• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 A summary of the main findings
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 Introduction
 Agricultural production and the...
 Some features of marketing in el-obeid...
 Farming system constraints and...
 Appendices






Group Title: Farming systems research in North Kordofan, Sudan rept. no. 2
Title: Socioeconomic constraints to the production, distribution and consumption of sorghum, millet and cash crops in North Kordofan, Sudan
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053868/00001
 Material Information
Title: Socioeconomic constraints to the production, distribution and consumption of sorghum, millet and cash crops in North Kordofan, Sudan a farming systems approach : aspects of agricultural production, the household economy, and marketing
Series Title: Farming systems research in North Kordofan, Sudan
Physical Description: xi, 151 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Reeves, Edward B
Frankenberger, Timothy R
Publisher: Dept. of Sociology, Dept. of Anthropology, Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky
Place of Publication: Lexington
Publication Date: 1982
 Subjects
Subject: Rural development -- North Kordofan (Sudan)   ( lcsh )
Farm management research -- North Kordofan (Sudan)   ( lcsh )
Millets   ( lcsh )
Sorghum   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Economic aspects   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Edward B. Reeves, field director, Timothy Frankenberger, research associate.
General Note: INTSORMIL (International Sorghum/Millet) project title: Sociocultural constraints in the production and consumption of grain sorghum and pearl millet in less developed countries; leader: C. Milton Coughenour.
General Note: Report no.2 on INTSORMIL contract AID/DSAN-G-0149.
General Note: Cover title: Farming systems research in North Kordofan, Sudan.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053868
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001032351
oclc - 11304501
notis - AFB4543

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    A summary of the main findings
        Page i
        Overview of the farming system
            Page i
            Page ii
            Page iii
            Page iv
        Possible alternatives to reduce constraints
            Page v
            Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Tables
        Page ix
        Page x
    List of Figures
        Page xi
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Contents of the report
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
        Contents of the report
            Page 2
        The transliteration of arabic terms
            Page 2
    Agricultural production and the household economy
        Page 5
        Introduction
            Page 5
        General overview of the farming system found in the E1 Obeid region of North Kordofan
            Page 5
            Page 6
        Results of the preliminary farming system survey
            Page 7
            The sample
                Page 7
            Demographic data - Household composition
                Page 7
            Land tenure and land use
                Page 8
                Page 9
                Page 10
            Cropping patterns
                Page 11
                Page 12
                Page 13
                Page 14
                Page 15
                Page 16
                Page 17
                Page 18
                Page 19
                Page 20
            Intercropping
                Page 21
                Page 22
                Page 23
            Thinning
                Page 24
            Timing of cropping activities
                Page 24
                Page 25
                Page 26
                Page 27
                Page 28
                Page 29
                Page 30
                Page 31
            Cultivation - fallow rotation
                Page 32
            Agricultural inputs
                Page 33
            Agricultural inputs
                Page 33
                Page 34
            Seed acquisition
                Page 35
                Page 36
                Page 37
            Chemical inputs
                Page 38
                Page 39
            Labor inputs
                Page 40
                Page 41
                Page 42
                Page 43
                Page 44
                Page 45
                Page 46
            Animal husbandry
                Page 47
                Page 48
                Page 49
            Migration
                Page 50
            Monetary gifts from relatives living elsewhere
                Page 51
            Selling charcoal and/or wood
                Page 52
            Other types of income generating activities
                Page 52
                Page 53
    Some features of marketing in el-obeid area
        Page 54
        Research methods and data collection
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
        An overview of marketing in the study area
            Page 58
            Village shop
                Page 58
                Page 59
                Page 60
                Page 61
            Periodic vendors
                Page 62
                Page 63
                Page 64
                Page 65
                Page 66
                Page 67
            The mizaan system
                Page 68
                Page 69
            The shiishna system
                Page 70
            The marketing of sorghum and millet
                Page 71
                Page 72
                Page 73
                Page 74
                Page 75
                Page 76
            The marketing of major cash crops
                Page 77
                Page 78
                Page 79
                Page 80
                Page 81
                Page 82
            Livestock marketing
                Page 83
                Page 84
                Page 85
                Page 86
                Page 87
                Page 88
                Page 89
    Farming system constraints and possible solutions
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Constraints to crop production
            Page 90
            Natural constraints
                Page 90
                Wind erosion
                    Page 90
                Pests and diseases
                    Page 92
                Loss of soil and fertility
                    Page 93
                    Page 94
                Availability of rainfall
                    Page 95
            Input constraints
                Page 96
                Access to labor
                    Page 96
                    Page 97
                Access to seeds
                    Page 98
                    Page 99
                Chemical inputs
                    Page 100
                Availability of drinking water
                    Page 101
            Other constraints
                Page 102
                Credit
                    Page 102
                    Page 103
                Procedure for marketing crops
                    Page 104
                Pricing policy with respect to gum arabic
                    Page 105
                Limited knowledge
                    Page 105
                Transport and storage
                    Page 106
    Appendices
        Page 106a
        Seasonal cycles
            Page 107
        Topologies of sorghum and millet grown in the el-obeid area
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
        Farmers' perceptions of growth stages in the millet plant
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
        Farm implements and harvesting procedures
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
        Producers' boycott at el Karra crop market
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
        Some fodders used in the el-obeid area
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
        Household food preparation and consumption
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
        Financing small traditional farmers in north kordofan - an experimental program of the Sudan agricultural bank
            Page 135
            Page 136
            Page 137
        A grass-roots credit and self-help program
            Page 138
        Preliminary farming systems survey form
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
        Glossary of Arabic terms
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 151
Full Text











INTSORMIL





Farming Systems Research in North Kordofan, Sudan


Report No. 2








Edward B. Reeves
Field Director

Timothy Frankenberger
Research Associate










Department of Sociology Department of Anthropology
Agricultural Experiment Station College of Agriculture
University of Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky



















Intsormil



Project Title: Sociocultural Constraints in the Production and Consumption of
Grain Sorghum and Pearl Millet in Less Developed Countries



Leader: C. Milton Coughenour


Institution:


University of Kentucky


International
Sorghum/Millet

Collaborative Research
Support Program
(CRSP)

A Research Development Pro-
gram of the Agency for Interna-
tional Development, Participating
Land-Grant Universities, Host
County Research Agencies and
Private Donors.



Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


LI


o 0.~4~~r
I~













SOCIOECONOMIC CONSTRAINTS TO THE PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND

CONSUMPTION OF SORGHUM, MILLET AND CASH CROPS

IN NORTH KORDOFAN, SUDAN


A Farming Systems Approach

Report No. 2

Aspects of Agricultural Production, the Household Economy, and Marketing




Edward B. Reeves
Field Director

Timothy Frankenberger
Research Associate





With the Assistance of:


Muhammed Majzoub Fideil

Sumaya Ahmed Hammid

Ibrahim M. K. Zurgan



INTSORMIL
Contract No. AID/DSAN-G-0149


November 1982











A SUMMARY OF THE MAIN FINDINGS

This research report of the University of Kentucky INTSORMIL (Interna-
tional Sorghum and Millet) Project is the second of two reports written
during the course of field investigations carried out in the el-Obeid area
of Sudan. Like its predecessor this is a report of work in progress.
Succeeding reports will analyze larger data bases which may call for the
modification of a few of the conclusions found in this manuscript.

Part I of the report presents an analysis of the data collected from
a preliminary survey of 40 farm households in three villages. Part II
describes major aspects of the rural marketing system in the area based on
data collected from four marketing centers. Part III is an analysis of
the main constraints to agriculture in the area. This section also describes
how farmers attempt to deal with these constraints at present, and it pro-
poses new strategies for alleviating each constraint. Following Part III,
there are a number of appendices which present additional data that could
not be easily reviewed in the main body of the report. A glossary of Arabic
terms and a copy of the questionnaire used for surveying the 40 households
are also found in the appendices.

Overview of the Farming System
The el-Obeid area receives on the average 347 mm of rainfall annually,
most of it falling in the period of July through October. The amount of rain-
fall varies greatly from one year to the next, and within a single season
the pattern of its distribution is quite irregular. These characteristics
of the climate make consistently successful farming extremely difficult to
achieve, given the rudimentary labor-intensive technology that farmers are
able to apply. El-Obeid lies on the transitional zone between the clayey
sand soils to the south of it and the goz soils (stabilized sand dunes)
lying to the north. These two principal soil types are associated with
some differences in cropping patterns and livestock rearing. Both types
of soil are characterized by low fertility. Fallowing is the principal
means for restoring soil fertility. The natural propagation of Acacia
senegal, a native of the region, allows farmers to gain an income from
their fallow land through the collection of gum arabic produced by these
trees.

The rural population is dispersed in villages that vary in size from
five or six households to 1,000 or more. The number of villagers that
occupy a village varies with the season. The population is greatest during
the rainy, cropping season and lowest during the dry season. The average
household numbers between seven and eight members. Nuclear family resi-
dence seems to be preferred but extended families, matrifocal families,
and other household arrangements are fairly common. Whereas the household
is the basic unit of consumption, agricultural production is typically in
the hands of more than one decision-maker in the household. A common
pattern is for husband and wife to manage separate farms. Unmarried sons
and daughters who are old enough are also given land to manage, if it is
available. Besides farming, virtually every household has members who
work in secondary occupations, usually on a seasonal basis. The survey











A SUMMARY OF THE MAIN FINDINGS

This research report of the University of Kentucky INTSORMIL (Interna-
tional Sorghum and Millet) Project is the second of two reports written
during the course of field investigations carried out in the el-Obeid area
of Sudan. Like its predecessor this is a report of work in progress.
Succeeding reports will analyze larger data bases which may call for the
modification of a few of the conclusions found in this manuscript.

Part I of the report presents an analysis of the data collected from
a preliminary survey of 40 farm households in three villages. Part II
describes major aspects of the rural marketing system in the area based on
data collected from four marketing centers. Part III is an analysis of
the main constraints to agriculture in the area. This section also describes
how farmers attempt to deal with these constraints at present, and it pro-
poses new strategies for alleviating each constraint. Following Part III,
there are a number of appendices which present additional data that could
not be easily reviewed in the main body of the report. A glossary of Arabic
terms and a copy of the questionnaire used for surveying the 40 households
are also found in the appendices.

Overview of the Farming System
The el-Obeid area receives on the average 347 mm of rainfall annually,
most of it falling in the period of July through October. The amount of rain-
fall varies greatly from one year to the next, and within a single season
the pattern of its distribution is quite irregular. These characteristics
of the climate make consistently successful farming extremely difficult to
achieve, given the rudimentary labor-intensive technology that farmers are
able to apply. El-Obeid lies on the transitional zone between the clayey
sand soils to the south of it and the goz soils (stabilized sand dunes)
lying to the north. These two principal soil types are associated with
some differences in cropping patterns and livestock rearing. Both types
of soil are characterized by low fertility. Fallowing is the principal
means for restoring soil fertility. The natural propagation of Acacia
senegal, a native of the region, allows farmers to gain an income from
their fallow land through the collection of gum arabic produced by these
trees.

The rural population is dispersed in villages that vary in size from
five or six households to 1,000 or more. The number of villagers that
occupy a village varies with the season. The population is greatest during
the rainy, cropping season and lowest during the dry season. The average
household numbers between seven and eight members. Nuclear family resi-
dence seems to be preferred but extended families, matrifocal families,
and other household arrangements are fairly common. Whereas the household
is the basic unit of consumption, agricultural production is typically in
the hands of more than one decision-maker in the household. A common
pattern is for husband and wife to manage separate farms. Unmarried sons
and daughters who are old enough are also given land to manage, if it is
available. Besides farming, virtually every household has members who
work in secondary occupations, usually on a seasonal basis. The survey









of households revealed that nearly two-thirds of the members were productive
in some way during a part of the year. The usefulness of children as pro-
ducers and income-earners is well understood by parents.

The average cultivated landholding of a household head is 18 makhammas.
Most farmers are cultivating more than one-half of their total land holdings,
a fact that supports the view that soil fertility in the region is steadily
declining due to insufficient fallowing. One-third of all cultivated lands
are rented rather than owned by farm managers. Most of the rented land is
leased by better-off farmers from farmers who are poorer than average. Because
labor is the key constraint on cultivating land and because poorer farmers
lack the equity to hire labor, they gain an income from idle land that they
own by renting it to others.

The four most common crops are millet, sorghum, sesame and groundnuts.
The cereals are primarily subsistence crops though surpluses are sold to
other farmers and at local markets. Millet is the preferred staple of the
rural diet, and the stalks of the millet plant are ubiquitously used as a
building material. Thirty-eight per cent of the cultivated lands were
found to be cultivated in millet, while 95 percent of the households grew
it. Sorghum is not nearly as important a crop although about three-quarters
of the farmers do grow some sorghum. Local varieties (milo type, red and
white) are frequently seen intercropped (in the same hole) with sesame.
White sorghum is preferred for making bread and porridges. Red sorghum is
used to make beer. Sorghum is also an important animal fodder and both
the seed and the stover are used for this purpose.

Forty-eight per cent of the cultivated land is planted in sesame, while
93% of the farmers grew sesame in their fields. Sesame is often intercropped
with sorghum, cowpeas, watermelon or karkadee. Some farmers sow varieties
of sesame which mature at different rates in order to avoid the labor bottle-
necks that can occur during the busy harvest season. Since sesame is threshed
by hand, it must have the characteristic of shattering easily. Sesame is the
bread-and-butter crop. Most of it is sold at regional markets and is destined
for processing into oil which is consumed in the urban centers. Market prices
of sesame tend to be stable and predictable. Ten per cent of the cultivated
land was planted in groundnuts during the 1980-1981 season. Barbiton variety
is grown exclusively and seed quality is said to be very poor. Groundnuts
are grown primarily for the export market where wild price fluctuations have
occurred in recent years. Price instability makes this a high-risk crop for
farmers.

Besides these four major crops, a variety of lesser-important crops are
grown. Roselle is usually sold for cash or traded in kind. Cowpeas and okra
are intended for domestic consumption but may also be sold or traded. Water-
melon is grown as a water source and fodder for livestock during the dry
season. It is also consumed domestically and sold in local markets. These
minor crops are frequently interplanted with sesame and sorghum.

The cropping cycle begins in the period of January to April with land clear-
ing. Then, between April and August all four major crops are planted. Millet is
planted earliest because the locally preferred variety is long-maturing. If
the early plantings succeed in germinating owing to an early arrival of the rains
the crop will mature before the season in which insects and birds usually
attack the immature candles. If the early plantings of millet do not germinate
the farmer may replant after a month. Alternatively he may switch to a shorter










maturing crop, like sesame or sorghum. Regular plantings of sesame, ground-
nuts and sorghum generally occur in June and early July. These crops, too,
may have to be replanted if rains are insufficient for germination or if
sandstorms kill the seedlings.

According to an ideal expressed by farmers, every crop should be weeded
at least twice. Although wealthy farmers can afford to hire labor for a
third and even a fourth weeding of groundnuts, poor farmers are forced by
their need for cash to hire their labor to other farmers and thereby neglect
an adequate weeding of their own fields.

Harvesting operations are spread out over the period of late August to
January, with the most activity occurring in October and November. All
threshing operations are accomplished with hand labor.

Next to the vagaries of the climate, labor is the most important con-
straint on the cropping system. For many farmers the cost of hiring agri-
cultural laborers is the largest input expenditure that they make. Looking
at returns to labor by crop it was calculated that the rate of return was
highest for millet, followed by groundnuts, sesame, and sorghum. Sesame's
popularity among farmers, although its rate of return is lower than either
millet or groundnuts, can be attributed to risk-aversion. Millet is rela-
tively a greater risk to plant than sesame because of its higher susceptibility
to pest attack, while unstable prices and a high outlay for the labor input
limits the planting of groundnuts.

Animals play an important role in this farming system. The availability
of drinking water, first, and pasture during the dry season, second, are the
central-most constraints on livestock raising. Crop residues as well as
commercial sorghum are an important source of fodder for working animals but
herd animals subsist largely on the pasture that lies beyond the village's
zone of cultivated lands. Most farm families own a donkey and several goats.
Better-off families are able to invest in sheep and cattle. The largest
herd of cattle recorded was 60 but the average herd size was only 6. Similarly,
the largest herd of sheep was 120 but the average herd was also about 6.

Nearly every farm household supplements its income through off-farm acti-
vities. The latter include dry-season migration for a wage, charcoal manu-
facture, water-hauling, tailoring, carpentry, metalworking, itinerant market-
ing, and the operation of such capital-intensive enterprises as village shops,
bakeries, flour mills, oil presses, cisterns, and trucks. Monetary gifts
from relatives living elsewhere is another important source of income for
about one-fourth of the farm households.

Farming in this region is not subsistence-oriented. Farm households
purchase foodstuffs at village shops each day, or several times per week at
least. These goods are paid for either in cash or in kind. In the latter
case a crop is usually offered to the merchant as payment, the price of
the crop having been determined by the schedule of prices prevailing among
all crop buyers in the village. To obtain a cash income from agriculture,
farmers may sell their crops (primarily sesame, groundnuts, roselle, and
gum arabic) to a variety of buyers, including the shopkeeper, the urban
crop merchant's agent who buys at rural crop markets, and jobbers and










truck-owners who are prepared to haul the purchase immediately to the urban
market.

To gain a general overview of marketing in the study area, observations
were made in four heterogeneous villages which are marketing centers. Govern-
ment records for crop auction and livestock sales were copied down for two
villages with large market places. Through this study we identified a number
of important marketing institutions including the village shop, periodic
vendors attending weekly markets, the government administered crop market,
and the government administered livestock market.

Two kinds of crop marketing systems were found. The most prevalent is
the system in which the crop's price is determined in auction, after which
the farmer's produce is weighed. The government prefers this procedure because
the tax rate is precisely assessed. The other kind of system relies on an
estimation of the weight and price of the crop according to a formula set by
the district council. This procedure results in a lower tax estimation than
the weighing and auction system, but it appears to be well suited to small,
isolated markets where the extra incentive of reduced taxes encourages crop
buyers to visit the market.

Smuggling that is the illegal conveyance of certain crops, particularly
sesame, from the farm gate to crop buying agencies in el-Obeid without the
full assessment of taxes is believed to be a widespread practice. Farmers
as well as crop merchants are seen to benefit from it.

Millet, the subsistence crop, is supplemented by the importation to the
region of sorghum feteritaa) grown principally on the mechanized farming
schemes at Habila, South Kordofan. Only the wealthier households are able
to satisfy the ideal of eating from their own millet stores throughout the
year. This is because only they have enough equity to purchase the labor to
cultivate a large field of millet. Alternatively, they buy millet from farmers
who are in need of cash. Most families buy feterita at least during the dry
season in order to save their millet for rainy season consumption. A prevail-
ing belief is that feterita is an undesirable food for the rainy season. Dur-
ing this period of hard physical labor, only millet can provide the required
nutriment. Information from the sample of forty households suggests that the
typical farm family supports itself on its own millet for only about four
months in the year. The rest of the time it buys feterita.

A preliminary analysis of crop marketing channels revealed a number of
incentives and constraints for the participants. For example, farmers whose
production is small or who lack equity are typically unable to hold their
crops off the market until the post-harvest rise in prices occurs. They
have to begin selling their crops immediately after the harvest to pay
their consumption bill. Better-off farmers, on the other hand, may be able
to reserve their crops several months in anticipation of a rise in prices.

From government records of livestock sales it is possible to guage the
dramatic effect which the seasonal presence of nomads is having at a large
rural market. A conclusion to be drawn is that the relation between nomad
and farmer, who are frequently in conflict over access to forage and water,
is complimentary when it comes to livestock marketing.










Possible Alternatives to Reduce Constraints


The research has identified a number of farming system constraints.
The following summarizes these and lists some possible strategies to
alleviate each type of constraint.

I. Natural constraints

A. Wind erosion
1. Improve intercropping practices
2. Discourage early land clearing and planting
3. Adopt mulching practices
4. Shelter-belts

B. Pests and disease
1. Investigate life-cycle of santa (Crytocamenta spp.) with the aim
of eradicating this most important pest of millet.
2. Develop high-yielding, bird resistant varieties of millet.
3. Promote use of seed dressings.

C. Loss of soil fertility
1. Investigate optimum rotation and intercropping systems taking
farmers' labor and seed constraints into account.
2. Experiment with using Acacia senegal and cowpeas in the rotation
system.
3. Encourage continuation of minimal tillage techniques.
4. Explore the advisability of mulching.

D. Availability of rainfall
1. Introduce improved, early maturing, draught resistant varieties
of present crops. Introduce new draught resistant crops.
2. Investigate optimal planting period for each crop while considbr-
ing the constraint of labor bottlenecks.
3. Mulching practices and shelter-belts to conserve soil moisture.
4. Research focused on the benefit of creating water catchments
around plants.

II. Input constraints

A. Access to labor
1. Introduction of early-maturing varieties of crops would allow
poorer farmers to resolve the conflict between the need to work
in their own fields during the second weeding period and the
need to earn cash by hiring their labor.
2. Credit programs to provide farmers with funds with which they
could purchase additional labor.
3. Consider introducing plow cultivation with animal traction.
Minimal tillage technologies would be optimal.

B. Access to seeds
1. Increase availability of seeds of early maturing varieties.
2. Consider use of village merchants as primary distributors of
improved seeds.










C. Chemical inputs
1. At present, herbicides and fertilizers do not appear to be
economic for small farmers in el-Obeid area.
2. Continue and expand the program of distributing seed dressing,
perhaps using local merchants.
3. Look for a substitute for DDT which is used excessively to
prevent insect attack on food crops.
4. Discourage the practice of using salt on millet and sorghum
threshing floors. An alternative should be introduced to
protect these grains from termites..

D. Availability of drinking water
1. The scarcity of drinking water is an important constraint on
crop production since farmers are reluctant to cultivate in
areas where there is not a reliable water supply. Care must be
taken, however, to insure that increased access to water -
through the excavation of reservoirs or the sinking of wells -
may have dire consequences if it leads to growth of herd
populations in excess of available pasture. Careful regional
planning is required to ensure the optimal distribution of
watering points.

III. Other constraints

A. Credit
1. The Sudan Agricultural Bank in its program to make cropping input
loans to small, traditional farmers should consider raising the
interest rate upward from the present 14% to a level in excess of
the annual rate of inflation plus the amount needed to reimburse
the cost of administering the program. An alternative to this
program might be to make loans to farmers on the basis of val-
uables left as collateral.

B. Procedures for auctioning crops
1. Randomize the assignment of farmer's crops to lots.
2. Randomize the order in which crop buyers may bid at the auction.

C. Pricing policy with respect to gum arabic
1. The difference between the farm gate price for gum arabic and
the international price is greater than 100%. The Government of
Sudan must find the means to increase the farmers' share of the
income from gum marketing. Otherwise, the area under Acacia
senegal will continue to decrease.
2. A program is needed to teach farmers to better propagate and
care for the trees.
D. Limited knowledge of farmers
1. A low-cost method for disseminating farming and marketing
information to illiterate farmers. Radio programming would seem
to be an optimum means of accomplishing this since radios are
common in the villages.

E. Transport and storage
1. In the el-Obeid area these operations do not seem to pose major
constraints for village farmers.







vii



TABLE OF CONTENTS



Introduction. . . . . ... . . 1

Contents of the Report . . . . ... . 2

The Transliteration of Arabic Terms. . . . 2

Part I. Agricultural Production and the Household
Economy . . . . ... . 5

Introduction. . . . . ... . .. 5

General Overview of the Farming System. . . 5

Results of the Preliminary Farming System Survey. . 7

The Sample . . . ... . 7

Demographic Data . . . . ... .. 7
Land Tenure and Land Use. . . . .. 8
Cropping Patterns. . . . ... 11
Intercropping . . . . .. 21
Thinning . . . . . . 24
Timing of Cropping Activities . . .. 24
Cultivation-Fallow Rotation. . . . ... 32
Agricultural Inputs. . . . . ... 33
Seed Requirements. . . . .... 33
Seed Acquisition . . . . ... 35
Chemical Inputs. . . . . ... 38
Labor Inputs . . . . ... .. . 40
Animal Husbandry . . . . ... 47
Migration . . . . . . 50
Monetary Gifts from Relatives Living Elsewhere . 51
Selling Charcoal and/or Wood . . .... 52
Other Types of Income Generating Activities. . .. 52

Part II. Some Features of Marketing in el-Obeid Area . ... 54

Research Methods and Data Collection. . . ... 55

An Overview of Marketing in the Study Area. . ... 58

Village Shop . . . . . 58
Periodic Vendors . . . . . 62
The Mizaan System . . . . 68
The Shiishna System. . . . 70
The Marketing of Sorghum and Millet . . ... 71
The Marketing of Major Cash Crops . . .. 77
Livestock Marketing . . . . 83








viii


Part III. Farming System Constraints and Possible Solutions. .


Constraints to Crop Production .

Natural Constraints . . .


Wind Erosion .. .
Pests and Diseases .
Loss of Soil Fertility. .
Availability of Rainfall. .


Input Constraints . . .


Access to Labor . .
Access to Seeds . .
Chemical Inputs . .
Availability of Drinking Water.

Other Constraints . .


. . 90


. 90

. 90
. 92
. 93
. 95

. 96


* 96
S98
* 100
S101


. . 102


Credit Market . . . .
Procedure for Marketing Crops . .
Pricing Policy with Respect to Gum Arabic
Limited Knowledge . . .
Transport and Storage . . .


Appendices:


A. Seasonal Cycle . . . . . .
B. Typologies of Sorghum and Millet Grown in the
el-Obeid Area . . . . .
C. Farmers' Perceptions of Growth Stages in the Millet
Plant . . . . . .
D. Farm Implements and Harvesting Procedures . .
E. Producers' Boycott at El Karra Crop Market . .
F. Some Fodders Used in the el-Obeid Area . . .
G. Household Food Preparation and Consumption . .
H. Financing Small Traditional Farmers in North Kordofan -
An Experimental Program of the Sudan Agricultural
Bank . . . . . . .
I. A Grass-Roots Credit and Self-Help Program . .
J. Preliminary Farming Systems Survey Form . .
K. Glossary of Arabic Terms . . . .


. 90


S102
S104
S105
. 105
S106


S107

S108

. 111
S114
S121
* 125
.128


S135
. 138
139
149


. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .


. .











