Sudan’s El Gezira Scheme to restore Farmers Union
Farmers of Sudan’s El Gezira and El Managil Agricultural Scheme have decided to restore the El Gezira Farmers Union.
The farmers unanimously decided to “immediately” re-establish their Union at a conference of the El Gezira and El Managil Farmers’ Association in El Maejeena on Saturday.
The participants of the conference, attended by representatives of political forces and civil society organisations as well, agreed to formulate new production schemes that take into account the interests of the farmers and their workers.
Suleiman Hamid, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Sudan, told Radio Dabanga that the conference addressed a wide range of issues, “including the need for institutional and organisational reform of the Scheme, the marginalised position of the agricultural workers in the area, and the establishment of a cooperative agricultural finance fund.
“The farmers should be able to obtain loans on reasonable conditions and not be a prey of the commercial banks that aim at land expropriation only,” he said, and added that “The recovery of the stolen assets of the Scheme, estimated at SDG 120 billion (nearly $18 billion), will certainly be a huge struggle.”
The conference participants further refused the imposition of increased water fees.
“The farmers should be able to obtain loans on reasonable conditions and not be a prey of the commercial banks that aim at land expropriation only.”
Sara Nugdallah, Secretary-General of the National Umma Party, said in her address to the conference that the opposition is in need to build a broad coalition that includes all political forces, women, youth and civil society organisations.
The opposition leader pointed to the long-term devastation of the Scheme and renewed her party’s support of its farmers.
She described the Sudanese government led by Omar Al Bashir “a model of colonialism concerning repression and domination”.
El Gezira Scheme Act
In late 2014, President Al Bashir described the Scheme as a burden on the country’s budget. Early September 2015, the Agriculture Ministry amended the El Gezira Scheme Act, with amendments aimed at transferring land ownership to the private sector and foreign investors.
Abdeen Bargawi, the spokesman for the Farmers Association, told this station in December 2016 that Scheme’s administration mortgaged assets with the value of SDG341 million (over $52 million) to Sudanese banks.
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