Protest as Sudan eyes farmland sale to Gulf investors

Sudanese police use tear gas and batons to break up demonstration, say witnesses

Sudanese police used tear gas and batons to break up a protest of more than 250 people on Friday demanding that the government revoke the sale of farming land to Gulf Arab investors, witnesses said.

Protesters blocked the main road of Um Dum outside the capital Khartoum to urge the government to give them land in the area instead of to investors planning an agricultural project there, the witnesses said.

Police said it had been forced to act after protesters hurled rockets at officers and burned tyres, the state-linked Sudanese Media Center (SMC) said on it website. Several persons had been injured and some protesters detained, it added.

Like in other African countries, Gulf Arab investors have been investing into farmland in Sudan, which struggles with an economic crisis, to secure food supplies. Critics say some investors take advantage of poor countries and farmers.

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Posted by: Parvaiz Wani

Larry, While I agree with what you have said, there must be a reason why this is happening.. I assume that the land offered for sale to private investors is not usurped from poor farmers or existing land owners. This probably would be underdeveloped farm land requiring financial resources, modern farming techniques and equipment etc. Besides the government may clearly spell out its agricultural policies and terms of sale. While foreign investment may bring the much needed cash for development of the unused farmland, they may not import agricultural labour. This provides an excellent opportunity to the local unskilled and unemployed labour to earn a livelihood. The activity will generate a lots of related business activity and local economy will surely benefit. HOWEVER, THE AUTHORITIES NEED TO ENSURE THAT THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES DO RECEIVE A FAIR SHARE OF THE PRODUCE AND FOREIGN INVESTORS NEED TO CONSIDER THIS ASPECT AT THE OUTSET FOR A WIN-WIN MATRIX FOR ALL STAKE HOLDERS.

Posted by: Larry L. Edwards

The Sudanese people are right. They,and they alone should have priority over the farmland. The leadership in Africa usually cannot see beyond their own bank account. In some cases, this rich, fertile land is leased or sold for the ridiculous low price of $1 U.S. per hectare. And the local people will not be the ones eating it. The food grown will be exported to foreigners.
Wouldn't it make better sense for the Sudanese people to work that land to grow the food and export it to the foreigners. That would be in the best interest of Sudan.

Posted by: Mark

Absolutely Right - This is exactly my opinion, and I believe this is the only way. Respect the people of the land and give them their Rights. The Gulf Governments do not allow outsiders to buy property or even a small piece of land in their Deserts. So why should other countries sell them Fertile Land? Beats me, Must be Rocket Science - Simple Greed of the Politicians to fill their own pockets.

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