The Determinants of Agricultural Production and the Optimum Cropping Pattern in the Northern State, Sudan

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Tarig Bashir Abdalla
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University of Khartoum
The study was conducted in the Northern State, where the farmers live on both sides of the river banks. The environmental conditions are suitable for growing horticultural and field crops. Most of the country's demand for broad beans, spices and almost all the date palms production is met by this state. In addition, the state has a comparative advantage in wheat production. Agricultural production in the Northern State faces problems of high costs of production, low crop yields, low prices and accordingly low farmer's income. The overall objective of this study is to evaluate the farming system in the Northern State. Within this context the study investigated the socio-economic characteristics of farmers, efficiency of resource use, identified the constraints facing agricultural production in the state and examined the effect of certain scenarios on farmers income, resource use and crops mix. The study depended mainly on primary data for the 2002/2003 agricultural season which was collected by direct interviewing of respondents through a multistage-stratified random sampling technique, using a structured questionnaire. The study also used secondary data which was collected from the relevant institutional sources. The data was subjected to both descriptive and statistical analysis. Gross margin analysis, regression analysis using Cobb-Douglas production function and the linear programming techniques were used. The study showed that the largest area in Merowe locality was cultivated by broad beans followed by wheat crop, while in Dongola locality the two crops occupied approximately the same largest area. Broad beans in Merowe and wheat in Dongola scored low yields and in general the marginal value productivities of some resources were low relative to their costs, which means the inefficient use of those resources. Linear programming models showed a land use that is very different from the current land use. The results allocated 4.0 feddans of the available land of Merowe locality to broad beans beside the areas restricted for tomato and onion crops. Wheat crop entered the plan at a level just satisfying the consumption requirements. In Dongola locality broad beans occupied its restricted area and the rest was allocated to garlic and fennel crops. The wheat crop did not enter the plan. Land, labour and capital are the constraining factors in Dongola locality, while the constraining factors in Merowe locality were land and labour. The net farm income was higher than that currently obtained by 184% and 116% in the two localities respectively. Many scenarios were made by developing the parameters of the basic linear programming models to reflect a range of production options. The scenarios reflect the effect of cost of production, prices, productivities and adoption of improved technologies. According to the results of these scenarios wheat could be produced on commercial basis in Merowe locality when its present cost is reduced by 25%, when its productivity is increased by 25% or when its present price is increased by 20%. While it could be produced on commercial basis in Dongola locality when the present productivity is increased by 30% (i.e 11 sack/feddan) together with 20% increase in its price or when the productivity obtained by application of technical packages (18 sacks/feddan) is achieved. The study recommended the use of comparative and absolute production advantages and hence wheat is not to be produced in the state under the present level of productivity and prices in order to make use of tomato, onion and broad beans in Merowe locality and broad beans, garlic and fennel in Dongola locality. For the production of wheat crop on commercial basis the study recommended the improvement of its productivity and prices. The study advised farmers to follow cropping rotation and the lands cultivated in the summer season should not be cultivated in the winter season of the same year and to improve the fertility of marginal and less productive lands. The study also recommended the improvement of extension services, credit facilities and availability of agricultural inputs.
A thesis Submitted in Fulfillment for the Requirements of the Degree of Ph.D. (Agric.)
Agricultural Production Northern State Agricultural Economics University of Khartoum
Tarig Bashir Abdalla, The Determinants of Agricultural Production and the Optimum Cropping Pattern in the Northern State, Sudan .- Khartoum : University of Khartoum, 2005 .- 187p. : illus., 28cm., Ph.D