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3.5 Nuba mountains agricultural production corporation (NMAPC).


The NMAPC is a subsidiary corporation of the Public Corporation for Agricultural Production (PCAP). Its origins lie in the Nuba Mountains Cotton Corporation (1924), which was solely concerned with the marketing and ginning of cotton and distribution of seed. The corporation was reconstituted in 1967 as the NMAPC to promote a "modernization" programme which involved providing mechanization to groups of farmers. Initially, it was thought that this programme would stimulate cotton production as all the sites chosen for the scheme (varying annually between 20 and 35) were in the vicinity of the ginneries.

Peak cotton production was reached in 1954/55 when over 200,000 feddans were planted. producing 900,000 kantars of seed cotton. Since that time, output has fluctuated widely but with a general downward trend. with 117.000 feddans planted in the 1975/76 season. Decreasing yields and lower prices seem to be the major causes for the decline. Although the emphasis is still on cotton. planting of aura has increased in importance. The area planted each year has fluctuated quite widely up to 36,000

Major sources: (1) IBRD, South Kordafan Agriculture Development Report, Khartoum.1976. (2) Agrar- und Hydrotechnik Gmb H. German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Nuba Mountains Region-Development Potential Survey. Essen,1977 feddans, reaching a low point in 1974/75, when only 3,000 feddans were sown. The following season, with some new tractors, around 38,000 feddans were planted, and in the current season (1976/77) the area planted exceeded 47,000 feddans.

Production Problems

Total Nuba Mountains cropped area in 1975 was 744,500 feddans (see Table 1 6), of which only 38,000 feddans (5 per cent) came under the modernization schemes. Average crop yields in the area are around 3.5 kantars/feddan for cotton 6 kantars for aura, and 3 kantars for sesame. No yield data relating specifically to the modernization schemes are available, but yields of 6-7 kantars for cotton and 10 kantars for aura are quoted locally.

TABLE 16. Nuba Mountains: Total Crooped Areas. 1975

Crop Yield
Cotton 390 117 173
Dura 676 346 587
Sesame 337 130 977
Groundnuts - 70 286
Millet - 35 679
Maize - 1 8 530
Lubia - 20 086
Peppers - 4 036
Kerkady - 55

Source: IBRD. South Kordofan Agriculture Development Report, p. 11

Under the modernization scheme, a tractor hire service is provided to groups of farmers, informally organized, or through the local Farmers Union, which is extremely active in the area. The techniques used are similar to those of MFC, with one or two cultivation by a tractor with a wide-level disc, mechanized planting of aura, but hand or broadcast sowing of cotton. All initial clearing, weeding, and harvesting is performed by hand by the farmers themselves and with seasonal Dinka and Nuer labourers. Sprayers are hired out by Plant Protection for spraying the cotton on the mechanized schemes. Holdings range from 1 2 to 26 feddans and are grouped in blocks of at least 500 feddans, but many farmers continue to cultivate areas outside the scheme.

Current charges for the services provided are úS 0.75 per feddan for one discing or úS 1.25 per feddan for two, and úS 0.35 per feddan for spraying cotton, with two or three sprayings recommended per season. The cotton crop provides the guarantee of repayment since NMAPC purchases all cotton for ginning and subtracts charges before payment. The corporation operates a joint account for all cotton growers. In this, all variable costs associated with the transport, storage, and ginning of cotton are subtracted from the total revenue from the sale of lint and seed to the Cotton Corporation and the net proceeds are then divided between the growers (around 78-80 per cent), the NMAPC (around 1 5 per cent), a reserve fund (2 per cent). social services (1 per cent), and local government (3 per cent). The expenses in the joint account, however, do not include the fixed costs of the corporation and other permanent staff or the associated variable costs of administration.

There are two main types of farm holdings in the project area. One type has either all or a part of its fields in a mechanized farming scheme of the Nuba Mountains Corporation, while on the other type crops are cultivated in the traditional way. However, the area under mechanized cultivation is still of minor importance, as only 16 per cent of the total cultivated area is cropped in this way.