LIST OF TABLES


1. Distribution of Farmers by Size of Cultivated Unit . . 8

2. Distribution of Farmers by Proportion of Total Land Cultivated 9

3. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Millet Produced . .. 12

4. Distribution of Land by Type of Millet Planted . . .. 12

5. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Sorghum Produced. . ... 14

6. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Cultivation: Separate Stands
and Intercrop. . . . . . . .. 14

7. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Sesame Produced . ... 17

8. Distribution of Land by Type of Sesame Planted . . .. 17

9. Distribution of Farmers Who Intercropped by Types of Crops
with Sesame. . . . . ... . ..... 21

10. Distribution of Farmers Who Intercropped by Number of Crops
with Sesame. . . . . ... . ..... 22

11. Seeding Rate by Crop . . . ... ... .34

12. Sources of Seed . . . . ... . ... 36

13. Chemical Inputs Used . . . ... .. .38

14. Labor Expenditure per Makhamas by Crop . . .... 43

15. Yields of Principal Crops. . . . . ... .. 44

16. Rate of Return to Labor by Crop. . . . . ... 45

17. Average Number of Animals Owned by Type of Beast . ... 47

18. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Animal Owned. . . ... 48

19. Market Villages in the Study Sample. . . . .. 55

20. Comparison of Prices of Selected Food Products at Abu-Jahal
(el-Obeid), Abu-Haraz and el-Geifil. . . . .. 59

21. Commercial Structures at Abu-Haraz and Umm Ramad Markets . .. 61

22. Periodic Markets in the Four Sample Villages . .... 64











LIST OF TABLES (Continued)


23. Periodic Vendors and Their Products in the Abu-Haraz and
el-Obeid and el-Geifil Markets . . . .

24. Auction Prices of Crops at the Abu-Haraz Market. . .

25. Crop Auction Prices at Abu-Haraz, Transport Costs to el-Obeid
and Median Price at el-Obeid Crop Market . . .. .

26. High and Low Prices of Sorghum, Millet and Wheat at el-Obeid
Grain Market . . . . . .

27. Distribution of Feterita Purchased by Household . .

28. Distribution of Feterita Purchased by Source . . .

29. A Qualitative Analysis of Crop Marketing in the el-Obeid Area.


. 65

. 68


69


. 73

. 75

. 76

. 79












LIST OF CHARTS


Chart 1. Timing of Cropping Activities Millet. . . ... 26

Chart 2. Timing of Cropping Activities Sesame. . . ... 27

Chart 3. Timing of Cropping Activities Groundnuts. . . ... 28

Chart 4. Timing of Cropping Activities Sorghum . . .... 29






LIST OF FIGURES


Figure 1. The Marketing System for Cash Crops in the el-Obeid Area 78

Figure 2. Monthly Transactions for Livestock Sales at Abu Haraz
Market, March 1980 January 1982 . . . ... 85

Figure 3. Livestock Sold at Abu Haraz Market, March 1980 -
January 1982 . . . . . . 86

Figure 4. Average Monthly Prices of Cattle, Sheep and Goats
at Abu Haraz Market, March 1980 January 1982 . ... 87

Figure 5. Livestock Marketing by Major Tribal Groups at
Abu Haraz Market, March 1980 January 1982 . ... 89









INTRODUCTION
This second research report of the University of Kentucky INTSORMIL
Project in North Kordofan, Sudan provides information about agricultural
production and marketing in the sample villages described in the first
report (November, 1981). The basis for the information reported in this
report is the farming systems model developed in the first report.

Our research project aims to analyze the farming system found in
15 villages* that are within 50 kilometers of el-Obeid, capital of the
Kordofan Region. This is a transitional zone between clayey sand soils that
lie to the south of el-Obeid and the qoz soils (stabilized sand dunes) that
lie to the north. El-Obeid receives, on the average, 347 mm of rainfall
annually, nearly all of it falling between July and October. The amount of
rainfall is highly variable from one year to the next, and the pattern within
a single season is quite irregular as a result of sporadic cloudbursts.
The rainy season is often marked by a drought period that occurs after the
first month of rains and lasts up to three weeks.

The agriculture of the region combines sorghum and millet production,
primarily as subsistence crops, with the production of cash crops, particu-
larly sesame, groundnuts, roselle and watermelon. Farmers endeavor to
diversify their production even more by raising livestock (cattle, sheep,
goats, camels, donkeys, horses) and poultry (chickens and pidgeons). Acacia
senegal, which is a native of the region's sandy soils, produces gum arabic
which is another important cash crop. Gum tree growth on exhausted land is
a recognized means of restoring soil fertility while the land continues to
yield an income. In addition, nearly every farming family supplements its
income through non-farm enterprises (e.g. charcoal making and selling,
hauling water, operating a shop).

During the cropping season poorer households sell labor services in
order to pay for consumption needs. Dry-season migration to the cities or
to the mechanized farming schemes in search of wage labor is a major source
of income for some families. Still others rely on gifts of money sent by
relatives who work abroad in high-paying jobs.

As pointed out in research Report No. 1, the project has two basic
objectives:

1. To identify the socioeconomic constraints that impede agricultural
production and marketing in the el-Obeid area. In this regard,
special attention is given to the relationship between cash crops
and millet and sorghum.



*The original sample on which a survey of villages was carried out numbered
eighteen. The size of the sample has been reduced to 15 villages to
economize research costs.











2. To collaborate with the Western Sudan Agricultural Research Project
(sponsored by the Government of Sudan, USAID, and the World Bank).
Our goal is to provide WSARP with an extensive baseline study of
traditional agriculturalists in the el-Obeid area. WSARP is
presently constructing an agricultural research station at el-Obeid
which will pursue a research program of integrating crop and live-
stock production in the region.l

Contents of the Report

Tim Frankenberger and Ibrahim Zurgan have completed a preliminary farm-
ing system survey of 40 households. Part I of this report is concerned with
an initial analysis of these data.
Ed Reeves and Muhammad Majzoub are studying the marketing system. Part
II reports their findings. In Part III an assessment is made of the major
constraints which limit farming in the el-Obeid area. After describing each
constraint, we indicate how farmers are currently dealing with the problem.
Finally, we make recommendations about possible solutions to these problems.
Part IV, the Appendices, presents data on a wide variety of topics which
are too limited or narrow in scope to include in the main body of this
report.

The information on food preparation and consumption, was compiled by
Sumaya Ahmed Hamid, a new member on our research team. Sumaya has a degree
in home economics from Alexandria University and was released by the
Kordofan Regional Ministry of Agriculture to assist us. Her objective is
to gather information pertaining to nutrition and the family budget.

The Transliteration of Arabic Terms

This report, like the previous one, makes frequent reference to Arabic
words and phrases. These are the local Sudanese terms which designate
activities, socioeconomic roles, technology, botanical species, and so forth.
The reason for including so much of this terminology in the report is to
provide the non-Arabic speaking researcher with a basic vocabulary that
pertains to agricultural production and marketing in this area of the
Sudan.2

A difficulty that is always faced in transcribing Arabic words in
English letters is that usually either the transliteration is accurate but
difficult to learn and cumbersome to use or it is simple and agreeable to
use but almost worthless because a system of transliteration rules is not


1Collaborative links have also been established with a number of other
development programs and agencies. The earlier research report contains
a description of these. We would also like to acknowledge the assistance
and advice that we have received from the Department of Geography, Khartoum
University, which has a strong tradition of research in Kordofan Region.
Our warmest thanks to Dr. Ya'goub Abdallah, Dr. Anna Beshir, Dr. Muhammad
el-Samani, and Dr. Siddiq Muhammad Abdallah.

The terminology may also be of interest to Arabic speakers who do not know
the local words for the various agricultural operations.











rigorously and unambiguously followed. In the first case, the reader is
quickly discouraged by the difficulty; in the second case, he has to guess
how to pronounce many of the words. Our first research report suffered
from the shortcoming that Arabic terms are not spelled in English letters
according to a consistent procedure. We have remedied that in this report
by using a transliteration system developed by the Summer Institute for
Linguistics. The system is described in the book Sudanese Colloquial
Arabic for Beginners (1979) by Andrew and Janet Persson. With it, Arabic
words can be accurately recorded with a normal English typewriter and while
it is not one of the easiest systems to learn, the effort required is repaid
by the accuracy of recording the sounds of Arabic words.

The sounds of Sudanese colloquial Arabic that are unfamiliar to the
English speaker are described below. The other sounds are pronounced more
or less as they are in English. Of course, fully accurate pronunciation
of Sudanese Arabic can only be learned by listening to native speakers.

Arabic consonants not found in English:

d pronounced like an English "d" but with the back of the tongue raised
toward the soft palate in order to give the sound a deeper resonance.

t pronounced like an English "t" but with the back of the tongue raised
toward the soft palate.

z pronounced like an English "z" but with the back of the tongue raised
toward the soft palate.

s pronounced like an English "s" but with the back of the tongue raised
toward the soft palate.

gh a voiced uvular fricative.
H much more emphatic than the English "h"; muscles of the throat are
constricted so that a rasping or hissing sound is made; this consonant
is unvoiced.

kh pronounced like Scottish "ch" in "loch".

sh pronounced like English "sh" in "shore".

r a rolled "r"

9 a voiced pharyngial fricative; something like a Parisian "r".

? glottal stop.

Vowels:

It is convenient to think of Arabic as having six vowels long and short
"a", long and short "i", long and short "u" plus two diphthongs. The
pronunciation of the vowels is influenced by the consonants that come before
them, particularly in the case of long and short "a".











a pronounced like "e" in "met" except after "r" and the velarized
consonants (d, s, t, z) when it sounds like "a" in father.

aa pronounced like "a" in "mat" except after "r" and the velarized
consonants when it sounds like "ah".

i pronounced like "i" in "sit".

ii pronounced like "ee" in "feet".

u pronounced like "u" in "but".

uu pronounced like "oo" in "boot".

ee pronounced like "a" in "fate".

oo pronounced like "o" in "ode".

A glossary of Arabic terms that appear in the main body of this report
is found in the final appendix. In addition, further terminology is explained
in several of the other appendices. Proper names of villages and towns and
of persons are spelled using a more traditional transliteration in conformity
with the spellings used in Sudan Surveys maps and in Sudanow, the English-
language news magazine.











2. To collaborate with the Western Sudan Agricultural Research Project
(sponsored by the Government of Sudan, USAID, and the World Bank).
Our goal is to provide WSARP with an extensive baseline study of
traditional agriculturalists in the el-Obeid area. WSARP is
presently constructing an agricultural research station at el-Obeid
which will pursue a research program of integrating crop and live-
stock production in the region.l

Contents of the Report

Tim Frankenberger and Ibrahim Zurgan have completed a preliminary farm-
ing system survey of 40 households. Part I of this report is concerned with
an initial analysis of these data.
Ed Reeves and Muhammad Majzoub are studying the marketing system. Part
II reports their findings. In Part III an assessment is made of the major
constraints which limit farming in the el-Obeid area. After describing each
constraint, we indicate how farmers are currently dealing with the problem.
Finally, we make recommendations about possible solutions to these problems.
Part IV, the Appendices, presents data on a wide variety of topics which
are too limited or narrow in scope to include in the main body of this
report.

The information on food preparation and consumption, was compiled by
Sumaya Ahmed Hamid, a new member on our research team. Sumaya has a degree
in home economics from Alexandria University and was released by the
Kordofan Regional Ministry of Agriculture to assist us. Her objective is
to gather information pertaining to nutrition and the family budget.

The Transliteration of Arabic Terms

This report, like the previous one, makes frequent reference to Arabic
words and phrases. These are the local Sudanese terms which designate
activities, socioeconomic roles, technology, botanical species, and so forth.
The reason for including so much of this terminology in the report is to
provide the non-Arabic speaking researcher with a basic vocabulary that
pertains to agricultural production and marketing in this area of the
Sudan.2

A difficulty that is always faced in transcribing Arabic words in
English letters is that usually either the transliteration is accurate but
difficult to learn and cumbersome to use or it is simple and agreeable to
use but almost worthless because a system of transliteration rules is not


1Collaborative links have also been established with a number of other
development programs and agencies. The earlier research report contains
a description of these. We would also like to acknowledge the assistance
and advice that we have received from the Department of Geography, Khartoum
University, which has a strong tradition of research in Kordofan Region.
Our warmest thanks to Dr. Ya'goub Abdallah, Dr. Anna Beshir, Dr. Muhammad
el-Samani, and Dr. Siddiq Muhammad Abdallah.

The terminology may also be of interest to Arabic speakers who do not know
the local words for the various agricultural operations.











2. To collaborate with the Western Sudan Agricultural Research Project
(sponsored by the Government of Sudan, USAID, and the World Bank).
Our goal is to provide WSARP with an extensive baseline study of
traditional agriculturalists in the el-Obeid area. WSARP is
presently constructing an agricultural research station at el-Obeid
which will pursue a research program of integrating crop and live-
stock production in the region.l

Contents of the Report

Tim Frankenberger and Ibrahim Zurgan have completed a preliminary farm-
ing system survey of 40 households. Part I of this report is concerned with
an initial analysis of these data.
Ed Reeves and Muhammad Majzoub are studying the marketing system. Part
II reports their findings. In Part III an assessment is made of the major
constraints which limit farming in the el-Obeid area. After describing each
constraint, we indicate how farmers are currently dealing with the problem.
Finally, we make recommendations about possible solutions to these problems.
Part IV, the Appendices, presents data on a wide variety of topics which
are too limited or narrow in scope to include in the main body of this
report.

The information on food preparation and consumption, was compiled by
Sumaya Ahmed Hamid, a new member on our research team. Sumaya has a degree
in home economics from Alexandria University and was released by the
Kordofan Regional Ministry of Agriculture to assist us. Her objective is
to gather information pertaining to nutrition and the family budget.

The Transliteration of Arabic Terms

This report, like the previous one, makes frequent reference to Arabic
words and phrases. These are the local Sudanese terms which designate
activities, socioeconomic roles, technology, botanical species, and so forth.
The reason for including so much of this terminology in the report is to
provide the non-Arabic speaking researcher with a basic vocabulary that
pertains to agricultural production and marketing in this area of the
Sudan.2

A difficulty that is always faced in transcribing Arabic words in
English letters is that usually either the transliteration is accurate but
difficult to learn and cumbersome to use or it is simple and agreeable to
use but almost worthless because a system of transliteration rules is not


1Collaborative links have also been established with a number of other
development programs and agencies. The earlier research report contains
a description of these. We would also like to acknowledge the assistance
and advice that we have received from the Department of Geography, Khartoum
University, which has a strong tradition of research in Kordofan Region.
Our warmest thanks to Dr. Ya'goub Abdallah, Dr. Anna Beshir, Dr. Muhammad
el-Samani, and Dr. Siddiq Muhammad Abdallah.

The terminology may also be of interest to Arabic speakers who do not know
the local words for the various agricultural operations.










Part I. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND THE HOUSEHOLD ECONOMY

Introduction

This section of the report presents a review of the data collected thus
far in the ethnographic study of agricultural production and the household
economy of the El Obeid region of North Kordofan. In Report No. 1, the
primary focus of this study has been on three villages in our village sample.
These villages are El Kharta (north of El Obeid), El Geifil (east of El Obeid)
and Umm Ramad (southwest of El Obeid). These three villages were selected
for intensive study of the farming system in this area of North Kordofan in
order to design a survey instrument of farming operations. This survey
instrument was used with a sample of farmers in 15 villages in the El Obeid
area beginning in late May, 1982.

Between July 1981 and January 1982, an extensive amount of data was
collected from the three villages in our study area. First, we attempted to
collect data on all aspects of the farming system found in this Sahelian
environment. Such data include farmers' access to land, labor, and capital,
how they manage these resources, as well as how these resources are channeled
into cropping patterns, animal husbandry and off-farm economic activities.
Second, detailed descriptions of farming practices have been obtained as well
as the local names of the operations and tools involved. Some of this informa-
tion is presented in Appendix D of this report. Third, information regarding
the growth cycles of crops and the various stages of growth which farmers
recognize as being important is being collected. The stages of millet growth
as identified by farmers in this area and their distinguishing attributes are
presented in Appendix C.

General Overview of the Farming System Found in the El Obeid Region
of North Kordofan

To fully understand farming in this area of the Sudan, one has to take
into account the constraints imposed by the environment. First, this area
averages 347 mm of rainfall annually, most within the period between July
and October. This rainfall is highly variable from one year to the next, mak-
ing consistently successful farming almost impossible to achieve. Second, the
agricultural area surrounding El Obeid is a transitional zone as far as soils
are concerned, with clayey sandy soils lying to the south and qoz soils (sta-
bilized sand dunes) lying to the north. These soils in conjunction with the
limited rainfall limits the types of crops that can be grown. The character
of agriculture also is heavily influenced by the socio-economic environment
which is characterized by extreme poverty, a high inflation rate, unstable
government policies, the lack of infrastructure, labor intensive agriculture,
a low level of education, and the survival of many traditional beliefs and
values.

A detailed description of the farming system characterizing the El Obeid
region was presented in our first field report, so no attempt will be made
here to deal with it in depth. The five major components of this system are
the cropping patterns, animal husbandry, off-farm economic activities, market-
ing and consumption. Cropping patterns in this system consist of a mixture










Part I. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND THE HOUSEHOLD ECONOMY

Introduction

This section of the report presents a review of the data collected thus
far in the ethnographic study of agricultural production and the household
economy of the El Obeid region of North Kordofan. In Report No. 1, the
primary focus of this study has been on three villages in our village sample.
These villages are El Kharta (north of El Obeid), El Geifil (east of El Obeid)
and Umm Ramad (southwest of El Obeid). These three villages were selected
for intensive study of the farming system in this area of North Kordofan in
order to design a survey instrument of farming operations. This survey
instrument was used with a sample of farmers in 15 villages in the El Obeid
area beginning in late May, 1982.

Between July 1981 and January 1982, an extensive amount of data was
collected from the three villages in our study area. First, we attempted to
collect data on all aspects of the farming system found in this Sahelian
environment. Such data include farmers' access to land, labor, and capital,
how they manage these resources, as well as how these resources are channeled
into cropping patterns, animal husbandry and off-farm economic activities.
Second, detailed descriptions of farming practices have been obtained as well
as the local names of the operations and tools involved. Some of this informa-
tion is presented in Appendix D of this report. Third, information regarding
the growth cycles of crops and the various stages of growth which farmers
recognize as being important is being collected. The stages of millet growth
as identified by farmers in this area and their distinguishing attributes are
presented in Appendix C.

General Overview of the Farming System Found in the El Obeid Region
of North Kordofan

To fully understand farming in this area of the Sudan, one has to take
into account the constraints imposed by the environment. First, this area
averages 347 mm of rainfall annually, most within the period between July
and October. This rainfall is highly variable from one year to the next, mak-
ing consistently successful farming almost impossible to achieve. Second, the
agricultural area surrounding El Obeid is a transitional zone as far as soils
are concerned, with clayey sandy soils lying to the south and qoz soils (sta-
bilized sand dunes) lying to the north. These soils in conjunction with the
limited rainfall limits the types of crops that can be grown. The character
of agriculture also is heavily influenced by the socio-economic environment
which is characterized by extreme poverty, a high inflation rate, unstable
government policies, the lack of infrastructure, labor intensive agriculture,
a low level of education, and the survival of many traditional beliefs and
values.

A detailed description of the farming system characterizing the El Obeid
region was presented in our first field report, so no attempt will be made
here to deal with it in depth. The five major components of this system are
the cropping patterns, animal husbandry, off-farm economic activities, market-
ing and consumption. Cropping patterns in this system consist of a mixture










Part I. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND THE HOUSEHOLD ECONOMY

Introduction

This section of the report presents a review of the data collected thus
far in the ethnographic study of agricultural production and the household
economy of the El Obeid region of North Kordofan. In Report No. 1, the
primary focus of this study has been on three villages in our village sample.
These villages are El Kharta (north of El Obeid), El Geifil (east of El Obeid)
and Umm Ramad (southwest of El Obeid). These three villages were selected
for intensive study of the farming system in this area of North Kordofan in
order to design a survey instrument of farming operations. This survey
instrument was used with a sample of farmers in 15 villages in the El Obeid
area beginning in late May, 1982.

Between July 1981 and January 1982, an extensive amount of data was
collected from the three villages in our study area. First, we attempted to
collect data on all aspects of the farming system found in this Sahelian
environment. Such data include farmers' access to land, labor, and capital,
how they manage these resources, as well as how these resources are channeled
into cropping patterns, animal husbandry and off-farm economic activities.
Second, detailed descriptions of farming practices have been obtained as well
as the local names of the operations and tools involved. Some of this informa-
tion is presented in Appendix D of this report. Third, information regarding
the growth cycles of crops and the various stages of growth which farmers
recognize as being important is being collected. The stages of millet growth
as identified by farmers in this area and their distinguishing attributes are
presented in Appendix C.

General Overview of the Farming System Found in the El Obeid Region
of North Kordofan

To fully understand farming in this area of the Sudan, one has to take
into account the constraints imposed by the environment. First, this area
averages 347 mm of rainfall annually, most within the period between July
and October. This rainfall is highly variable from one year to the next, mak-
ing consistently successful farming almost impossible to achieve. Second, the
agricultural area surrounding El Obeid is a transitional zone as far as soils
are concerned, with clayey sandy soils lying to the south and qoz soils (sta-
bilized sand dunes) lying to the north. These soils in conjunction with the
limited rainfall limits the types of crops that can be grown. The character
of agriculture also is heavily influenced by the socio-economic environment
which is characterized by extreme poverty, a high inflation rate, unstable
government policies, the lack of infrastructure, labor intensive agriculture,
a low level of education, and the survival of many traditional beliefs and
values.

A detailed description of the farming system characterizing the El Obeid
region was presented in our first field report, so no attempt will be made
here to deal with it in depth. The five major components of this system are
the cropping patterns, animal husbandry, off-farm economic activities, market-
ing and consumption. Cropping patterns in this system consist of a mixture







-6-



of subsistence crops (sorghum, millet, watermelon and some cow peas) grown
in conjunction with cash crops (sesame, groundnuts, roselle and watermelon).
These patterns result from the strategies followed by farmers regarding the
types of crops grown, area cultivated in each crop, intercropping practices,
thinning practices, timing of cropping activities and rotation of fallow
land. Both the environmental constraints and the decisions of farmers in
allocating resources for agricultural inputs, such as seeds, chemicals, and
labor have a tremendous influence on these cropping patterns as well. These
decisions directly effect crop output which influences consumption, market-
ing and investment.

Animal husbandry in this system involves the rearing of livestock such
as cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses and poultry. Animals
serve several functions including: 1) a source of investment; 2) a food
source; and 3) a transportation and labor source. They represent a channel
of investment for high crop production as well as a cushion in case of crop
failure. Patterns in animal rearing result from the strategies farmers
follow regarding investment of their resources in different types and amounts
of livestock and the various uses to which they are put. Such strategies
have a direct bearing on consumption and marketing as well.

Off-farm economic activities consist of all the various income gener-
ating activities that farmers pursue to supplement the income generated by
their own farms. These include dry season migration for wage labor, wage
labor for other farmers, specialized nonfarm occupations (e.g. tailors,
bedmakers, carpenters, blacksmiths), government occupations (e.g.
guards, clerks, school employees), manufacture and sale of charcoal
and building materials, service charges for crop and water hauling, and
income generated from capital intensive enterprises (e.g. shops, trucks,
cisterns, oil presses, flour mills, bakeries). The activities of
farmers are often limited by the resources and opportunities available to
them. This often results in a limited number of options being pursued by
farmers so recurring patterns of non-farm economic activities often appear.
The income generated by these activities can be channeled into agricultural
inputs for cropping, animal purchases, or consumption needs.

Marketing3 consists of all sales made by farmers of agricultural
products (both crops and animals) and all purchases of consumption goods by
farm households (food and material goods). In addition, marketing includes
the purchase of livestock for investment purposes. Marketing patterns
result from the strategies of farmers regarding the timing of the sales of
agricultural products (e.g. cash crops, livestock), the timing of the pur-
chases of consumption goods (e.g. food stuffs like millet and sorghum), and
the timing of the purchase of livestock for investment. Marketing is
closely related to cropping patterns because farmers are price responsive
in selecting the mix of crops they grow. Likewise, market prices heavily
influence animal sales and purchases. Marketing strategies can also
influence consumption patterns. For instance, farmers' decisions to pur-
chase sorghum at low prices may result in forgoing the consumption of millet
during the dry season.

3Marketing will be discussed in greater detail in the following section of
this report.






-7-


Consumption in the farming system involves both food intake by the
household as well as material goods consumption. Given available resources,
consumption patterns result from the strategies farmers follow with regards
to types of foods consumed, seasonal variations in the types of foods eaten,
social practices as to which members eat together and preferences for various
material goods. Consumption strategies also involve the procurement of
food and other commodities which has a direct bearing on the types of crops
grown, the rearing of livestock and the need for pursuing off-farm economic
activities. Consumption is also closely integrated with marketing. For
instance, seasonal preferences in millet and sorghum consumption correspond
to seasonal variations in purchasing patterns of these commodities.

The interrelationships between all five of these components must be
stressed. Each has an influential and somewhat limiting effect on the others.
For this reason, to fully understand farming in this area, all or most of
these components must be considered. Thus, a survey instrument which
intends to collect comprehensive information on farming should address all
of these components. It has been our intention to design this type of
instrument for our survey. Well grounded in ethnographic data, this
instrument contains questions dealing with the intracacies of farming in
this area (a copy of this interview schedule is found in Appendix J). The
information collected from 40 farmers in three villages is summarized below.

Results of the Preliminary Farming System Survey

The Sample

The 40 farmers surveyed were selected from the three intensively 4
studied villages in our study area. Using the nearly 100 percent samples
of cultivated landholdings in the three villages as the sampling frame, a
stratified random sample was drawn. Farmers were stratified according to
property and size of household. After selection, these farmers were care-
fully scrutinized with regard to crop mix to insure that variable cropping
patterns could be investigated. Fifteen farmers were selected from
El Kharta, 15 from Umm Ramad and 10 from El Geifil. A smaller number were
selected from El Geifil because it is a much smaller village than the other
two. Unless noted otherwise the data refer to the 1981-82 agricultural year.

Demographic Data Household Composition

All 40 farmers surveyed were the heads of households; 34 of which were
male and 6 were female.5 The average household size was 7.7 members and

The types of data collected on each farmer included: 1) total size of
household; 2) total size of landholding and 3) area cultivated in millet,
sorghum, sesame and groundnuts. Report No. 1 presents the analysis of
this data for El Kharta.

