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Farmers: Increasing conflicts in Sudan’s El Gedaref ‘a time bomb’

August 17 - 2017 EL GEDAREF
El Gedaref state in eastern Sudan (wikimedia commons)
El Gedaref state in eastern Sudan (wikimedia commons)

Farmers in Sudan’s El Gedaref state, which is highly important for the country’s agricultural output, have warned of increasing conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in the state, terming the phenomenon ‘a ticking time bomb’.

Speaking at a symposium organised by the El Shoroug Forum in El Gedaref on Saturday, engineer Mustafa El Sayed called on the authorities to search for appropriate solutions.

He called on the government to reintegrate between the ministries of agriculture and livestock and demanded the development of an integrated rural development programme in El Gedaref.

Nature reserve encroached

“This situation is a ticking time-bomb,” El Sayed said. He accused the government of negligence in not protecting the El Dindir Nature Reserve from encroachment by pastoralists. “The officials of the reserve allow the access of pastoralists and their cattle to the reserve and even housing within in exchange for bribes,” he alleged.

He highlighted the marked decrease in the species of animals in the reserve and pointed out that they are now limited to monkeys and wild pigs.

El Sayed lamented “the terrible deterioration of the El Rahad agricultural project” which straddles the states of El Gedaref and El Gezira.

He said the project has failed to meet the goals of providing a livelihood to the farmers. He explained that the farmers have returned to their areas of origin after the project had failed.

‘Lack of supervision’

El Sayed expressed his surprise at the lack of supervision by the Ministry of Agriculture in El Gedaref on El Rahad project which is located 200,000 acres of it within the jurisdiction.

He said that the lifting of the sanctions is a great challenge to agriculture in Sudan and pointed to the inability to compete in the world markets in the light of the government's refusal to support agriculture the same as the rest of the world.

He said that Sudan could benefit from the American technology in the event of lifting sanctions.

Farmer Haydar Abdellatif, speaking at the El Shoroug Forum symposium, said that during the past three years livestock owners in El Gedaref lost half of their animals because of low rainfall and rangelands pasture.

He predicted that they would lose the remaining ones if the current situation continues.

The farmer attributed the deterioration in the livestock sector to the government's failure to guide livestock owners and train them on the technology of feed packages.

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