“Gezira” farmers “rather jail” than give Agricultural Bank wheat crops

The Gezira project farmers said that the conditions set by the agricultural bank in Sudan to for receiving wheat crops are mainly aimed at denying them the benefit of the focus price announced by the Ministry of Finance.

Khartoum: AlTaghyeer

The farmers at the Gezira project – the largest agricultural project in Sudan – announced their rejection of the Agricultural Bank’s conditions for delivering this year’s wheat crop, even if it leads to their imprisonment.

The Agricultural Bank had stipulated, in a circular, that the wheat crop be from the 2021/22 season, and that it have complete paperwork, finalized local and state fees, and zakat procedures.

In addition, the crop would need to be filled in new plastic sacks weighing 100 kilograms each – which are specific to the bank – with importance put on tight sewing with no less than 14 stitches per bag.

The Agricultural Bank circular also stipulated that the wheat crop be delivered to the Seen Company grain mills in the areas of Al-Baqir and Giad, south of Khartoum, at the encouraging price announced in advance by the Ministry of Finance of 43 thousand pounds per sack.

The farmers told the Sudanese newspaper Al-Jarida that these requirements set by the bank will deny farmers the benefit of the focus price put by the Ministry of Finance at 43,000 pounds per sack.

Earlier, a separate body, the Al-Hafir Farmers’ Alliance in the Northern State in Sudan, had revealed in a statement that all aforementioned procedures would have to be footed by the farmers themselves, out of their own pockets.

Sudan Tribune reported a representative of Gezira’s Manaqil sector farmers had complained that the 43,000 pounds per sack offered by the Finance ministry would not even begin to cover the high production costs.

Farouk Al-Badawi, a member of the Gezira Farmers and Transporters Alliance, confirmed that the farmers of the Gezira project did not hand over a single sack of wheat to the Agricultural Bank.

He explained to the newspaper that farmers have sold the crop to traders since the beginning of the wheat harvest, at a cost of 28 to 30 thousand pounds, and that they had been compelled to do so, because of debts, in an attempt to save what can be saved.

Al-Badawi accused the Agricultural Bank of causing this, as a result of the lack of funding and the delay in purchasing the crop in time.

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