5More females were not included in this sample because of the difficulty
we had as male researchers in interviewing females in these villages and
because of the low frequency of occurance of female household heads.
Fortunately, much data.were collected on married female farmers and their
farming practices through interviews with married male household heads,
because these females usually operated their own separate small farms.






-7-


Consumption in the farming system involves both food intake by the
household as well as material goods consumption. Given available resources,
consumption patterns result from the strategies farmers follow with regards
to types of foods consumed, seasonal variations in the types of foods eaten,
social practices as to which members eat together and preferences for various
material goods. Consumption strategies also involve the procurement of
food and other commodities which has a direct bearing on the types of crops
grown, the rearing of livestock and the need for pursuing off-farm economic
activities. Consumption is also closely integrated with marketing. For
instance, seasonal preferences in millet and sorghum consumption correspond
to seasonal variations in purchasing patterns of these commodities.

The interrelationships between all five of these components must be
stressed. Each has an influential and somewhat limiting effect on the others.
For this reason, to fully understand farming in this area, all or most of
these components must be considered. Thus, a survey instrument which
intends to collect comprehensive information on farming should address all
of these components. It has been our intention to design this type of
instrument for our survey. Well grounded in ethnographic data, this
instrument contains questions dealing with the intracacies of farming in
this area (a copy of this interview schedule is found in Appendix J). The
information collected from 40 farmers in three villages is summarized below.

Results of the Preliminary Farming System Survey

The Sample

The 40 farmers surveyed were selected from the three intensively 4
studied villages in our study area. Using the nearly 100 percent samples
of cultivated landholdings in the three villages as the sampling frame, a
stratified random sample was drawn. Farmers were stratified according to
property and size of household. After selection, these farmers were care-
fully scrutinized with regard to crop mix to insure that variable cropping
patterns could be investigated. Fifteen farmers were selected from
El Kharta, 15 from Umm Ramad and 10 from El Geifil. A smaller number were
selected from El Geifil because it is a much smaller village than the other
two. Unless noted otherwise the data refer to the 1981-82 agricultural year.

Demographic Data Household Composition

All 40 farmers surveyed were the heads of households; 34 of which were
male and 6 were female.5 The average household size was 7.7 members and

The types of data collected on each farmer included: 1) total size of
household; 2) total size of landholding and 3) area cultivated in millet,
sorghum, sesame and groundnuts. Report No. 1 presents the analysis of
this data for El Kharta.

5More females were not included in this sample because of the difficulty
we had as male researchers in interviewing females in these villages and
because of the low frequency of occurance of female household heads.
Fortunately, much data.were collected on married female farmers and their
farming practices through interviews with married male household heads,
because these females usually operated their own separate small farms.






-7-


Consumption in the farming system involves both food intake by the
household as well as material goods consumption. Given available resources,
consumption patterns result from the strategies farmers follow with regards
to types of foods consumed, seasonal variations in the types of foods eaten,
social practices as to which members eat together and preferences for various
material goods. Consumption strategies also involve the procurement of
food and other commodities which has a direct bearing on the types of crops
grown, the rearing of livestock and the need for pursuing off-farm economic
activities. Consumption is also closely integrated with marketing. For
instance, seasonal preferences in millet and sorghum consumption correspond
to seasonal variations in purchasing patterns of these commodities.

The interrelationships between all five of these components must be
stressed. Each has an influential and somewhat limiting effect on the others.
For this reason, to fully understand farming in this area, all or most of
these components must be considered. Thus, a survey instrument which
intends to collect comprehensive information on farming should address all
of these components. It has been our intention to design this type of
instrument for our survey. Well grounded in ethnographic data, this
instrument contains questions dealing with the intracacies of farming in
this area (a copy of this interview schedule is found in Appendix J). The
information collected from 40 farmers in three villages is summarized below.

Results of the Preliminary Farming System Survey

The Sample

The 40 farmers surveyed were selected from the three intensively 4
studied villages in our study area. Using the nearly 100 percent samples
of cultivated landholdings in the three villages as the sampling frame, a
stratified random sample was drawn. Farmers were stratified according to
property and size of household. After selection, these farmers were care-
fully scrutinized with regard to crop mix to insure that variable cropping
patterns could be investigated. Fifteen farmers were selected from
El Kharta, 15 from Umm Ramad and 10 from El Geifil. A smaller number were
selected from El Geifil because it is a much smaller village than the other
two. Unless noted otherwise the data refer to the 1981-82 agricultural year.

Demographic Data Household Composition

All 40 farmers surveyed were the heads of households; 34 of which were
male and 6 were female.5 The average household size was 7.7 members and

The types of data collected on each farmer included: 1) total size of
household; 2) total size of landholding and 3) area cultivated in millet,
sorghum, sesame and groundnuts. Report No. 1 presents the analysis of
this data for El Kharta.

5More females were not included in this sample because of the difficulty
we had as male researchers in interviewing females in these villages and
because of the low frequency of occurance of female household heads.
Fortunately, much data.were collected on married female farmers and their
farming practices through interviews with married male household heads,
because these females usually operated their own separate small farms.







-8-



the range was 1-20. This average household size corresponds nicely with the
average estimated for the North Kordofan region, which was 7.7 members also.

To understand labor utilization in these households, the ratio of the
productive members in the household to the total was calculated. By pro-
ductive, we mean that the person was involved in farming activities or helped
to generate income through other means for himself or the household. The
average proportion of productive members was .64, and the range was .1 to
1.0. In other words, 64% of the members residing in these households were
to some extent productive. This high proportion indicates how important
family labor is to the household economy of this region.

Another important factor regarding household production is the number
of household members who own or operate their own farms. These farm operators
are referred to as Farm Management Units (FMU). In the first report, a FMU
was defined as consisting of a farmer who makes cropping decisions for a
parcel of land and his or her dependents. In many cases, the FMU and house-
hold are the same; however, FMU takes into account farmers who do not
represent a separate household (unmarried men and married women), yet still
manage a piece of cultivated land. The average number of FMUs per household
in our sample was 2.1, and the range was 1 to 4. This indicates that at
least two FMUs are in the average household. In most cases, these are the
male head of the household and his wife. The wife is usually given a small
piece of land to farm by her husband, and the income generated is used
according to the wife's discretion. This income is often used by the wife
to purchase cloth and other household necessities.

Land Tenure and Land Use


The total land area available to farmers in our sample was
mukhammas.6 Of this, 722 mukhammas were cultivated (37%). The
size of cultivation was 18.05 mukhammas, and the range was 2 to
The following frequency distributFon illustrates the number and
of farmers operating various sizes of parcels of land.


1,967.5
average
77 mukhammas.
percentage


Table 1. Distribution of Farmers by Size of Cultivated Unit


Size in mukhammas


Frequency


1-10

11-20


21 and above


9
Total 40


Percentage

35

42.5


22.5
100.0


A mukhammas = 1.73 feddans or 1.80 acres.










When the proportion of land cultivated by each farmer is calculated, a
somewhat different picture of land use appears. The average proportion of
land cultivated by the 40 farmers was 53 percent. The difference between
the percent of all land under cultivation (37%) and the average percent of
farm holdings under cultivation (53%) is due to the presence of a few large
holdings which had relatively little cultivation. Table 2 presents a
frequency distribution and percentage of the farmers in our sample that
were cultivating different proportions of their land.

Table 2. Distribution of Farmers by Proportion of Total Land Cultivated

Proportion of
Land Cultivated Frequency Percentage

0-.25 3 8

.26-.50 16 40

.51-.75 13 33

.76-1.00 8 20
Total 40 100

Although there seems to be enough land to continue a fallow rotation
system of farming, when the land available to each farmer is considered the
majority of the farmers are approaching the limit whereby land is not suf-
ficient to permit this practice to continue. Undoubtedly, increases in
population in the area threaten the continuation of this farming practice
and the implications for the continued agricultural potential of the area
are ominous. FAO has suggested that the ideal fallowing system would be
to maintain 4/5 of the arable land in Acacia tree fallow while only 1/5 is
cultivated. Therefore, present fallowing practices are grossly inadequate.

Another important factor in land-use is land rental, which is quite
prevalent. Overall, 234 mukhammas were rented-in, which represents 32
percent of all cultivated land. Of the 40 farmers surveyed, 15 rented-in
land (38%). These 15 farmers rented an average of 15.6 mukhammas, or 65
percent of the land they cultivated.

It seems that the better-off farmers were doing most of the renting.
Of the 15 farmers who were renting-in land, 9 were cultivating more than
15 mukhammas. In fact, 68% of all the rental land (158 of 234 mukhammas)
was by 6 farmers who were cultivating 21 mukhammas or more. The reason for
the concentration of rental land in larger operations is because these
farmers can afford to hire the necessary labor to expand their cultivation.
The cost of rental arrangements is relatively low and is not the main
reason why poor farmers do not rent-in more land. Instead, access to
labor is the key constraint to the amount of land which a farmer cultivates.
Because poor farmers can't afford to hire additional labor, they don't
expand their cultivation through renting.

So far, we have identified three types of rental arrangements. These
are futra, ijar/dugundi and muktuu9iya. Fufra, which is the most common
arrangement, is a yearly rent paid to the landowner in the form of 10
percent of the total crop produced. For instance, if the renter produces






-10-



10 sacks of millet on the rented piece of land, 1 sack will be given to the
landowner. Eleven of the 15 farmers had futra agreements.

The ijar/dugundi7 rental arrangement is a yearly rent paid to the land
owner in the form of a specified amount of cash. This amount varies from
2 to 5 L. S. a mukhammas. Only 3 of the 15 farmers who rent-in land did so
by dugundi.

The muktuu9iya8 rental arrangement is a lump-sum paid to the landowner
giving the renter access to the land till the fertility of-the soil is
exhausted. For instance, the renter will pay 40 L.S. to farm d single piece
of land for 7 to 10 years. This is the least common rental arrangement.
Only one farmer in our sample rented-in land in this manner.

In all cases, thus far investigated, all land which was rented was
fallow land. Previously cultivated land was rarely rented on a first time
basis. One benefit that landowners gain in renting land is that the renter
will bear the costs in clearing the land. For those rental arrangements
which are on a yearly basis (futra and i.jar/dugundi), landowners can
reclaim the land after the third year of cultivation, so that in effect
the renter is providing a cheap means for landowners to clear their land.
The only rental arrangement which does not favor the landowner is the
muktuu9iya arrangement. Since a renter can continue to utilize the rented
land till the soil is exhausted, he is compensated for his initial clearing
costs. For this reason, this arrangement is not preferred by landowners,
which might explain its rare occurence.9 The muktuu9iya arrangement can
also have adverse environmental consequences because renters may not adhere
to proper land-use management practices since it is not their land. This
arrangement promotes the over-utilization of cultivated land because renters
will try to get the most for their initial investment.

Our findings indicate that differences did exist between the 3 villages
regarding renting-in land. Umm Ramad had the greatest number of renters
(8 of 15 or 53%) followed by El Geifil (3 of 10 or 30%) and El Kharta
(4 of 15 or 27%). Umm Ramad may have had a higher proportion of renters
because several farmers had migrated into the village from outside for the
facilities and services it offers. Umm Ramad has a primary school, a
permanent water source, and a relatively large market.

Considering the other side of rental arrangements, we also made inquir-
ies as to how many farmers were renting their land out. Twenty-eight
percent (11) of the farmers surveyed had rented 182.5 mukhammas to other

7During the colonial period, the term dugundi was used to refer to the tax
collected by the Shaikh of each village based on his estimation of crop
output of each farmer's field. East and North of El Obeid the term dugundi
is used to refer to annual rent paid in cash.

8The term mukluu9iya means a piece of something. The term is sometimes used
by farmers when they rent one tract of land by an annual agreed upon price.
In El Kharta the term is used to describe a lump sum rental arrangement as
described above.

The farmers in need of a sizable amount of money for an emergency may rent
by the muktuu9iya arrangement.







-11-


farmers. Of these farmers, the average percentage of their total landhold-
ing rented out was 30 percent, and the amount rented averaged 16.59
mukhammas. The most common rental arrangement was futra (7 to 11 or 64%)
followed by ijar/dugundi (2 to 11 or 18%) and by mukluu9iya (2 to 11 or 18%).

While the richer farmers usually rent-in land, the poorer ones rent it
out. Of the 11 farmers who rented land out, 10 were cultivating 15 mukhammas
or less. In fact, 5 of these farmers were cultivating 10 mukhammas or less.
An explanation for this trend is similar to that given earlier. Poor farmers
can't afford to hire the labor necessary to expand cultivation, even on
their own land, so that they are renting their land out to gain some benefit
from this resource.

Land sales are very uncommon in this area. We found only 2 cases
where such purchases were made, and both buyers were women. Women may be
purchasing land as a way to gain access to land since inheritance practices
in this area make it difficult for them to accumulate large land holdings.
Overall, the infrequent occurrence of land purchases illustrate the
importance of inheritance to farmers in this region.
Cropping Patterns

The four most important crops in this area of North Kordofan are millet,
sorghum, sesame and groundnuts. After a discussion of each crop, the plant-
ing and cultivation system is discussed.

Millet

Millet is the principal subsistence crop grown in this area. Thirty-
eight of the 40 farmers cultivated this crop. Thirty-five percent of the
cultivated land was in millet (249.5 mukhammas). In addition, for each
farmer, the average proportion of his total cultivated land that was planted
in millet was .38.

Several types of millet are grown in the study area. The local names
for these types are dukhun baladi or dimbi, dukhun HireeHri and 9ish barnu.
Dukhun baladi or dimbi is a late maturing variety (90-110 days), character-
ized by long slender candles and small seeds. Dukhun HireeHri is an early
maturing variety (70-80 days) with candles which are shorter and thicker
than baladi candles. 9ish barnu is an intermediate maturing variety (80-
90 days) characterized by very long candles ranging from greenish yellow to
dark brown in color.11


109ish barnu is also referred to as 9ish al-ghariib or maang.

S1ee Appendix B for a typology of the millets grown in this area.






-12-


Table 3. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Millet Produced

Type of Millet Frequencya Percentageb

baladi/dimbi 25 66

HireeHri 12 32

9ish barnu 3 8
Total 40

From the Table 3 it is apparent that baladi/dimbi is the most common
type grown in this area, followed by HireeHri and 9ish barnu. To get a
better idea of the importance of each of these millets, we calculated the
amount of land planted in each type. Table 4 presents the amount of land
and percentage planted to each type of millet.

Table 4. Amount of Land and Percentage Planted in Each Type of Millet

Type of Millet Area Planted Percentage
Tmukhammas)
baladi/dimbi 122.5 49

HireeHri 108.5 44

9ish barnu 18.5 7
Total 249.5 100

These findings are similar to the ones presented above in that dukhun
baladi is the most important in area cultivated. However, dukhun HireeHri
was also grown quite extensively. The extensive cultivationof HireeHri
is due to the large tracts of this variety grown by the larger farmers in
El Kharta.

The villages tend to differ in the types of millet grown. In El Kharta,
the dominant variety grown was HireeHri. Seventy-six percent of all land
cultivated in millet was in HireeHri, and 67 percent of all farmers inter-
viewed grew this crop. El Kharta is north of El Obeid where the rainfall
is lower and HireeHri will produce better than the other varieties accord-
ing to farmers.

In contrast, El Geifil grew more baladi than HireeHri. Eighty-six
percent of the land cultivated in millet was in baladi, and all farmers
interviewed planted some of this type. We do not believe that the increased
rainfall is sufficient to account for this difference.12 The dominance of

aln this distribution the number of farmers is 38, but 2 of the farmers
grew two types of millet which raised the total to 40.
some farmers grew more than one type of millet, so the percentages add up
to more than 100.

1The difference in rainfall that El Geifil and El Kharta recieve is slight.






-13-


baladi in part is due to the shortage of HireeHri seeds in El Geifil, and
the long tradition of growing baladi.

In Umm Ramad, baladi was also the dominant type. Sixty-four percent of
the land cultivated in millet was in baladi, and 79 percent of the farmers
surveyed planted it. A higher rainfall could definitely explain this pattern,
since Umm Ramad is south of El Obeid. Higher rainfall also could explain
the appearance of another millet variety called 9ish barnu. Twenty-seven
percent of all the cultivated millet was planted in this type.

The extent of millet cultivation demonstrates its importance in the
farming system. In addition to serving as one of the main sources of food
for farm households, millet stalks are used for various purposes. They
are, for example, the main construction material for houses and other
structures in these villages. In fact, the importance of millet stalks
as a building material might ensure that millet will never be totally
displaced by other cash crops, unless another building material were intro-
duced (possibly another type of grass). Presently, such an alternative
building material is not widely available, especially for villages north of
El Obeid. In addition, millet leaves are sometimes used as fodder. Thus,
the many uses of millet in this area must be evaluated in assessing the
implications of proposed changes in millet cultivation practices.
Sorghum

Another important subsistence crop grown in the area is sorghum.
Although it was not as extensively grown as millet, the majority of the
farmers we surveyed were planting some sorghum in their fields. Seventy-
five percent of the farmers interviewed were growing sorghum (30 out of
40)13 Sixty-three percent (19 out of 30) of the farmers who grew sorghum
planted it in the same field with another crop (usually sesame). Only
43 percent (13 out of 30) of the farmers surveyed planted sorghum in
separate stands. Unfortunately, it is too difficult to estimate what
proportion of the total land cultivated was in sorghum since so much was
intercropped with sesame or other crops. However, the importance of this
crop is well demonstrated by the extent to which farmers were planting it,
either intercropped or separately.

Farmers in the area grow several different types of sorghum. The
local names for these types are quite numerous; however, they can be
grouped under three basic categories (See Appendix B for the local names).
These are mareeg/zunaari baladi, mareeg/zunaari HireeHri, and najaaq/feterita.
As for distinguishing characteristics, mareeg/zunaari varieties tend to
have curved necks and large seeds which may be either red, black or white
in color. There is essentially no difference in shape or color between the
baladi versions and HireeHri versions of mareeg/zunaari. The major differ-
ence is maturation length, with HireeHri maturing much earlier (70-80
days) than baladi (90-120 days). Also, baladi tends to produce more heads

13Some farmers grew sorghum in separate stands as well as intercropped
with other food crops. This especially is true of farmers to the
south of El Obeid.







-14-


per plant than HireeHri. In contrast, najaad/feterita varieties are usually
straight-necked types of sorghum with small seeds. The types of najaad/
feterita grown in this area usually have whitish or reddish seeds.14
These types of sorghum are typically intermediate in maturation length when
compared to the mareeg/zunaari types (90 to 100 days).

Table 5. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Sorghum

Type of Sorghum Frequency Percentagea

mareeg/zunaari baladi 19 63

mareeg/zunaari HireeHri 13 43

najaad/feterita 2 7

aSome farmers planted more than one type of sorghum, so the percentages
add to more than 100. .(

Mareeg/zunari baladi is the most common type of sorghum grown in the
area followed by mareeg/zunaari HireeHri and najaad/feterita (Table 5). To
determine if farmers who planted sorghum in separate stands grew different
types from those who intercropped it, we compared the sorghum varieties
grown by each. Table 6 presents the frequencies and percentages of farmers
who grew the various types of sorghum comparing those who grew it in
separate stands with those who intercropped.

Table 6. Frequency Distribution of Farmers Comparing Those Who Planted
Sorghum in Separate Stands with Those Who Intercropped

Separate Stands Intercroppeda

Type of Sorghum Frequency Percent Frequency Percent

mareeg/zunaari baladi 7 54 12 63

mareeg/zunaari HireeHri 5 39 9 47

najaad/feterita 1 8 1 5

aSome farmers intercropped more than one type of sorghum, so the percentages
add to more than 100.

Table 6 indicates that mareeg/zunaari baladi was the most commonly
grown sorghum both by farmers who grew it in separate stands and those who

14To the south of El Obeid in the Nuba mountains area, straight-necked
varieties of sorghum with black seeds have been found.







-15-


intercropped. Likewise, mareeg/zunaari HireeHri was the second most common
type regardless of planting strategy. In other words, no real difference
existed between these farmers regarding types of sorghums grown. Only.4
farmers in the sample, all in El Kharta, planted more than one type of
sorghum, and all of them intercropped sorghum with another crop.

Sorghum cultivation patterns differed in important ways in the three
villages. In El Kharta, 93% of the farmers (14 out of 15) grew sorghum,
and all of them intercropped it with sesame. No farmer surveyed grew
sorghum in a separate stand. Only the mareeg/zunaari varieties were grown
in this village, and the early-maturing HireeHri and late-maturing baladi
types were grown in equal amounts.

In El Geifil, only 40% of the farmers interviewed (4 of 10) grew sorghum.
Three of these farmers intercropped sorghum with sesame and one grew it in
a separate stand. The mareeg/zunaari varieties were the dominant types
grown although one farmer grew a naajaq/feterita type. The major reason for
the failure of other farmers in El Geifil to grow sorghum was the difficulty
in acquiring seeds. Several farmers indicated that they would have planted
sorghum if the seeds had been available.

In Umm Ramad, 80% of the farmers in our sample (12 of 15) grew sorghum,
and all of these farmers grew it in separate stands. Sorghum is usually
planted in separate stands in this village because the higher amounts of
rainfall and clayey soils characterizing this area allow for successful
sorghum cultivation.16 In fact, 20% of all the land cultivated in Umm Ramad
was in separate stands of sorghum, This cropping pattern gives this village
a unique character when compared to the other two. Mareeg/zunaari varieties
were the main types of sorghum grown, with baladi planted more extensively
than HireeHri. One farmer did grow a type of najaad/feterita. In addition,
two farmers also intercropped sorghum with groundnuis in this village,
however, intercropping sorghum was not a common pattern.

The role of sorghum in the farming system found in this area is quite
important due to the multiple functions it serves. First, it serves as a
food source for farmers, often as a substitute or supplement for millet, and
therefore is considered the second most important subsistence crop grown in
this area. Second, the stems of sorghum also serve as a food source for
both farmers and their animals. The high moisture and sugar content of
the stems make it a thirst-quenching energy source in the field where it is
consumed in great quantities by farm laborers harvesting crops like sesame.
This is especially true in villages where water is in short supply.17 In

15Mareeg/zunaari varieties seem to be better suited to the environmental
conditions found at El Kharta, such as low rainfall and sandy soils (qoz).

1Other possible reasons why sorghum is cultivated in large amounts in
Umm Ramad are 1) in addition to serving as a human resource, the sorghum
stems are a fodder source for the large herds of cattle these people own;
and 2) the sorghum is also used extensively in the village to produce
mariisa, a locally-brewed beer.

7Watermelons are often planted with sesame also to serve as a water source
for laborers.







-16-


fact, many farmers in villages to the north of El Obeid said that this is
one of the main reasons why they plant sorghum in their sesame fields.
Likewise, animals such as cattle, donkeys, goats and sheep find sorghum
stems a palatable fodder, and farmers will often cut and save the stems to
feed animals throughout the long dry season. This practice emphasizes the
importance of sorghum to animal husbandry in this area. Third, sorghum is
used to manufacture a local beer called mariisa. This beer is often used
as the main source of food for many farmers for at least one meal during
the day, especially during the harvest season. The extent to which mariisa
is consumed varies from one village to the next.18 Fourth,sorghum is
intercropped with sesame to serve as a wind break for sesame plants. Wind
erosion is a serious constraint to sesame production in this area, and
farmers have found that planting sorghum in their sesame fields helps guard
against wind damage. The sorghums grown in this area are usually firmly
rooted and have strong stems which aid in resisting wind erosion. Thus,
farmers gain three advantages by planting sorghum in their sesame fields:
1) it serves as a food source for humans; 2) it serves as animal fodder;
and 3) it serves as a wind break for sesame plants. Therefore, sorghum
production in this farming system is very critical, and it is necessary
for agricultural researchers to understand the many functions it serves to
fully assess its importance.
Sesame

Sesame is one of the most important cash crops farmers grow in this
region of North Kordofan. Ninety-three percent of the sample farmers
(37 of 40) grew some sesame in their fields. Fifty-one percent of all
land cultivated was in this cash crop (365.5 mukhammas). In addition, for
each farmer, the average proportion of his total cultivated land that was
planted in sesame was .48.

Several locally recognized types of sesame are grown in the El Obeid
region. The local names for these are simsim baladi/danameet, simsim
jabarook, and simsim HireeHri. Simsim baladi/danameet is a long maturing
variety (100-120 days) with multiple branches and the highest pod pro-
duction of the sesames grown. Simsim jararook is an intermediate maturing
variety (80-100 days) with fewer branches and lower pod production than
baladi/danameet. Simsim HireeHri is an early maturing variety (70-80 days)
with few branches and the lowest pod production of the three types.
Baladi/danameet tends to be dark green in color while jabarook and HireeHri
are successively lighter shades of green. Simsim HireeHri is usually planted
by close spacing on previously fallow land (buur) in order to realize a
higher yield while the other two types are usually planted on previously
cultivated land.19

18In two of the villages under study, mariisa is consumed by most of the
farmers, while in the other village, very few people drink mariisa. The
strictness with which Islamic values are upheld appears to account for
this difference between villages.
19
There were exceptions to this pattern. Sometimes farmers plant jabarook
or even baladi/danameet on previously fallow land if simsim HireeHri seeds
were not available.








-17-


Table 7. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Sesame Produced

Type of Sesame Frequencya Percentagea

simsim baladi/danameet 23 62

simsim jabarook 18 47

simsim HireeHri 11 29


aThere were 37 farmers growing sesame, but some farmers grew more than one
type. The frequency thus is greater than 37 and the percentages add to more
than 100.


Simsim baladi/danameet was the most common type of sesame grown in this
area, followed by simsim jabarook and simsim HireeHri (Table 7). We also
calculated the amount of land planted in each type to determine the extent
of cultivation of these various kinds of sesame.


Table 8. Amount of Land and Percentage Planted in Each Type of Sesame

Type of Sesame Area Planted Percentage
(mukhammas)

simsim baladi/danameet 198.5 54

simsim jabarook 128.0 35

simsim HireeHri 34.0 9

other 5.0 1
365.5 100


The conclusion from Table 8 is the same as from Table 7; simsim baladi/
danameet was the most extensively grown sesame in this area, followed by
simsim jabarook and simsim HireeHri. When Tables 7 and 8 are viewed together,
it appears that while almost 30% of the farmers were planting HireeHri, the
area cultivated in this type was rather small (9%). This indicates that
simsim HireeHri was grown in relatively small plots compared to the other
two types. Furthermore, of the 12 farmers in our sample who planted more
than one type of sesame, 10 of these grew HireeHri in addition to one of
the other kinds. This pattern often results when farmers plant HireeHri on
small plots of newly cleared fallow land while one or the other varieties
are planted on previously cultivated land. Farmers' adherence to this
practice could account for the small area cultivated in HireeHri.

