Agricultural Irrigated Schemes in the White Nile

Mon, 16 Oct 2017


Dr.  Ali Mohammed Isa Salih



The paper addresses pump schemes in the White Nile which had been established in different periods. Definitely, the schemes were built after Jebel Awlia Dam was constructed in 1937. These projects, known as Subsistence Schemes, were aimed at compensating the natives whose lands were submerged with waters of the Dam Lake in northern White Nile district. Later, the success of these schemes and socio-economic change they made for population life encouraged private sector to be involved in agricultural investment and build agricultural schemes in all empty and arable lands which extend along both banks of the White Nile from Jebel Awlia to the north up to Jabalein district to the south. 

The study reviews seasonal irrigation system and administrative system of Subsistence Schemes. Actually, this system focused on collective management and participation of farmers in managing agricultural work. Further, the study discusses obstacles of agricultural production, the important of which are the following:

  • Poor infrastructure of the schemes.
  • Lack of financing which has a negative impact on production and profits.
  • Administrative instability as owners of the schemes abandoned these farms and accordingly the schemes were supplemented to public sector.

But, due to continuous poor production and lack of financing, the public sector deserted the management of the schemes and, instead, it privatized them and transformed them into private companies and cooperatives. Moreover, in a daring step on the part of the government, the schemes were devolved to farmers who should take on absolute liability for them and that the government would be relieved of problems of irrigated agriculture. Be that as it may, the farmer himself lacks material facilities and experience for managing these schemes.

Finally, the paper explains the prospective vision of these schemes and necessary recommendations which help the farmer successfully conduct agricultural work.



Irrigated areas of rivers and other surface water courses are more stable kind of agricultural types in arid and semi-arid areas, particularly after development of control of water courses (Judah and Abu ‘Iyana, 1989). Notably, a number of irrigated schemes in the world were established on banks of rivers, for Example Rivers of Colorado (California), Indus and its tributaries (Pakistan), Tigris and Euphrates (Iraq) and the Nile (Sudan and Egypt), etc. typically, those rivers are examples for exploitation of running water resources to cultivate a possibly largest area of dry lands. In relation to other kinds of agriculture, cultivation around rivers is marked with renewing fertility of soil and controlling irrigation of crops insofar as to observe stages of their growth and high productive capability of those schemes (Zouka, 2000).

Irrigated cultivation in the Sudan was started with using traditional irrigation methods like waterwheel and shaduf in small areas close to rivers. Additionally, there are wide areas cultivated with spate irrigation when flood waters retreat as the case is in both schemes of Toker and Al Gash deltas in eastern Sudan. On construction of Sennar Dam, 1925, modern methods of irrigation when the state could cultivate large areas estimated with millions of feddans in schemes of Gezira and Managil. Then, lifting machineries, i.e. pumps, were introduced to draw river waters in northern and central Sudan on banks of the River Nile and both White and Blue Niles (Al Hafyan, 1985).

Irrigated cultivation contributes to production of both crops of wheat and long staple cotton. As well, irrigated cultivation participates in big proportion with rain-fed sector in production of groundnut, sorghum and sunflower (Abdallah, 1992).

This paper addresses in details the study of pump irrigated schemes on both banks of the White Nile concerning initiation, development and purposes of these schemes, in addition to factors of deterioration of production and prospective vision to develop these schemes for creating socio-economic sustained development in the White Nile.


Pre-Construction of the dam socio-economic life of natives:

A number of studies (i.e. Khojali, 1983), note that most of inhabitants of the White Nile district are settled agro-pastoralists who roam about for short distances, not more than thirty km, and that the Nile represents an axle of their life. Moreover, nothing obstructs the people in regards to utilization of land, given that land is a collective ownership. So, every tribe or family has a specific recognized land on which the tribe or family practices its agricultural activity. Nevertheless, forests, water resources and uncultivated land are common and accessible rights for all community individuals. In autumn, while herders wander about in their seasonal nomadic movement, families settle in permanent villages in areas of sandy guz west to the White Nile (Salih, 2010).

Seasonal wandering movement:

When it begins raining in July, herders start moving westwards to areas of sandy guz where water and grazing lands are abundant. During this period, family adults cultivate rain-fed lands with crop of millet.

In winter season, the natives go back home to harvest crops and make their animals feed on remains of rain-fed agriculture. In October, however, farmers cultivate (Dura Safraa ) maize in lands where flooding drew back and which gradually get to dry towards the main course of the Nile. In the interim, herders make their animals graze in forests and non-arable areas of the Nile.

