Sudan has surprised its international customers by banning the export of raw peanuts.
The country is one of the world's leading peanut producers, but has decided it wants to process raw nuts within the country and export what it claims will be more profitable secondary products.
Many of Sudan's leading exporters companies were wrongfooted by what they said was a sudden move.
**'It's as if France banned the export of wine overnight' **
Rimaz Ahmed, Commercial Director of Abnaa Sayed Elobeid says they were given no warning at all:
"We, as an exporting company, were very surprised by the decision because there was no advance notice for us in an appropriate period in order to prepare.
"There were many contracts in effect and we were supposed to fulfil goods and so on, and the decision for us was very shocking and surprising.
"It is as if France banned the export of wine overnight, or if Italy stopped selling its spaghetti abroad,"
The export ban is particularly striking given that, with 14 percent of world production according to the United Nations, Sudan is the fifth biggest producer of peanuts globally.
The two main customers for peanuts from Sudan were China and Indonesia.
**A big earner **
Sudan produced 1.5 million tonnes in 2019, worth US$ 205 million, according to central bank statistics, up from US$ 59 million earned in 2018.
Trade Minister Madani Abbas Madani defended halting of exports which he claimed would "maximise the market value of peanuts and the added value of Sudanese products, in light of climate change which affects the quality."
Before the ban, peanuts were Sudan's fifth biggest international earner, after gold, sesame, oil and livestock.