Another interesting finding was that some farmers were mixing seeds of
different types of sesame and planting them together in the same field.







-18-


Although only 4 farmers were doing this, the implications of the practice
are worth noting. When farmers plant one type of sesame in their field,
the sesame tends to ripen all at once. From the time the sesame ripens,
the length of time that farmers have for cutting the sesame before the pods
shatter is usually 10 to 15 days. This short cutting period often forces
farmers to mobilize laborers (paid or communal) to cut their sesame as
rapidly as possible. Serious labor bottle-necks arise because of the high
demand, and farmers often have to pay high wages to obtain the necessary
labor. This may force the farmers to take out a loan from a merchant to
cover the labor expenditure.

By mixing seeds of sesame with different maturation lengths, the farmer
is assured that the field does not ripen all at once. This spreads the
labor requirement, allowing the farmer to harvest his crop over a longer
period of time. This longer period also enables the farmer to cut his
sesame field by himself and/or with the help of his family rather than
paying for a large number of laborers.

In addition to mixing seeds, farmers use other strategies to ease the
strain on labor for sesame cutting. First, to lengthen the duration of
sesame cutting in a field, farmers will plant sections of the field at
different times. They may plant one part of the field after one rain, and
then wait until the next rain before planting another part. Second, farmers
will often plant sesame on soils with different drainage patterns so that
the crop doesn't mature all at once. For instance, the sesame planted on
well-drained slopes will mature faster than the sesame planted in depressions
where water accumulates. Third, farmers will go through their sesame field
and cut the bottom stems of the plants first since they tend to ripen
first. Then they will go back through the field and cut the top stems.
This cutting strategy ensures that the ripest stems are cut first, so that
little seed is lost due to pod shattering. All of these strategies have
been adopted to help alleviate the labor constraints associated with sesame
cultivation.

Farmers in the three villages have different sesame cultivation patterns.
In El Kharta, 64 percent of the land cultivated was in sesame, and 93 percent
of the farmers surveyed grew this crop (14 of 15). Baladi/danameet was the
dominant type planted, followed by jabarook and HireeHri. Five farmers grew
more than one variety in their fields, and 3 mixed seeds of two different
types before planting.

In El Geifil, 54 percent of the land cultivated was in sesame, and all
farmers interviewed grew some of it in their fields. In contrast to
El Kharta, farmers in El Geifil planted more jabarook than the other two
types. Thus far, we are unable to account for this trend. In addition,
60 percent of the farmers in this village planted some HireeHri. This
percentage is much higher than in the other two villages. Fifty percent
of the El Geifil farmers grew more than one type of sesame, and only one
farmer mixed seeds before planting. El Geifil's unique cropping patterns
bear further investigation.







-19-


In Umm Ramad, only 29 percent of the land cultivated was in sesame,20
however 87 percent of the farmers planted some in their fields (13 of 15).
As in El Kharta, baladi/danameet was the dominant type grown, followed by
jabarook and HireeHri. Only two farmers grew more than one type, and no
farmers mixed seeds of different types before planting.

The extensive cultivation of sesame among farmers in this region has
an important bearing on the farming system of this area. Sesame has signi-
ficantly displaced subsistence crops such as millet and sorghum to the point
that farmers are depending on the revenue gained from sesame to purchase
food supplies which supplement the grain supplies grown on their own fields.
For this reason, the extent of sesame cultivation is a good measure of the
integration of these farm communities into the cash economy. Aside from
foodstuffs, cash generated from sesame sales is also used to purchase other
commodities offered by urban markets which cannot be locally purchased.
This shift away from locally produced goods to market purchased goods
represents a shift in taste and values, to the point that farmers are
relying heavily on sesame to satisfy their material wants. Therefore, a
cash crop like sesame does, and will continue to play a critical role in
the farm household economy.

Aside from being a source of cash sesame is also used as a source of
food. Farmers consume sesame raw, mix it with other vegetables and consume
it as a main dish, or grind it up to make an oil used in food preparation.
In addition, sesame is used as a source of fodder. The pods are saved
during threshing and fed to camels, and the leafy stems remaining in the
fields after cutting are consumed as fodder by livestock.

Thus, as with the other crops farmers grow, sesame serves a number of
functions in addition to being a source of cash. Agricultural researchers
should be aware of these when they consider ways of improving farm produc-
tion in this region.

Groundnuts
Groundnuts are the second most important cash crop grown in the El Obeid
area. This crop is more extensively cultivated to the southwest of El Obeid
than to the north and east. Since two of the villages in this initial sample
are in the areas where few groundnuts are grown, the crop's importance is
perhaps under-represented in the findings below.

Forty-eight percent of the farmers interviewed grew groundnuts (19 of 40).
The total amount of land cultivated in this crop was 70 mukhammas, which
represents 10 percent of the total land cultivated.21

20
2Umm Ramad farmers grow two main cash crops. Aside from sesame, groundnuts
are also extensively cultivated. Most farmers plant some of both.

2The size of the cultivated holdings in groundnuts tend to be smaller than
those of other crops because of the high cost of labor inputs required
to grow this crop.






-20-


Although farmers provided us with several names for the kinds of
groundnuts they grew, these are essentially several different names for
the same type, Barbatee22 is the most commonly used name for the type of
groundnuts grown in this area, but alternative names used include jukki
and baladi.

As expected, differences did exist between the three villages regard-
ing groundnut cultivation. Only 5 farmers in El Kharta grew groundnuts
(33%) and only 2 in El Geifil (20%). Traditionally, these villages are
not in areas where groundnuts are grown. However, a few farmers grew
groundnuts this year because of a government sponsored program to encourage
farmers in these areas to start growing this cash crop. The Farmer's
Union based in El Obeid had distributed groundnut seeds provided by the
Government3 to some farmers in each of these villages. Only a small num-
ber of farmers from El Kharta and El Geifil participated in this program,
which was reflected by the few numbers of farmers in our sample who grew
them.

In Umm Ramad, groundnuts have been grown by farmers for many years.
Eighty percent of farmers surveyed grew this crop (12 of 15). Twenty-two
percent of the land cultivated in this village was in groundnuts. The
importance of groundnuts in Umm Ramad can be partially explained by the
more favorable environmental conditions to which it is exposed. This
village receives more rainfall and has access to more clayey soils than
either El Kharta or El Geifil. These conditions are favorable to ground-
nut production. For this reason, groundnuts are considered to be just as
important to a farmer's cash earnings as sesame. This second cash crop
gives farmers in this village more flexibility as far as cropping decisions
are concerned. The opportunity to grow two cash crops as well as two sub-
sistence crops (millet and sorghum) allows these farmers to plant several
different combinations of crops. This added diversity makes farming in
Umm Ramad more viable than farming in El Kharta or El Geifil. Farms with
only a few crops are more vulnerable to environmental hazards like pests.
Reliance on four crops instead of two increases the chances that one of the
crops will succeed. Likewise, farmers with two cash crops are less vul-
nerable to yearly fluctuations in market prices than farmers who only
grow one. For this reason, groundnuts are a very important crop to farmers
in Umm Ramad.

Aside from cash earnings, groundnuts also serve other functions as
well. First, they are a source of food. Farmers often consume them raw,
roasted or boiled as a snack between meals, or use them in soups and other
main dishes. Second, groundnuts are sometimes used to produce an oil used
in food preparation.24 Third, the leaves of groundnut plants are used as a

22Barbatee was the name farmers used for barbiton.
23This program was sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Office
of Extension for Kordofan Province.

24Farmers in these three villages rarely use groundnuts to produce oil.
They usually use sesame for this purpose.






-21-


fodder for cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys. These various uses of ground-
nuts add to its importance to farmers in this area. Therefore, to under-
stand the role of groundnuts in this farming system, these must be taken
into account.

Intercropping

Farmers in this region of Kordofan practice intercropping quite exten-
sively. Two types of intercropping techniques are used. First, farmers
will plant more than one crop in the same hole. For instance, sesame and
sorghum are often planted together in the same hole. This is the most
common intercropping technqiue used in this area. Second, farmers will
plant a crop between the rows of a different crop previously planted or
planted simultaneously. For example, sorghum may be planted every fourth
row in a field of groundnuts. A variation of this second intercropping
strategy which farmers follow involves planting different crops in the
spaces of a field where the crop originally planted did not germinate.25
For instance, farmers may plant sesame in the wind blown spaces of a
millet field.
Intercropping Sesame

Sesame was the most common crop which in this area intercropped with
other crops.

Table 9. Distribution of Farmers Who Intercropped by
Types of Crops with Sesame.
Either
Intercropping
Same Holea Between Rowsa Methodb
Type of Crop Freq. Percentage Freq. Percentage Freq. Percentage

Watermelon 24 65 7 19 27 73

Luuba (Cowpeas) 17 47 6 16 21 57

Sorghum 17 46 1 3 17 46

Karkadee 11 30 7 19 16 43


aSome farmers intercropped more than one type of crop with sesame, so the
percentages will not add up to 100.
bEither intercropping method is a category which represents the sum of farmers
who intercropped a type of crop with sesame using one or the other method.
If a farmer used both methods of intercropping for a given type of crop he/she
was only counted once.



25In the analysis that follows, the two variations of the second technique
will be lumped together and referred to as between-row intercropping.






-22-


The majority of the farmers surveyed planted another crop with sesame,
and usually in the same hole (Table 9). Watermelon was the most common crop
intercropped with sesame, with 73 percent of the farmers planting it in the
same field. Cow peas (luuba) was second, with 57 percent of the farmers
growing it. Sorghum was third (46%) followed by karkadee (43%).

In addition to identifying the other crops farmers intercropped with
sesame, we were interested in determining how many different crops farmers
planted in their sesame fields.

Table 10. Distribution of Farmers Who Intercropped by
Number of Crops with Sesame.
(N=37)

Number of Crops w/Sesame Frequency Percentagea

At least 1 crop 34 92

At least 2 crops 24 65

At least 3 crops 15 41

More than 3 crops 9 24


aSince these categories overlap, the percentages do not add to 100 percent


Table 10 shows that over 90 percent of the farmers who grew sesame
intercropped it with at least one other crop. As stated earlier, the most
common crop was watermelon. Sixty-five percent of the farmers surveyed
planted at least 2 other crops with their sesame. The most common combin-
ations were watermelon and cow peas (16 of 37 or 43%) or watermelon
and sorghum (15 of 37 or 41%). Forty-one percent intercropped at least
3 crops with sesame. The combination most frequently mentioned was
watermelon, sorghum and cow peas (13 of 37 or 35%). In addition, about
one-fourth of the farmers in our sample planted at least 4 other crops
in their sesame fields. In fact, 5 of these farmers planted sorghum,
watermelon, karkadee and cow peas all in the same hole with sesame.

Several reasons can be given for farmers' tendency to intercrop other
crops with sesame. First, labor is a critical constraint in farm production
in this area. Because many farmers cannot afford to expand their cultiva-
tion through land clearing, they grow several crops on the same field to
take advantage of what limited area they can cultivate.26 This practice
also helps cut down on weeding costs since several crops are weeded at
once when they are in the same field. Second, many crops are grown in
one field to ensure that some output will be retrieved from the piece

26In fact, better-off farmers tend to plant sesame in separate stands.






-23-


of land they are cultivating. Should drought conditions or pests adversely
affect one of the crops, farmers are helping insure that one of the other
crops will produce something. In limited resource farming under fluctuating
environmental conditions, this is not a bad strategy. Third, by having one
or more crops germinate from the same hole with sesame, the sesame crop is
less susceptible to wind erosion. This is one of the main reasons why
sorghum is planted with sesame. As stated earlier, the sorghum root struc-
ture is fairly firm and the stalk is strong which helps prevent sesame
plants growing beside it from blowing away. Fourth, watermelon and sorghum
are also consumed by laborers when they are cutting sesame in the fields.
In many of these villages, drinking water is in short supply so watermelons
provide a water source in the field for these laborers. Sorghum stalks,
which have a high water and sugar content,27 also helo quench the thirst
of these laborers.

An additional advantage of intercropping is that it may help maintain
soil fertility. This is particularly so with legumes like cow peas. Although
some farmers recognize this effect, the other reasons given for intercrooping
are viewed as more important.

Intercropping Millet

As for millet, very few farmers in our sample intercropped it with
another crop. Seventy-one percent of the farmers who grew millet grew it in
a separate stand (27 of 38). Of the 11 farmers who did intercrop millet
with another crop, the most common crop grown was watermelon. Our findings
indicate that the usual pattern is to plant other crops with millet only in
the spaces of the millet field where it did not germinate. Seven of the 11
farmers intercropping millet followed this pattern. However, 4 farmers
did plant watermelon with millet in the same hole, and 1 farmer planted
watermelon between the rows.

The main reason given by farmers for not planting other crops with
millet is that millet is too "hot", and tends to compete vigorously against
other crops. This advantage is due to millet's extensive root system and
tendency to tiller. When farmers do plant other crops in the open patches
of their millet field, they do so for the same reasons they plant crops in
their sesame fields. They are making use of what limited cultivated area
they have access to given the high cost of land clearing and labor. These
other crops planted in the spaces tend to be unaffected by the "hot" qual-
ities of millet due to the low density of the millet.

Intercropping Groundnuts

Of the 19 farmers in our sample who planted groundnuts, only 4 inter-
cropped them with another crop. Sorghum was grown with groundnuts by
two farmers, planting a row of sorghum between every 3-6 rows of groundnuts.
Other crops like watermelon, cowpeas, and sesame were sometimes planted
in the spaces where the groundnuts didn't germinate.


27Sorghum stalks taste like sugarcane.






-24-


Groundnuts are a labor intensive cash crop usually planted close
together in small plots. Since labor cost is high compared to sesame,
farmers usually plant groundnuts in small separate stands to obtain the
maximum production possible. Intercropping is sometimes viewed as detri-
mental to the potential output of this cash crop.
Intercropping Sorghum

Thirteen farmers in our sample grew sorghum in separate stands. Of
these, 9 planted some other crop in their sorghum field. All nine of these
farmers were from Umm Ramad, and all but one planted watermelon with his
or her sorghum. These crops were usually planted in the same hole, which
makes a lot of sense because these farmers own livestock, especially cattle,
so fodder is an important consideration. Aside from being human food
sources, sorghum stalks and watermelons are excellent sources of fodder.
Once the sorghum heads have been cut and the large watermelons have been
collected, the animals can be allowed to graze the fields. Thus, these
intercropped sorghum fields serve the dual purpose of providing both human
and animal food. This is an example of efficient use of limited resources.

Thinning

A considerable number of farmers in our sample indicated that they
practiced crop thinning. Seventy-five percent of the 32 farmers inter-
viewed had engaged in this activity.28 In every case, thinning was done
during the first weeding. Millet was the most frequently mentioned crop
which was thinned (23 of 24, or 96%) followed by sesame (20 of 24, or
83%) and sorghum (12 of 24, or 50%).29 Thinning for these farmers
involves removing excess stems germinating from several seeds planted in
the same hole. Some farmers could specify the number of stems they
normally left after thinning for each crop, while others said they just
removed excess stems with no specific number in mind.

Some major differences did exist between the three villages regarding
thinning practices. In El Kharta, only 46 percent of the farmers inter-
viewed practiced thinning (6 of 13). In contrast, all the farmers sur-
veyed in El Geifil thinned their crops (5 of 5), and 93 percent of the
farmers in Umm Ramad had engaged in this practice (13 of 14). Farmers
in El Kharta said that they used to thin their crops in the past when
their farms were smaller, but do not do so nowadays because the farms
are larger and it would take too much time and effort to do it. Increased
farm size does not seem to be a constraint for thinning in the other two
villages.
Timing of Cropping Activities

An essential part of our farming systems survey involved eliciting
information regarding the timing of cropping activities. With this in
op-
28The total was not 40 because not every farmer interviewed was asked
this question.

29Groundnuts are not thinned because usually only 1-2 seeds are planted
per hole.






-24-


Groundnuts are a labor intensive cash crop usually planted close
together in small plots. Since labor cost is high compared to sesame,
farmers usually plant groundnuts in small separate stands to obtain the
maximum production possible. Intercropping is sometimes viewed as detri-
mental to the potential output of this cash crop.
Intercropping Sorghum

Thirteen farmers in our sample grew sorghum in separate stands. Of
these, 9 planted some other crop in their sorghum field. All nine of these
farmers were from Umm Ramad, and all but one planted watermelon with his
or her sorghum. These crops were usually planted in the same hole, which
makes a lot of sense because these farmers own livestock, especially cattle,
so fodder is an important consideration. Aside from being human food
sources, sorghum stalks and watermelons are excellent sources of fodder.
Once the sorghum heads have been cut and the large watermelons have been
collected, the animals can be allowed to graze the fields. Thus, these
intercropped sorghum fields serve the dual purpose of providing both human
and animal food. This is an example of efficient use of limited resources.

Thinning

A considerable number of farmers in our sample indicated that they
practiced crop thinning. Seventy-five percent of the 32 farmers inter-
viewed had engaged in this activity.28 In every case, thinning was done
during the first weeding. Millet was the most frequently mentioned crop
which was thinned (23 of 24, or 96%) followed by sesame (20 of 24, or
83%) and sorghum (12 of 24, or 50%).29 Thinning for these farmers
involves removing excess stems germinating from several seeds planted in
the same hole. Some farmers could specify the number of stems they
normally left after thinning for each crop, while others said they just
removed excess stems with no specific number in mind.

Some major differences did exist between the three villages regarding
thinning practices. In El Kharta, only 46 percent of the farmers inter-
viewed practiced thinning (6 of 13). In contrast, all the farmers sur-
veyed in El Geifil thinned their crops (5 of 5), and 93 percent of the
farmers in Umm Ramad had engaged in this practice (13 of 14). Farmers
in El Kharta said that they used to thin their crops in the past when
their farms were smaller, but do not do so nowadays because the farms
are larger and it would take too much time and effort to do it. Increased
farm size does not seem to be a constraint for thinning in the other two
villages.
Timing of Cropping Activities

An essential part of our farming systems survey involved eliciting
information regarding the timing of cropping activities. With this in
op-
28The total was not 40 because not every farmer interviewed was asked
this question.

29Groundnuts are not thinned because usually only 1-2 seeds are planted
per hole.







-25-


mind, we asked farmers when they started planting, replanting, first weed-
ing, second weeding, cutting or pulling and threshing. This information
was collected on each of the main crops they grew. In addition, we asked
farmers when they started clearing their fields for next year's cropping
season.

One problem we encountered in these inquiries was that farmers were
not always conscious of the exact dates they began these activities.
Several cues were used to jog farmers' memories such as having them relate
the timing of the activity to important religious events like Ramadan,
or having them indicate what month in the traditional Islamic calendar the
activity took place. Usually farmers were able to specify what part of
the month the activity began such as the first, the middle or the end,
but it was not possible for them to be any more accurate than this. For
this reason, the following charts which specify the timing of cropping
activities for each crop are quite general as far as dates are concerned.
However, they do reflect general patterns in the timing of such activities.
The following discussion briefly summarizes the data on these charts taking
each crop separately.

Millet Cropping Activities (1981-1982 Season)

1. Planting The first planting of millet by sample farmers occurred
between the first of April and the first of July. The most
common planting period was from the first of May to the first of
June. Seventy-one percent of the farmers planted their millet
before rains (rameel) and 29 percent planted after rains (nadaaya).
Farmers planted their millet early for several reasons: 1) to
avoid the peak seasons of pests such as santa (Cyrtocamenta spD.)
and birds; 2) to take advantage of all possible rainfall in a
cropping season; 3) to hire labor for planting which is relatively
inexpensive and available; and 4) to obtain a food crop from their
field as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the timing of the first
millet planting is not always appropriate and replanting is a
common practice.

2. Replanting Replanting of millet occurred between the end of May
and the middle of July. The most common replanting period was
from the end of June to the middle of July. Sixty-five percent
of the farmers surveyed replanted, and most of these after rains
(87%).

3. 1st Weeding The first weeding of millet occurred between the
end of June and the first of August. The most common first weed-
ing period was from the first of July to the first of August.

4. 2nd Weeding The second weeding of millet occurred between the
middle of July and the end of September. The most common second
weeding period was from the first of August to the first of
September.

5. Cutting The cutting of millet occurred between the end of August
and the first of January. The most common cutting period occurred
from the middle of October to the first of November.












Chart 1
MILLET
(N=38)
Timing of Cropping Activities


Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar
1stlMid End 1st Mid End 1stjMidlEndl stjMid Endl stlMid End 1st Mid End IstEMid End stjMid End 1st Mid End 1st Mid End stMidEnd st Mid End


[I


Key

Rarely


Low Frequency


* High Frequency


2. Replanting

3. 1st
Weeding

4. 2nd
Weeding
5. Cutting/
Pulling
6. Threshing


r I I








~I~ I i


Time of 1st Planting
N %
27 71%
11 29%


Cropping
Activities


1. Planting


7. Land
-Clearing


Before Rains
After Pains


Replanting
N %
3 13%
20 87%


I "' I













Chart 2
SESAME
(N=37)
Timing of Cropping Activities


Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar
1stiMidlEnd lstiMidlEnd lstlMidlEnd istlMid End istlMidlEnd lstjMid End lstlMidlEnd lstiMidlEnd 1st|MidlEnd lstiMidlEnd lstlMid End lstlMidlEnd


Cropping
Activities


D1


1. Planting

2. Replanting


Rarely


S Low Frequency

E High Frequency


5. Cutting/
Pulling
6. Threshing

7. Land |
Clearing


Before Rains
After Rains


Time of 1st Planting
N %
10 27%
27 73%


3. 1st
Weeding
4. 2nd
Weeding


Reolantinq
N %
9 82%


t~-~c ~


W-W ~ ~--t#













Chart 3
GROUNDNUTS
(N=19)
Timing of Cropping Activities


Cropping
Activities

1. Planting

2. Replanting

3. 1st
Weeding
4. 2nd
Weeding
5. Cutting/
Pulling


Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar
1st)Mid End 1stjMid End 1stjMidlEnd 1stjMid stMidEnd E st MidEnd Ist Mid End Ist MidjEnd 1st Mid End 1st Mid End 1stjMidlEnd IstjMidlEnd


El


Rarely


Low Frequency

High Frequency


SI I I I I


6. Threshing

7. Land
Clearing


Time of 1st Planting
N %
7 37%
12 63%


Before Rains
After Rains


Replantinq

0 0%
1 100%


RIVJ T




~ ~t #


~=~i ~~#

~t+-tt-t~c~ H


~LI













Chart 4
SORGHUM
(N=30)
Timing of Cropping Activities


Cropping
Activities

1. Planting

2. Replanting

3. 1st
Weeding
4. 2nd
Weeding
5. Cutting/
Pulling
6. Threshing


Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar
IstlMidlEnd IstIMidlEnd IstlMidlEnd 1stIMid End lstiMidlEnd lstlMidlEnd 1stiMidlEnd IstiMidlEnd IstiMidlEnd IstlMidlEnd IstlMidlEnd IstiMidlEnd


El


Key

Rarely


Low Frequency

High Frequency


1 I -- I -- I -- -- I -- I I- I -


7. Land
Clearing


Time of 1st Planting
N %
9 30%
21 70%


Before Rains
After Rains


Replanting
N %
1 10%
9 90%


~t_ ~C=#


W N4- TIW


~i~







-30-



6. Threshing Threshing of millet occurred between the middle of
October and the end of January. The most common threshing period
was from the middle of December to the first of January.

7. Land Clearing Farmers in our sample began clearing land for next
year's cropping season between the first of January and the first
of May. The first of March and the first of April were the most
common times when farmers said they begin clearing their fields.
(Since land clearing data are the same for all crops, they will
not be repeated in the discussions which follow.)

Sesame Cropping Activities (1981-1982 Season)

1. Planting The first planting of sesame occurred between the first
of May and the end of July. The most common planting periods were
the first of June and the end of June/first of July. Seventy-three
percent of the farmers planted their sesame after rains (nadaaya),
while 27 percent planted before the rains (rameel). Farmers tend
to plant their sesame later than millet because it is more sus-
ceptible to wind erosion. This also accounts for planting sesame
after rains. They wait to plant their sesame until the rains are
more frequent, which usually occurs in late June. They can afford
to wait with sesame because it does not have to contend with
seasonal peaks in pest attack to the same extent as millet.

2. Replanting Replanting of sesame occurred between the first of 0
June and the end of July. The most common replanting period was
the first of July. Thirty percent of the farmers surveyed
replanted, and most of these after rains (82%).

3. 1st Weeding The first weeding of sesame occurred between the
middle of June and the end of August. The most common first
weeding period was from the first of July to the first of August.

4. 2nd Weeding The second weeding of sesame occurred between the
middle of July and the end of September. The most common second
weeding period was from the first of August to the first of
September.

5. Cutting The cutting of sesame occurred between the middle of
August and the first of January. The most common cutting period
was from the middle of October to the first of November.

6. Threshing Threshing of sesame occurred between the first of
September and the first of February. The most common threshing
periods were the first of December and the first of January.30


30These two peak threshing periods probably correspond to two different
varieties of sesame.






-31-


Groundnut Cropping Activities (1981-1982)

1. Planting The first planting of groundnuts by farmers in our
sample occurred between the end of May and the first of August.
The most common planting periods were the first of June and the
first of July. Sixty-three percent of the farmers planted after
rains (nadaaya) while 37 percent planted before rains (rameel).
Farmers often planted their groundnuts after the first weeding.
This practice can be explained by the fact that because groundnuts
are so closely planted together, it is difficult to weed them in
the early growth stages without damaging some of the plants. So
farmers often opt to have the whole field weeded prior to plant-
ing. The weeding costs are less by doing it this way as well.

2. Replanting Replanting does not usually occur in groundnuts
production. Only one farmer did so in our sample. He replanted
during the first of July.

3. 1st Weeding As stated earlier, farmers often weed before they
plant their groundnuts. So the first weeding occurred between the
first of June and the first of August. The most common first
weeding period was the first of July.

