In Er Rahad project: cotton, wheat, corn, sunflower and soybeans are grown as well as orchards
The December Revolution prompted two young Sudanese men from Gadarif to think about expatriation or working in marginal occupations in the capital, Khartoum.
Altaghyeer: Al-Gadarif – Amal Mohamed Al-Hassan
“Two years ago, all those who were thinking of expatriation or forced labor in the capital, Khartoum, returned to their areas to grow cotton.”
This is what the farmer, Khaled Al-Hameem, said in village (18) in Er Rahad Agricultural Project. He complained about the deterioration of the agricultural situation in the last two years due to the lack of adequate financing.
Al-Hameem emphasized that suffering from delayed financing from contracting companies endangers agriculture. He emphasized the insufficiency of insurance funds in light of the high production costs.
The risk of delayed financing
The Agricultural Director of Er Rahad Agricultural Authority, Al-Ameen Al-Bashir, agreed with Al-Hameem about the problems of delayed financing. He emphasized that the contractual companies were able to finance only 15% of the total proposed area, which is estimated at 90,000 acres.
In addition to the financing problems, the current agricultural season in the project suffered from the problem of floods that inundated more than 40,000 acres. This reduced the cultivated areas from 170,000 acres to 127,000 acres, according to al-Bashir.
At the end of the season, the project – specifically the bean, cotton and corn crops faced a different problem. The problem was thirst due to problems with electricity, pumps, and control of the sub-irrigation channels, according to the agricultural director of the project.
He emphasized that the lack of state funding affects all project plans and the proposed agricultural cycle.
The agricultural director confirmed that the project’s irrigation system has been operating since 1977 without modernization or maintenance. With the region’s people and livestock relying mainly on drinking from canals. Pointing out that funding has stopped completely in the last two years.
As for the winter season, the problems are much greater than the summer season.
According to the agricultural director, only 10% of the proposed areas, estimated at 30,000 acres, were cultivated. It did not exceed 3 thousand acres of which it was cultivated.
The Agricultural Administration of the project accused the Irrigation Department of not irrigating the project’s area of 330,000 acres, due to pump failures and electricity outages.
Al-Bashir indicated that the area that the irrigation administration committed to was 170 thousand acres, while 130 thousand acres were cultivated.
The project is irrigated with pumps in May and June, while irrigation is carried out from July to October from Atbara River by flow irrigation from Abu Rakham reservoir.
The project’s irrigation department director, Mohamed Abdulgader AbdulRahman exchanged accusations to the agricultural department. He complained that they had not notified his administration of its decision to plant 30,000 acres in the winter season.
Abdul Rahman added, “The Agricultural Administration requested that the areas required for the winter crop be determined by an official letter, and we have not received any response yet.”
In response to complaints about thirst in the tenth sector, the irrigation manager confirmed that the projects in that sector are all new, and came after the design of ErRahad project, whose end was in the ninth sector.
AbdulRahman said: The tenth inspection includes the (Syrian) project, poultry projects, the army and agricultural inspectors. All are 265 kilometers away from the ” project.
He agreed with the agricultural director that the causes of the irrigation problems were all related to electricity and pump failures. He revealed that the current irrigation suffering is the lack of gasoline.
Corruption of the overthrown regime
One of the major problems that the project inherited from the previous regime was a major corruption operation represented in the sale of the authority’s cotton gin for a quarter of its value.
The cotton gin building covers an area of 360 acres and contains a large number of its cars, scales, machinery, warehouses, and 39 houses and management offices.
It was evaluated by the Committee on Disposal of Public Sector Utilities at an amount of 26 billion in 2009.
A member of the Success of the Agricultural Season committee, Ahmed Hassan Alloub, accused the influential people of the former regime of corruption through the presence of the buyer among the members of the evaluation committee. According to what was mentioned, it reduced its value by 52% compared to the original valuation.
Alloub indicated that only half of the $ 12 billion was paid after the reduction.
He demanded that the government issue a decision to return the cotton gin to the ErRahad Agricultural Authority, due to its great importance in the stability of cotton cultivation and its related industries.
The authority is forced to rent 60 cars to agricultural inspectors due to corruption according to Alloub’s statements to (Altaghyeer), and that after 100 cars belonging to the cotton gin administration were sold.
The arms of the previous regime are still tampering with the irrigation management according to Alloub which referred to the big problems caused by the deposed president’s decision number (32) between the ministries of irrigation and agriculture.
The representative of the Committee for the success of the agricultural season called on the government to spend on the project, which he described as a food security project Until the region inhabited by two million people will rise and depend mainly on agriculture.
Alloub indicated that the decision to transform ErRahad Foundation into a body obliges it to expend its own resources.
He added, “After the corruption practiced by the Public Utilities Disposal Committee, there are no longer any resources for the Authority to dispose of.”
Accusations against Chinese investments
The cotton crop, which is one of the largest cash crops, has come at the mercy of foreign investors, led by the Chinese. This is according to Engineer El-Safi Khalid, director of the Sudanese Cotton gin Company.
Khalid explained that they speculate in the cotton market and buy it at the most expensive prices to recycle their own gins and export it for their benefit.
He pointed out that only 10% of the export proceeds are collected for the benefit of the Bank of Sudan while 100% of the national gins are collected.
The Sudanese Cotton Company faces heavy losses this season due to the unavailability of cotton.
Khalid said that the quantity now inside the mill is equivalent to 10,000 quintals.
While the cotton gin needs double the amount to exit from the loss to 65,000 quintals.
Er Rahad project is located between the states of Al-Jazirah and Al-Gadarif, and the idea of its establishment began in 1973, to be established in 1977.
The total area of the project is 353,000 acres.
The project benefits from the seasonal flood of Er Rahad River by diverting water to the Er-Rahad agricultural canal, after collecting it in the reservoir (Abu Rakham).
After the end of the flood, irrigation will be continued through pumps from the Blue Nile.