Revision of Production Relationship in the Gezira Scheme

Authored by Eng. Hussein Omer Kisha . on 25 March 1970

1) Plans of Vertical Development

An emphasis that the main intention is to manage the project as an economic proposition and not as a welfare scheme for the benefit of the local population should henceforth be made. Future plans of vertical development in the scheme aim at, besides raising the general standard or living of the tenant, increasing the national revenue. Mechanization of agricultural operations as far as can be practicable or the three crops cotton, groundnuts and wheat - is envisaged to increase the yields considerably. Whilst putting more responsibility on the management side, the tenant will be greatly relieved of many of his obligations towards the production of groundnuts and wheat in particular. The Board shall undertake all the operations except those minor ones for which the tenant will be paid in advance to employ labour or provide a private tractor. He will thus be encouraged to utilize the time saved on animal husbandry and the production of suitable fodders.

Cotton groundnuts and wheat will all be attended to equally well by the Board. Dura will remain a sole tenant crop.

Forms of Profit Sharing

Many forms of profit sharing have been discussed when planning the Rahad Project.

a) Different Forms of Crop - Sharing

A partnership as such can be maintained if the crops to be shared can only be disposed of by the management of the scheme or any other controlling body.

The Sudan Gezira Board System

Under this system the joint accounts are deducted from the proceeds of all cotton products and the balance is distributed among the three partners - Government, Tenant and Sudan Gezira Board - in the agreed ratio as follows :

  1. i) Government 36%
  2. ii) Tenants 50% - (of which 2% for Tenants Reserve Fund)
  3. iii) Local Government Councils within the Irrigated Area 2%
  4. iv) Social Development 2%
  5. v) Board 10%.

The actual figures for the division of Gross income for the years 1965/66 and 66/67 are given below at average yields of 3.672 and 4.604 respectively :-

1965/66 1966/67
Sudan Government 3,273,884 4,981,749
Tenants 4,365,179 6,642,332
Tenants Reserve Fund 181,883 276,763
Local Government Councils 181,882 276,764
Social Development Funds 181,883 276,764
Sudan Gezira Board 909,412 1 ,383,8l9
9,094,123 13,838,19l

Here the main criticism is that any intensification within the rotation adds more obligation on the part of the Government through supplying additional water and on the shoulders of the Board though more supervision and more intensified services without payment in return. On the other hand the tenant will naturally devote as much of his time, as can make him secure a reasonable tenure of his tenancy, to the other crops.

System of Crops Division on Equitable Basis

All production costs covering rent of land, interest and amortization of the capital cost of the project, the recurrent cost of management and of supply of irrigation water - should be assessed here for all crops. These would be deducted from the total sales revenue obtained and the balance to be divided between the Government and the tenants in an agreed ratio.

Many other systems of crops division for raising revenue from the tenant can be discussed but in all cases the difficulty of getting the tenants to bring in all their other crops will remain to be solved.

Partnership Conflicting Objectives

However more alarming is that so long as the Partnership concept does exist the tenant (a junior entrepreneur partner) will endeavour to continuously improve his own living standard whilst the Government (a senior entrepreneur partner) will tend to maximize the contribution of the scheme to state funds. The
tenant through his organised union moves, as previously experienced, can press in an attempt to increase his share and every now and then he can succeed even though his real status in the partnership pattern of responsibility may not have changed.

The main argument against crop-sharing systems is that the sharing of' the proceeds in a definite and fixed ratio far reduces the incentive of the tenant to improve. There will be more incentive for the tenant to farm well in a profit rather than a crop-sharing system.

b) Fixed Land & Water Charge System

The revenue derived from land and water rate will be in view of renting the land, providing water to field, maintaining canal structure, interest and amortization of capital, supply of supervisory staff etc. The marketing cost, ploughing, fertilizer application etc. all done by the management will be charged to tenant account.

There is a good case here for discontinuing the joint account and the tenant should shoulder the full responsibility for crop production.

Three examples to illustrate the Land and Water Charge (L.W.C.) System are given :-

i) Rahad Scheme Planners Example

A fixed water rate per feddan per irrigation in respect of each crop grown was suggested as shown here-under :-

Cotton Medium Stable 10 Waterings X £2 = 20 per fed.
Graundnuts 6 Waterings X £2 = 12 per fed.
Dura 3 Waterings X £2 =6 per fed.

The per feddan per crop rate was recommended for crop safety against tenants economizing in water to avoid a heavy water charge.

ii) Working Party Final Report Example

On a 40 feddans tenancy of 10 feddans of Cotton it is estimated that the three crops grundnuts, wheat and dura having 5 feddans each will add a margin, at the typical yields, of £80. Total Margin on the tenancy and possible land rent are shown below :-

Cotton Yield Margin to Tenant

from Cotton
Margin from other Crops Total Margin Suggested Rent Tenant Profit

iii) Gezira Study Mission Proposed Income Formula

The 1964/65 year figures closely approximate to the average of the 5 years period 60/61 - 64/65 and was therefore taken as a representative year for calculation of Profit Sharing results as follows :-

Sales income of Cotton = 508,228 X 3.554 X £14.143 = 25,546,507
Joint Account Estimated = 9,649,829
Gross Profit to be shared = 15,896,678
Farmer's Share at 50% = 7,948,339
Board Costs = 1,362,823 = 9,331,162
Government Share = 6,585,516
(is the balance inclusive of 2% Local Govt.