In early summer, inhabitants head towards the Nile to capitalize on Nile grasses at the Nile beach while herders make their cattle graze on the extended islands along the Nile course like island of Badriya, al-Nasri and khor Mashkur west to island of Umm Jarr. Given the wide pastoral areas here, all local herders get together on these islands.

During this period, the inhabitants begin cultivating the juruf which produce cash crops like okra, melon, cantaloupe and cucumber, etc which are marketed in the neighbouring markets. In a shell, this is the life of inhabitants of the area in the framework of the seasonal movement which ecologically suits the facts of nature. However, with construction of the Dam and agricultural modernization, life of inhabitants has changed and a new lifestyle in compatible with the Dam building and requirements of modernization was created (Salih, 2010).

Construction of Jebel Awlia, 1937

On a request submitted by the Arab Republic of Egypt to Republic of Sudan, Jebel Awlia Dam was built in 1937 to restore waters for Egypt (Al Hafyan, 1985). The dam which was constructed 50 km south to Khartoum, lifts waters of the White Nile up to 377.20 meters (ToT Hill, 1952), namely the waters are lifted on the dam to 6 meters above the river level. However, it is known that White Nile is of little slope but when the lake of the dam is filled with water, the Nile level rises up to upstream town of Gebelein , 500 km south to Khartoum. In addition, storage capacity of the lake is about 3,500 million cubic meters of waters. On building of the dam, annual running system of Nile waters has changed where storage of waters begins with closing down the dam from June to September to reach high level of storage and such remains till February of the next year. Then, the dam is opened by late March and discharged of waters in late April (Barbar, 1961). To its fairness, Egyptian government was then committed to pay compensation for all damage-affected natives as their lands and houses had been submerged by lake waters of the newly built dam. On its part, to estimate and execute these compensations, government of Sudan formed a committee in 1953 then called (Committee on Compensations of Jebel Awlia) headed by the governor of the Blue Nile Province. The committee consisted of financial secretary and both managers of agriculture and irrigation whose tasks were confined to the following:

  1. Protect and macadamize the standing towns like Al Giteina, Al Sufi and Shabasha, besides paving and macadamizing the depressed lands which had once been irrigated by flooded waters and cultivated by spate irrigation and now became affected by the high level of the lake.
  2. Observe health sides and tackle spreading of malaria and reproduction of mosquitoes on both sides of the lake.
  3. Provide material compensations for the individuals whose houses and agricultural lands were submerged with waters and transfer the town of Al Giteina and other forty villages from their sites to other places.
  4. Plan agricultural schemes as means of subsistence for those whose lands were submerged by waters.
  5. Other unimportant facilities like ferryboats for crossing the Nile (TOT Hill, 1952).

With their commonsense, members of the committee saw to it that financial compensation would be wasted and ill-expended and so substitute means of subsistence were important for damage-affected inhabitants. These means of subsistence could secure production of agricultural crops to substitute production of the lost registered lands which equaled in total 400,000 feddans. As to the number of people who were immediately affected by the lake, it was estimated to be about 200,000 persons, while material compensation for land was as follows:

  • Lands of yellow sorghum = 100 piaster per feddan
  • Lands of other agriculture = 60 piaster per feddan
  • Rain-fed lands = 15 piaster per feddan
  • Waterwheel lands = 150 piaster per feddan

Furthermore, sidewalks and embankments were made of stone and earth to block flood waters from villages of Al Sufi, Turaa, Shabasha, Silati and other depressed areas (Arafa, quoted from ToT Hill, 1952).


Agricultural irrigated schemes (pumps and subsistence):

Pumps schemes in the White Nile:

Inhabitants of the White Nile district were acquainted with irrigated agriculture in early 19th century. At that time, they had used traditional methods of irrigation, namely waterwheel and shaduf, on banks of the Nile as they also utilized spate irrigation in cultivation of yellow sorghum in the juruf inside the Nile lands when flood retreated in summer. However, modern cultivation with pumps dates back to 1927 when sayyed Abdel Rahman Al Mahdi, leader of the Ansar sect, established a scheme for cultivation of cotton and sorghum in Aba Island. That scheme had launched private schemes. After the year 1928, the public scheme of Ed-Duweim was established in an area of 1700 feddans and, later, included in Subsistence Schemes. Generally, expansion in modern pump agriculture dates back to construction of Jebel Awlia Dam in 1937.

