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Cuts in Sudan's agricultural scheme “catastrophe” for farmers

January 9 - 2015 EL GEZIRA
The irrigation canals of El Gezira Scheme as seen from space, 1997 (NASA)
The irrigation canals of El Gezira Scheme as seen from space, 1997 (NASA)

The El Gezira and Managil Agricultural Scheme has complained that the amendment for the scheme in the year 2015 represents “a real catastrophe”. They stressed that 90 percent of the farmers will find themselves outside of the Scheme, which will have a negative impact on the region.

The alliance of farmers released their press statement on Thursday, saying that the new act will “realise the capital's dream in land grabbing” and “transform the Scheme into feudal farms”. The farmers called upon the people of El Gezira to organise themselves, in order to defend the scheme.

At a press conference on 30 November 2014, the president described El Gezira Scheme as non-feasible. “Since the end of the 1960s, the Scheme has become a burden on the country’s budget.”

El Gezira Scheme, located between the Blue and White Nile in the area south of Khartoum, is a vast region irrigated through gravity by the waters of the Blue Nile. The Scheme is one of the world’s largest irrigation projects. It has remained for nearly eighty years the sole source of hard currency for the country, through the cultivation of cotton. However, the size of cotton production has reduced to less than 100,000 acres over the last few decades. About 12 cotton gins in El Gezira state have closed their doors, the alliance stated last month, when Khartoum announced to reserve around 100,000 acres (40,000 ha) of Sudanese farmland to Egyptian farmers.

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