4. 2nd Weeding The second weeding of groundnuts occurred between
the end of June and the first of September. No common second
weeding period was detectable from our sample.

5. Pulling The pulling of groundnuts occurred between the middle
of September and the end of November. The most common pulling
period was the middle of October to the end of October.

Sorghum Cropping Activities31 (1981-1982 Season)

1. Planting The first planting of sorghum occurred between the middle
of May and the end of July. The most common planting period was from
the first of June to the first of July. Seventy percent of the
farmers planted their sorghum after rains (nadaaya), while 30
percent planted it before rains (rameel). The majority of the
farmers who planted sorghum in our sample intercropped it with
sesame, so considerable overlap should exist between these two
crops regarding the timing of planting, replanting and first and
second weeding.

2. Replanting Replanting of sorghum occurred between the end of
June and the first of August. The most common replanting period
was the first of July. Thirty-three percent of the farmers
surveyed replanted sorghum, most of these after rains (90.).

3. 1st Weeding The first weeding of sorghum occurred between the
middle of June and the middle of August. The most common first
weeding period was from the middle of July to the first of August.



3Sorghum was planted both in a separate stand as well as intercropped,
usually with sesame. These were lumped together in this chart.






-32-


4. 2nd Weeding The second weeding of sorghum occurred between the
middle of July and the middle of September. The most common
second weeding period was from the first of August to the first
of September.

5. Cutting The cutting of sorghum occurred between the first of
September and the first of December. The most common cutting
period was from the first of November to the end of November.

6. Threshing Threshing of sorghum occurred between the first of
October and the middle of January. The most common threshing
period was the middle of December.

Cultivation Fallow Rotation

The length of time that a field is cultivated varies from one farmer to
the next, but the usual time period is 6 to 10 years. The number of years
that a farmer will consecutively plant in the same field is dependent on
the fertility of the field and a farmer's access to other crop land. To
help offset the degradation of soil fertility which results from the con-
tinuous cropping, farmers plant cash crops and subsistence crops in the
same field in alternating years (e.g., millet, then sesame or groundnuts,
then millet again). The appearance of striga (buuda) is recognized as a
sign by most farmers that the field should be allowed to go fallow. Fallow
periods last anywhere from 3 to 15 years, again depending on the farmer's
access to other farmland. If a farmer does have access to other farmland,
he will usually allow gum arabic trees to germinate on his fallow field and
begin tapping these after 3 to 4 years. Tapping of gum may continue for
as many as 10 to 15 years, but frequently farmers return their fields to
cultivation after a shorter time period.

What is interesting about this shifting cultivation pattern is that
although decisions to shift are often made by individual farmers, the
decisions significantly impact other farmers whose fields are adjacent to
the shifters. The usual pattern involves a couple of farmers who decide
that next year they will allow their fields to go fallow. The following
year other farmers' fields which are adjacent to these fallow fields are
invaded by pests and animals which accumulate in the fallow areas. As
a result, these farmers opt to shift as well the following year rather than
contend with the animals and pests. This process continues until all the
farmers cultivating in the area are forced to shift due to pest and animal
invasion from fallow areas. The net result is that large tracts of land
next to the village will be fallow, while other areas will be extensively
cultivated. From first observation this land-use pattern gives the impres-
sion that farmers are making collective decisions to shift from one fallow
area to another. In fact, what is happening is the result of accumulated
individual decisions.32


32We are indebted to Dr. James Beebe and Abdel-Moniem el-Obeid of USAID/
Khartoum, who were primarily responsible for bringing this shifting
pattern to our attention. They discovered such patterns during their
stay in Umm Hijliij, a village to the northwest of El Obeid. One varia-
tion in this shifting pattern which they identified was that sometimes
some extended family members may make collective decisions to shift.
Our findings indicate that such decisions are more commonly made on an
individual basis in the villages selected for our study.






-33-


One consequence of this shifting pattern is that farmers need access to
other farmland elsewhere. In many cases, farmers own several pieces of land,
so shifting is not that much of a problem. However, some farmers don't own
enough land elsewhere to shift to, so they either borrow land from a relative
or rent in land.33 They farm this borrowed or rented land until shifting
back to the fallow land which they own. This is a common pattern in this
area.

One adverse effect which shifting has on poor farmers is that due to
time and money constraints they often cannot afford to clear a piece of land
for cultivation comparable to the piece they left fallow. As a result, they
may cultivate as much land as they can afford to clear during the first
year of shifting, and rely on wage labor earnings to make up the difference.
Thus, many poor farmers rely on wage labor activities to a greater degree
during the initial phases of shifting than they do at other times. The
second and third year after the shift, poor farmers will be less dependent
on wage labor because they will have had sufficient time to finish clearing
their land for cultivation. Given their current circumstances, this periodic
dependency on wage labor during the shifting cycle appears to be one con-
sequence poor farmers cannot avoid.

Agricultural Inputs

An important objective in farming systems research is to identify the
inputs farmers have access to that impact agricultural production. The
following discussion will focus on the major agricultural inputs of seed,
chemicals, and labor used by farmers in this region.34

Seed Requirements

Before discussing where farmers get their seed, we will examine how
much seed farmers use to grow each crop. Farmers were asked how much seed
they used in planting sesame, millet, sorghum and groundnuts. To standard-
ize these data, we calculated the average amount of seed planted per mukhammas
for each crop. These amounts are expressed in a volumetric measure called
locally a mid,35 which is the standard measure used by farmers in this area.
Groundnuts, on the other hand, will be expressed in sacks per mukhammas since
this is the common measure farmers use for planting this crop. o-Table 11


33Population pressure in this area is causing a reduction in the size of
landholdings owned by farm families. Renting-in land has become a common
practice, as a result. Also some farmers opt to rent land near the village
rather than farm a piece they own which is hours away.

34One important input not included in this discussion is farmers access to
drinking water. This was extensively addressed in an appendix in the first
field report, so it will not be discussed here.

3A mid is the same as a mallowa in Eastern Sudan, which is 4.125 liters.

3A sack of groundnuts refers to a sack of unshelled seeds.






-33-


One consequence of this shifting pattern is that farmers need access to
other farmland elsewhere. In many cases, farmers own several pieces of land,
so shifting is not that much of a problem. However, some farmers don't own
enough land elsewhere to shift to, so they either borrow land from a relative
or rent in land.33 They farm this borrowed or rented land until shifting
back to the fallow land which they own. This is a common pattern in this
area.

One adverse effect which shifting has on poor farmers is that due to
time and money constraints they often cannot afford to clear a piece of land
for cultivation comparable to the piece they left fallow. As a result, they
may cultivate as much land as they can afford to clear during the first
year of shifting, and rely on wage labor earnings to make up the difference.
Thus, many poor farmers rely on wage labor activities to a greater degree
during the initial phases of shifting than they do at other times. The
second and third year after the shift, poor farmers will be less dependent
on wage labor because they will have had sufficient time to finish clearing
their land for cultivation. Given their current circumstances, this periodic
dependency on wage labor during the shifting cycle appears to be one con-
sequence poor farmers cannot avoid.

Agricultural Inputs

An important objective in farming systems research is to identify the
inputs farmers have access to that impact agricultural production. The
following discussion will focus on the major agricultural inputs of seed,
chemicals, and labor used by farmers in this region.34

Seed Requirements

Before discussing where farmers get their seed, we will examine how
much seed farmers use to grow each crop. Farmers were asked how much seed
they used in planting sesame, millet, sorghum and groundnuts. To standard-
ize these data, we calculated the average amount of seed planted per mukhammas
for each crop. These amounts are expressed in a volumetric measure called
locally a mid,35 which is the standard measure used by farmers in this area.
Groundnuts, on the other hand, will be expressed in sacks per mukhammas since
this is the common measure farmers use for planting this crop. o-Table 11


33Population pressure in this area is causing a reduction in the size of
landholdings owned by farm families. Renting-in land has become a common
practice, as a result. Also some farmers opt to rent land near the village
rather than farm a piece they own which is hours away.

34One important input not included in this discussion is farmers access to
drinking water. This was extensively addressed in an appendix in the first
field report, so it will not be discussed here.

3A mid is the same as a mallowa in Eastern Sudan, which is 4.125 liters.

3A sack of groundnuts refers to a sack of unshelled seeds.






-34-


presents the mean amount of seed planted per mukhammas for each crop as well
as the range. This table also presents seed averages for first planting
and multiple plantings for each crop.


Table 11. Seeding Rate by Crop


Amount Planted:
Single Planting


Type of Crop

Millet
expressedd
in mids)

Sesame
(expressed
in mids)

Groundnuts
(expressed
in sacks)

Sorghum
(separate
stand)
(expressed
in mids)

Sorghum
(intercropped
with sesame)
(expressed
in mids)


Amount Planted:
Multiple Plantings


Average Range Average


.32-1.0 1.12
(n=17)


1.23


.5-2.2
(n=22)


.13-1.67
(n=18)


.5-2.0
(n=7)


2.09


1.17


1.05


.11-.29
(n=9)


Range Av


.5-2.2
(n=17)


.75-6.0
(n=12)


Amounted Planted:
Overall Average

rerage Range


.92



1.54


(n=1)


1.01-1.5 1.01
(n=3)


.20-2.0
(n=6)


.32-2.2
(n=34)


.5-6.0
(n=34)


.13-1.67
(n=19)


.5-2.0
(n=10)


.11-2.0
(n=15)


The average quantity of seed used in planting millet was .92 mids per
mukhammas, and the range was .32 to 2.2 mids. The average amount of seed used
by farmers who planted their millet only once was .73 mids, and the range was
.32 to 1.0 mids. As for farmers who planted their millet more than once, the
average amount used was 1.12 mids and the range was .5 to 2.2 mids.

Farmers who planted sesame tended to use considerably more seed per
mukhammas than they did of millet. This might be explained by the fact that
farmers often follow a strategy to compensate for wind erosion by planting
large amounts of sesame seeds per hole. The average amount of seed planted
in sesame was 1.54 mids per mukhammas, and the range was .5 to 6.0 mids.
For those farmers who only planted their sesame once, the average was 1.23
mids and the range was .5 to 2.2 mids. Some farmers had to replant their
sesame, and the average amount of seed they used was 2.09 mids. The range
was .75 to 6.0 mids.






-35-


Farmers who grew groundnuts usually only planted their fields once. Only
one farmer planted his field twice. This trend might be accounted for by the
fact that groundnut planting is very expensive and one planting is all most
farmers can afford. In addition, seed for replanting is sometimes difficult
to obtain. The overall average amount of seed planted in groundnuts was .80
sacks per mukhammas, and the range was .13 to 1.67 sacks. The reason for
this wide variation in reported planting rates is unclear.

As for sorghum planted in separate stands, farmers used about the same
pr slightly more seed per mukhammas as they did for millet. The average
amount of seed planted in sorghum was 1.01 mids per mukhammas, and the range
was .5 to 2.0 mids. Farmers who planted their sorghum only once used .99
mids. The range was .5 to 2.0 mids. A few farmers planted their sorghum
more than once, and the average amount of seed used was 1.05 mids. The
range was 1.01 to 1.15 mids.

Farmers who intercropped sorghum with sesame planted less seed per
mukhammas than those who planted sorghum in separate stands. The overall
average amount of intercropped sorghum seed was .37 mids per mukhammas, and
the range was .11 to 2.0 mids. For farmers who planted sorghum with sesame
only once, the average amount used was .18, and the range was .11 to .29 mids.
Some farmers planted sorghum seed with sesame more than once, and the average
amount used was .64 mids. The range was .20 to 2.0 mids.

Seed Acquisition

Farmers in the study area acquire seed from a number of different sources.
Inquiries into this subject area revealed that aside from reserving seed from
their own fields, farmers obtained seeds from other farmers, merchants, urban
markets and government distribution programs.

Fifty-three percent of the farmers interviewed obtained their millet
seeds for planting from their own fields (Table 12). Only 5 per cent obtained
seed as a gift from relatives. However, it is significant that 45 percent of
the farmers purchased millet seed. Most of these seed purchases were made
from other farmers (12 of 17 or 71%), but some farmers purchased seed from
local merchants as well (5 of 17 or 29%). Farmers told us that they preferred
to purchase millet seeds from other farmers rather than merchants because
farmers take greater care in keeping millet varieties separated. When a farmer
purchases seed from another farmer, he can be sure of what he is buying. Mer-
chants on the other hand tend to mix different varieties of seeds together in
the same sack, so the farmer doesn't really know what he is getting.

To account for such a large percentage of farmers purchasing millet
seed for planting, it is quite probable that most of these farmers consumed
all of their millet before the planting season. Farmers often resort to
consuming their millet early, especially if they had a low millet yield the
previous season due to pests or some other adverse environmental condition.
In fact, because farming is so precarious in this fluctuating environment,
we believe that millet seed purchases are and will continue to be a common
pattern in this area.

As for sesame seed, 76 percent of the farmers obtained some or all of
their seed for planting from their own reserves. This high percentage might










Table 12. Sources of Seeda


Purchased
from
Merchant


Purchased
from
Another
Farmer


El Obeid
Market


Government
Farm Union


SI q. Freq. % Fr I F re Freq. % Freq. % Freq. %


20 53 5 13 12 32 0



28 76 6 16 7 19 0


0 0



0 0


8 42 1


Groundnuts
(n=19)


5 0


Sorghum 22 73 5 17 4 13 0
(n=30)


0 2 11 11 58 0


0 0


0 0


aSince some farmers obtained seed from several sources, the percentages will not add up to 100 percent.


Reserved
from
Own Field


Millet
(n=38)


Sesame
(n=37)


Received
as Gift


0 2



0 0


0
0 ('






-37-


be explained by the fact that farmers often retain their sesame crop until
April or May before selling it to help pay for farm expenditures in the coming
cropping season. Aside from being a form of short-term savings, this strategy
enables farmers to keep enough seed in reserve to meet planting requirements.
This pattern would account for the findings presented in the Table above.

In addition to reserving their own seeds, 35 percent of the farmers
were purchasing sesame seeds as well. About an equal number of farmers
purchased seed from other farmers as from merchants. An examination of seed
purchasers indicates that the majority were poor farmers. A possible reason
for why poor people are purchasing sesame seed is that they often have to
sell most of their sesame crop early to pay off debts, buy food, water and
other household necessities. These early sales make it difficult to retain
adequate seed reserves for the coming cropping season, so these farmers are
often forced to use what little money they have to purchase seed. If addi-
tional seed purchases are required for replanting these poor farmers are
often forced to borrow from another farmer or a merchant at high interest
rates.36a

Most farmers in our sample obtained their groundnut seeds for planting
from a Government sponsored seed distribution program which was implemented
by the Farmers' Union. The Farmers' Union distributed groundnut seed to
farmers in several villages in Kordofan. The only stipulation was that
farmers had to return to the Farmers' Union an equal amount of seed after
harvest. Fifty-eight percent of the farmers surveyed obtained their seed in
this manner.

Aside from this seed source, 42 percent of the farmers reserved their
own groundnut seed for planting. Only three farmers purchased groundnut
seed. Two purchased seed from the El Obeid Market while one purchased seed
from a local merchant. The relatively small number of farmers who purchased
seed may be due to the unavailability of groundnut seed from other farmers or
merchants. This also may account for why groundnuts are usually only planted
once.

As for sorghum, 73 percent of the farmers got their seed for planting
from their own reserves. This pattern is understandable if one considers
the fact that sorghum seeds are somewhat scarce in many of these villages
in this area. Farmers have had some difficulty in obtaining sorghum seed
from local merchants as well as from other farmers. For this reason, one


36aThe classic sheel (usury) credit system of the Sudan still serves as an
important source of seed for many poor farmers. Here sheel is a kind of
crop mortgaging. The lender gives the poor farmer an amount of seed on
the condition that he is repaid in kind a two-fold, or greater, amount
after the harvest. An alternative seed lending arrangement, which is
commonplace nowadays, is to peg the values of the seeds loaned out and
repaid according to their current market prices. The borrower may repay
his loan in seed or in money. In recent years, seed loaned in this manner
has generally earned the lender a rate of return between 150% and 200%.
Defaults as well as long delays in repayment are problems the lender
must anticipate if he makes seed loans.






-38-


of the only reliable sources of seed is the farmer's own reserves, which
accounts for the pattern found in Table 12.

Despite the relative scarcity of seed, some farmers were able to purchase
sorghum seed. Thirty percent of the farmers interviewed obtained seed through
purchases from other farmers as well as local merchants. However, most of
these farmers were from Umm Ramad, where sorghum cultivation is quite
extensive."J Greater availability of sorghum seems to allow for more pur-
chases. In El Kharta and El Geifil, sorghum is less available, so farmers
rely more on their own reserves rather than purchasing seed.

The fact that a considerable number of farmers are purchasing all types
of crop seed is worth noting. These seed purchasing patterns provide a
means through which short-maturing better adapted seed varieties can be
introduced into an area. This is especially true for millet. Development
efforts aimed at introducing such new varieties should seriously consider
farmers' seed purchases as a viable way to disseminate such crops. (This
matter will be addressed later in the recommendation section of this report.)

Chemical Inputs

Our findings indicate that some chemical inputs are commonly used in
farming in this area. These include seed dressings (e.g., Aldrex-T or
Dawa Suwait), DDT and salt. Seed dressings help protect seeds from pests
during planting. DDT is used to protect post-harvest storage of sesame from
ants and termites. It is placed around sesame piles left in the field to
dry. Salt is used to protect post-harvest storage of millet and sorghum
from termites. It is placed under and around millet and sorghum drying
piles (jurun) left in the field.


Table 13. Chemical Inputs Used

Type of Chemical Input Frequency Percentage

DDT 25 63

Seed Treatment Dressings 9 23

Salt 6 15
Total 40 100

The findings indicate that 63 percent of the farmers surveyed used DDT
in their sesame fields (Table 13). All used it around their sesame-drying
piles to protect them from ants and termites. Four farmers also spread DDT
around their sorghum and millet drying piles. Forty-four percent purchased
their DDT from El Obeid (11 of 25) while 48 percent purchased it from local

37
3Eighty percent of the farmers surveyed from Umm Ramad grew sorghum and
20 percent of the land cultivated was in separate stands of this crop.





-39-


merchants (12 of 25). Only one farmer obtained DDT from the government. No
real difference existed between the three villages regarding DDT use.

Although effective in pest control and relatively inexpensive, DDT is
a highly poisonous substance. Unfortunately, the techniques employed by
farmers in using DDT expose the sesame seeds directly to this toxic material.
The mixing of DDT with sesame during threshing is unavoidable. As a result,
the sesame that is sold to oil mills and urban populations contains high
levels of DDT. It is very difficult to discourage the use of DDT because of
its low cost. If it should be discouraged, substitutes have to be provided
which are also inexpensive and effective in ant and termite control. Con-
vincing farmers that they should not use this substance would be facilitated
by offering a viable alternative.

As for dressing, only 23 percent of the farmers interviewed were doing
this. Aldrex-T (or Dawa Suweit) was used most frequently on groundnuts
(7 of 9). Only four farmers surveyed used it on all their crop seeds. Not
surprisingly, these were more affluent farmers. There was a tendency for
less well-off farmers to use seed dressing on only one crop (usually ground-
nuts) because of its expense. Eighty-nine percent (8 of 9) of the farmers
who used a seed dressing purchased the chemical from the El Obeid market.
Only one farmer obtained this substance from a local merchant. No farmers
interviewed acquired it from a government agency. Comparing the three
villages regarding the use of this material, Umm Ramad had the greatest
number of users (6) followed by El Kharta (3). No farmers in El Geifil
used seed dressing.

A seed dressing helps protect seeds from ants, termites and millipedes
(surfa) when they are first planted. Unfortunately, it is a relatively
expensive input for poor farmers in this area. Another factor contributing
to its infrequent use is the lack of adequate information. Our experience
has been that most farmers know about it, but they often are not aware that
it can be used on other seeds besides groundnuts. We believe that farmers in
this area should be encouraged to use seed dressing and that information
regarding its proper use should be disseminated through any means possible.
Ways should be considered on how to provide it to farmers at a lower cost
than they are presently paying. Lowering the cost would definitely encour-
age greater use.

Another input used by some farmers in this area is salt. Fifteen
percent of the farmers surveyed use salt to protect their millet and/or
sorghum drying piles from termites (6 of 40). All six of these farmers
are from Umm Ramad. These farmers indicated that they have been using
salt for years, and that its use is a well established farm technique in
the area.

Although it may be effective against termites, salt adversely affects
soil fertility. Continuous use of salt on the same field will significantly
lower production. In fact, farmers themselves have acknowledged that their
crops do poorly in areas of the field where salt was previously applied.
Unfortunately, the application of salt is a strategy with short-term bene-
fits but long-term detrimental consequences for the environment. Therefore,
the use of salt by farmers should be discouraged. However, once again this





-40-


should be done in conjunction with the introduction of an inexpensive, yet
effective alternative to salt which controls for termites.38 Otherwise,
farmers will continue applying salt to their fields despite its bad effects
on the soil because termites are the more immediate problem.

Labor Inputs

Next to environmental conditions, labor is the most critical input in
the farming system. This input usually determines the size of the area
under cultivation and, thereby, the limits of a farmer's crop production.
For this reason, understanding the role of labor in the farming system is
essential.39

Labor is obtained from three sources. First, farmers use their own
labor and the labor of their households. From the data presented earlier
regarding productive members per household, this is the main source of
labor for most farmers. Second, farmers will hire labor from within their
own village. This labor source is especially important when time con-
straints are imposed on cropping activities. For instance, farmers who
want to plant sesame after a rain must do so within three days.40 Often
they hire laborers from the village to help in planting. Third, farmers
will hire labor from outside their village. These laborers perform some
or all the agricultural operations. Some farmers prefer outside laborers
because they usually will work on a particular task until it is completed.
Local laborers may not always do this because they have their own fields
to take care of. Various combinations of these three sources of labor are
often used, depending on the availability of the labor, the monetary
resources of the farmer, and the time limitations imposed by the task.

There are several types of labor arrangements. First, farmers may
hire by piece work or the completion of a task for a given piece of land.
The standard land unit is a mukhammas (1.73 feddans or 1.80 acres), and
laborers will be paid for the number of these units they complete. For
instance, a laborer will be hired to do the first weeding on a farmer's
field. He will be paid a specified amount according to how many mukhammas
he has weeded. Farmers usually pay by mukhammas for those operations for
which time constraints are not that important. These sometimes include
planting before rains (rameel), first and second weeding, and the cutting
of millet and sorghum. In addition, outside labor is usually hired by
mukhammas. The two reasons given by farmers for this practice are that:
1) outside laborers usually work until the job is completed; and 2) less
supervision of somewhat untrustworthy laborers is required than if they
were paid by the time worked.41

38This could be another substance or a technique.

3Not all the data collected on labor have been fully analyzed, so they will
not be presented in this report. This information will be addressed in
detail in our final report.

A common rule of thumb among farmers in this area is that crops will success-
fully germinate if they are planted within three days after a rain.

4There is a general mistrust of outside laborers, because farmers believe
that such laborers would attempt to take advantage of a time-based wage
arrangement since it is to their benefit to take longer to complete the task.






-41-


Sometimes farmers pay wages for work done within a specified time period.
There are several of these types of arrangements, depending on the length
of time worked. Morning wage work (7-11 a.m.) is locally referred to as
daHwa. Wage work done in the late afternoon (3-6 p.m.) is called sarba.
A full days work for wages is called yoomiya. Farmers hire laborers on a
time basis when time constraints are critical to the successful completion
of tasks. Labor is hired on a daily basis for planting after rains (nadaaya),
and cutting sesame. Inside village laborers are usually hired by such
arrangements because they are more readily available at times of peak labor
demand. Farmers also feel more comfortable hiring laborers from their own
villages in this manner because they believe kinsmen are more trustworthy
than outsiders.

A third type of wage arrangement found in this area involves paying a
negotiated lump-sum of money for completing a task. This arrangement is
referred to as guwaal. For instance, farmers will sometimes hire labor to
cut the millet in a field. A total price for the completed job is agreed
upon before the work begins. Another task which is usually paid by a guwaal
arrangement is the tapping of gum trees. Farmers often pay an agreed sum of
money to tap all the gum arabic trees in their gum gardens. A third task
which is done by this arrangement is land clearing. Farmers will negotiate
a price for clearing a field of crop residue and the small bushes and trees.
Outside labor is commonly hired by guwaal, but occasionally inside village
labor is hired on this basis as well.

A fourth type of wage arrangement used by these farmers is to pay
laborers for the quantity of threshed grain. The standard used for measur-
ing output is a sack (shuwaal or reeka), and a specified rate is paid for
each sack produced. For instance, laborers threshing groundnuts will be
paid so much for each sack. Millet and sorghum threshing also are paid by
the sack (reeka). Inside village labor is often hired by this arrangement,
although we have found instances where outside labor was paid in this
manner.

A fifth type of wage arrangement involves in-kind payment for work
performed. Women are often paid in this manner for winnowing sesame, millet
and sorghum. These women receive a small portion of the harvested crop
for their services. This form of arrangement has a long established tra-
dition in this area, and is practiced by most farmers.

Hiring-in labor is a common practice. Seventy-three percent of these
farmers hired-in some labor to aid them in their farming operations (29 of
40).42 Comparing hiring practices across the three villages, El Geifil
and El Kharta had equally high percentages of farmers hiring-in labor (80%),
while Umm Ramad had somewhat less (60%).

These findings indicate that wage labor is a critical input in crop
production in this region. Wage labor may have displaced communal work

42
Farmers had to pay out more than 5 L.S. before they were considered labor
employers.






-42-


groups in recent years as a primary source of labor. Nowadays, communal
labor activities most often occur in times of extreme need, such as providing
aid to a family following the death or illness of one of its members, or
helping a poor farmer harvest a crop which matured too quickly and otherwise
would be lost. However, communal work arrangements are still important for
poor farmers in millet threshing. These farmers use communal labor for
threshing because: 1) the work is too difficult for one farmer to do; 2) they
usually can't afford the costs of hiring labor to thresh their crop; and 3)
the timing of threshing is such that other farmers are available to help.
In fact, to ensure the availability of labor farmers will often wait to
thresh their millet until all other competing activities are finished. For
this reason, poor farmers who use communal labor in threshing millet will
not start until the end of December or even the first of January. Except
for millet threshing, however, communal labor is rarely used in farm
operations.

