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Crop failures predicted in eastern Sudan

January 3 - 2018 EL GASH / EL GEDAREF
File photo
File photo

Farmers of El Gash agricultural project in Sudan’s Kassala predict the failure of the winter agricultural season due to drought, government neglect, and a lack of harvest workers. El Gedaref farmers fear a similar failure.

Farmer Ahmad Hassan told Radio Dabanga that the productivity of 10 acres has fallen to four sacks of sorghum instead of dozens in the previous seasons.

He accused the authorities of neglecting the project and failing to do its duty to clean the water channels of silt and musket trees which led to the agricultural land drying-up.

The farmer said that the poor production has led to the reluctance of workers to harvest sorghum in the project. He said most farmers have turned their farms to pastures for livestock because of the high cost of harvesting and low productivity.

Failure predicted

The failure of agriculture in El Gash was already predicted in August 2017: Activist Mohamed Seyidna complained to Radio Dabanga that the recommendations of the conference on the development of Wagar (Delta), Hamishkoreib, Aroma, and Telkok localities, which was held in January 2016, “are locked in the state government drawers”.

Seyidna said that the hospitals built in the area with the support of the Eastern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund(ESRDF) have not been opened so far because of the lack of staff and medical equipment. He further pointed to the “terrible situation of education” in the region.

“The main canals of El Gash Agricultural Project have not been cleaned again before the rainy season,” the activist stated at the time. “This will most probably lead to the failure of the current agricultural season.”

Funds

The ESRDF was established to implement the wealth-sharing arrangements of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA), Khartoum signed with the Eastern Front rebel alliance in October 2006.

In the peace agreement, the social, political, and economic marginalisation of the people of eastern Sudan was given as the core reason for the conflict in the region. It covered political issues; economic, social, and cultural issues; and security arrangements for Eastern Front ex-combatants.

The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey (SAS) stated in its report Development Deferred: Eastern Sudan after the ESPA in May 2015 that the ESRDF faces charges of corruption and the mismanagement of resources. The Fund seems to have been systematically under-financed, while much of the funding has reportedly been allocated to national dam-building projects.

El Gedaref

Farmers in eastern Sudan’s El Gedaref are warning of the failure of the current agricultural season because of deteriorating working conditions.

“The sharp price increases in the prices for sacking and transportation, and a lack of labourers are threatening the successful harvest of sorghum, sunflowers,” farmer Mustafa Sayed Khalil told Radio Dabanga.


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