Pump schemes had been established during the period extending from 1937 up to late fifties of last century, and currently they have gotten to 162 schemes (Ministry of Agriculture, 2001). The total area of these schemes is estimated to be about 446,483 feddans but, on separation of Southern Sudan, twenty schemes out of this number were supplemented to Renk Corporation. Notably, advent, purposes, administrative system and financing sources of these pump schemes are different from each other and that they need to be divided into two parts, Subsistence Schemes and Private Schemes. So, in the light of this division, we may resolve current problems of these schemes.

Subsistence Schemes:

Jebel Awlia compensation committee thought of establishing alternative agricultural schemes to compensate damage-affected persons whose lands were submerged by waters of the Dam Lake. That committee was called (Committee on White Nile Schemes for Subsistence). However, four schemes of the then seven public schemes had been established during 1937 to 1945 while execution of the three other ones was postponed till the ‘fifties of last century as shown in Table 1. In fact, the reason why the three latter schemes were postponed was due to scantiness of compensation money and the government itself had suffered from an acute financial crisis and was compelled to feed the public exchequer with compensation capitals (Tim Niblock, 1994). Systematically, these schemes had been built on the system adopted in Gezira Scheme, i.e. profit sharing.

Table 1:  Names of Subsistence Schemes and date of establishment


Scheme name

Founding date



Number of farmers






Abdel Magid





Al Giteina





Umm Jarr





Wad Nimir




















Source: TOT Hill, 1952


All above schemes are located on both banks of the White Nile from Jebel Awlia to the north up to southern boundaries of the current locality of Ed-Duweim except for Abdel Magid Scheme which lies at the uttermost north western area which separates the White Nile from Gezira. The latter scheme is irrigated from branch channel carrying waters from the major channel of Gezira Scheme near Abu ‘Ushar. Similarly, Abdel Magid Scheme was established as an urgent solution for the people who had been affected by damages caused by the Dam Lake. All these schemes are irrigated from the Lake during the period of higher flooding in July where waters are introduced into drawing machines. Timely, period of irrigation is complementary to rainfall in all schemes where crops, especially sorghum, depend on rain water. On another hand, rains waters help irrigate cotton and that the higher rates of rain get, the lesser pressure on waters of artificial irrigation becomes (Maknon, 1968).

Agricultural system and rotation:

These schemes had been divided into tenancies which were assigned for all inhabitants of the district. Thus, every tribe had acquired a number of tenancies which were again doled out to the tribe individuals or rather to families. Still, a tenancy is a public property and the farmer is only a tenant. Thus, it goes without saying that the farmer had worked under laws and orders controlling him all through agricultural season. As to trio agricultural rotation, the first rotation was for cultivation of cotton and cowpea, the second one was for cotton and the third one was left uncultivated, i.e. bur land. However, the total area of the tenancy ranged between (15—18 feddans) while the area allotted for agricultural rotation was (5—6 feddans).

Relations of production:

Relation of production between the government and farmer was built on partnership in relation to crop of cotton but, on payment of prices of water and plowing of land, the farmer would gain both sorghum and cowpea for his own benefit. As to cotton, the profits would be divided after discounting costs of production which included preparation of land, agricultural processes, scutching and transportation of the crop, all of which would be deducted against the joint accounts from all farmers. Then, net profits of cotton would be dispensed as follows:

    Government          farmer      social services and local governments                                                                                                                                                                                                                               47.5%     47.5%                             5%

As a result of high prices of cotton in early years of ‘fifties of last century, tenancy had generated considerable income for farmers. This made every person dream to own a tenancy which was then reflected in local culture and folklore in which the farmer was extolled and highly esteemed among his people. In his book, The Republic of the Sudan, Barbar noted that numbers of farmers who then submitted applications to own tenancies were much more than tenancies supposed to be owned (Barbar, 1961).


Administrative system of Subsistence Scheme:

Agricultural schemes management had engaged the farmer in management of the schemes and development of administrative collective responsibility and, thus, representatives of farmers and sheikhs of farms participated in decision-making as shown in Table 2.

