No Irrigation Water for Farmers in Northern El Gezira
Farmers in the north of the Khartoum-El Gezirah agricultural program are complaining of a severe shortages of water needed to irrigate their fields.
Farmer Mohamed Gusheiri told Radio Davanga that he could not pay the rent for “a regular motor thatpumps water from the White Nile orcanals”.
“After a failed summer harvest due to torrential rains and increased irrigation water requirements, wintercrops are now dying,” he lamented.
The water pump rental cost is currently SDG 40,000 (approximately US$68) per fedang (4,200 sqm), plushe needs fuel that costs SDG 14,000 to run the water pump.
In late September last year, Sudan’s Ministry of Finance, Economic and Planning announced new tariffs forirrigation water services. Farmers in the El Gezira farming scheme have to pay 6,000 SDG per fedang. Aspokesman for the Farmers Union of El Gezira and El Managil said at the time thatfarmers were unable topay the increased fees.
Spending on agriculture has increased significantly in recent years, mainly due to the removal ofsubsidies by the Ministry of Finance in response to requests from the World Bank. “The finance ministersaid at the time that the subsidy abolition would encourage inputs, but it did not materialize,” AhmedBabikar, general secretary of the El Gezirah and El Manajir Farmers Association, said in June. . “If thiscontinues, there will be no cultivation in El Gezirah.”
Heavy rains and floods in August affected at least his 90,000 feddan farmland in El Gezirah. ‘Load’
Developed by the British during colonial times, the El Guezira agricultural plan was once one of the largestirrigation projects in the world. Water from the Blue Nile was distributed through canals and channels to thepeasant lands between the Blue and White Nile rivers.
For nearly 80 years, the El Gezirah program remained the country’s sole foreign currency earner fromcotton farming. But in recent decades, cotton production has dwindled to less than his 100,000 acres.About a dozen of his cotton gins in El Guezira state have been forced to close. Exiled President Omar al-Bashir described the program in late 2014 as “a waste of the state’s budget.” A year later, the USD amended the El Gezirah Scheme Act to transfer land ownership to the private sector and foreign investors.
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