The crop production in the 1976/77 season at NMAPC schemes amounted to around 6,000 tons of cotton (yield per ha, 466 kg), 10.000 tons of sorghum (yield per ha, 832 kg), 1,400 tons of sesame (yield per ha, 369 kg), and 1 32 tons of dukhn (pearl millet; yield per ha, 840 kg). The yields are above the average of the total area, as given above. The cotton production is sold entirely to the Nuba Mountains Corporation. whereas only around 15 per cent of the sorghum production is sold to merchants. The remaining 85 per cent is consumed by the individual farm families. Thirtyone per cent of the sesame production is sold and 69 per cent is consumed at home.

The total agricultural and non-agricultural income per farm holding is in the range of úS 300 to úS 360 per year. The agricultural income results from crop production and animal production, such as the increase and/or sale of cattle, sheep, and goats, and the sale of skins and milk. The non-agricultural income results from additional jobs which some farmers have, such as the production and sale of local beer (Marisa and Asseliya), charcoal production, weaving, transportation work, and basket making. Compared with the average annual income of úS 1 55 per household in the province of Southern Kordofan, farmers in the project area are quite well off. Farmers with fields in one of the mechanized farming schemes are even better off. The income per hectare on mechanized farming schemes is úS 46 if cotton is grown. and around úS 20 if sorghum is grown. The corresponding figures in the traditional sector are úS 32 for cotton and around úS 26 for sorghum. Farm sizes vary considerably. The average size of a holding is 4.85 ha among the Nuba, 6.11 ha among the Hawazma, and 3.66 ha among the other tribes.

The area of land cultivated at one farm holding is determined by the following factors: -labour availability at the time of clearing/planting/ weeding, -availability of seed, -the rains prior to planting, -weeds from the previous year's crops, and extent of burning old grass or crop aftermath.

Until now there has been no shortage of land and farmers have not established usufructuary priorities over more than a small portion of the usable land. The land tenure pattern shows such traditional land ownership or usufruct accounts for nearly all the farms in the project area. During the Agricultural Sample Survey 1977, only two cases were recorded where farmers stated that the land they cultivated did not belong to them but to a friend or neighbour. However, no payment had to be made and the period of renting was not fixed.

The average family size in the project area was found to be a little more than eight persons. thus giving 4.05 Labour Equivalents (L.E.) per farm holding. Full working time amounts to 240 days per year because of numerous religious and political holidays and thus the average farm holding has around 972 man-days at its disposal.

There are two distinct peak periods for labour, i.e., May and June (land preparation). and August to October (weeding). There is a slack period from December to February and a marked "off season" in March and April. Over the year as a whole, the average farm holding has around 50 per cent of the family members working on the farm. Hired labourers are quite common on farms. Fifty-five per cent of all farmers use them seasonally and 3 per cent use them permanently.

Transport from the field to the farmer's house, or in the case of cotton, to the next collection point, is normally effected by camels or donkeys. Lorries are also sometimes used.

Crop rotation is widely practiced by the farmer. The Nuba Mountains Corporation prescribes the following crop rotation: cotton-sorghum-beans, groundouts, or fallow.

Cotton is exclusively used as a cash crop and marketed through the Nuba Mountains Corporation. Seed is supplied by the corporation free of charge to everybody. Dressing chemicals (Agrosan and Heptachlor) are also offered to the farmers. In the mechanized sector all the farmers apply dressing chemicals; in the traditional sector only 26 per cent do.

The seed rate is 10 kg/ha. Sowing starts from mid July onwards. In general. two to three weedings are carried out by hand. The first weeding starts around three weeks after germination, the second weeding is in September. and if a third weeding is carried out. it is done in October. No serious pests or diseases were recorded during the 1976/77 season. Harvesting starts in December and continues up to March. Cotton is picked two or three times, and the harvest is usually transported by camel to the next collection point of the Nuba Mountains Corporation, where the farmer also receives his payment.