Table 2:  Administrative system of Subsistence Scheme


Responsible party


Committee on the White Nile Schemes

For Subsistence

 Liable for general policies, directorship and financial affairs and headed by the senior agricultural inspector of the Blue Nile Province

 Local advisory committees

Review specific issues handed over to them by a committee headed by Ed-Duweim council officer, nazir of the Hassania tribe and representatives of agriculture and irrigation

Schemes courts/farms

They consist of farms sheikhs and representatives of farmers from all sections of the scheme. They had convened weekly under an elected sheikh and they were aided by an official to write down minutes, fines and names of persons who misdemeanors of laws of irrigation and unclean agriculture. The courts were authorized to impose fines against the farmer who could, in turn, appeal against those fines to the omda court under whose jurisdiction those courts used to work.

agricultural sheikhs/

executive authority

Agricultural inspector had attended to the scheme court where he represented work report of last week and gave instructions for next week.


Agricultural inspector used to attend to the scheme court where he presented work report of last week and gave instructions for next week. At the end of the year, the inspector held an annual meeting during which he presented the general policy and fired negligent and insouciant farmers. As well, financial incentives would be paid to the farmer who realized high productivity of the crop and the tenancy would be offered to one of the family members of that farmer. That meeting had been attended by all sheikhs of agriculture and representatives of farmers in addition to the council officer, local agricultural inspectors and leaders of native administration.

  • Duty of the sheikh (sheikh of agriculture)
  • Deliver instructions issued by inspector of agriculture to farmers, namely instructions concerning cultivation, irrigation and harvesting and he would make sure those orders were carried out by farmers.
  • Ask sentries of canals set free waters for farms and answer demands submitted for waters with making sure they were carried out.
  • Approve financial advances for the farmer to plow the land and produce the crop (Tot Hill, 1952).

Plan settlements (villages):

Housing sites were planned insofar as to help the farmer live close to his agricultural land. Also, houses of senior officials were built of burnt bricks close to administrative office of the scheme and according to job grade of the official. Those officials were inspector, accountant, storekeeper and workers of agriculture and irrigation. In regard to houses of farmers, they were built by the government of unburnt bricks and the farmer would keep paying for renting of the house for many years after which he would possess the house as his own. Moreover, the farmer was encouraged to widen and improve his lodging and every 29 farmers should be collected to form a village and had to cultivate crops in area equaling 522 feddans (Tot Hill, 1952).


Private schemes:

Jebel Awlia Dam agreement encouraged local inhabitants to establish special schemes called (commercial licenses). This was recommended by the committee of Jebel Awlia compensations but most of the inhabitants had been poor and lacked experience on modern agricultural work. Therefore, according to K. M. Barber (1961), private sector was involved in establishing private schemes. Private sector, then represented by leaders of traditional political parties, senior capitalists, leaders of native administration and some sheikhs of Sufi denominations, had established private schemes (Tim Niblock, 1994). In early fifties of last century, the three following factors came to encourage establishment of private schemes:

  • Outbreak of the Korean War in 1953 which caused prices of cotton to scale up internationally.
  • Plentiful agricultural fertile land.
  • Emergence of financing companies. 

Consequently, partnership developed between license holders and local inhabitants to establish schemes which had then been expanded along the White Nile up to Gebelein district, 500 km south to the Dam, in an area estimated to be about 1800 feddans (Hakim, 1976).

To finance their schemes, license holders depended on companies and commercial houses. At that time, senior financiers were Al Mahdi Family, Abdel Mun’im Mohammed, Abu Al’ila Co., Middle East Co., Da'irat al-Mighani and some individuals (report of agriculture, 1983). These financiers had obtained loans and financial facilities from commercial banks which bestowed trust upon them since financiers had owned real estates and properties which could be mortgaged to the banks for loans. Nevertheless, banks were not involved directly in financing but they had gained a rate of interest between 7—9% of the loan value. As to the license holder, he used to pay to the financier a percentage ranging between 10% --15% of the seasonal income of the scheme. Otherwise, according to the agreement signed by the two parties, license holder would pay a percentage of cotton profits ranging between 30—50%. Furthermore, he should pay structural and operational advances as well as payable profits during period of validity of the license. Helpfully, licenses had been approved for license holders for long periods then ranging between 10—15 years according to sizes of pumps. At that time what was invested in these schemes was estimated to be about 400 million pounds (White and Blue Niles Schemes, agricultural conference, 1983). Such had been the case until late fifties of last century. Then, recession struck cotton markets worldwide when English and Dutch companies refused buying cottons of Sudan. Meanwhile, financing companies stopped their activity and, consequently, debts of farmers had saddled license holders because of declined prices and poor productivity of cotton.

In 1959, Agricultural Bank was constituted where it got to directly treat with license holders through interests and profits.


