly permits the entry of the Sudanese products into many countries, including Japan and China, because the Center fulfills the terms of all countries of the world for importation of mango. There is a plan for exportation of 150 tons of okra to Greece, Jordan and a number of Gulf States and agreement has been reached with farmers to supply this quantity. The Center is also planning to start exportation of Sudanese exports to Russia, Germany and Ukraine.

Q:-How is the exportation made to those countries?
A:-We have a partnership with the Turkish Airlines that carries the horticultural products to Istanbul which is the center from which the exports proceed to European countries.

Q:-What are the main local agencies that transact with the Center?
A:-The Center is on contract with UNISFA, UNAMID and UN for supplying them with fruits and vegetables. It also transacts with main shopping centers in Sudan (Afra'a, San'a mauls) where the products are sold in the same quality of the export and for lower prices.


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Q:-How much is the production capacity of the Center?
A:-Running on its design capacity, SCHE processes more than 3,000 tons of fruit per year which can earn around 10 million dollars from mango, let alone the other products.

Q:-How could you resume exportation of mango to Jordan?

A:This was made after application by the Center of the international standards for elimination of the fruit fly –which is the biggest obstacle to exportation of the horticultural products- and after a visit by the Jordanian Minister of Agriculture to the Center for verification of conformity with the international standards. Last week a consignment of 3.5 tons of mango was flown to Jordan of a total 100 tons which will be sent successively over a month's period. The Sudan mango stands as a powerful competitor in Jordan because its season lasts eight months.

Q:-What are the Center's future plans?
A:-The Center is contemplating the establishment of a big station for banana packing in the areas of production with a production capacity of 75 tons a day and cooling storage capacity of 150 tons.

Q:-What are the problems and obstacles facing the Center?
A:-There are no adequate quantities of fruits to meet the demand of other countries. There is a high demand for banana in the Middle East, for instance, while the Sudan is geographically so close to all demanding markets, like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States they import banana from the Philippines and Ecuador which are 45 days away by sea. Our present banana production meets only 10% of the demand of the neighboring markets. As for the mango fruit, the Sudan produces 37 kinds, but 85% of it is consumed in the food industries and only 15% is exported. The other problems we have include lack of funding, absence of agricultural awareness and poor post-harvest handling.

Q:-How about the solutions?
A:-The solutions call for provision of the funding and encouragement of the investors to engage in growing fruits. The National Horticultural Project has provided saplings funded by the Agricultural Bank. There is also the need for the infrastructure and packaging stations. I call upon the public and private sectors to contribute to increasing the exports for earning substantial foreign exchange proceeds as the chances for exportation are wide, considering the geographic position and the diverse climate.


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