Chinese and Sudanese experts visit a cotton demonstration center of CSI (Xinhua)
Sudan's agriculture, the second largest economic backbone of the country, was previously restrained by limited productivity and lack of technologies. In recent years, China has provided advanced technologies to Sudan in order to help it revitalize its agriculture industry.
China began to offer a new round of technical assistance to Sudan in 2008. China Shandong International Economic & Technical Cooperation Group Ltd. (CSI) and Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences established an agricultural technology demonstration center to help Sudan raise its agricultural productivity.
The cotton yields were 50 to 70 kg per mu (a unit area used in China equals to about 0.067 ha) due to poor resistance to pests. The demonstration center developed new cotton strains that are more resistant to pests and increased the yields to 200 to 300 kg per mu, said Qu Lei, director of the center.
In 2018, the CSI helped plant a total 210,000 mu of cotton in Sudan. It provided jobs for more than 50,000 locals and lifted 5,000 families out of poverty.
A Sudanese who worked in the cotton factory said that many local farmers like him couldn't find jobs and struggled to support their families in the past. They are better off since Chinese enterprises began providing stable jobs and relatively high salaries.
Cotton growers saw an average income increase of over 80 percent, said a Sudanese manager. He mentioned that after working with Chinese technicians, a cotton farmer not only moved to a new house, but also had savings to send his kids to schools.
China has also trained professional technicians to help Sudan sustain its agricultural development. Qu said that the center has trained 720 local agro-technicians and taught over 5,000 cotton growers how to operate the equipment in the fields.
Agriculture accounts for 46 percent of Sudan's total GDP. It is expected to grow stronger with the help of China and support the national economy, said Babikir Osman, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Sudan.