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Economic Dimensions

Gezira Scheme

The Gezira Scheme was originally started by the British in 1925 and distributes water from the Blue Nile through canals and ditches to tenant farms lying between the Blue and White Nile rivers. This network of canals and ditches is 2,700 miles (4,300 kilometers) long, and the irrigated area covers 8,800 km². The original plan for the Gezira Scheme was to provide water further inland to tenant farms. These tenant farms would provide the government with a way to produce crops such as cotton one of Sudan’s chief exports. The Gezira Scheme is farmed by more than 100,000 tenant farmers through gravity irrigation. These farmers are given land by the government and allowed to farm on a 5 crop rotation. The land given to the tenants is about 20 feddans per tenant which has proven to provide tenants with an income marginally above the poverty line if at all.
Gezira Scheme
A view of the Gezira Scheme from Space.
The Scheme is one of the largest in the world about 1/3 the size of Belgium.
Image provided by Google Images


The Gezira Scheme is the world’s least efficient irrigation system working at less that 50% efficiency. The Gezira Scheme uses 30% of Sudan’s allocation of Nile River. When looking at the problems of droughts which have occurred in 1984, 89, 90, 97, and 2000 in the area along with the inefficiency of the Gezira; this can be a disastrous situation.

Additional Information


Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Problems with the Gezira Scheme

Silt Riverways
Here is a view from the International Space Station; the two streams differ in the silt loads they contain.

The Gezira Scheme is currently deteriorating due to the amount of silt deposits in its canals. A majority of the silt 54% of which ends up in the minor canals this silt buildup leads to major depletion in the water supply to tenant farmers causing some tenant farmers to go out of production.
Because of the buildup of silt in the Gezira Scheme the Sudanese economy is forced to spend money trying to rid the scheme of the deposits. This costs the government $2.1 Billion Sudanese dollars a year (about $8.2 million USD). However, over recent years the process of removing the silt has slowed down which is putting the Sudanese in a fight to catch up.


Further Problems
Sudanese Roadway from Google Images
The Gezira Scheme has an extensive network of roads and light railways. There are 18,000 kilometers of roads along canal system and 30,000 kilometers along farm tracks. However, these roads are largely dirt or unpaved, leading to inaccessibility during bouts of rain or the rainy season.
About 75% of the Gezira Scheme is covered by light railways. The Schemes tracks have been damaged due to floods and vehicle traffic. In order to fix the railways the private sector would have to become involved, but it seems that it is an unlikely appealing investment. In recent year’s inadequate maintenance on the railways has lead to depletion on 62 locomotives and 1800 wagons. It has been recommended that the railways undergo improvements.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia