The Impact Of Irrigated Schemes On Rural Development In Northern Upper Nile State, Sudan

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Jany Gai, Gai
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The recent global financial and food crises, the changing climate with rainfall fluctuation and adequacy have created awareness and much concern among governments, experts and farmers about irrigated agriculture as powerful instrument to make agriculture more productive to attain food security for the growing population, increase farmers' income and improve their living standards in rural areas. The Northern Upper Nile Irrigated Schemes with good potentials can play a major role in achieving these goals as alternative to rain fed schemes for crops production. This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of irrigated schemes on rural development with focus on socio-economic aspects of farmer, food security and social services in the study area. A multistage stratified random sampling procedure was used. Six locations were predetermined and selected namely Geiger, Abu Khadira, Fewar North and Latbior on the eastern bank of White Nile River. Bushara and Wadakona on the Western bank. 20 farmers were randomly selected from each locality to have 120 samples. Primary data was collected through questionnaire by means of direct interviewing of respondents in the year 2008. Secondary data were obtained from various relevant sources. Different statistical techniques were used in data analysis including frequency distribution and chi-square test analysis. The study revealed that illiteracy among farmers was very high and the impacts of the schemes were positive on food security, farmers' incomes, education and health services while no significant change on drinking water and availability of diseases in the study area. The study recommend the rehabilitation of the schemes, by reallocation of the existing resources and changing farm size and crop structure from simple three course to four course rotation for more intensification and diversification by adding new cash, food and fodder crops to increase farmers incomes, improve livestock production and food situation since the area is enjoying good recharge of irrigation water. The study also suggests a gradual reform of vast fertile but at the same time unexploited or unsustainably used rain fed schemes in Northern Upper Nile into large long term irrigated projects by reducing size of these schemes from 1,000 to 500 feddans for each farm to be divided into four Hawashas of 125 feddans each. This could be financed by agricultural and Commercial Banks for cultivation of cotton, sunflower, sesame, sugarcane, guar and groundnut as cash crops. Sorghum, maize, millet, rice and vegetables as food crops in four course rotation to make this area ‘food basket’ for southern and western States of Sudan