Some farmers in our sample worked for wages for other farmers; however,
this pattern was not as prevalent as hiring-in. Twenty-eight percent of
the farmers surveyed had worked for pay. This estimate may be too low
because some farmers refused to acknowledge working for others.43 Umm Ramad
had the largest percentage of farmers who reported working for pay (33%),
followed by El Geifil (30%), and El Kharta (20%). Only two farmers in our
sample were hiring-in labor as well as hiring their labor out.

One detrimental consequence of working off the farm for pay is that the
worker's own fields suffer from lack of attention. Several farmers we
interviewed who worked for wages on other farmers' fields were not able to
do the second weeding of their own crops. This has the effect of lowering
their own production. As a result, these farmers are forced to rely on
wage labor and loans from merchants year after year because they cannot
sustain a livelihood from fields which receive insufficient labor input.
This cyclic pattern appears typical of many poor farmers in the area. The
only solution to this problem involves breaking this pattern by allowing
farmers to allocate their labor to their own fields. One way of doing this
is to institute programs which release farmers from the necessity of selling
labor to others. Some suggestions for such programs will be discussed later
in this report.
Labor Costs

Labor costs are an important constraint to crop production in this area.
To better understand this, we calculated the average total labor cost per
mukhammas to grow each of the main crops.44 Bearing in mind the difficulties

43
43In several cases, we discovered later that some farmers' responses were
inaccurate or incomplete. This reluctance to acknowledge working for other
farmers is due to a common belief that such activities reflect a person's
poverty. Farmers in this area are very proud people, and want to be viewed
as self-reliant rather than dependent on others.
44
This calculation was made by adding up the total costs for planting, replant-
ing, first and second weeding, cutting and threshing and dividing this total
by the number of mukhammas planted in the crop.






-43-


in accurately determining the labor costs of Door farmers who rely heavily
on family labor, we opted to base these calculations on only those farmers
who paid for all labor operations necessary to grow these crops. Although
it is possible that these calculations slightly over-estimate the cost of
labor for poor farmers, they provide a basis upon which to compare each of
the crops grown.


Table 14. Labor Expenditure Per Mukhammas by Crop

Type of Crop Average Total Labor Costs Range

millet 20.69 L.S. 14.00 L.S. 27.22 L.S.
(n=10)

sesame 20.50 L.S. 17.80 L.S. 24.65 L.S.
(n=11)

groundnuts 33.45 L.S. 27.41 L.S. 38.30 L.S.
(n=7)

sorghum 21.22 L.S. 18.33 L.S. 23.20 L.S.
(n=4)


The findings in Table 14 indicate that the average total labor cost per
mukhammas to grow millet was about the same as it was for sesame and sorghum.
Farmers were investing about 21 L.S. a mukhammas on labor when they grew any
one of these crops. These findings made sense because the spacing pattern
used by farmers in planting these crops is nearly the same, and therefore
weeding costs would be similar. It also appears that threshing costs were
not that much different.

As for groundnuts, the average total labor cost per mukhammas was much
higher than it was for the other crops. Farmers were spending 33.45 L.S.
a mukhammas on labor for groundnuts. This was approximately 12.50 L.S. more
than for the other crops. This high average labor expenditure is due to
the closer planting of groundnuts than other crops, which means that plant-
ing takes more time and effort. Likewise, weeding groundnuts takes more
time and effort. Therefore, the cash investment required to grow groundnuts
was quite high when compared to the other crops, which could explain why
farmers tended to plant smaller plots of this crop.

The next step was to determine what the farmer gained in output from
his labor investment in each crop. Therefore, the average output gained
from each crop was calculated. The following discussion presents our
findings on crop output.

Crop Output

To determine the average yield per mukhammas for each crop, we took
the total number of sacks produced in a crop and divided by the number of
mukhammas planted in that crop.






-44-


Table 15. Yields of Principal Crops

Type of Crop Average Yield (sacks) Range (sacks)

Millet 1.14 0.00 3.00
(n=38)

Sesame 1.06 0.04 2.10
(n=37)

Sorghum 1.09 0.14 3.00
(n=11)

Groundnuts 6.58 1.67 -15.83
(n=19)

The average yield per mukhammas for millet was nearly the same as that
for sesame and sorghum (Table 15). All three crops yielded slightly more
than one sack a mukhammas. As for groundnuts, the average yield was 6.58
sacks per mukhammas.

Despite the seemingly high output for groundnuts, these yields are
quite low and reflect the adverse environmental conditions farmers face in
this region of North Kordofan. Insufficient rain, poor soil conditions,
and numerous pests hurt production. It also is adversely affected by poor
seed quality, the lack of pesticides, and insufficient labor. Given the
situation these farmers find themselves in, their ability to make a living
from farming is amazing.
Estimated Net Cash Gained Per Mudkhammas for Each Crop

To determine what farmers net gain in earnings was after labor expendi-
tures were deducted, we divided the average value of crop produced by the
average total labor cost. This ratio indicated the amount of cash gained
from crop output for every unit of cash invested in labor.45 Crop output
was converted to cash by using an average market price for a sack of the
crop and multiplying this by the average yield for that crop. The market
prices we used were averages of the 1981-1982 crop prices of the El Obeid
Government Crop Market.46

Analysis indicates that for every L.S. a farmer put into labor to grow
millet, he received an average of 1.87 L.S. in return at current market
prices (Table 16). This was the highest rate of return to labor for any of
the crops grown. Farmers were making 18.07 L.S. for every mukhammas of millet
they grew after total labor costs were deducted. Although most farmers didn't
sell their millet, this is a good indication of the value of this crop to them.
The millet would have been even more profitable if farmers could consistently
produce two or three sacks per mukhammas. Such yields were not uncommon in
this area. In addition, farmers could generate more revenue from their

45The calculation of this ratio excludes the costs of other inputs like seed
and chemical inputs. Compared to labor costs, these other input costs are
minimal.
46These crop prices have been collected two days a week for the past six months.

















Crop_

Millet


Sesame


Groundnuts


Sorghum


(1)
Average
Yield Per
Mukhammas

1.14


1.06


6.58


1.09


Table 16. Rate


(2)
Average
El Obeid
Price

34.00 L.S.


32.22 L.S.


8.90 L.S.


23.50 L.S.


of Return by Crop

(3)
Average
Total Labor
Cost Per
Mukhammas

20.69 L.S.


20.50 L.S.


33.45 L.S.


21.22 L.S.


(4)
Rate of
Monetary Gain
(1) x (2)
(3)

1.87


1.66


1.75


1.21


(5)
Net Cash
Per
Mukhammas

18.07 L.S.


13.65 L.S.


25.11 L.S.


4.40 L.S.
0I


---


I----






-46-


millet crop by selling the stalks for building materials. Thus, the high cash
value of millet, its use as a building material and its desireability as a
basic foodstuff explain farmers' interest in growing it.

As for sesame, farmers were receiving 1.66 L.S. for every L.S. spent on
labor. This is a lower ratio than for millet. According to our figures, only
13.65 L.S. were gained by farmers for every mukhammas in sesame they grew
when labor expenditures were subtracted. This cash gain when compared with
that of millet does not seem great enough to account for its importance as a
crop. However, there are several reasons for farmers' preference for sesame
despite its lower cash gain: 1) it is one of the few cash crops that will
grow in the area; 2) it has fewer major pests than millet; and 3) sesame is
used as a source of savings to help reserve cash for labor expenditures dur-
ing the cropping season. For these reasons, sesame is well integrated into 0
the cropping patterns of this area and will continue to be grown.

Farmers who grew groundnuts received a better return for their labor
than they did for sesame. For every L.S. they spent on labor, they received
1.75 L.S. in return. The rate of return for groundnuts was second only to
millet. Of greater importance, however, is that for every mukhammas in
groundnuts, a farmer received 25.11 L.S. after total labor costs were deducted.
This was the highest cash sum gained of any of the crops. Although these
figures indicate that groundnuts are worth growing, the initial labor invest-
ment is a prohibiting factor. The high labor costs restrict most farmers
(except better-off farmers) from growing large plots of groundnuts. This
limitation accounts for the small plots of this cash crop commonly found in
this area.

Of all the crops grown, sorghum had the lowest return to labor. Our
findings indicate that farmers only received 1.21 L.S. for every L.S. they
invested in labor at current market prices. Farmers only gained 4.40 L.S.
over labor costs for every mukhammas of sorghum they grew.47 Clearly the
profit ratio does not provide satisfactory explanation for the extensive
cultivation of sorghum in Umm Ramad.

What must be taken into consideration is the importance of sorghum in
beer manufacture. Much of the sorghum grown in Umm Ramad is used for the
production of beer, which greatly increases the value of the crop. Home-
made beer from sorghum is sold at considerably higher rate of return than
sorghum sold in the market, so farmers increase their cash gains considerably.
Sorghum also is an important source of cattle fodder. These factors explain
the extensive cultivation of sorghum in villages like Umm Ramad.


4This figure was based on the average current price of one of the more
expensive white sorghums (dabar) sold in the El Obeid Crop market. If
the average price of feterita were used instead, the calculations for the
return to labor would show a net loss of 51 piasters per mukhammas. The
locally grown white sorghum (zunaari abyad) is preferred as a human food
over feterita. The villagers regard its quality to be comparable to dabar.






-47-


Taking into consideration the uncertainty of output and cash gained per
mukhammas for all crops grown in this area, it is our assessment that farmers
are living at the margin. For this reason, they find it necessary to pursue
other income generating strategies to meet minimal household needs. Animal
husbandry, off-farm labor pursuits, and other economic enterprises help
supplement these farmers' meager earnings from cropping activities. These
other sources of income are the topic of the following discussion.

Animal Husbandry

Animals play an important part in the farming system of this region.
Ninety-three percent (37 of 40) of the farmers in our sample owned animals.
The various types commonly owned include cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys,
camels, horses and poultry.48 Table 17 presents the average number of these
animals owned by farmers and their respective ranges.49


Table 17. Average Number of Animals Owned by Type of Beast
(n=40)


Type of Animal


Average Number


Cattle

Sheep

Goats

Donkeys

Camels

Horses


5.8

6.4

6.3

1.0


< 1.0

< 1.0


Farmers own an average of six cattle, sheep and goats each.
the average was one per farmer. Camel and/or horse ownership was
common, as indicated by the averages of less than one.


As for donkeys,
far less


But animals are not evenly distributed among farmers. In particular,
cattle, sheep and goats are unequally distributed.

48
4Although poultry such as chickens and pigeons are commonly owned by most
farmers in this area, accurate figures of these are difficult to obtain.
For this reason they will be excluded from our analysis.
49
4Farmers are very reluctant to report the number of animals they have because
of their belief in the evil eye. So the figures presented here are approx-
imations which probably underestimate the actual number.


Range

0-60

0-120

0-50

0-6

0-2

0-3






-48-


Table 18. Distribution of Farmers by Type of Animal Owned

None 1 5 6 10 More than 10

Type of Animal Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. %

Cattle 18 45 13 33 2 5 7 18

Sheep 32 80 2 5 2 5 4 10

Goats 8 20 15 38 10 25 7 18

Donkeys 15 38 24 60 1 2 0 0

Camels 32 80 8 20 0 0 0 0

Horses 37 93 3 7 0 0 0 0


Analysis shows that 55 percent (22 of 40) of the farmers owned cattle
(Table 18). Of these thirteen owned five or less cattle while two owned six
to ten. Seven farmers in our sample were relatively big cattle owners, owning
more than ten each. The largest owner had sixty cattle. Major differences
also were found among the three villages. Umm Ramad had the largest per-
centage of cattle owners (12 of 15 or 80%), followed by El Geifil (5 of 10 or
50%) and El Kharta (5 of 15 or 33%). In addition, most of the big cattle
owners were living in Umm Ramad (5 of 7).

Two reasons can be given for the high percentage of cattle owners in
Umm Ramad. First, this village has a permanent source of water, and cattle
can be watered near the village year-round. Second, environmental conditions
are such that food and cash crops can be grown which also serve as fodder
sources. One such crop is sorghum. The clayey soils around Umm Ramad
favor the cultivation of this crop. Nine of twelve cattle owners from this
village plant sorghum in separate stands, and are most likely using these
fields to graze their animals. These cattle owners are also probably grow-
ing groundnuts, which can be used as a source of fodder as well. The leaves
and stems are used for this purpose. Given these resources, the prevalence
of cattle rearing in Umm Ramad is understandable. The other two villages
do not have access to the same favorable conditions, consequently, fewer
cattle are maintained.

Although slightly more than half of the farmers in our sample owned
some cattle, the majority owned very few. This is primarily because cattle
are relatively expensive, and few farmers can afford to invest in them.
This is especially true of poor farmers. Likewise, the lack of resources
such as the availability of water and/or fodder can act as constraints to
cattle rearing. Thus, cattle ownership is not a viable option for most
farmers in this area. Fortunately, this has beneficial environmental
consequences considering the susceptibility of this region to overgrazing
and desert encroachment.

As for sheep, only eight farmers owned sheep (20%). Two owned one to
five sheep while two others owned six to ten. Four farmers owned more than
ten sheep. The largest owner had one-hundred twenty sheep.






-49-


From these findings, it seems that the more successful farmers are
investing in sheep since half the owners had more than ten. Sheep are
expensive animals when compared to goats and most poor farmers cannot afford
them. This explains why few farmers own sheep. Only the wealthier farmers
have the resources to rear sheep.

Most sheep owners live in Umm Ramad (7 of 8). Only one lives in El Kharta
and none live in El Geifil. As with cattle, sheep are easier to maintain in
Umm Ramad because of the permanent water source and the availability of fodder.
The lack of these resources make sheep rearing more difficult in the other
two villages. In fact, the sheep owner in El Kharta is forced to graze his
sheep to the south of El Obeid where fodder and water are more abundant.

Although few farmers owned sheep, the majority did own goats. Eighty
percent (32 of 40) of the farmers interviewed owned a few goats.. Fifteen
owned one to five goats, while ten had six to ten. Only seven farmers had
more than ten goats. The largest number of goats owned by a single farmer
was fifty.

The majority of the farmers had less than ten goats. This is because
most households only keep a few goats to provide milk for consumption,
primarily for their tea. Aside from their milk, goats also serve as one
of the main meat sources for the households. For many farmers goats
represent a meat reserve to fall back on when cash is in short supply and
the household cannot afford to purchase meat.

The main reasons for the large percentage of farmers who maintain goats
are, first, goats are relatively inexpensive when compared to sheep and
cattle, so poorer farmers can afford them. Second, goats are very adaptable
animals and can subsist on a wide range of plant resources which other ani-
mals cannot. Therefore, fodder is less a constraint for goat rearing than
it is for cattle and sheep. Unfortunately, the fact that goats can eat
nearly anything has detrimental consequences for the environment. Goats
denude the landscape of what little foliage there is, which contributes to
wind erosion and desert encroachment. Ironically, their ability to adapt to
adverse environmental conditions leads to the worsening of these conditions.

Donkeys are another important animal to the farming system of this area.
Sixty-three percent of the farmers surveyed had a donkey. Most of these
owners did not have more than one although one rich farmer did have six.

Farmers' use of donkeys for hauling and transportation make it an
important asset. However, not all farmers own a donkey. Many poor farmers
cannot afford to buy one although they frequently may borrow a donkey from
a relative when one is needed. Also, farmers who own camels have little
need for donkeys because camels perform the same functions.

As for camels, only eight of the farmers surveyed owned one. Four of
these farmers owned one each while the other four owned two each. Four of
these owners were from El Kharta, three from Umm Ramad and one was from
El Geifil. Very few farmers own a camel because they are an expensive






-50-


investment.49a Those farmers who do invest in camels use them in income
generating activities such as hauling crops, oil presses, and hauling wood,
charcoal and millet stalks for sale.

Horses are rarely found in most of the villages around El Obeid. Only
three farmers in our sample owned a horse. All three of them were from
Umm Ramad. One of these farmers had three horses, but this was quite unusual.
Horses are most frequently used to pull the carts (kaaroo) on which crops,
water, building materials or other supplies are transported. Several of
these carts are in use in Umm Ramad. The other two villages do not have
such carts nor the horses to pull them. They rely on camels and donkeys
for such services.

The extent to which farmers are investing in animals is worth noting.
Such investments are considered a form of savings. For instance, when a
farmer's crops do poorly, he can rely on his animals to help him get through
a bad year. In addition to being a source of meat or milk, income obtained
from animal sales can be used to purchase foodstuffs and other household
commodities. Thus, animal investment is another strategy followed by farmers
to help deal with the uncertainty imposed on them by their environment.
Unfortunately, the long term effects of this short term strategy are detri-
mental to the environment, and are increasing the danger of desert encroach-
ment. Overgrazing has become such a severe problem that it can no longer
be overlooked. Steps should be taken as soon as possible to impress on
farmers the need for better range management practices. This should be
done in conjunction with the introduction of proper crop rotation practices.
Otherwise, environmental degradation will continue on its present course.

Although many farmers are investing in animals, such a strategy is not
a viable option for poor farmers with limited resources. These farmers must
rely on other means to supplement their meager farm incomes. The following
discussion will focus on some of these alternatives.

Migration

One alternative farmers pursue to supplement their incomes is to migrate
to other areas for seasonal work. In 40 percent of the forty farm families
someone had migrated for seasonal employment, and this included nine of the
farmers. Half of these migrants left their villages for employment in
El Obeid (8), while the rest migrated to places like Khartoum (2), Habila (2),
Gezira (2), Rahad (1) and Wad Medani (1). El Geifil had the greatest number
of migrants (5 of 10 or 50%) followed by Umm Ramad (6 of 15 or 40%) and
El Kharta (5 of 15 or 33%).

The usual pattern for those who migrate is to wait till the harvest is
through for all crops then to leave beginning in late December or early
January.50 They usually return at the end of May or early June in time to

49aSeveral informants mentioned buying camels from nomads passing near their
village as a way of acquiring an animal cheaply, but in such cases the
camel sometimes was weak or sick so that it died in the first year that
the farmer owned it.

5Some farmers left as early as November or as late as March; however, the
usual time for migration was around January.






-51-


begin clearing fields and to start planting when the rains come. Many of
these migrants get jobs as construction workers in the cities like El Obeid
or Khartoum, or they work as farm laborers on the mechanized agricultural
schemes picking cotton or cutting sorghum. Although a few migrants are
employed in skilled professions like tailoring or shoe manufacture and
repair, most work as unskilled laborers.

In addition to gaining income, many farmers migrate because of severe
water shortages in their villages. This is one of the key factors in
farmers' decisions to migrate. Unable to afford the high costs of water
during the dry season,51 farmers may take their entire family with them or
go by themselves and make arrangements to supply water to those members
who stay behind. This may involve sending money home periodically or
leaving enough revenue behind to meet these expenses. Thus, water avail-
ability has a strong influence on migration patterns.

The income derived from migration is a valuable input into the house-
hold economy of many poor farmers. It helps supplement farm revenues,
especially during years of poor crop production. Therefore, seasonal
migration for employment plays an important role in the farming system
of this region.

Monetary Gifts from Relatives Living Elsewhere

Another source of funds to supplement farm incomes is money sent home
from relatives living in other places. About one-fourth of the farmers
(9 of 40) in our sample received money in this fashion. The amount of
money received varied from 30 L.S. to 450 L.S. a year. In about half the
cases, sons sent money home to fathers, while the rest involved brothers
sending money to brothers. Often the largest sum was sent during the rainy
season to help pay for labor expenditures. Umm Ramad had the largest number
of farmers receiving money from relatives (6 of 15 or 40%), followed by
El Geifil (2 of 10 or 20%) and El Kharta (1 of 15 or 7%).

To implement this strategy, many farmers realize that well-paid rela-
tives living elsewhere and education are closely linked. Many government
jobs or other relatively high paying professions require some education;
at least primary school. Therefore, if families wish to have one of their
members in such a position they have to allow them to receive the necessary
training. Once this member receives the appropriate training and secures
a good job, he can start supplementing the family income through periodic
monetary gifts.

It is perhaps with this strategy in mind that many of the farmers in
our sample are encouraging some of their children to obtain an education.
In most cases, they only send a couple of children to receive such training,
while the rest contribute their labor to farm activities., Given their
limited resources and dependency on family labor, the inability of poor
farmers to educate more than one or two is understandable. But, such a
strategy can pay off in the long run if these children can secure positions
which enable them to give some financial assistance to the family.


51In El Kharta the price of water sold from private cisterns was 35 piasters
a tin (about four gallons). This price was starting to force many farmers
to migrate to El Obeid because they couldn't afford it.






-52-


Selling Charcoal and/or Wood

Another activity of some farmers to gain additional income is the sell-
ing of charcoal and/or wood. Twenty-two percent (8 of 37) of the farmers
in our sample were involved with such activities. Almost all of them (7 of
8) produced charcoal for sale, while half also sold wood for building mater-
ial. Only one farmer sold firewood.2 Most of these farmers (6 of 8) had
either a donkey or a camel to haul their wood or charcoal, however, two
farmers relied on borrowed or rented animals to do the hauling.

Although the selling of charcoal and/or wood is a way of supplementing
the family income, many farmers view this strategy as a last resort. This
is especially true of charcoal manufacture. Many of the charcoal producers
we interviewed considered this activity hard, nasty work and if they had a
choice, they wouldn't do it. Exceptions to this were some camel owners who
found it profitable to sell charcoal in urban areas like El Obeid. They
willingly pursued such activities. Thus, the farmers who are doing this
are either poor and/or camel owners.

Other Types of Income Generating Activities

A number of other activities help supplement farm incomes. These include
regular off-farm occupations as well as income generating capital investments.
For instance, farmers may be employed by the government as guards, clerks,
school teachers or other school employees, policemen, medical assistants,
mill operators, etc. Or they may work in the private sector for merchants,
truck owners, mill owners, and bakery owners. The number of these employ-
ment opportunities which are available to farmers is highly dependent upon
the size and institutional development of their village.

In addition to off-farm occupations, some farmers are investing in
capital intensive enterprises to gain additional income. The particular
investments heavily depend on how much cash they have at their disposal.
Some of the enterprises in which they commonly invest include shops, trucks,
bakeries, flour mills, oil presses, cisterns, wells, camels for transport,
and hauling carts (kaaroo). Due to the resource requirements of such
investments, it is only the wealthier farmers who can do this.

From a farming systems perspective, all of the alternative strategies
farmers use to supplement their farm income are very important. Given the
uncertainty of the environment, farmers cannot always depend on the output
gained from cropping activities to meet their minimal household needs.
Therefore, they find it necessary to rely on additional income sources to
help meet these needs, such as wage labor for other farmers, animal husbandry,
migration, monetary gifts from relatives, off-farm occupations and capital
intensive enterprises. Which of these strategies farmers pursue and how
they combine these with their cropping activities vary from one farmer to
the next.

It has been the purpose of this section of the report to discuss the
preliminary findings of the initial farming systems survey conducted in the
El Obeid region of North Kordofan up to March, 1982. Our aim was to present


52Firewood collection is usually done by women of the household.






-52-


Selling Charcoal and/or Wood

Another activity of some farmers to gain additional income is the sell-
ing of charcoal and/or wood. Twenty-two percent (8 of 37) of the farmers
in our sample were involved with such activities. Almost all of them (7 of
8) produced charcoal for sale, while half also sold wood for building mater-
ial. Only one farmer sold firewood.2 Most of these farmers (6 of 8) had
either a donkey or a camel to haul their wood or charcoal, however, two
farmers relied on borrowed or rented animals to do the hauling.

Although the selling of charcoal and/or wood is a way of supplementing
the family income, many farmers view this strategy as a last resort. This
is especially true of charcoal manufacture. Many of the charcoal producers
we interviewed considered this activity hard, nasty work and if they had a
choice, they wouldn't do it. Exceptions to this were some camel owners who
found it profitable to sell charcoal in urban areas like El Obeid. They
willingly pursued such activities. Thus, the farmers who are doing this
are either poor and/or camel owners.

Other Types of Income Generating Activities

A number of other activities help supplement farm incomes. These include
regular off-farm occupations as well as income generating capital investments.
For instance, farmers may be employed by the government as guards, clerks,
school teachers or other school employees, policemen, medical assistants,
mill operators, etc. Or they may work in the private sector for merchants,
truck owners, mill owners, and bakery owners. The number of these employ-
ment opportunities which are available to farmers is highly dependent upon
the size and institutional development of their village.

In addition to off-farm occupations, some farmers are investing in
capital intensive enterprises to gain additional income. The particular
investments heavily depend on how much cash they have at their disposal.
Some of the enterprises in which they commonly invest include shops, trucks,
bakeries, flour mills, oil presses, cisterns, wells, camels for transport,
and hauling carts (kaaroo). Due to the resource requirements of such
investments, it is only the wealthier farmers who can do this.

From a farming systems perspective, all of the alternative strategies
farmers use to supplement their farm income are very important. Given the
uncertainty of the environment, farmers cannot always depend on the output
gained from cropping activities to meet their minimal household needs.
Therefore, they find it necessary to rely on additional income sources to
help meet these needs, such as wage labor for other farmers, animal husbandry,
migration, monetary gifts from relatives, off-farm occupations and capital
intensive enterprises. Which of these strategies farmers pursue and how
they combine these with their cropping activities vary from one farmer to
the next.

It has been the purpose of this section of the report to discuss the
preliminary findings of the initial farming systems survey conducted in the
El Obeid region of North Kordofan up to March, 1982. Our aim was to present


52Firewood collection is usually done by women of the household.






-53-


an overview of the demographic characteristics of households, land tenure and
land use patterns, cropping patterns, agricultural inputs and outputs, animal
husbandry and other income generating strategies which farmers pursue to
supplement farm incomes. The next section will focus on the marketing com-
ponent of the farming system which heavily influences all major economic
decisions farmers make.






-54-


Part II. SOME FEATURES OF MARKETING IN EL-OBEID AREA


An assumption of this study is that marketing poses both incentives and
constraints for farmers. Consequently, a farming system analysis cannot
neglect the influence of market phenomena. The first research report char-
acterized the relationship between marketing and the farming system in the
following terms: (1) The marketing system provisions the farm household (
with most of its consumption requirements as well as with farm inputs like
seeds, seed dressing, insecticides and agricultural tools. The village
shop is the source of most consumption goods that are purchased by farming
families and is also an important source--but not the only one--for obtain-
ing technical farm inputs. (2) The prices, or anticipated prices, of agri-
cultural products have far-reaching effects on the selection of crops which
farmers plant. One evidence of this in recent years is the shift back to
producing more millet for subsistence and relatively less cash crops. This
change has come about owing to the steady increase in the price of sorghum
that is being shipped to the el-Obeid area from the mechanized farming
schemes. Another example is the fluctuation in the amount of land planted
in groundnuts in relation to the price that this crop will bring in inter-
national markets.

