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Sudan allocates 2,4 million feddans for largest agricultural scheme

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June 6, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir Tuesday has issued a presidential decree to allocate 2,4 million feddans of land in the River Nile State for a national agricultural scheme.

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

Sudan has 175 million feddans of arable land, 118 million feddans of natural grassland nature and 102 million head of livestock. The feddan is a unit of area equivalent to 1.038 acres (0.42 ha).

The proposed scheme at Wadi Al-Hawad valley, which extends from the eastern plains of Al-Butana to the River Nile State, would be the largest agricultural scheme in Africa under one management.

In 2015, Sudan’s National Investment Authority (NIA) said Al Dhahirah Agricultural Holding Company, a leading farming and animal production company from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has expressed its desire to invest $10 billion in the Wadi Al-Hawad project.

According to the presidential decree, the Wadi Al-Hawad project, which has been described as “national project for integrated development”, would be administered at the federal level.

The presidential decree provided to enact a law determining the purpose of the project, how it would be administered and how its revenues would be distributed.

It also prohibits infringement on the rights of the existing landowners within the boundaries of the project, detailing ways to engage them in investment partnerships and how their revenues would be determined.

During the meetings of the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Riyadh in 2013, al-Bashir launched an initiative to achieve Arab food security through offering investment opportunities in agriculture and livestock in Sudan.

Last year, Sudan has allocated 1 million feddan in Upper Atbara and Setait Project, which is expected to start production at the end of 2016, for Saudi Arabia government investment.

In May 2015, Sudan said it offered UAE’s companies $59 billion investment opportunities mainly in agricultural projects.

Once hoped to be the breadbasket of the Arab world, Sudan’s agricultural sector has continued to deteriorate over the years mainly as a result of negligence, drought, mismanagement, high taxes and the overall economic climate.

(ST)

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