Relations of production in private schemes:

The scheme is managed by license holder or by his deputy aided by a small number of workers who attended to irrigation machines and field works. However, relation of production was built on partnership of the farmer and license holder. For them, net profits would be divided on deduction of costs of production and agricultural advances (profits were shared in proportions showed in previous periods) as shown in Table 3.


Table 3:  Relations of production in private schemes


Share of license holder

Farmer’s share

Agricultural season













Source: Tot Hill, 1952


According to above table, it is notable that farmer’s share gradually increases which is attributed to high cost of production and small revenues of cotton during 1963—1968. It observed that, productivity and prices of cotton had declined and, accordingly, most of infrastructure such as irrigation machines and canals were disrupted. In the interim, debts of farmers against license holders were held due, schemes no longer operating; farmers felt oppressed by license holders and brought suit against them before courts demanding their lost rights. In due process, trials disclosed that license holders had exploited agricultural financing to buy real estates and housing lands in Khartoum (Kosti Conference, 1983).

In 1986, during the Second Democratic Period, council of ministers issued a decision whereby a public authority would be formed. The authority, known as private schemes management, was to be supervised by Sudanese Agricultural Bank under article 110 of the financing contract signed by the Bank and license owners. According to that resolution, all schemes were managed by the Agricultural Bank (report of Ministry of Agriculture, 1991).

Agricultural Bank had supervised the authority and financed agricultural season (1986/1989). Henceforth, these schemes began directly treating with the Agricultural Bank and, meanwhile, the authority submitted a seasonal financial plan to the Bank which financed the agricultural operations accordingly. However, the Agricultural Bank used to get a rate of interest of 5% by guarantying the crop and later that due interest rose to 7%. In the same season, another decision was issued to constitute Agricultural Reform Authority. By and large, agricultural reform was a sign of governmental intervention in agricultural activities. That reform was an integrated program aiming at the following:

  • remove socio-economic obstacles for agricultural development
  • restore balance for the area of the field
  • Legalize magnitude of land tenure and redress the status of ownership of land (1983).

During period of reformation, relation of production was amended to become 47.7% for both government and farmer while 2.5% of the net profit of the farmer and 2.5% of the government’s share were deposited for social services (Arafa, 2004).

On the administrative side, a new administrative style had been adopted. That new method was called decentralized management of schemes whose powers were devolved to administrators of districts. Accordingly, the schemes were divided into geographical areas as follows:

  1. Kosti- Al Rank region
  2. Ed-Duweim region

In so doing, problems of production inputs were resolved and canals were partly maintained. As a result, productivity of crops was somewhat improved and cultivated area was expanded to reach 1100000 feddans. By 1970, Subsistence Schemes and Agricultural Reformation Schemes were integrated.

Period 1976—1986 (birth of two agricultural Corporations):

As it was difficult to administer wide areas from Khartoum, outmoded utilized machineries of irrigation and bad conditions of irrigation canals made grass proliferated and clay accumulated. To facilitate administrative problems and reduce area of supervision, public Corporation for agricultural production decided to divide White Nile schemes into two units which were Kosti unit and Ed-Duweim unit. Nevertheless, that period witnessed decline of cotton productivity and high cost of production. Consequently, the tenancy had no longer been a source of subsistence and some farmers deserted their tenancies and sought other sources of subsistence.

Period 1986—1999 (united agricultural establishment):

Due to permanent deterioration of White Nile Agricultural Corporation schemes, the government again decided to join all schemes in two separate units for Kosti and Ed-Duweim. In so doing, the government intended to make of the corporation a legal personality with financial and administrative independence that might help it finance itself and capitalize on the loan offered by African Development Bank. After all, productivity of crops had not increased as required, concessions offered by the government to the Agricultural Corporation notwithstanding (Arafa, 2001).

Bank of Sudan had kept financing the corporation with a rate of interest of 9% without allocation of budgets for development, substitution or consumption. So, lack of budget through 1985/1986 – 1990/1991 reached a lump-sum of 67.844.000 pounds. What added insult to injury was that production of crops had deteriorated, amounts of debts accumulated and majority of farmers deserted cultivation of cotton to only cultivate sorghum to meet family needs (Federal Ministry of Agriculture, 1995). 