Sorghum (aura) is the staple crop of the population in the project area. Farmers usually grow more than they use for their own consumption and the surplus is sold to merchants. A considerable part of the harvest is used for making alcoholic beverages.

The varieties grown in the traditional sector are characterized by a long stem and are late-maturing. An early-maturing variety is grown around the houses and is used for food if the harvest of the previous year is finished and the new harvest has not yet started. Recently, improved varieties. which are medium-maturing and characterized by a short stem, have been introduced in the farming schemes of the Nuba Mountains Corporation.

Soil preparation for sorghum growing starts from mid-April and is the same as for cotton. Planting starts in July. The seed is generally taken from the previous year's harvest. The seeding rate is 25 kg/ha in the traditional sector and 8 kg/ha in the mechanized sector, where sowing is done mechanically. Weeding is carried out by hand. Two to three weedings are carried out.

A typical weed occuring in sorghum is witchweed (Striga hermontheca), which can cause heavy losses in yield. Farmers combat this weed through the crop rotation they practice. Harvesting starts in mid October and is completed in late December. The average sorghum yield is around 500 kg/ha in the traditional sector and 900 kg/ha in the mechanized sector.

As previously mentioned. cotton is marketed exclusively through the Nuba Mountains Corporation. All other crops are marketed by the farmer himself. Price fluctuations are considerable, but this may be partly due to the fact that in some cases, merchants buy directly from the individual farm holding, giving a lower price to cover their transport costs, while in in other cases the farmer brings his produce to the merchant and thus receives a slightly higher price.

The following standard prices paid by the NMAPC to the producer were recorded:

Cotton úS 3.25 for a bag of 45 kg
Sorghum úS 3.30 for a bag of 95 kg
Sesame úS 7.70 for a bag of 75 kg
Beans úS 5.30 for a bag of 75 kg
Groundnuts úS 2.80 for a bag of 45 kg

Despite the emphasis on crop production, livestock cannot be completely neglected in the project area. Cattle influence the whole social life of the Hawasma and the Nuba. Climatic and ecological conditions force these people to move their animals through the project area from their home grounds to drier parts of the savanna. The home areas, as well as grazing grounds in the north, migration routes, and watering places are clearly defined as belonging to certain tribes.

The seasonal supply of fodder, with adequate nutritional value during certain periods only, stimulates a seasonal livestock breeding cycle and results in the range having a low carrying capacity. Harvested crop fields are of relatively little importance for livestock production as this area is fairly limited and the cotton fields. for example. are of little value for grazing purposes. It would certainly be advisable for the Nuba Mountains Agricultural Production

Corporation to concentrate not only on crop production expansion but also on the development of a management system which shows a higher degree of integration of livestock into the total productive efforts. The following description of the proposals of the new General Manager lacks such an indication.

New Proposals

In response to difficulties and reduced progress, a new General Manager was appointed, who has drawn up a sixyear plan proposal for the NMAPC. The proposals were finalized after consultation with personnel of the Middle East Development Division, Overseas Development Ministry, and therefore they take into account possible outside support; they were also modified slightly by the PCAP for submission to the Ministry of Planning.

The main components of the programme over the six-year period are:

a) establishment of a planning and supervision unit;
b) provision of 360 tractors and wide-level discs (60 per year) and other support vehicles and equipment;
c) strengthening Kadugli workshop and establishment of three satellite workshops and mobile service units;
d) supply of competent technical personnel, provided with transport and housing;
e) ensuring regular supply of spare parts and fuel;
f) provision of domestic water supply at sites;
g) construction of raised access roads.

The target area of 480,000 feddans in 1981/82 was raised from the original proposal of 300,000 feddans, allowing just over 800 feddans per tractor unit.

The programme outlined intends to provide tractor services to groups of 40-50 farmers, each with 15 feddans of land, clearly demarcated by grassed bunds. They will cultivate on a three-course rotation of cotton, aura, and a legume (probably lubia or groundnuts). The inclusion of cotton as the main cash crop in the rotation reflects the historical interest of the NMAPC in the crop. for at current prices and yields and with the main inputs heavily subsidized (especially spraying), its economic viability is questionable. The utilization of the legume in the rotation (other than groundnuts) for livestock production has not been investigated.

