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Pests, Ethiopian farmers threat to Sudan’s agriculture

June 27 - 2017 EL GEDAREF / EL GEZIRA SCHEME
Locusts (file photo)
Locusts (file photo)

In El Gedaref, on Sudan’s border with Ethiopia, 40 citizens were reportedly killed by Ethiopian gangs in the previous agricultural season. Farmers in the largest irrigated agricultural scheme of Sudan complain about the spread of pests that threaten the summer harvests.

El Gedaref Governor Merghani Saleh reported the number to journalists this week. He said he is committed to liberate the agricultural lands in the area of El Fashaga that the Ethiopian gangs - which he called 'shifta' - have seized and return them to their owners.

Saleh said that authorities discovered about 200 Ethiopian farmers cultivating land on Sudanese territory.

In July 2016, Interior Minister Esmat Abdelrahman acknowledged the incursion of the Ethiopian gangs into the western areas of El Gedaref. Over the past few years, the violence between armed farmers in El Gedaref's border areas rapidly increased, with many reports of Ethiopian gangs attacking Sudanese farmers in the border areas, extorting money and goods from them, and occupying their lands.

Pests

El Gezira and Managil scheme, between the Blue and White Niles south of Khartoum, has suffered from locusts and mice which threaten the groundnuts and tomato crops. One of the farmers reported the outbreak from what used to be one of the world’s largest irrigation projects.

The farmer appealed to the Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture, the administration of the scheme and Wad Medani's weed prevention team to accelerate their fight against the pests.

Young hoppers and adults form groups in areas in Sudan that remain green after the summer rains. A swarm of locusts covering a square kilometre can devour between 80 and 160 tons of crops a day, UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) calculated in 2016. In the end of 2013, for example, pest combat teams were widely employed in north-east Sudan to treat infestations in cropping areas.


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