 Privatization of White Nile agricultural schemes:

At the joint session of the RCC members no. (38), on 17th November, 1991, the resolution no. (112) was issued concerning formation of a technical committee to estimate performance of loser public institutions and corporations and present specific recommendations. On its part, the committee set general standards under which public utilities would be devolved (Saad, 2001). In August, 1992, the committee held an all-encompassing meeting under which council of ministers issued the decision no. (1155), on 28th, October, 1992. Accordingly, both White Nile and Blue Nile Corporations were dissolved and, instead, private companies for farmers were formed. Moreover, the ministerial resolution provided for formation of technical committees to review the practical way for transforming the schemes to companies or cooperatives in a reasonable area and insofar as these schemes could be optimally exploited. So, terms of reference of these committees were specified in the following:

  1. Collect schemes in a productive standard unit insofar as this unit could be easily managed on economic sound foundations.
  2. Assess and estimate movable and immovable assets inside the productive units.
  3. Conceptualize capital of the companies, number of stocks, stock value, and payment system and prepare the basic system and complete procedure of registration.
  4. Set initial feasibility studies for operation of financing as far as best agricultural economic activities, costs and revenues of production and administrative structures were concerned.
  5. Create a general framework for relations of production inside the companies.
  6. Brief farmers and their leaders on purposes of investment methods offered and muster them to be involved in achievement of change.

Finally, the two committees on both White Nile and Blue Nile Corporations agreed upon the following general grounds:

  1. Collect a number of neighbouring schemes to make a largest area that could be managed as an economic unit.
  2. Create harmony and accord among the groups of farmers inside the company for the sake of stability.
  3. There should be capable and well experienced farmers who were able to manage the company.
  4. Devolve undividable assets, including irrigation utility, to only one company for avoiding contentions.

According to the above, the committee proposed that 65 companies would be established. So, both the establishment contract and basic system of these companies were prepared according to Companies Act, 1925. Consequently, the schemes had been handed over to the private companies, including asset lists which were prepared by devolution committees where those lists contained even the tenancy value in every company.

Justifications concerning devolution of the White Nile Corporation to private companies and cooperative societies

  1. Accumulation of debts over the schemes owing to decline of productivity of crops.
  2. To boost capacity of productive operations, improve performance through close and earnest management, localize administrative process and engage stakeholders in managing those schemes.
  3. Adopt policy of privatization of public sector and unburden public exchequer.


Problems and obstacles accompanied the process of devolution can be summed up in the following:

  1. Deterioration of irrigation utility.

When the decision was issued to hand over the schemes to farmers, those schemes had been undergone horrendous deterioration concerning utilities of mechanical and water supplying irrigation. As those utilities had not been rehabilitated and maintained in the past, the government was committed to cooperate with farmers, the state and IFAD.

  1. Decline of productivity which resulted in privatization of those schemes. However, reasons of decline of productivity can be summed up in the following:
  1. Unavailable irrigation water due to decreased amounts of rain below the rate required for watering crops at the beginning of agricultural season.
  2. Decline of the White Nile level of water at the time due to cultivation of crops, for instance cotton could not be cultivated in time and would be delayed till September, because the suitable time to cultivate it is the second week of August (report of the technical committee on devolution of utilities of public sector, November, 1997).
  3. Opening of Jebel Awlia Dam in March to increase quantities of irrigation rendered irrigation of crops incomplete, i.e. schemes of the Northern State.
  4. Accumulation of debts, increasing number of lost farmers and agricultural receding activity.
  5. Financing became a thorny question, given the following reasons:
  • Farmers were not acquainted with the rules that governed financing institutions and the conditions set by these institutions.
  • Lack of financial capacity of specialized banks to meet the needs of the new companies.
  • Procedural complications accompanied formation of those companies, besides banks didn’t perceive the necessity to possess the assets as a prerequisite for acceptance the conditions set by banks.

Therefore, financing question needed to be reviewed and estimated in order to develop performance of companies.

  • Relations of production:

Foundation of companies made duplication in the relations of production, because relation of production inside the company was an individual account while a relation between the company and banks was in the joint account. Unfairly, this duplication put productive and nonproductive farmers on an equal footing because banks deducted the total revenue of partnership and this procedure transferred profits of productive farmers to nonproductive farmers. This unjust financial procedure negatively impacted farmers and, as a result, some of them deserted agriculture. So, this flaw in relations of production should be addressed and redressed by creating machinery which helps farmers inside the company directly treat with the bank.

