Sudan is the largest country in
Africa. Half of its 30 million
inhabitants live on about 15% of
the land (1). Vegetation ranges from
equatorial forest in the south to
desert in the north, and semi-arid
plain in the rest of the country.
This plain is bounded by
mountains and high plateaus on
the countries western, southern
and northeast boundaries. Tropical
continental climate extends over
most of the Sudan. Average rainfall
is less than 25 mm in the north
and increases to 1500 mm in the
southern mountains. Temperatures
range from 17°C in January to
47°C in April and May.
Figure 1: Preparation and mixing of cow-dung bricks.
Photo: Practical Action.
The River Nile and its many tributaries yearly deposit fine sand, silt and clay along their banks.
The raw material clay was the first to be utilized for the production of ordinary red brick and
roofing tiles(2) where the rivers and streams were close to consumption centres.
The quality of products, depending on prevailing socio-economic factors in the country,
fluctuated from time to time. Going back into history it is interesting to note that World War II
in the 1940's and Sudan's independence from British rule in 1956 and the human migrational
movements which accompanied these two times periods have quite obviously influenced the
manufacture of production tools, methods, and local skills and know-how in the country.
The main constraint faced by traditional brickmakers nowadays is energy cost which is at present
50 - 60% of total production cost. Energy inefficient clamps are used for firing the bricks with
fuelwood which is transported to the production sites from very far distances at very high cost.
95% of the national stock of bricks in Sudan is produced in clamps and the rest in the less
widespread Scotch and Bull's trench kilns. Other forms of kilns are being tried using furnace oil
and/or other types of fuels (3).
Soil Map of Sudan
Several soils have developed in Sudan because of differences in climate, nature of parent rock,
relief, drainage and vegetation. Desert sands occur in the north and west of Sudan. The low
mountain range along the Red Sea has immature semi-desert soils. Soils in the east are alkaline.
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