The existing NMAPC sites will be used as the nuclei for the expansion programme. Where required, domestic water supplies will be provided and access roads constructed, primarily with the object of enabling supervision and maintenance to be carried out during the rains. At these sites, services will also be provided. including a school, dressing station, and a police post. Although no specific proposals have been made, it has been suggested that the NMAPC also become involved in the marketing of crops-in addition to cotton-possibly through the utilization of a proposed Provincial Transport Company, similar to that established in Northern Darfur.


From the outset of the scheme, progress was erratic for a number of reasons. The original programme to acquire 60 new tractors per year could not be met, and as a result of lack of workshop facilities. spare parts, and fuel shortages, the areas to be modernized fell drastically. This situation was compounded by the lack of technical personnel, adequate housing, and transport, which meant that the supervision of the scheme was impossible. In specific locations, problems of domestic water provision (there are few natural perennial water sources on the clays), soil exhaustion resulting from monocropped cotton, and difficulties with farmers who owned and migrated with livestock delayed progress.

The objective to "modernize" agricultural production in the area has certainly been reached, but at the expense of the State through heavy subsidies. While the economic viability of most operations for the country as a whole is still questionable, there is no doubt that personal incomes of the participants have been raised above previous levels in the area. In addition, central services (including better access roads) have come to the region earlier than could be expected without this scheme.

3.6 Gerih el Sarha settlement scheme.


The specific objectives of the scheme were set out in unpublished government documents prepared by the Rural Development Department between 1969 and 1975 as follows:

a) well-planned utilization of grazing lands for development;
b) establishment of an economic basis for agricultural production in the grazing lands;
c) settlement of nomads to enable other government departments to offer services such as health, education, etc.;
d) establishment of a well-planned water distribution system.

Development Problems

The Sudanese Government proposed the Gerih el Sarha Settlement Scheme (a reservation of 200 km▓ between long. 27░- 34░ and lat. 14░-12░ in northwestern Kordofan in the Kababish Rural Council) in an attempt to maintain vegetation cover and to improve grazing land by controlling the usage of the land.

The planners suggested the formation of a cooperative society consisting of 50 members only (each family considered as a member). The only condition for membership should be the payment of a share of úS 50. Reasons given for the formation of such a society and its goals were as follows.
a) The co-operative would provide marketing facilities to assist the peasant in his efforts to dispose of his production; it would develop organizations to supply members with household and consumer goods of good quality and at reasonable prices.
b) The government can provide certain facilities to co-operative societies which it cannot to individuals, e.g., tax concessions, and loan and bank facilities at low interest rates.
c) A model village was to be constructed inside the enclosed rectangular area in which the members of the co-operative society would have to reside.
d) Three water yards, each consisting of a number of watering centres. were to be established with the objective of making the grazing radius from each water point only 4 km. At each of these water yards a fruit and vegetable garden was to be established.
e) Milk, wool, and camel hair were to be the livestock products. The milk was to be processed into cheese; the wool and camel hair was to be used to develop local craftmanship.

3.6.1 Work Accomplished (1969-1975)

The work programme was started in 1969. The first phase was started by demarcating and clearing the entire boundaries of the project area. Then the boundaries were dry-hedged. The area was divided into the 50 paddocks provided for in the targets of the scheme. At the same time. work started on the contour maps and the vegetational maps for each paddock.

In October 1969 a meeting was held at Umbadier to discuss the membership and the establishment of the cooperative society. The co-operative society was then established. It consisted of 50 members. The members of the group were those who had the desire to settle and to participate, and who were able to pay the share (úS 50 each).

Two mobile clinics were brought into the area, one for human use and the other for veterinary use. The members of the co-operative society planned to build stationary clinics on a self-help basis. There are no schools at Gerih el Sarha. Educational facilities are at Umbadier, the Hamrat el Weiz and El Obeid primary schools.