2% Social Development
Land and Water Charge
on amount to recover
= 6,585,516

= £3.710 per irrigable feddan.

In each case by removing the partnership concept it does mean that the tenant has an added incentive to work andamp prosper on the grounds that added inputs from his side result in higher profit accruing to him and do not have to be shared.

The main danger in this situation is that he will become the master and the only entrepreneur - a big bourgeois class, which can direct through massive movements the whole state as it wishes, will come to existence.

The Employed Tenant System

No system as such has been previously codified or discussed. But plans of vertical development bring up the thought. Under this :-

i) the status of the tenant in the production relationship pattern relative to the three crops - Cotton, Groundnuts and Wheat will weaken appreciably in view of his diminishing responsibility. The management of the scheme shall undertake almost all direct responsibility on behalf of the Government. A new relationship, in which the partnership concept disappears, will be realized and the conflict in objectives between the parties involved can be easier resolved.

ii) a reasonable measure of incentive to put more effort and increase production can be incorporated in which case diverse talents and resources of all those concerned can be put to maximum.

iii) a kind of set up such as to allow flexibility and diversity of production in the case of changing markets and technology can be established.

How? through raising a well secured income payment to the tenant proportionate to the yield for the three crops - cotton, groundnuts and wheat. This is to be so assessed (calculated) as to:-

  1. 1) make the individual tenant realize an improvement over his previous condition - in his standard of living, security of income in bad years, if any; thus guaranteeing a state of settlement to the younger generations whose natural tendency is how to seek their fortune (employment) in the growing towns.
  2. 2) generate an additional income to the national revenue after making for all Board costs.
    These are to be so timely paid in order to help the tenant to maintain good living throughout the 12 months of the year. In this case the tenant will enjoy a definite pay irrespective of future sales prices.

Suggested Approach to Tenants Income Payments

Suppose yields fluctuate under the future vertical development plans as follows :-


3.0 - 10.00 Kantars per feddan (as average)
5.000 (as average)
0.4 - 2.5- tons per feddan
1.000 (as average)
0.2 - 1.75 tons
0.750 (as average).

i) Total Tenant Income at Average Yields

For a holding of 40 feddans in the present Gezira rotation cropping pattern, the average yield division is assumed to make the tenant attain an average reasonable living standard comparable with a group III Wakefield labourer's annual pay.

Taking in this case as a rate £240 per year on cumulative basis for the three crops averages (or £276 to include for his income from Dura, vegetables and live stock, i.e. = £23 per month) the crops may each contribute a ratio :-

Feddans Yield Produce Ratio Proportions
Rate per Unit of Production




ii) Total Tenant Income at Maximum Yields

Cotton 10 10.00 100.00 60% 360 3.60
Groundnuts 5 2.50 12.50 30% 180 14.40
Wheat 5 1.75 8.75 10% 60 6.86

This assumes a prosperous living at the sub-professional status of £600 per annum (or £648 to include for his own crops i.e. equiv. to £54 per month).

iii) Total Tenant Income at Minimum Yields ( OR Lower)

This is much debatable. But strictly speaking the tenant's income should be zero if not negative. However consideration is to be given for compensating the tenant in bad years.

These assumptions need be checked by assessing in each case the balance, after deduction of all costs, so as to see how far the proposed system will add up to the national revenue. If all objectives are well satisfied a new relationship formula can be advocated.

An illustration of this is shown in the following table for average yields as well as for the potential of maximum yields. Graphs could be designed after working out results for all yields between the minima and maxima assumed for the three crops. Such graphs can readily give the divisions for profit sharing at the various yields.

Assessment of Government Revenue on the Employed Tenant System per Feddan

At Average Yields

Crop Yield Price per Unit

of Production
Proceeds Total Expenditure Gross Revenue Tenant Net Income Management Cost and

Govt. Net Revenue
Cotton 5.00K.







Groundnuts 1.00T. 36.000 36.000 14.000 14.000 14.000 7.600
Wheat 0.75T. 28.000 21.000 14.000 14.000 4.800 2.200

At Potential of Maximum Yields

Crop Yield Price per Unit

of Production
Proceeds Total Expenditure Gross Revenue Tenant Net Income Management Cost and

Govt. Net Revenue
Cotton 10.00K.



35+ (3X5)




Groundnuts 2.50T. 36.000 90.000 14+ (10X1.5) 61.000 36.000 25.000
Wheat 1.75T. 28.000 49.000 14+ (8X1) 27.000 12.000 15.000


The Writer acknowledges with admiration and thanks the valuable contribution given by Mr M.A. El Mufti, Agricultural Department, Sudan Gezira Board.


  1. Development of Agriculture and Organisational Planning in the Main Gezira Area - Final Report by the Working Party - Department of Agriculture.
  2. Roseiris Pre- investment Survey - Rahad Project - Report No. 2 - Ministry of Finance and Economics.
  3. Gezira Study Mission Report - Annex VI - World Bank Mission.
  4. The Organisation of Production in the Irrigated Areas of the Sudan - By D. S. Thornton.
  5. Reform in the Structural Organisation of Sudanese Agriculture - By D.S. Thornton.
  6. Economics and Social Problems of the Private Pump Schemes - Northern Province - By Professor F.A. Williams.

Author: Hussein Omer Kisha, Published on 25 March 1970.