  • Marketing:

Notwithstanding privatization, marketing of cotton has still been held by banks with full coordination with Cottons Company, to wit, the latter has marketed cotton in behalf of banks rather than of farmers. It is worth noting that handing over cotton in a form of fiber or flower to banks is not corroborated by any economic analytic study which can determine the economic advantage for each. Yet, one of the banks has still received cotton in a form of flower at the entrance of the scutcher but that bank is not liable for the damage caused by rain or for the delay of scutchering of cotton or the change of its quality caused by dusts. And after all, calculation is counted for cotton flower (report of Agriculture, 1997).

  • Crop substitutes:

Shift from public to private sector was not accompanied by a change in crop combination since companies have still applied crop combination which had prevailed during past decades, viz. cotton, sorghum and wheat, because there is no crop substitutes which can boost farmer revenues.

  • Lack advisory unit:

Establishment of private companies should have been accompanied by an advisory unit in the federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. The said unit would set policies which confirm sustainability of companies and resolve their problems. As to training, companies are not accompanied by wide guidance campaigns to show this shift. In this respect, effective training programs should be set as regards methods of accountancy, registration of inputs, revenues and the crop substitutes and value. Importantly, training should include leaders and grassroots of farmers.

  • Prospective vision for private companies:

To improve performance of companies and help them sustain and boost up production and productivity and make better the farmer income and create rural sustained development, the following ends should be achieved:

  1. Sustain irrigation waters:

It is known that irrigation in pump schemes is seasonal where the farmer practices cultivation in certain months from July to March and cultivates sorghum in the rainy summer and wheat in winter season. However, to sustain agricultural work, a permanent irrigation work from the Nile main course should be introduced. This kind of irrigation can be carried out by floating pumps to cultivate crops and fodders for animal.

  1. Introduction of mixed agriculture which combines crops and animal husbandry since inhabitants of the area are originally both farmers and herders who rear best kinds of cows and sheep for diversifying income sources of the farmer.
  2. Both federal and state governments, aided by international organizations, should collect the schemes in the proposed units and rehabilitate them and, also, reform water canals and rebuild them on a contour study by drawing maps for the schemes to help irrigation waters flow out.
  3. Crop substitutes: Agricultural Researches Corporation should intensify and diversify their researches in places of companies insofar as there will be greatest number of crop substitutes with high economic revenue, suitable with geographical location and global and local markets, instead of routines which had been dominant in the past, because every place has its own different advantage.
  4. Out of the study, it is clear that the most prominent problems of these schemes is the administrative one. Therefore, it is necessary to draw up administrative structures with obvious powers and liabilities for companies. On its part, Ministry of Agriculture should provide agricultural and technical know-how along with consulting expertise, both technical and administrative, in all fields of agriculture.
  5. Apply individual account: in cooperation with board of directors of the companies, banks should set machinery for applying individual account on farmers to promote production. However, this policy must be adopted even if it necessitates contracting new investment formulas to help all parties achieve rewarding revenues.
  6. Training: intensify the effort of working units in the field of agricultural guidance. This is to be through holding training courses in fields concerned with management and organization of companies. Here, beneficiaries of these courses are leaders and grassroots of farmers.
  7. Establish agriculture support fund in the state: this fund is a purse whose money are allotted for companies to help them get local and imported inputs in the due course for agriculture.
  8. Capitalize on IGAD Project whose cost is $15 million while the support fund contributes with about $11 million and government of Sudan with about $4 million. In fact, this Project targets rehabilitation of the schemes of the White Nile State. To largely cash in on the Project, reconstruction should be complete in order to tackle urgent problems. Beneficially, the support will be exploited in bringing simple agricultural equipments which the farmer can easily use and maintain locally instead of complicated technology.



Construction of the Dam was accompanied by a number of negative impacts on life in the district because it abruptly occasioned and changed life of people which had been adapted to nature of Nile running. As well, the primary purpose of the dam was to store waters for Arab Republic of Egypt without consideration to the life of those inhabiting around the Nile. Be that as it may, building of the Dam became real and made the district shift from subsistence economy to market economy through the following:

  • Introduction of cash crops for supporting the nation exchequer and enhancing capitalist economy.
  • Transform herders to farmers in public and private schemes according to new relations of production.
  • Development of urban centers.
  • Change of cultural concepts which have been related to agricultural modernization, improvement of land and Nile transport.
  • Connection of inhabitants with their neighbours of the neighbouring regions and openness on other urban centers, particularly Khartoum.

the researcher sees that modern irrigated agriculture has become a safe haven and the only way out for development of the White Nile district, particularly under the overriding situation such as scantiness of annual rate of rains, numerous drought-stricken areas in the White Nile and conversion of forests and natural pastures to lands of rain-fed cultivation in the south of the district. Therefore, it is necessary to attend to the following:

  • rehabilitate these schemes in comparatively large units connected with permanent irrigation form the Nile course
  • rehabilitate irrigation canals
  • change crop combination suit climate and world and local markets
  • Create programs of real rural development to change life of inhabitants.


