The ministry has a 10-year-old agreement with its counterpart in Sudan to raise animals and grow crops on a 250 million square metre area of land in Al-Jazeera state, southeast of Khartoum.

“The planned venture will be totally run by the private sector, but the government will keep its right to define the types and quantities of agricultural produce to be grown in Sudan,” says agriculture minister Muzahim Muhaisin.

Jordan’s Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development is expected to finish a study on how to develop the land before the end of July.

Other Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, plan to invest in Sudanese farms as a way of protecting themselves against high food prices.