The optimum animal unit per sq. km was determined by its carrying capacity. The grazing area was marked accordingly. cleaned, and fenced while the inner and the outer firelines were opened. in 1971 /72, surveys were carried out to estimate the carrying capacity of the area to avoid overgrazing. As a result of these studies, the carrying capacity was doubled, mainly due to the use of rotation in grazing. In addition, these studies helped a great deal in making useful suggestions for improvement of grazing areas elsewhere and in the introduction of new types of vegetation in the scheme area.

The multi-purpose co-operative society at Gerih el Sarha. which was officially registered in 1970, helped the members to make real use of the project. The enrolment fee of the 50 members represents the original capital for the society, but in addition to this. the penalties for animal owners when they allow their animals to enter the project area is another source of capital for the society. The original capital was used to finance a grocery, a poultry unit. contributions towards a vegetable farm, contributions towards provision of first aid and medical facilities, wages for three security officers, and contributions towards the provision of spare parts for the tractor and oil for the water pumps.

To settle the Kawahla the camel nomads of the western Sudan, was the main objective of the scheme. The carrying capacity of the enclosed area will never permit more than 50 families, as estimated by the planners. The 50 families now form the members of the co-operative society and are the only ones to enjoy the benefits of the scheme. Up till 1975, there were 38 families who were already settled in the model village inside the scheme enclosure: the rest were still in their traditional tents scattered outside the project area.

3.6.2 Data Collection

There were no data available on which to base plans. The data on water sources were inadequate. The settlement project at Gerih el Sarha was carried out without the essential data on the socio-economic and political situations. But it seems that the overwhelming majority of the population stood with the scheme. Included are the poverty-stricken people who eke out a living from unreliable agricultural practices on small patches of land with low yield. They are always on the look-out for jobs and serve as a reliable pool of labour. To these people. the scheme is a generous unexpected gift as long as it solves their problem of employment (two hundred of them were employed in clearing the firelines in 1969). These people expressed their admiration and delight on hearing about the scheme and their desire to participate in it. but they cannot pay the fifty pounds in a lump sum.

The second group is the cultured or the enlightened group who command a better view of their economy, and who have come to understand that the traditional pattern does not guarantee them full utilization of their animal resources, that they must think of accepting advice to maximize the products of their livestock to create a cash economy resting on broader bases and to assure them full utilization of their potentials.

Another enthusiastic group supports the scheme on the grounds that the scheme area, or the Kawahla tribal land, will be supplied with water, health, and educational facilities, or other forms of public services such as transportation or marketing facilities.

The fourth supporting group includes those who cannot put up with the tiresome task of loading and unloading the burden animals in the distasteful process of roaming from place to place after water and pasture. These people advocated the idea of the project as long as it promised them settlement and a relief from the pains of nomadism.

3.6.3 The Opposing Groups

Of those opposed to the scheme, the first group is composed of people who think that it is an intelligence device of the government to numerate and tax their herds; they abhor it.

The second group includes those who reject the scheme just because they love nomadism; they despise settlement in a village and are reluctant or unwilling to part with their traditional way of living. They look down upon settlers and they are opposed to living in a dark, one-door cottage.

The third group opposes the idea because the scheme area is a common grazing ground for their herds. Once the land is fenced and reserved for the ranch and for the members of the co-operative society only, they will be losing an important part of their pasture.

The last group opposes the project mainly because they think such a scheme will result in the breaking down of the tribe and the tribal structure; the tribe is the core of these people's thinking.

3.6.4 Causes of Failure

In the first phase the project was administered from Khartoum. The remoteness of the scheme area and the poor network of communications resulted in a serious administrative problem. Later, the centre was moved from Khartoum to El Obeid. the capital of Northern Kordofan.

