Eighty years after the idea was first planned, the Gezira irrigation scheme continues to expand, bringing a higher standard of living to a vast area of the Sudan.
GV Banks of the river Nile
GV & SV Gates at top of Rahad Canal (2 shots)
GV PAN Canal with cotton fields on banks
GV, SV & CU Cotton in field (3 shots)
GV PAN Canal with Ginnery on bank
GV Sacks of cotton being unloaded from truck.
GV PAN Heaps of cotton
SV & GV Man stitching up sacks of cotton (2 shots)
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Background: Eighty years after the idea was first planned, the Gezira irrigation scheme continues to expand, bringing a higher standard of living to a vast area of the Sudan. The latest expansion has been undertaken by one of the scheme's main research stations at Rahad.
SYNOPSIS: The scheme lies between the Blue and White Niles -- a gravity irrigation project which, over the decades, has transformed hundreds of thousands of otherwise barren territory into arable land.
The latest main canal is a neat one hundred miles long, providing a new livelihood for some 10-thousand tenants on, so far, 300-thousand acres.
Resettled Sudanese generally grow one of two major crops -- wheat and, in this case, cotton. As with all other areas of the Gezira irrigation complex, the main aim is to raise living standards first, and commercialise the operation later. Much of he wheat, the groundnut crop, rice and vegetables are used domestically. But in the case of cotton, it's a one hundred percent export commodity.
The Sudanese say they're slowly moving towards mechanisation. The big hurdle is finance. The latest Rahad irrigation and resettlement project -- only half complete -- already has cost almost 350-million dollars (US), half of it from international grants and loans.
It's one more stage in a grand plan which could well transform much of the Sudan into the cotton centre and foodbowl of Africa.