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It is safe to conclude that the difference in perception of what the scheme should be is an important factor in the poor performance of the scheme. It would seem to be a prerequisite for improvement that people's perception should be considered in any restructuring of the scheme. The relatively long experience of contact between the interested parties in the scheme and the realization of the importance of each to the other in such a situation has made a common ground possible as a starting point for the scheme's rehabilitation.

The acceptance by participants of improvements in the present scheme structure on a new basis involving tenant participation in policy-making and planning, and the acceptance of livestock within the scheme programme marks an evident starting point for positive co-operation. In spite of the willingness to compromise, users stressed their lack of confidence in the present management as it presently operates and see it as a major obstacle to the reforms they consider necessary. Therefore an intensive effort is needed in this area. About 78 per cent of all respondents attribute the failure of the scheme to the inefficiency of the management without realizing its constraints. This is because the management acts independently and does not let the tenants know the constraints it has to work under in a way they can appreciate. It simply accuses settlers of being indifferent and not available on their farms without understanding the real causes of such indifference and low performance. Still, there is a growing awareness among many of the top people in the management of the logic of the tenants' behaviour in concentrating on non-farm activities within the scheme or on various off-scheme activities. On the other hand, tenants who are permanently settled in the scheme have begun to appreciate the technical and financial difficulties facing the scheme. They have also begun to realize that the management's attitude and actions towards them are not intentionally hostile but that the problems are basically due to the differences in original perceptional background and convictions. There is a growing recognition among the tenants that the management is doing what it thinks is good for them and is executing a tight plan passed over to it by the original planners, and that any changes would have to be initiated by the national planning agencies in Khartoum.

TABLE 19. Preferred system of management among specified alternatives (settled nomads only)

Answer No. %
1. Improved present system with full tenant contribution 27 58.7
2. Independent profit-oriented new management 12 26.1
3. Joint management with tenants'representatives 7 15.2
Total 46 100.0

Source: 1981 field survey

TABLE 20. Preferred form of development (Nubians excluded)

Answer Permanent settlers Partially settled
No. % No. %
1. Gradual change, full involvement of tenants under a free and flexible system 59 73.8 28 36.8
2. Unfettered agriculture in a well-integrated model of crop/animal use of scheme and rainland 21 26.2 36 47.4
3. Improvement of grazing land only - - 12 15.8
Total 80 100.0 76 100.0

Source: 1981 field survey

To conclude, one may suggest that the situation in the scheme is mature enough for compromise along two main lines. First of all, the scheme needs to be structured to meet the interests of all parties, the government, the nomads, and the Nubians; and secondly, the scheme cannot be viewed in isolation from the grazing economy and other development schemes and changes in the Butana region. Therefore, a system to ensure these objectives needs to be devised as part of a strategy for comprehensive regional development. This requires a high degree of flexibility and an efficient means of cost/benefit analysis at different levels through an openminded policy able to accommodate acceptable suggestions from the users at the base as a means for ensuring their effective involvement and commitment. This is essential because, as these findings suggest, the participants' current perceptions allow a greater potential for compromise than when they first settled. They have now built up an appreciable amount of experience and have adapted to a new agrarian way of life, and their consultation can now be fully justified. It is now increasingly essential for a viable and well organized scheme to emerge as a basis for the gradual transformation of the whole Butana economy.

FIG. 6. Proposed integrated regional development model for the Butana

It is evident from this preliminary research that restructuring the scheme needs to be considered within the regional context of the Butana. Figure 6 is an attempt to develop a model as a framework for consideration in this context. It is highly tenative and is meant to guide future directions of development.

In such environmentally marginal areas coordination is necessary not only between agricultural planners and users but also between planners in different areas of development relevant to the Butana resource base. Just as the nomads have had to adjust their practices, so too must planners display flexibility of mind. Irrigated agriculture, range management, livestock economy, rain-fed agriculture, rural industries, and local government must all be considered in any comprehensive plan. It is just as essential to consider socio-economic and environmental factors as the technical aspects of development. A multi-disciplinary approach is the only possible means to channel resources, minimize waste, and lay the essential solid foundation for such development. It is vital to move away from the single objective development scheme transplanted into a purely traditional economy without sufficient consideration of the potential consequences of possible setbacks and negative attitudes likely to develop towards such stereotyped and alien enterprises. The satisfaction of the users is important not only for its own sake but because it ties in with higher productivity in a conservationally utilized environment. The degradation of the environment in the Khashm el Girba scheme is in many ways directly correlated with people's dissatisfaction, which is expressed in indifference to their surroundings and lack of identification with the scheme. This situation creates a downward spiral of low scheme productivity, degraded environment, and poor quality of life which bodes ill for the prospects of the region with its delicately poised natural-resources base which can be irreparably damaged if not handled sympathetically.



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