The project area is 250 miles from El Obeid and only 147 miles from El Fasher (the capital of Northern Darfur). The roads between El Obeid and the project area are only suitable for high-speed travel in the dry season. while in rainy conditions they are impassable and the only road is through the province of Northern Darfur, a 570-mile route! There is a network of better roads between El Fasher and the Kawahla tribal land. It is impossible to administer the scheme from that distance. If the administrative centre were changed to El Fasher, it would be easier for transportation and communication and would save effort, time, and expense. The shortage of transportation affected the success of the project. It is interesting to know that in 1970/71 the transportation budget amounted to zero! There are no maintenance centres nearby and maintenance therefore presents a problem.

In the case of Gerih el Sarha, the planners rightly thought that if all animals were allowed to graze inside the scheme. over-grazing would result. This would defeat one major goal-to restore the carrying capacity to its original level or even increase it by introducing new plants that have more nutritive values. To solve this problem. it was recommended that only 1,000 animal units should enter the scheme during the dry season; the rest would have to graze outside. During the wet season, however, all animals should graze outside in order to save the grass inside for use during the dry season. But this meant three things:
1) The settlement idea would be destroyed. since the nomadic movement would continue.
2) The scheme would serve as a fattening place for a selected number of animals only.
3) While the animals of non-members would be denied entry into the scheme, they would have to share wet season grazing outside the scheme with the preferred members' animals.

The following calculation makes the problem quite clear.

a) Fifty families at Gerih el Sarha own 1 3,000 animal units-260 for each family.
b) The total carrying capacity of the scheme is thought to be 1,000 units per 100 km▓.
c) To allow all livestock of the 50 families into the scheme, the area would have to be enlarged to 1,300 km▓.

Such enlargement seems to be impossible without clashing with the interests of other Kababish nomads, who number in total 28,000 families and have only 48,000 km▓. They would need 62,800 km▓ if the scheme's carrying capacity of ten animal units per km▓ is used. On the strength of this vast difference between the total safe limit of carrying capacity of any of the nomadic regions and the total animal units owned by the nomadic population of a specific region, Khogali concludes that the approach to settlement should not be a direct one because this is usually expensive and yields poor results. as seen at Gerih el Sarha. A better approach is through the provision of services and infrastructure. If water points, schools. dispensaries. and market centres are opened, then the nomads will try to make use of them and gradually change their pattern of movements from nomadic to transhumant.

Wagialla adds one additional point: to maintain an optimal number of animals on the land, a fence is of prime importance and should be strong enough to prevent free movement of animals in and out of the area. The hedge which is being used for this purpose needs constant maintenance and there are insufficient watchmen to see to this. Consequently. there are frequent gaps and animals can roam freely. It has been suggested that the fence should be barbed wire but it is doubtful whether the scheme can afford this.

3.6.5 The Kababish-Kawahla Tribal Conflicts

Conflicts between nomadic tribes are always connected with pasture and water, but in the case of these two tribes there are more reasons. The origin of political conflict between the two groups in the area lies partly in the fact that British administrators in the Sudan tried for a long period of time to feed and strengthen the Kababish power to take care of British administration interests in western Kordofan. As the Kawahla tribe supported El Mahadi's revolution, the British administrators tried to suppress them. The Kawahla revolted against this suppression in 191 3, the result being that their leader was replaced by Ahmed Abdul Gadier el Eiser.

In 1925 the unfriendly atmosphere between the two tribes nearly led to war over the Umgawzien grazing area. Negotiations were conducted by a number of neighbouring tribes which resulted in a peaceful compromise. Late in 1969 a Presidential Act was passed to dissolve the native tribal administrative system, so that the Kawahla were able to gain their independence and their own identity. They are no longer under the supervision and control of the Kababish.

In the early discussions of the Gerih el Sarha scheme, Syed Hamed el Toum, who is Kababishi by birth, and who was the regional manager of Kordofan Province, stated his opposition to the scheme because he held that it had been designed for the exclusive benefit of the Kawahla and not the Kababish. Syed Hamed el Toum suggested that Um Endira in the Kababish tribal land was a suitable area for such a scheme, and that it was in even greater need of improvement of its grazing land.