In addition, (3) it is appropriate to look at credit as a market
phenomenon. Village merchants are accustomed to making loans in cash and
in kind. Market forces determine the terms of repayment and the rate of
interest. The characteristically high interest rates that rural creditors
charge are due to several factors. At the season when the demand for credit
is highest (about one month before harvest), the supply of credit is low
because the merchant's funds are tied up in hiring agricultural labor.
Another factor contributing to high interest rates on loans is that the
merchant is a local monopolist. He faces very limited competition from
other merchants in the same village. On the contrary, the usual practice
is for merchants to divide the village into clienteles, each family doing
business with a particular merchant and taking loans from him as well.
Finally, since defaults do occur, the high interest rate protects the
lender's investment. (4) Non-farm market related roles (e.g., shopkeep-
ing, oil milling, charcoal making and selling, beer making, truck driving,
camel transport) provide a second source of income to many farming families.

Such occupations confer a strong advantage to these families in meeting
seasonal cash flow requirements. A shop is ideal because it brings an income
throughout the year. Moreover, the shopkeeper may feed his family directly
from his provisions. Other occupations are performed on a seasonal basis.
Many of these take place in the hot, dry season and have a definite signi-
ficance for farming. The dry-season occupation provides income for the
farm family to purchase food and water daily while reserving their cash
crop (usually sesame) as a savings. The sesame is sold late in the market
season (March-June) and the profit is used to buy animals and feterita and
to finance planting and weeding operations for the coming cropping season.

When Report No. 1 was written the study of marketing had only just
begun. No attempt was made at that time to sketch the marketing system.
Instead, we described the role of the village shopkeeper and the operation
of the government crop market at Abu Haraz. In the present report, the
aim is to present an overview of rural marketing.






-55-


Research Methods and Data Collection

The sources of the data for the marketing side of the study are two:
documentary evidence contained in government tax receipts for crop and live-
stock sales and ethnographic material obtained through observations and
interviews. We have collected information about crop sales using govern-
ment tax receipts for Abu Haraz market and Umm Ramad market. We also have
collected from tax receipts information about livestock sales at Abu Haraz
market. Before the project ends we will attempt to collect the same data
for the crop and livestock markets at Kazgeil. Bi-weekly sales data have
been gathered from the government crop market at el-Obeid, and we are keep-
ing a bi-weekly record of grain prices at the urban grain market, which is
in the hands of private merchants. Finally, we have collected prices of
a market basket of goods sold at village shops and have comparable prices
of the same goods at Abu Jahal Market in el-Obeid.53 We have also mapped
the distribution and characteristics of shopkeepers and periodic vendors
at three villages Abu Haraz, Umm Ramad and el-Geifil.

It proved impractical to devote equal time to collecting data about
marketing in each village in the sample of fifteen villages. One reason
for this is that the marketing system was found to be far more complex
than we initially supposed. To deal with this we were obliged to concen-
trate attention on four marketing centers chosen for their heterogeneity.
Seven of the fifteen villages in our sample have a designated area where a
periodic market takes place (Table 19). Of these seven, six villages have
a registered government crop market. The seventh village has a market
square surrounded by shops but lacks a crop market. Two of the villages
with crop markets also have registered government livestock markets.


Table 19. Market Villages in the Study Sample

Name of Village Periodic Market Crop Market Livestock Market

Abu Haraz yes yes yes

Kazgeil yes yes yes

Ayara yes yes no

Umm Ramad yes yes no

el-Geifil yes yes no

Umm Kuka yes yes no

Bengedid yes no no



53Villagers prefer to buy in Abu Jahal when they are visiting el-Obeid.
Prices are lower than at el-Obeid main market.






-56-


The remaining eight villages in the sample of fifteen lack a formally
instituted market place. Here marketing is parceled among the economic
functions of the village shop, the flour mill, and the oil press as well
as the roles of assemblers and crop-buying agents living in the village
and outside.

In choosing a small sample of marketing centers for intensive research
it was desirable to represent as much variation as possible; but it was
also important, because only one vehicle was available to the project,54 to
coordinate the market research with the farming production and household
economy study. The latter was being carried out in three villages--el-Kharta,
el-Geifil and Umm Ramad--which were selected as representative of different
soil types, rainfall patterns, agricultural practices and community services.
Fortunately, from the viewpoint of marketing these three villages showed a
lot of the diversity we were seeking. Umm Ramad has a rather large market
place and its crop market operates on the mizaan (weight) and dalaala
(auction) system.55 El-Geifil is a small marketing center struggling
against competition from neighboring markets, owing to its location on
the boundary of two administrative districts. Unlike Umm Ramad, el-Geifil
crop market is not operated on the basis of weighing crops but instead the )
weight and value of the crop for purposes of assessing taxes is estimated.
This system is called shiishna (estimation).56 It does not entail the use
of an auction procedure. El-Kharta differs greatly from both Umm Ramad
and el-Geifil. It has eight shops scattered among its households and
there is a flour mill and several cisterns where water is stored for sale.
Although it lacks an identifiable market place, el-Kharta is an important
marketing center for smaller neighboring villages. To understand why this
is so, one needs to realize that the headman of the village owns a market
lorry and his sons and grandson are merchants and crop buyers.

These three villages give a good indication of many of the variables
that have to be dealt with in studying rural markets in the el-Obeid region,
but still lacking in this sample is a big rural market with both a crop
market and a livestock market. The need for a marketing center of this type
has been filled by selecting Abu Haraz as the fourth village in the sample.
Abu Haraz is one of the largest rural markets in the area. During the rainy
season it is visited by great numbers of nomads who migrate north from South
Kordofan. Moreover, the Abu Haraz crop market exercises hegemony over crop
prices in Umm Ramad. Umm Ramad is within the rural council district of
Abu Haraz. Merchants from Abu Haraz make "raids" on Umm Ramad crop market
and are able to bid prices which are uneconomic for Umm Ramad's local
merchants.

Another reason for limiting our study to only four market villages was
to develop rapport with our informants, the merchants. As a general rule,

54We later solved this problem to some extent by using market lorries as
transportation.
55This system is described below.

56The shiishna system is described below.






-57-


we found merchants to be somewhat reticent about their business dealings.
This means that we had to interview the same merchant on repeated occasions
until he had taken the measure of us and a relationship of candor had been
developed. We knew that we had broken through our informant's reserve if he
would explain smuggling methods to us. Of course, we never got that far with
a number of merchants, but we did with some.

A problem, which is related to that of rapport-building and which we
confronted in interviewing merchants, was to select an optimum time for
meeting informants. We found that the best times were early in the morning
and late in the evenings. Typically, the merchant opens his shop around
7:30 or 8:00 a.m. It remains open until mid-afternoon, at which time the
merchant may go home--after locking up--for lunch and a nap. The shop opens
again for several hours in the evening. Interviewing a merchant on detailed
issues is not very productive during the period from mid-morning to mid-after-
noon, because the merchant is busy looking after customers at this time.57
Also, he may be reluctant to discuss his business with his customers in
earshot. The evening is an especially good time to interview because mer-
chants like to gather in front of their shops for tea and conversation.

Four interview forms are being used in the market study: (1) an inventory
of marketing services, which is being administered in all villages; (2) an
interview of village merchants (social characteristics, career history, capi-
tal assets, description of business activities including crop buying and loans,
farming activities); (3) an interview addressed to periodic vendors (social
characteristics, residence, stock-in-trade, sources of goods, price mark-ups,
attendance at markets, farming activities); (4) an interview addressed to
market visitors (social characteristics, occupation, residence, sales and
purchases, frequency of visits to market, other markets visited). The original
plan to carry out a systematic survey in all markets with these interview
instruments proved to be too ambitious. The modified objectives that are now
being sought are to conduct the market service survey in all villages in the
sample and to carry out a survey of merchants in all villages.58 The previous
plan was to carry out the merchant survey from December to February, but this
timing was found to be inappropriate for gathering data about crop marketing
because the season continues from late October until April and May.59 A
systematic survey of periodic vendors and market visitors is no longer planned
due to the time constraints and limited research personnel. These interview
schedules are being used to assemble a sample of 15 to 20 case studies of each

5This is an excellent time to make observations of the shop's operations,
however. One is quickly made aware of how farm produce is a substitute
for cash and how the merchant is continuously making small commodity loans
to his customers, recording the merchandise and its value in a notebook.
58A 50% sample of merchants in each village would total about sixty-five
interviews. In villages which have only one shop, the merchant is always
included in the sample.

5The merchant survey was postponed, therefore, until April and May, 1982.






-58-


kind of informant. Some of the case studies are presented below in talking
about periodic vendors.

An Overview of Marketing in the Study Area

A quick grasp on rural marketing is gained from a consideration of the
village-level media through which market exchanges occur. In the previous
research report only two of these--the merchant's shop and the government
crop market60--were singled out. Research carried out since the last report
was completed leads us to identify a number of important marketing institutions.

Village Shop

This category includes, besides the ubiquitous grocery store, the flour
mill and the bakery. As the previous report indicated, the village shop is
responsible for the day to day provisioning of village households. It is
the first-line buyer of many of the goods which are produced by the household.
It is also a source of credit to the household, particularly late in the
farming season before the grain can be harvested--a period when many farming
families lack income to purchase their consumption needs. Of considerable
importance to crop marketing is shopkeeper's willingness to accept small
quantities of sesame, groundnuts, roselle and gum arabic as payment for goods.
Sesame and groundnuts are measured by the mid while roselle and gum arabic
are weighed in roots on the merchant's balance. The farmer who sells his
crop in this manner receives less than he would at a government crop market
but gains from the convenience of selling only enough of his crop to buy
current requirements. There is the added convenience of not having to
leave his own village when buying supplies. The merchant collects crops
piecemeal in this manner, storing them in sacks inside his shop or burying
them in a maVmuura until he is ready to sell, usually to an urban merchant's
agent or directly to a crop agency at el-Obeid. These crop sales are not
under the direct supervision of government tax collectors. This poses a
serious problem to the rural councils, which depend on the tax revenues from
crop sales. The movement of crops directly from the villages to the oil
seed agencies in el-Obeid without payment of taxes is believed to be a
widespread practice.

A list of commodities that are commonly sold in the village shop was
reported in the first research report. Most families purchase foodstuffs
from a shop every two or three days, if not every day. The items that are
needed for meals every day are tea, coffee beans, sugar, sesame oil, onion
and feterita.61 In Table 20 the comparative prices of these commodities at
Abu Jahal (el-Obeid), Abu Haraz, and el-Geifil are listed.62


60The earlier report describes Abu Haraz market as typical of government crop
markets in the study area. It has since become evident that two major types
of government crop markets exist and Abu Haraz market represents only one of
these types. See analysis below of the mizaan and shiishna systems.
61If the family has stored millet or sorghum from its own production it may,
depending on the season of the year, prefer to eat from its own stock rather
than purchase feterita from a shop.

6Data collected between 1/5/82 and 1/8/82 from one shop selected at each
location.






-58-


kind of informant. Some of the case studies are presented below in talking
about periodic vendors.

An Overview of Marketing in the Study Area

A quick grasp on rural marketing is gained from a consideration of the
village-level media through which market exchanges occur. In the previous
research report only two of these--the merchant's shop and the government
crop market60--were singled out. Research carried out since the last report
was completed leads us to identify a number of important marketing institutions.

Village Shop

This category includes, besides the ubiquitous grocery store, the flour
mill and the bakery. As the previous report indicated, the village shop is
responsible for the day to day provisioning of village households. It is
the first-line buyer of many of the goods which are produced by the household.
It is also a source of credit to the household, particularly late in the
farming season before the grain can be harvested--a period when many farming
families lack income to purchase their consumption needs. Of considerable
importance to crop marketing is shopkeeper's willingness to accept small
quantities of sesame, groundnuts, roselle and gum arabic as payment for goods.
Sesame and groundnuts are measured by the mid while roselle and gum arabic
are weighed in roots on the merchant's balance. The farmer who sells his
crop in this manner receives less than he would at a government crop market
but gains from the convenience of selling only enough of his crop to buy
current requirements. There is the added convenience of not having to
leave his own village when buying supplies. The merchant collects crops
piecemeal in this manner, storing them in sacks inside his shop or burying
them in a maVmuura until he is ready to sell, usually to an urban merchant's
agent or directly to a crop agency at el-Obeid. These crop sales are not
under the direct supervision of government tax collectors. This poses a
serious problem to the rural councils, which depend on the tax revenues from
crop sales. The movement of crops directly from the villages to the oil
seed agencies in el-Obeid without payment of taxes is believed to be a
widespread practice.

A list of commodities that are commonly sold in the village shop was
reported in the first research report. Most families purchase foodstuffs
from a shop every two or three days, if not every day. The items that are
needed for meals every day are tea, coffee beans, sugar, sesame oil, onion
and feterita.61 In Table 20 the comparative prices of these commodities at
Abu Jahal (el-Obeid), Abu Haraz, and el-Geifil are listed.62


60The earlier report describes Abu Haraz market as typical of government crop
markets in the study area. It has since become evident that two major types
of government crop markets exist and Abu Haraz market represents only one of
these types. See analysis below of the mizaan and shiishna systems.
61If the family has stored millet or sorghum from its own production it may,
depending on the season of the year, prefer to eat from its own stock rather
than purchase feterita from a shop.

6Data collected between 1/5/82 and 1/8/82 from one shop selected at each
location.






-59-


Table 20. Comparison of Prices of Selected Food Products
at Abu Jahal (el-Obeid), Abu Haraz, and el-Geifil

Commodities Abu Jahal Abu Haraz el-Geifil

teaa 0.150/wagii9 0.120/wagii9 0.125/wagii9

coffee beans 0.190/wagii9 0.180/wagii9 0.180/wagii9

sugar 0.400/nus rootl 0.450/nus rool 0.350/nus rootl

sesame oil 0.650/rootl 0.700/roo;l 0.700/rootl

feterita 0.700/mid 0.900/mid 0.900/mid

onion 0.250/rootl 0.200/rootl 0.250/rootl

Totals 2.340 2.550 2.505


aThe prices for tea are not fully comparable. The tea sold in the shop at
Abu Jahal is Indian; the teas sold in Abu Haraz and el-Geifil are Ugandan.


Comparing the totals of the columns of figures which represent the market
basket for each location, el-Obeid market prices are predictably lower
than those found in either village, but the effective mark-up is not extreme--
9% in the case of Abu Haraz and 7% in the case of el-Geifil. An impression-
istic inspection of the rest of the market basket data which we have suggests
that this pattern of moderate mark-up by village merchants generally holds
true. Once on the shelf a commodity may remain several months before it is
sold. Village merchants, of course, buy their stock from wholesalers and
economize transportation costs by shipping crops to el-Obeid on the same
truck that hauls the provisions they buy. In these cases, the earnings
from crop sales provide the capital for restocking the shop. This activity
of resowing earnings in new investments is called bighlib ("turning the
money over").

A merchant depends on maintaining the goodwill of a clientele of regular
customers. Subtle forms of competition develop between merchants, but any-
thing so blatant as advertising is absent. For example, we found a merchant
in Umm Ramad who had lowered the price of chewing gum and candy in an attempt
to lure children away from the other shops. The implications of this ploy
become clear when it is realized that children are important buyers of the
household's daily needs. Merchants value customers who come from neighbor-
ing villages and compete for their business. This pattern stems from the
fact that the presence in the village of a flour mill attracts families
from neighboring villages to have their grain ground into flour once or
twice per week. This provides the opportunity for the visitors to buy at
village shops outside their own village. Merchants encourage this practice
by showing the visitors their hospitality. It is usual to find a rukuuba
(millet stalk shelter) adjacent to the shop where the travelers may rest in
the shade. The merchant provides drinking water and perhaps tea or coffee.
He may also offer groundnuts, wild fruits, or biscuits to snack on. If it






-60-


is meal time, the visitors may be invited to join the merchant in eating
9asiida and mulaah,63 which has been prepared by the merchant's wife and
carried to the shop by his children. Another kind of competition has to
do with the merchant's readiness to make loans and his leniency on repay-
ment. Indeed, it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that a merchant who
fails to extend credit to his customers is soon bereft of his clientele.
Still another form of competition is to offer customers a price for their
cash crops which is slightly above the general price prevailing at the other
shops in the village. All such strategies will be for naught if the mer-
chant does not secure a dependable relationship with a truck owner to
transport goods at a competitive price.64 Even if this requirement is met
the merchant may still find that his costs press too hard to offer better
prices to farmers for their crops. Precisely at this sticky point crop
smuggling becomes attractive to many merchants: farmers receive better
prices; merchants receive higher profits; excessive costs are charged to
the government's lost revenues.

The commercial profiles of the smaller villages look much alike.
There is little diversity of function. Most of the shops primarily sell
groceries. The storekeeper may operate a sewing machine in the winter
season when families have money to spend and sell cloth. In the smaller
villages, merchants may use their own shops to store the crops they buy in
exchange for consumer goods but it is also common to have a separate
storage building, usually a millet stalk shed or hut. Sometimes, several
merchants share a storehouse together, or the owner rents space to other
merchants. Often, however, money does not change hands in such arrange-
ments. Merchants maintain generally good relations with one another and
hold to the principle of "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."

The contrast to this which a larger village presents is immediate and
striking. Economic diversity increases as the village becomes larger.
Table 21 illustrates this in a comparison of commercial structures at
Abu Haraz and Umm Ramad markets. As the table shows Abu Haraz is develop-
ing an almost urban character with many specialized shops. It is also
interesting to note that the biggest merchant in the village has no agri-
cultural holdings. His earnings come entirely from his shop, crop buying,
livestock and his trucks. Umm Ramad represents more nearly the norm for a
large village market. The economic diversity of commercial structures
does not extend to service trades (e.g., radio repair, barber, carpenter)
as seen at Abu Haraz. Further evidence of the urban character of Abu Haraz
can be gleaned from the fact that 25% of the storage buildings and 27% of
the grocery and grocery/cloth shops are not owner-occupied but rented. By
contrast in the more rural Umm Ramad, only 16% of the storage buildings
and 12% of the grocery and grocery/cloth shops are rented rather than
owner-occupied. It should also be noted that absentee landlords of com-
mercial buildings are more prevalent in Abu Haraz than in Umm Ramad.

63The most common dish of this rural area. 9asiida is a thick porridge made
from millet or sorghum. Mulaah is a sauce made from meat, whey or cowpeas.

64Wealthy merchants solve the problem by buying their own truck.






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Table 21. Commercial Structures at

Abu Haraz

Use No. %

Grocery 16 15.7

Grocery/Cloth 14 13.7

Storage 28 27.5

Coffee Shop 19 18.6

Bakery 6 5.9

Flour Mill 2 2.0

Tailor 3 2.9

Utensils 2 2.0

Grain Merchant 1 1.0

Butcher's Stand 1 1.0

Radio Repair 1 1.0

Barber 1 1.0

Carpenter 1 1.0

Cloth/Utensils 1 1.0

Crop Merchant's 1 1.0
Office/Storage


Cloth

Vacant


1

4


102


1.0

3.9


Abu Haraz and Umm Ramad Markets

Umm Ramad

No. %

13 31.7

4 9.8

19 46.3

0 0.0

1 2.4

1 2.4

Oa 0.0

0 0.0

0 0.0

1 2.4

0 0.0

0 0.0

0 0.0

0 0.0

0 0.0


0

2


41


0.0

4.9


aFour grocery/cloth shops have sewing machines that operate seasonally.






-62-


Periodic Vendors

Selling goods at periodic markets provides some farm households with a
supplementary income.65 Both men and women do this.66 Participation in the
market is sporadic for many, however, since vendors may have goods to sell
only at certain times or seasons. Thus, this kind of marketing is frequently
opportunistic. Other vendors, working an itinerant circuit or having the
opportunity to visit wholesalers regularly in el-Obeid, are found in the
markets week after week. Something of the diversity of periodic vendors will
be made clearer by describing several examples.

Abu-Haraz market twenty year-old woman selling handmade brooms

This woman lives with her parents and her husband in a village that is (
one-half hour away by truck from Abu Haraz. They are farmers. She belongs
to the dominant tribe of the area, the Bideiriya. The only commodity that
she is selling is straw brooms made from a species of grass that grows
plentifully one-half hour from her village. She and her female relatives
harvested the grass and tied it into loose bundles. The bundles are held
in the hand for sweeping. She brought fifty brooms and is selling 0hem 0
for 0.050 each. She came to Abu Haraz by a truck from her village. The
The charge was 0.500 for herself as a rider while her goods were hauled
free of charge. This is only the third time she has been to this market in
the past year.

el-Geifil market sixty year-old man selling sesame oil

This man is a member of the dominantJawama'a Tribe. He is a prosperous
farmer and operates an oil press in el-Geifil. He attends the market every
Sunday during the season (Nov.-Apr.) to sell his oil. He buys sesame from
farmers at 1.000/mid (Jan., 1982), and each mid produces about one rootl of
oil and 5 roots of umbaaz (sesame cake). The umbaaz is given to the Camel
that turns the oil press and any surplus is sold for 0.050/rootl.68 He has
brought 46 rootls of sesame oil to the market on this day and he is selling
it at 0.650/ro6tl. This is the same price that oil is selling for in
el-Obeid. The seller explains that he can demand this high price in el-Geifil
market because he has no competition. At el-Karra market--one hour by donkey
to the north of el-Geifil--there is more competition and the price is lower
(0.600/rootl); however, the volume of sales is much more. This man also
sells oil in the el-Karra market.

6The majority of the informants we talked to indicated their earnings at the
periodic market would go directly to the family budget. The vendor often
uses his or her earnings immediately to buy household needs while still at
the market.

66Our impression is that young girls are socialized earlier into this
practice than young boys. Often they are seen selling prepared foods that
have been made in their homes. Boys take up commercial roles in adolescence
as a means of earning spending money and to begin saving for marriage.

6The truck carried crops to be sold at the government market and empty barrels
for filling with water.

68The camel eats about ten roots of sesame cake per day.






-63-


el-Geifil market thirty-five year-old woman selling utensils

She is a farmer and lives in a village that is two and one-half hours
away from el-Geifil by donkey and is a member of the area's dominant tribe,
the Jawama'a. She is selling utensils and kitchen wares. About once a
month she rides a lorry from her village to el-Obeid in order to restock her
merchandise. The round-trip to el-Obeid for herself costs 3.000 and she also
pays 1.000 for each large box of goods. When interviewed she had brought
three large boxes of merchandise on a donkey and she had ridden a second
donkey. One of the donkeys belonged to her. The other she was renting
that day for 1.500. She buys goods from a wholesaler in el-Obeid and sells
them at a mark-up which covers her expenses and earns some profit. For
example, she is selling a coffee pot for 0.750 which was purchased in a lot
of twenty for 13.000, a mark-up of 15%. Aluminum wash tubs she sells for
3.50 apiece having bought them by the dozen for 40.000, a mark-up of only 6%.
Plastic pitchers are selling for 2.500 apiece. She paid 24.000 per dozen
for these, a mark-up of 25%.69 The woman says that she has been a periodic
trader for the past ten years. She has been coming to el-Geifil market
every week during the marketing season for the past three years (since the
market was started). She also sells at three other village markets in the
area.

Abu Haraz market forty year-old man selling millet and sorghum

This man is from a village that is a one and one-half hour walk from
Abu Haraz. He belongs to the Rizeigat (a nomadic tribe) but has been a
settled cultivator in this area for many years. He is selling millet and
zunaari (local sorghum) which he grows on his farm. He has brought for
sale one sack of millet and six mids of zunaari. These goods were trans-
ported from his village by camel, for which he is paying the owner 1.000.
Before setting his price at Abu Haraz market the man asks the prices at which
the merchants are selling millet and zunaari. Then he sets his price
0.050/mid lower than the prevailing price. On this occasion (Nov. 1981)
he is selling millet for 1.20/mid and zunaari for 1.00/mid. He has been
coming to Abu Haraz market for more than twenty years. He comes throughout
the year except when he is sick or busy. If he has no grain to sell, he
may sell wood, charcoal or animals.

Abu Haraz market seventeen year-old woman selling vegetables

This young woman is living in Abu Haraz with her parents since her
husband left for Khartoum in search of a job. Her ethnic origins are
Fellata (West African), although she was born in a village nearby Abu Haraz.
She is selling tomatoes and turnips, which she has bought at wholesale in
Abu Jahal market, el-Obeid. The tomatoes were bought for 3.000/box. Because
some of the tomatoes were damaged, she only has thirteen good piles from
the box. A pile contains five tomatoes. She is selling these at a com-
petitive price of 0.200/pile. This means that she is losing 0.400 on the
box of tomatoes. She really doesn't have much choice, however, since there


69These items are only a small sample of her stock in trade. The selling
prices indicated are only approximate since bargaining may occur.






-64-


are two other tomato vendors beside her forcing her prices to be in line with
theirs. She can't wait until later in the day to sell because early morning
is the preferred time for selling tomatoes which go into the cooking
pot to make a stew for lunch. She may fare somewhat better selling turnips.
She has bought two large bunches of turnips with greens for 1.000. These
two bunches are divided into small bunches of four turnips with greens in
each bunch. There should be about twenty-five to thirty of these small
bunches, and she is selling them for 0.050 per small bunch. These goods
were brought the night before from el-Obeid by a truck from Abu Haraz.
She had to pay 2.000 for herself and 0.3000 each for transporting the
tomatoes and the turnips. This is her first time to try her hand at mar-
keting. Her father, a vegetable dealer himself, has encouraged her to try
selling vegetables in this market.

The comparative sizes of the markets in the four villages are reflected
in the number of vendors. Abu Haraz is three to five times larger than
el-Geifil (Table 22).


Table 22. Periodic Markets in the Four Sample Villages

Market Day Periodic Vendor

Abu Haraz Fri, Mon 100-200

Umm Ramad Sun, Wed 3-6

el-Geifil Sun 20-40

el-Kharta -a

aTwo men have an agreement to butcher animals on alternate days. From time
to time itinerant traders come to the village.


From surveys made in Abu Haraz and el-Geifil markets, it is possible to
get an idea of the number of periodic vendors and the relative importance of
certain kinds of goods. Table 23 presents these data.

