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'Dissolving farmers' unions eliminates Sudan's El Gezira Scheme': professor

September 9 - 2015 WAD MADANI
El Gezira Scheme in Sudan, between the Blue and White Niles south of Khartoum, from above (file photo)
El Gezira Scheme in Sudan, between the Blue and White Niles south of Khartoum, from above (file photo)

A professor at the University of Khartoum said the decision by the President of Sudan to replace the farmers' unions in El Gezira Scheme with producers’ associations will strip them of the tool that protects the farmers' interests. “This decision is aimed to devour the rest of El Gezira Agricultural Scheme, and eliminate it as a development, social, and economic system.”

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Dr. Mohamed Yousif said the El Gezira system, located between the Blue and White Niles south of Khartoum, accommodates farmers from various parts of Sudan, who will now be replaced by figures loyal to the ruling National Congress Party.

“The recent presidential decision is a roundabout way to grab the farmers' lands in El Gezira Scheme, El Rahad, and El Suki projects, as flat land areas with complete irrigation infrastructure.”

El Gezira Scheme 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.

At a press conference on 30 November 2014, President Omar Al Bashir described El Gezira Scheme as non-feasible and a burder on the country's budget.

“The President has no right to disband the farmers' unions, which are founded and imposed at the time of the colonial administration.”

Stock market

Professor Yousif said that the objective behind the decision to replace the farmers' unions is to push all farmers and small producers into forming companies under the name of the producers' associations, made up of a minimum of seven people. These people will produce a particul crop, Yousif explained, and form an association as a legal personality in accordance with the Companies Act of 1925.

He added that the decision can be seen as a prelude to consider the property owners and farmers’ agricultural land shares in the stock market. “The government is betting on the weakness of the financial, administrative, and logistical capabilities of the associations - and their failure in the end, to be given to the affiliates of the National Congress Party.

“The President has no right to disband the farmers' unions, which are founded and imposed on the colonial administration through remarkable sacrifices, before the coming of the current government,” Yousif stressed.

The political secretary of the Sudanese Communist Party, Mohamed Mukhtar El Khateeb, commented to Radio Dabanga that this decision to dissolve the unions “is the regime’s road map to rob the Sudanese lands”.

He said that the decision has been passed by the Parliament as an integrated plan of the Sudanese regime, in order to sell the Sudanese lands and hand them over to foreign investors and parasitic capital.

El Khateeb stressed that the basis and essence of disbanding the farmers' unions is to deprive the farmers from defending their abused rights. The political secretary called on all Sudanese not to only resist the dissolving of the farmers’ unions but also the planned policy of selling lands.

Related:

Sudanese farmers 'desperate' about El Gezira Agricultural Scheme (1 June 2015)

Cuts in Sudan's agricultural scheme “catastrophe” for farmers (9 January 2015)


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