He had, however. raised the very important point that the Gerih el Sarha area is a common grazing area for many nomadic tribes. including the Kababish and the Kawahla, where they gathered seasonally in summer. He anticipated the tribal conflicts which might arise. However, he was overruled by the initiator of the project and the plan of operation was passed.

Later on, the Kababish started to declare their opposition to the scheme and to stand as a real obstacle to its progress. In 1972 they set fire to a large portion of the grazing area inside the Kawahla enclosure. On another occasion they put stones into the well pipes to damage them and to prevent water from passing. Frequently, they brought their cattle to graze across the boundaries of the scheme against the watchmen's will.

A committee was elected to discuss the situation at Gerih el Sarha and to find out if solutions were possible.

The committee at last came to an agreement:

a) The water points outside the project boundaries are for common use and the water is to be equally distributed.
b) An official from the Rural Water Corporation has to be posted at each water point to supervise water distribution.
c) The situation necessitates a police station at Gerih el Sarha to control tribal conflicts and to help in finding solutions.
d) To cool down the conflict, ten Kababish families should join the scheme as full participant members with equal rights with the Kawahla tribe.
e) The number of watchmen (boundary keepers) around the boundaries should be increased to control the free movement of cattle across the boundaries.
f) No further open utilization of the grazing area should be allowed. Rights are reserved only to those who are officially registered in the co-operative society; even they must limit the numbers of their cattle in line with the stated carrying capacity of the land.
g) The committee suggested that a meeting be held between the local administrators and the technical staff of Kordofan Province together with the technical staff of Darfur Province. The aim should be to find suitable grazing land for the benefit of the Kababish in the dry season, when there is a scarcity of water and shortage of grazing lands which results in a seasonal overlap of grazing zones. This would minimize the possibility of future conflicts.
h) To put an end to the latent civil war in the area, three similar projects should be established in the Kababish tribal land. These proposed projects have to be subjected to pre-studies carried out by the staff of the Rural Development Department together with the local tribal leaders of the area.

3.6.6 Local Involvement

The scheme of Gerih el Sarha worked through local leaders, whose usual reaction. if they are ignored. is to oppose government schemes. A lack of cooperation by leaders can be almost as harmful to a project's success as their open opposition.

When there is an educated local leader who is also reliable, he may be a very significant person for implementing new ideas. The local innovators are most capable of closing the gap between the higher officials and the community and are in a very favourable position to put information into the informal communication network. At Gerih el Sarha, the informal authority of the Nazir is now decreasing. Having been a legitimator to his group, he is now only a communicator, but still retains his symbolic status of prestige and respect.

The Gerih el Sarha scheme could have been considered a success if it had involved the people of the local community. We have already seen that membership was limited to 50 people who were able to pay the requisite 50 pounds. This inevitably meant the exclusion of the majority of the Kawahla population who did not have the necessary financial resources. The scheme worked totally for the benefit of those already most financially advantaged. i.e.. the Nazir's lineage.

Even those Kawahla who did join the scheme were not involved in ways which would have proved most successful. They were never consulted at the initial decision-making stages (only the Nazir himself was consulted). Consequently, many of them did not want to build their houses inside the model village. It seems that they did not understand the implications of the settlement plans.

If they had participated democratically in the decision-making phase, the reasons for the nomads' opposition would have been learned and could have modified the plans. Participation would have helped the local population to realize their problems. and how they could be solved. They would have understood the policy of planned change towards gradual settlement. Participation would also have helped to create the determination necessary to undertake additional improvements in the settlement project which would guarantee its future success. As it is, it is impossible to comment on whether the settlement will prove temporary or permanent.

The settlement scheme was planned and implemented without any collection of socio-economic, political, or scientific data and showed a tack of co-ordination between government departments responsible for carrying out development schemes and research centres. These gaps could be due to a) a lack of knowledge about the importance of vital data as a prerequisite to planning, b) the fact that agencies may be unwilling for the success of their project to depend upon the assistance of other agencies or sections, c) a lack of funds, d) sheer haste, or e) a lack of coordination methods.

