On the hoof: livestock trade in Darfur, Sudan
Researchers with Feinstein International Center explored what has happened to the livestock trade in the greater Darfur region during nine years of conflict since 2003. Livestock is one of Darfur’s main economic assets and makes a major contribution to Sudan’s national livestock and meat exports. The report On the hoof: livestock trade in Darfur, by Margie Buchanan-Smith and Abdul Jabbar Abdulla Fadul, is based on fieldwork in 2011. It documents how Darfur’s livestock trade has been negatively affected by the conflict, contracting in volume and losing competitiveness as trading costs have soared and as the quality of animals brought to the market has deteriorated. Physical market infrastructure has also deteriorated and the region has only one (poorly functioning) slaughterhouse in Omdurman near Khartoum. Such facilities (well functioning) could play a critical role in stimulating Darfur’s livestock trade and in efficiency gains, if livestock no longer had to be trekked on the hoof to Omdurman, especially during the dry season. A positive development, however, has been the flourishing trade in hides and skins in Darfur during the conflict years. The report makes several recommendations, firstly for immediate action to support the livestock trade in the current environment in Darfur, and secondly at policy level to support the recovery of Darfur’s livestock economy.