To complete prospective vision, it is necessary to hammer out the following required recommendations to help agricultural companies succeed:

  1. Accomplish rehabilitation and reconstruction of irrigation infrastructure, namely irrigation machines and maintenance of major and secondary canals at phases and during a transitional period ranging between 5—10 years.
  2. Devolve management to farmers after they are being administratively qualified under a state governmental supervision.
  3. Prepare legislations and regulations which adjust relationship between the state, farmers and national and state Ministries of Agriculture. 
  4.  Create independent specialized financing corporations to treat individually yet directly with the farmer and on favourable terms.
  5. Relieve machineries and production inputs of taxes and levies in order to get rewarding revenues for agriculture. 
  6. Redistribute tenancies which have still been owned by a big group of inheritors which negatively impacted agricultural work. In this regard, a tenancy should be registered by only one of those heirs so that he may bear the absolute responsibility and effectively manage the work.  
  7. Introduce simple technology which suits capacity and skills of the farmer and helps him depend on himself in carrying out agricultural work, given that shortage of agricultural workforce has weakened production and revenue of agriculture.


Sources and references:

Firstly: Arab references:

  1. Books:
  1. Al Hafyan, Awad Ibrahim Abdel Rahman (1985), basics of rural development and role of agriculture in the Sudan, KUP, Khartoum.
  2. Zouka, Mohammed Khamis Azzouka (2000), Agricultural Geography, dar al-Maarifa al-Gami’ya for printing and publication, Alexandria.
  3. Tim Niblock (1994), The Struggle for Power and Resources in Sudan (translated into Arabic by AL Fatih Al Tigani and Mohammed Ali Jadain), KUP, Khartoum.
  4. Juda, Hasanein Juda, Abu ‘Iyana, Fathi Mohammed (1989), general natural and human bases of geography, dar al-Maarifa al-Gami’ya for printing and publication, Alexandria.
  1. Published and unpublished researches:
  1. Salih, Ali Mohammed Eisa (2010), deterioration of traditional grazing and means of adaptation and prospects of pastoral sector in both localities of Ed-Duweim and Umm Rimta – White Nile State, PhD thesis, University of Khartoum.
  2. Arafa, Al Haj Mohammed Ali (2004), White Nile Agricultural Schemes, impacts of deterioration, a study case of Kosti Province, Ms Thesis, University of Khartoum.
  1. Work reports and workshops:
  1. Study on estimation of performance regarding the devolved utilities of agricultural sector, Ministry of Agriculture, Khartoum, November, 1997.
  2. Report of the committee on studying the White Nile and Blue Nile agricultural corporations, part one, Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Sudan, Khartoum, 1983.
  3. Mustafa Hamad Mohammed (March, 2001), estimation on the experience of privatization of the White Nile Agricultural Schemes – Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.
  4. Nabeel Ahmed Saad (March, 2001), estimation on the experience of privatization of both White Nile and Blue Nile Schemes, Agricultural Corporation of the Northern Province, monthly forum for Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.

Secondly: Foreign References:

1- Khogali M.M (1986) the changing rate of nomadic in northern White Nile resin

2- Craig, G.M (ed.) (1991) The Agriculture of the Sudan, Oxford, Oxford University press. 

3- Eisa, A.M (1984) the White Nile pump schemes: performance and future, M s. Thesis, University of Khartoum.

4- J.D.TOT, Davis H.R.J 1986 Rural development and resources management in the White Nile province -Sudan. United Nations, University of Tokyo, Japan.    

Barbour .K, M 1961, Republic of Sudan, Regional Geography, university of London press - London.

5- Davies H.R.J (Ed.) (1986) United Nations, university of Tokyo, Japan.

6- Dirar A.R.M (1970) The  economics of Agricultural  production in the  private pump schemes in the north White Nile production  M.A Thesis, University  of Khartoum.

7- Eisa A.M (1982), the future of cheese production in Ed-Duweim district, B.A Thesis, University of Khartoum.

8- Mohamed A. A (1980) White Nile Arabs political. London school of Economics   monographs a social anthropology Ne 53 London. A Throne press.


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