Whatever the reasons, the fact is that comprehensive and factual knowledge of the rural environment within which the developmental project is to operate must be carefully obtained in order to provide a sound base for planned change. It is stressed that rural development planning must be based upon facts and not upon opinions.

3.6.7 Wider Issues of Nomads' Settlement

As long as nomadism is both a way of utilizing resources and a way of life, the question of settling nomads has always to take into account solutions for both problem areas. Should the nomads be settled in order to improve upon the way they use their resources ? Khogali feels that this is necessary because the application of modern technology needs a mininum level of education and this is not possible with nomadism. Counter-arguments that the provision of hafirs and bore-holes is more a technical matter and could alone improve the use of grassland are not accepted by this author. He views the problem as being far bigger. For him it is the question of conserving the water resources and making efficient use of every drop of water for the use of man, animals. and useful plants-and this needs a certain level of education. as does the maintenance of the constructed water sources. A further point by Khogali: the conservation and efficient use of water cannot be done under the present communal ownership of land, which is an integral part of nomadism. A sense of personal possession should develop in relation to land so that each family becomes responsible for maintaining its land resources.

Should the nomads be settled to change their way of life ? The answer to this question is much more complex and depends entirely on the goals somebody has. In addition. this question is apparently not answerable in a static way, because the case of the Sudan shows that there have been time periods of increasing and decreasing numbers of nomads, depending on economic or political conditions (for example, the defeat of the Mahdiya in 1&98) which forced nomads to settle on the one hand. or the gradual build-up of great herds that resulted in movement as nomads again on the other. In addition. there have been examples where opportunities to earn additional income through crop production have been used by the nomads in quite different ways to change their life style. The Gezira Scheme, with comparatively high returns from cotton. together with the assured supply of aura, attracted many in the nomadic population. and these people settled in permanent villages, as did most of the nomads of the White Nile region. The Gash Scheme, however, where cotton started in 1924, has not attracted the Halendowa nomads although they owned about 65-70 per cent of all the tenancies of the Gash

Delta. The main reason for this, Khogali feels, were the consistent low annual returns from crop production at that scheme.

Planners of different development programmes in the Sudan have frequently stated that settlement of nomads is desirable to achieve better utilization of natural and human resources, to save the grazing potential from destruction due to overstocking. and to upgrade the nomads to citizens who enjoy the benefits of education, health, and other services. Khogali supports this view and says that many nomads are not against the idea of settlement as such. There are many examples from the semidesert and savanna region that nomads settled willingly when they were sufficiently motivated to do so. What the nomads object to is being turned into settled cultivators without animals. This is because of two reasons: (1 ) the traditional cultivators, as seen by the nomads, are not better off economically than the nomads, and (2) the raising of animals is highly rated all over the Sudan. Livestock act as a safety valve against frequent crop failure due to natural causes and against the fall of prices of sale products. An added factor in the case of the nomads is that livestock are the form of wealth which they know best and from which they draw their power and prestige.


The Gerih el Sarha Scheme started in 1969: by 1972. 18 families had built houses and resided as "semisettlers." By 1975. 38 families were settled and they exhausted the total carrying capacity at that time. Fifty projected families are obviously too many. The project work was hampered by a number of organizational and acceptance problems. The administrative centre of the project was too far away to guarantee an efficient management. Shortage of transport and frequent staff changes occurred. The duties were carried out without the necessary integration and co-ordination between the different governmental departments.

The settlers had difficulties in adjusting to their new status as owners of land and to the new pattern of social relationships. The nomad was, in the past, able to avoid control by the central government because he was isolated and highly mobile. He had received orders from the sheikh; in the project he deals directly with governmental local personnel. In the past, the tribal chiefs served as an informal law court, as social security, and as saving and credit institutions. The new institututional framework that will substitute for the former tribal organization has not been established sufficiently to allow the conclusion that this settlement scheme has successfully integrated the nomads into the mainstream of development of the region.


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