Winter Farming Season in States Faced with Tremendous Challenges
Many predicted that vast tracts of land will be farmed this season in line with the decision of the President of the Republic regarding announcing this year a year of agriculture and increasing productivity. However, concerned authorities have not provided any support to farmers – with their various sectors – a matter believed to reduce previously cultivated lands rather than increasing them, argument affirmed by farmers from a number of states the paper has interviewed to get acquainted with preparations for this winter agricultural season.
The rainy season is promising, but?
Gadarif state is supposed to grow export crops this season: sesame, cotton, sun flower, following the decision of the Vice-President to farm one million acres of sesame, 750,000 acres of sun flower, 500,000 acres of cotton and his announcement to supply $200million US dollars for this season.
Hassan Al-Hadi Zarouq, the president of Gedarif Farmers Union, said that about 950 farmers demonstrated readiness to grow export crops in the state but the number has decreased to about 128 farmers after the state has failed to provide agricultural means such as machinery and seeds. He affirmed that support allocated for the state was reduced from $200million to less than $30million, adding that seeds supplied will not suffice for cultivating 150 acres; hence expected cotton grown area will decrease to 200,000 acres instead of 500,000, 100,000 acres for sesame instead of proposed 750,000acres, which means that this season will be poor in terms of productivity despite promising signs of the rainy season. He added that small-scale farmers are suffering lacking support from concerned authorities, whose contribution has been limited to providing 400 tons of seeds instead of proposed 200,000 tons needed for this season.
Zarouq added that a great deal of farmers have got into insolvency due to failure to pay their debts of the previous year to the Farmer’s Bank, which confirms that they cannot get any new support since they have not met their due debts.
Deputy Chairman of Gedarif Farmers Union said a delegation headed by the governor of the state will meet the First Vice-President on Sunday June 3 to address him on all this season’s agricultural problems Gadarif is faced with.
As for South Kordufan, security situation has remarkably improved over the past thus it is expected to enter winter season with all of its might; however, the state like other regions is crying for funds as concerned parties have not met their obligations for this season.
The representative of the state Hamid Kuku demanded the government provide assistance so that that arable lands are prepared for farming. Hamid also demanded the Farmer’s Bank to supply seeds needed for farming. South Kordufan is expected to grow sesame, mullet and groundnuts this season.
Continuous efforts to obtain funds and necessary production inputs
Abdel Hamid Mukhtar, the Secretary General of Sudanese Farmers Union, underscored the necessity for adopting policies retarding specifying agricultural policies for the new season according to areas, funding, seeds and necessary inputs. He added that efforts would be continued to obtain funds and inputs necessary for production on time. Mukhtar further said that this season is faced with tremendous challenges, including increasing prices expected to reduce the size of targeted farmed areas; however, assured that their efforts with concerned authorities will continue to arrange and prepare for this year’s agricultural season. He expected that Darfur agricultural regions will enter production this season as they have seen notable stability of security over the past years.
By Hana Abdel Hai, 01/06/2012