At Abu Haraz market, 68% of the periodic vendors were found to be women
and girls; 31% were men and boys. In addition, one periodic business consisted
of a man and his wife working together. Specialization of goods sold by sex
of the vendor is not very pronounced, although the prevailing pattern is for
men to specialize in manufactured urban goods such as toilet articles. They
also deal in fresh fruit and vegetables in larger quantities than the women.
Bread is sold exclusively by men and boys working at the bakeries. Women
are specialized in selling foods which they have prepared with their own
hands at home. At el-Geifil women make up only 22% of the periodic vendors.
The reason for this is not entirely clear, although a cultural factor may be
involved. Our impression is that in el-Geifil women are more restricted and
have fewer public responsibilities, whereas women are given a relatively free
hand at Abu Haraz. It is tempting to suggest that the commercial, urbanizing
milieu of Abu Haraz gives women more opportunities for pursuing their own
enterprises, especially when the amount of cash outlay is tiny and no fixed
capital is called for.






-65-


Table 23 demonstrates that the most frequent commodities sold by periodic
vendors in either Abu Haraz or el-Geifil markets are vegetables and prepared
foods. Fresh fruits are also important commodities in both markets. Cereal
grains, wild plant foods, and natural craft products, which were offered for
sale at Abu Haraz, did not appear at el-Geifil market on the day the survey
was made. To some extent this is sampling error but it may also indicate
differential access to wild plant foods and natural products in the two
locations, as well as differences in marketing patterns. A plausible hypo-
thesis, for instance, is that the market for cereal grains is more active at
Abu Haraz than at el-Geifil because the former village is visited throughout
the year by nomads seeking to buy grain.


Table 23. Results of Surveys of Periodic Vendors
and El-Geifil Marketsa


Abu
No.


No. of Periodic Vendors


Male
Female
Husband and Wife


Total


No. of Vendors Selling
Each Kind of Commodityb
Vegetables
Prepared Foodsd
Cereal Grains
Fruit
Wild Plant Foods
Natural Craft Products
Spices
Empty Bottles and Cans
Utensils
Toilet Articles
Dried Meat
Live Chickens
Clothing
Jewelry


Haraz
%


43 30.9
95 68.3


1
139


Abu
No.
74


0.7


Haraz
%c
53.2


42 30.2
36 25.9
23 16.5
21 15.1
12 8.6
11 7.9
6 4.3
5 3.6
4 2.9
4 2.9
3 2.6
2 1.4
2 1.4


in Abu Haraz


el-Geifil
No. %

25 78.1
7 21.9
0 0.0


el-Geifil
No. %c
11 34.4
8 30.0
0 0.0
8 30.0
0 0.0
0 0.0
6 20.0
0 0.0
3 10.0
2 6.2
0 0.0
0 0.0
2 6.2
0 0.0






-66-


Table 23 (Continued)

aThe survey of periodic traders at Abu Haraz was made on January 18, 1982,
about noon, the busiest time of the day. This was a Monday market which is
noticeably smaller than a Friday market. We estimate that 30-40% more ven-
dors had attended the market on the previous Friday. The survey at el-Geifil
was carried out on January 24, 1982, also at noon.

bExamples of commodities in each category:

Vegetables tomatoes, okra, onion, green onion, radish, pumpkin, cowpeas.

Prepared Foods wheat loaves, clarified butter, peanut butter, watermelon
seeds, shelled groundnuts, ta9miya, cookies, simsimiya
(sesame candy), sugar candy, wadak (animal fat), coffee,
tea, fava beans, fried meat.

Cereal Grains zunari (locally produced sorghum), millet.

Fruit lemon, watermelon, bananas.

Wild Plant Foods 9aradeeb, tabaldi, nabag, kawal, garad (acacia nilotic pods)

Natural Craft Products gourds, twine, brooms, habbaaba (fire fan), sa9af
(weaving material).

Spices red pepper, garlic, ginger, green cumin, black cumin, koomba, shiiH

Empty Bottles and Cans medicine bottles and pint-size paint cans.

Utensils enamel pans, glassware, tea cups, coffee cups, tea sieves, spoons,
plastic water pitchers.

Toilet Articles mirrors, combs, brushes, razors and blades, kohl, towels.

Dried Meat sharmuut (wild and domesticated species), mirz (dried stomach).

Live Chickens

Clothing shirts, t-shirts, night gowns.

Jewelry necklaces, rings, hair pins.

CThe percentages total to more than 100% in each column because vendors commonly
sell items from several categories.

dAt Abu Haraz, there are nineteen coffee shops operating daily in an area beside
the market which serves as a truck stop. Their business is affected by the
periodic market but they are not included in the frequency distribution since
they are permanent rather than periodic businesses. At el-Geifil, however,
there are five coffee shops which operate only on market day. The proprietors
are all women. In this case, the five women are counted as periodic vendors
of prepared foods.






-67-


An observation that needs to be stressed is that most vendors are sell-
ing more than one kind of commodity. At Abu Haraz, for example, eighteen
(24%) of the vegetable sellers are also dealing in wild plant foods and
fifteen (20%) are dealing in cereal grains. Evidently, vendors mix commodi-
ties to attract more customers and to reduce their risks. Perishable foods
are sold in conjunction with foods that keep well. Goods which sell early,
like tomatoes, are paired with goods that will sell later in the day, like
shelled groundnuts.

The periodic vendor is called farraash in Arabic, a term derived from
farash which is the mat or groundcloth on which the vendor displays his goods.

Government Administered Crop Market

Rural markets have been established by the rural councils to be a chief
source of tax revenues. The typical pattern is to find a large rural market
in the same village as the council headquarters while a number of satellite
markets occupy secondary villages. The satellite markets are often set up
near the boundaries of administrative districts reflecting the competition
between neighboring rural councils to capture a larger tax base. El-Geifil
market is an example of this phenomenon. It is in competition with two
neighboring markets--Umm Hemeira and el-Karra--which are in different
administrative districts.

Sesame, groundnuts, gum arabic and karkadee (roselle) are the major
cash crops that are sold in government markets in our study area.70 At a
minimum, the rural market is staffed with: (1) a clerk (kaatib as-suug)
whose responsibility is to keep records of all sales, assess taxes, and hold
the tax revenues in a strong box until the market supervisor (mulaaHiz)
collects it (once a week or less frequently); (2) a guard (ghafiir) to main-
tain law and order. In the larger markets the clerk is helped by a deputy.
Alternatively, small markets which are in the same general locale and which
take place on different days of the week often share the same clerk, who
travels back and forth to meet the marketing schedule.

Government administered crop markets were found to have two fundamental
institutional forms. On the one hand, there are crop markets at which the
weight of each crop is measured on a scales (mizaan) and its price is deter-
mined by buyers' bidding at auction (dalaala). By this procedure--which we
may designate the mizaan system--the taxation on crops sold may be determined
with considerable precision. The most important taxes assessed in our area
are gibaana (a market use fee which is 0.150/kantar) and 9ushuur (an ad
valorem tax of 15% of the total price). On the other hand, at small, remote
crop markets a procedure exists for selling crops that is little more than
a formalization of the buying-by-the-mid procedure which village merchants
use at their shops. In this case, the crop is measured volumetrically
rather than by weight and a standard formula for converting from volume

7Watermelon seeds are an important produce in el-Obeid Crop Market but sales
of this commodity do not occur to a significant degree in any of the rural
markets we are studying.





-68-


(i.e., mids or sacks) to weight (i.e., kantars) is used to estimate the
weight, in order to assess gibaana. Then a standardized estimate of the
crop's value71 is used to calculate 9ushuur. Because the taxes are deter-
mined in this case by estimations rather than precise measurements this
system is termed shiishna (estimation).

The Mizaan System

Report No. 1 described in some detail the operation of the mizaan system
at Abu Haraz crop market. The following reiterates and develops that dis-
cussion: The market place is open the year around, but crops are mainly sold
between October and April. There are eleven local merchants who regularly
buy crops at Abu Haraz; they all live in the village. However, the sales
are usually dominated by four merchants who have capital and are agents of
a crop buying agency based in el-Obeid which has a long history of relation-
ship with the Abu Haraz area.72 Prices of crops are determined in a round-
robbin auction in which participation is limited to those merchants who
have obtained a crop buyer's permit from the People's District Council.73
The auction is managed by the kaatib as-suug (market clerk). He starts the
bid by setting a basement price and then each merchant in turn is allowed
to increase the bid or to pass. Below are the results of an auction that
occurred at Abu Haraz market on January 15, 1982. Only four merchants
participated in the auction.
Table 24. Results of a Crop Auction at Abu Haraz


Crop


Quantity


Start Bid


Final Bid


Buyera


Groundnuts


8.76
f l-


7.000


8.350 Ibrahim


SLo.I iDirandm
Sesame 1 23.40 15.000 17.450 Abdel-Rahman
2c 52.42 17.300 17.450 Abdel-Rahman
Gum 1 38.73 18.000 19.400 Muhammad
2 50.83 19.250 19.450 el-Taj
3 89.32 19.300 19.450 Abdel-Rahman
Karkadee 1 0.86 27.000 28.050 Ibrahim

aThe names are fictitious.
bThis lot was completed late. No bids were taken on it and it was added to
Ibrahim's other lot of groundnuts.
CThis lot was completed late. It was bid on separately and bought.


7This value is set at the beginning of the market season by the People's
District Council.
72
7One of the two flour mills in Abu Haraz is owned by the family who owns the
crop agency. This family also owns several of the commercial buildings in
the village.

73To obtain this permit the applicant must be recommended by one of the big
merchants registered at the el-Obeid Crop Market. This makes the village
merchant the agent (wakiil) of the big merchant. However, this arrangement
does not obligate the village merchant to sell to the big merchant even
though he buys crops at the branch market in the big merchant's name. The
permit to participate in a branch market auction does not require a fee to
be paid.






-69-


When the auction was completed an agreement made between the three
merchants that bought gum arabic gave all the lots to Muhammad who was
prepared to transport the gum to El-Obeid the following morning.74 More
examples of bidding results could be given but this one example will serve
to illustrate several points. The number of merchants participating in the
market is small. Furthermore, they tend to specialize in terms of the crops
they are buying. Merchants are constantly comparing market prices of
different localities and discussing transport costs so that they share a
very clear idea of what the limits of their bidding should be before going
to the auction. One notices a pronounced tendency for the first lot bid
on each crop to carry a low price. Since farmers' crops are assigned to
lots in the order in which they are delivered at the market, farmers arriv-
ing early are assigned the first lot and are routinely penalized by lower
prices.

In Table 25 auction prices are compared with the median price at
el-Obeid Crop Market on the following day (January 16, 1982), the earliest
these crops could be resold either to a crop agency or at el-0beid Crop
Market.


Table 25. Crop Auction Prices at Abu Haraz, Transport Costs
to el-0beid and Median Price at el-Obeid Crop Market

Auction Price Transport Costs/ Median Price
Crop in Abu Haraz Kantar at el-Obeid

Groundnuts 8.350 1.000 8.450

Sesame 17.450 1.000 17.450

Gum 19.450 1.000 20.090

Karkadee 28.050 1.000 28.000


The crop agency uses the median price as a benchmark for determining the
price it buys crops from the village merchants and its agents. It also
reimburses the merchant for the 9ushuur tax recorded on the tax receipt that
was provided by the market clerk. The break-even point for the village mer-
chant is that the auction price that he paid for the crop at Abu Haraz plus
transport costs must not exceed the benchmark median price at el-Obeid.

That the median price is exceeded in every case above requires some
explanation.75 First, in mid-January the price of each kind of crop, though

74Gum is marketed quickly because it loses water weight rapidly.
75
75In this instance, and on other occasions, merchants were usually reluctant
to divulge their intentions. The discussion which follows addresses the
options available to merchants in this kind of situation.






-70-


relatively high for the season is not as high as it will get. The merchant
may store his purchases until the day that a favorable median price appears.
In this case, the merchants would have waited only two weeks for a favorable
price increase for sesame. But this strategy nets a low rate of return
(e.g., less than 12% expressed as an annual rate of return). Higher profits
are possible only by mixing contraband crops with produce that is purchased
in a government market and taxed accordingly. Gum that carries a proper
tax certification, for example, is a favored crop for concealing contraband.76
It cannot be stored for a long time because it will lose up to 10% of its
weight. Thus, when gum is sent to el-Obeid for sale a number of sacks of
contraband sesame can be put on the bottom of the load. The contraband
will pass und ected unless an inspection is made of the entire load,
sack by sack.5'
The Shiishna System

Much of what has been said, or implied, about the significance of smuggling
in the mizaan marketing system applies equally to the shiishna system.78
Only in shiishna there is a legal procedure for assessing taxes which results
in an underestimation of the values of crops. Probably this is well because
the shiishna system operates in remote markets which might not attract agents
and assemblers to purchase the crops if there was no such built-in incentive.

El-Geifil crop market illustrates how the shiishna system works. There
are two shopkeepers and two other crop buyers in the village who are the
agents of a truck-owner assembler from a neighboring village.79 The merchants
at el-Geifil buy crops from the farmers in the weekly market in exchange for
consumer goods that the merchants have in stock. This year, the buyers and
merchants started out paying 0.800/mid for sesame in October, and the price
increased to 1.100/mid in February. The assembler buys the goods from his
agents for the prevailing price plus a commission of 0.020/mid for sesame and
0.020/rootl for gum and karkadee. (Groundnuts are not an important crop
in this market.) Thus, the crop buyers and local merchants can increase
their profits by storing the crops for a period of several months. For
example, if a merchant paid 0.90/mid in November for sesame and held it
until January when the price was 1.00/mid, he would earn 0.120/mid profit.80
When the assembler buys the crops from el-Geifil merchants, the sale is
recorded by the market clerk. A standard formula estimates the weight for
assessing the gibaana tax: one sack of sesame = 1.80 kantars; one sack of
gum = 1.80 kantars; one sack of karkadee = 0.35 kantars. A value estima-
tor is then used for assessing the 9ushuur tax: sesame is valued at
13.000/kantar and karkadee is valued at 25.000/kantar; 9ushuur is not


76Partly this is because no 9ushuur tax is charged in the case of gum.
77This is a hard, time-consuming task. The police almost never require it.

78We don't find this a proper forum for discussing crop smuggling in detail.
Our aim is to suggest its importance while safeguarding the confidentiality
of our sources of information.
79The agents say that this man is their relative but they are hazy about the
exact genealogical relationship.
80This includes the commission, storage costs are nil since the assembler
provides the local merchants and buyers with sacks.






-71-


assessed on gum. In this case, the estimation procedure is mandated by the
People's District Council at Umm Rawaba and is subject to an annual evaluation.
After the assembler has loaded his truck, he takes the sesame and gum to
el-Obeid and the karkadee to el-Rahad. He nearly always sells to a crop
agency rather than at the Crop Market and receives the same terms as described
above (i.e., the median price prevailing at el-Obeid Crop Market). As in the
example given for the mizaan system, the assemblers' profit margin would be
quite low were it not for the possibility to evade taxation on some of the
crops he buys.

The Marketing of Sorghum and Millet

Sorghum, more than wheat, and millet to a lesser extent than either
sorghum or wheat are common commodities in local markets in the el-Obeid
area. A brief historical digression will explain this.

Historical Background
Early in this century the el-Obeid region was settled by subsistence
cultivators living in scattered villages. Millet was the principal crop in
this semi-arid zone. The other main pursuits of farmers were animal hus-
bandry and gum arabic collection. The region had been depopulated in the
previous century by the tribal upheavals that occurred during the Mahdiya
(1881-1898). Resettlement came with the reimposition of Anglo-Egyptian
Colonial rule, and through the media of administrative and marketing centers,
such as el-Obeid, the region was gradually penetrated by the urban money
economy that colonial rule fostered. But it was not until the last twenty
years that agriculture experienced a strong change of direction. The new
emphasis is on cash crops, particularly sesame and groundnuts,81 with the
consequence that millet and sorghum have been partially displaced. This
change can be related to a host of demographic, economic and cultural
factors, but two stand out. The first point is that the population of the
region has grown steadily in this century, especially in the towns like
el-Obeid. Many of the townspeople are government workers. Of these, a
large number have been transferred to the town from Khartoum and the east-
ern provinces. These immigrants prefer to eat wheat or sorghum to locally-
grown millet and they have set the standards for urban consumers' tastes.
Thus, the urban market for locally-produced millet is practically non-
existant. Moreover, townspeople have a constant demand for sesame oil--or,
less preferably, groundnut oil--which is used for daily cooking. To meet
this demand eleven oil processing mills have gone into operation at el-Obeid
since 1960. Most of the sesame grown in the area is consumed locally after
processing into oil. Groundnuts, by contrast, have become the main export
crop in the region. The second point is that the last two decades have seen
the development of mechanized farming schemes across the Sudan, along the
600 mm rainfall belt. Sorghum is the principal crop on these schemes.
Improvements in transportation have made it possible to distribute the har-
vest from this grain belt to all parts of the Sudan and even outside the
country. It is no longer necessary for a semi-arid region like the one

81
8To the east of el-Obeid in the vicinity of el-Rahad and Umm Rawaba
karkadee has assumed a major importance as a cash crop.






-72-


surrounding el-Obeid to be self-sufficient in cereals. Because sorghum is
imported to the region, farmers are released from the necessity of always
looking first to their subsistence crop, and a variety of cash cropping
strategies have developed. Owing to these historic changes, at least half
of the grain consumed by villagers at this time is sorghum imported to the
region from the mechanized schemes. The balance is made up of locally-
produced and consumed millet, and some local sorghum, along with a small
amount of wheat that is produced in the Gezira or imported from abroad.

El-Obeid Grain Market

The marketing of cereal grain in the el-Obeid area is closely keyed to
the supply of grains and prices prevailing in el-Obeid grain market. The
el-Obeid grain market consists of about forty grain merchants in all. Half
of these are located in a special enclosure where only grain is sold. Of
these, six merchants are big wholesalers. Big merchants sell grain by the
sack and by the mid (thirty mids to a sack) to their customers who are
either small retail merchants or consumers. The small retail merchants
generally sell to consumers by the mid only. Besides the grain market
enclosure which lies in the center of town, there are several outlying (
marketplaces which are near to the areas where trucks coming from the
villages load and unload passengers. Although grain prices in these out-
lying markets are slightly higher than those found in the central market
enclosure, there is the convenience for villagers of buying grain near to
transport. The following cereal grains are regularly found at el-Obeid
grain market:

(1) feterita this makes up 90% of the sorghum sold in the el-Obeid
market; it is a.major staple of the urban and rural poor because it is the
least expensive of the cereals, although it is not a preferred food because
the flour is dark. Most feterita marketed in el-Obeid area is transport
by trucks from the mechanized farming schemes at Habila, South Kordofan.

(2) habbashiya (or safra) and dabar (or gasabi) two sorghums grown in
the Gedaref region and transported to el-Obeid mainly by rail via Kosti.83
Both sorghums generally show the same price at el-Obeid market and they
invariably cost more than feterita. The flour of both habbashiya and dabar
is prized for its whiteness and fine texture. Mainly it is eaten by the
urban middle and upper classes.

(3) millet most of the millet is grown at Habila although some local millet
finds its way into the urban market; millet from Dar Fur is never sent to el-Obeid.

(4) wheat this grain is from two sources (a) wheat that is produced in
the Gezira and (b) wheat produced abroad (called istraali). Wheat is eaten
on an occasional basis even by villagers.

820wing to the petrol crisis that currently afflicts the Sudan, the cost
of transporting one sack of feterita from Habila rose from 2.000 in January
to 4.000 in March.

83Transportation by rail is often delayed but the alternative--hauling by
truck from Kosti--is too expensive. Seventy sacks are hauled by rail for
56 L.S., while a lorry carrying seventy sacks costs 450 L.S.






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During the past year the highest prices encountered at the grain market
occurred in August, 1981; the lowest prices were in February, 1982. Table
26 presents the high and low prices for several kinds of grains.84

Table 26. High and Low Prices of Sorghum, Millet and Wheat
at el-Obeid Grain Market
(1981-1982)


Month Year Quantity Feterita Habbashiya Millet Wheat

(High) Aug. 1981 1 mid 1.200 1.250 1.400 1.400

1 sack 36.000 37.500 41.000 41.000

(Low) Feb. 1982 1 mid 0.600 0.850 1.100 1.400

1 sack 18.000 24.000 32.000 39.000


There has been a 50% reduction in the price of feterita,85 a 36% reduc-
tion in the price of habbashiya, a 22% reduction in the price of millet, and
a 5% reduction in the price of wheat between the middle of the rainy season
and the middle of the dry season. The price of feterita, which again is
the most frequently consumed variety of commercial grain, rises sharply in
July and stays high until November when the local millet harvest reduces
the demand for it. Most of the feterita is sold at el-Obeid between
December and June. By early July the quantity of feterita in thatmarket has
dwindled. Most of the feterita is then in the hands of rural storekeepers
and retailers. The price in el-Obeid increases owing to the small supply
and rural sellers adjust their prices upwards. Needless to say, rural
merchants take advantage of this price increase by stockpiling feterita
beforehand.

Marketing of Cereal Grains at the Village Level

There are essentially two separate marketing systems for cereal grains
in the rural areas. The first of these distributes locally-produced sorghum
and millet. Although these are primarily subsistence crops, some of the
harvest is sold between farmers and by farmers to village merchants. This
most often occurs during the early harvest season when the price of millet--
owing to the influence of el-Obeid market--exceeds that of all other crops.
In this case millet (also local sorghum) is sold in small quantities--a mid
or two at a time--to buy goods from the merchant's shop, or to pay off a loan.
An example from Umm Ramad will serve to show the advantage which this practice

84
8Since habbashiya and dabar sorghums are roughly equivalent in price only
habbashiya is shown in the table.

85Seventy percent of the feterita crop planted at Habila was harvested this
year; the estimate for last year is that the yield was only 50% due to
lack of rain and pest attack.






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entails. In the first week of December, 1981, at Umm Ramad, a mid of millet
brought 1,000 at merchants' shops while local sorghum brought 0.800 per mid.
The prices of cash crops did not measure up. Groundnuts brought 0.200/mid,
sesame 0.800/mid, and karkadee 0.200/rootl. Generally speaking, farmers
do not like to sell millet, it being their preferred staple. But, for
poorer households the high price is too enticing. In recent years, at
Umm Ramad, groundnuts have been the main crop for meeting household expenses
at the village store. If we assume that the daily cost of food for a house-
hold is 2.000, then last December it would take ten mids of groundnuts at
Umm Ramad to purchase a family's daily needs. The same value of goods could
be obtained for two mids of millet. Thus, a family may prefer to sell millet
in small quantities when its price is high as needed for consumption while
saving groundnuts in anticipation that the price will rise.

This strategy was even more attractive this season when the price of
groundnuts failed to rise early and dramatically as had happened the season
before. Selling millet for consumption needs also makes sense because
feterita is the main substitute for the more expensive millet. At Umm Ramad,
at the same time that millet was being sold to village merchants for 1.000/
mid, feterita could be bought from el-Obeid market for 0.085/mid and it would
become less expensive during the next few months.

The locally produced millet and sorghum that village merchants buy from
their neighbors are saved for consumption by the merchant's own household.86
Any surplus is stored and sold during the year to anyone who wants millet or
zunaari for food or as seed for planting.

Another marketing channel for locally-produced millet and sorghum is
seen in the merchants' sale of these crops to flour mills in el-Obeid after
arrangements are made with the mill owner. The mill owner is anxious to
acquire millet or sorghum in this manner because the local crop does not
carry the very high tax (4.650/sack) assessed on cereals shipped from Habila
or Kosti. However, the government prohibits this type of sale, so, to
disguise his purchases of sorghum and millet the village merchant may ask
several small agents to buy for him in the periodic market. The agents
(called kayyaal) are paid for the millet or sorghum which they have pur-
chased at the going market price plus a small commission for each sack that
they collect.

The second marketing system of cereal grains in the rural areas is
distribution of sorghum, almost exclusively feterita which is grown on the
rainfed mechanized schemes at Habila. Village merchants buy feterita in
bulk and sell it to farmers by the mid or by the sack. Normally, the
merchant's strategy is to stockpile feterita at his shop during the months
when its price is low, January until June. He begins selling feterita to
villagers during the dry season and continues doing so during the rainy
season when farmer's stocks of grain are depleted. The price that he will

86Because of this the merchant is often able to eat millet and local sorghum
throughout the year even though he does not plant an amount sufficient for
his needs. Zunaari abyad, a local sorghum, is white and is preferred over
the red feterita for that reason.






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charge is based on the el-Obeid price plus a mark-up for transportation costs.
The merchant's profit derives from the fact that the price of feterita will
increase dramatically with the onset of the rainy season. As the harvest
approaches, the demand for feterita will decline, because farmers will begin
eating their own millet and sorghum while it is in the dough stage (fariik).
The merchant's strategy at this period is to be rid of his feterita stocks
in order to use the empty sacks and storage space for gathering cash crops
while the harvest progresses. The merchant may not restock feterita for
several months afterwards because the demand is low.

The ideal, which only the wealthier households satisfy, is to eat
millet throughout the year either from the family's own stocks or from
purchases from village merchants. We have already noted that the wealthier
merchants routinely do this. Farmers that are less well off are compelled
to buy feterita at least for the dry season in order to save their millet
for rainy season consumption. The general belief is that feterita is "light"
(khafiif) and "cold" (baarid) making it an undesirable food for the rainy
season, a time when farmers are engaged in the heavy labor of weeding their
fields. For this work they need a "heavy" (tagiil), "hot" (sukhan) staple,
which millet is, to give them the strength to work hard. During the rainy
season too, when meat is not affordable due to the farmer's low purchasing
power,87 millet 9asiida can be eaten with oil rather than a meat sauce
because it is filling, high in fiber, and good tasting. Feterita, on the
other hand, is so bland that villagers prefer to eat it with a meat sauce
for flavor.

Of the forty households which were surveyed at el-Kharta, el-Geifil,
and Umm Ramad, thirty-two (80.0%) had purchased feterita in the past year.
The range of purchases varied between two and eighteen sacks; the mean number
of sacks purchased was 8.6 (Table 27).

Table 27. Distribution of Feterita Purchased by Household

Sacks of Feterita
Purchased Number of Households

1-5 8 (25.0%)

6-10 15 (46.9%)

11-15 6 (18.8%)

16 and more 3 (9.4%)
32


87At this season poorer farmers have no source of income except their hired
labor.




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