Global perspective Human stories

UN-managed irrigation project in Sudan boosts community’s crop production

UN-managed irrigation project in Sudan boosts community’s crop production

UNDP irrigation support has this farm in Arabaat, Sudan in full bloom
Irrigation equipment provided through an initiative managed by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) has enabled more than 1,000 farmers in north-eastern Sudan to increase harvests and boost incomes from the sale of their produce.

The rural community in Arabaat, 30 kilometres west of Port Sudan, which has traditionally relied on rain-fed subsistence farming, has benefited from generators and pumps delivered through the Sudan Recovery and Rehabilitation Programme, enabling them to draw groundwater to cultivate vegetables and other crops year round, UNDP said yesterday.

The $72-million project is managed by UNDP on behalf of the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan and funded by the European Commission and Norway.

“There is a big difference now,” said Aisha Sharief, who heads one of the Arabaat farms. “Nowadays we have permanent irrigation and alternate crops like sorghum and vegetables.” She also grows tomatoes, okra and arugula.

Hussein Musa, who is in charge of getting the farmers’ produce to the market, said: “In the past some people used wells run by merchants who took 50 per cent in profits and farmers earned little. Now each farm has a well.”

Farmers have also participated in management training and formed the Arabaat Development Association, which has enabled them to pool resources and run other development projects, such as water systems and fisheries.

“Previously women were not represented in leadership but now they are part of the way we do business,” said Ms. Sharief.