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Sudanese MPs ask presidency to return agriculture draft act

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June 27, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The Gezira state MPs bloc in the National Assembly has asked the speaker to return the draft law of the agricultural and animal production professions to the parliament following refusal of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to sign it.

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A Sudanese farmer stands in a field of sorghum in Gezira state (AFP)

The bloc demanded in a memo submitted to the speaker of the parliament revealing why the law has not been returned to the parliament in spite of the refusal of the president to sign it, asking him to present it to the parliament as soon as possible.

It should be recalled that the work at the Gezira scheme depends largely on the associations and union.

The member of the Gezira state bloc, Hassab al-Rasoul al-Shami, said in press statements on Saturday that president Bashir made some observations on some items regarding the agricultural and animal production professions law.

He pointed that the presidency should have returned the law to the parliament but it has not yet done so.

Al-Shami said the new Gezira scheme act is composed of 18 items, stressing the government implemented only one item pertaining to the appointment of the governor of the scheme.

He disclosed they submitted a request to summon the minister of agriculture to question him about the government failure to implement the Gezira scheme act which has been approved recently in the parliament.

The Gezira project, which includes over 2 million feddans of land by the Blue and White Nile rivers and employs 130,000 farmers, traces its origins to British colonial times. It initially developed land for cotton through a system of canals.

There has long been a struggle between farmers and the government over ownership of the land as Khartoum wants to ensure it has control over the project in order to make it subject to its economic and agricultural policies.

The deterioration of the agricultural project was coupled by overall economic plunge particularly in manufacturing and commercial traffic in the state which is home to some 3.7 million people.

The restructuring of the scheme and the liquidation of its associated industries and businesses led to the displacement of thousands of workers, after application of the 2005 Gezira scheme act.

Meanwhile, the Northern state MPs bloc, disclosed cases of animal deaths near the River Nile in the localities of Halfa, Dongola and al-Borgaig, attributing the deaths to the use of the Cyanide in the gold purification by traditional miners.

A committee comprised of several experts and technicians is currently investigating the incident to determine the cause of the animal deaths.

The head of the Northern state MPs bloc, Isam Merghani, told reporters following a meeting with the speaker of the parliament, Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, they discussed several issues facing the state including agriculture, mining, electricity, education and health issues.

He added they discussed with the speaker the negative impact of traditional mining, adding that residents attribute animal deaths to the use of Cyanide.

(ST)

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