Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents

Group Title: Farming systems research in North Kordofan, Sudan ; report no. 1
Title: Socio-economic constraints to the production, distribution, and consumption of millet, sorghum, and cash crops in North Kordofan, Sudan
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074968/00001
 Material Information
Title: Socio-economic constraints to the production, distribution, and consumption of millet, sorghum, and cash crops in North Kordofan, Sudan
Series Title: Farming systems research in North Kordofan, Sudan
Physical Description: 72 p. : ill., map ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Reeves, Edward B
Frankenberger, Timothy R
USAID Title XII Collaborative Research Support Program on Sorghum and Pearl Millet
Publisher: Dept. of Sociology, College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky
Place of Publication: Lexington
Publication Date: 1981
Subject: Rural development -- Sudan -- North Kordofan   ( lcsh )
Farm management research -- Sudan -- North Kordofan   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Economic aspects   ( lcsh )
Millets   ( lcsh )
Sorghum   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: Edward B. Reeves, field director ; Timothy Frankenberger, research associate.
General Note: INTSORMIL contract no. AID/DSAN-G-0149
General Note: "November 1981."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074968
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001877929
oclc - 17852990
notis - AJV2995

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23a
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
Full Text

ol, -5-J-/


Farming Systems Research in North Kordofan, Sudan

Report No. 1

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


Contract No. AID/DSAN-G-0149


Report No. 1

Edward B. Reeves
Field Director

Timothy Frankenberger
Research Associate

Department of Sociology
College of Agriculture
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40546

November 1981


I. Introduction.......................................................... 2

A. Schedule of Research Operations...................................3

B. Problems Doing Research........................................... 5

C. Collaboration With Other Projects and Organizations.................5

II. The Initial Village Survey........... ................... .......6

III. Ethnographic Study of Agricultural Production and the Household

Economy................................. ............................. 20

A. Methods and Types of Data Being Collected..........................20

B. General Overview of the Farming System for the South Central

Part of North Kordofan ......................................... 22

1. Farming System Model.......................................... 22

2. General Description of Farming Practices.......................24

C. Some Examples of the Types of Data Being Collected.................28

IV. Ethnographic and Documentary Study of the Rural Marketing

System.................................... ...................... 33

A. The Village Shopkeeper..............................................35

B. The Government Crop Market........... ...........................38

V. Recommendations........................... ............. .............. 40

Appendix A. Initial Village Survey: Outline of Topics....................43

Appendix B. Access to Water, From the Initial Village Survey..............47

Appendix C. Cultivated Land Holdings in el-Kharta.........................58


This preliminary report from the University of Kentucky International
Sorghum and Millet (INTSORMIL) socioeconomic project in the el-Obeid region
of Northern Kordofan, Sudan is a report of work in progress. The major
findings of the project to date include the following:

1. The farmers of this region are involved in a complex mixed subsistence/
cash economy. They are producing primarily millet and sorghum for home
consumption and sesame and groundnuts for sale. In addition, a variety of
other wild and cultivated crops are also being consumed and/or sold by

2. There is an integration of crop and livestock production among these
farmers. Livestock such as camels, cattle, donkeys, goats, and sheep are
an important aspect of household economy.

3. Wage labor is also quite important with many families hiring workers for
their own fields as well as selling their own labor to others. Seasonal
migration to work in cities and on mechanized farming schemes is becoming
increasingly prominent.

4. Farmers have been quite innovative in searching for new economic oppor-
tunities and technological assistance. Sesame and groundnuts are increas-
ingly being grown as cash crops, insecticides are widely used to control
pests, and extraordinarily diversified strategies are used to survive in an
extremely harsh and risky environmental setting. Farmers recognize and
attempt to manipulate the extraordinary diversity of the principal crops in
order to maximize production and to reduce risk.

5. Village merchants are an important link between farmers and the larger
market system. Merchants provide credit and consumption goods, purchase
agricultural products, and arrange transportation of goods to and from
larger market centers.

6. Water is the principal constraint. People often have to travel long
distances and/or spend scarce cash resources to get access to water for
their needs and the needs of livestock. Crop production depends on the
vicissitudes of the rains.

7. Given the harsh and risky environment, farmers frequently find it
necessary to plant and re-plant their crops several times in order to
ensure that their land resources are fully utilized. Early-maturing
varieties of millet, sorghum, and sesame are recognized and appreciated
in situations when re-planting is necessary, but often farmers cannot
secure sufficient quantities of these seed varieties.

8. The most important pests affecting millet and sorghum production are
a beetle called sinta (Cyrtocamenta spp.), the quelea birds, the larva
of naffasha (Eublemma brachygonia), buda (striga), ants and termites,
long smut, and downy mildew.

I. Introduction

The University of Kentucky INTSORMIL project in Sudan has both a broad
and a narrow focus. The broad focus in to formulate a systematic understand-
ing of the prospects for and constraints to traditional agriculture in Northern
Kordofan, Sudan. To this end we are providing support in the form of baseline
research and recommendations to the Western Sudan Agricultural Research Project,
which is in the process of establishing in the area an integrated livestock
and crop program--one that will preserve the delicate balance of the Sahelian
environment. As a general guide for our study we have been strongly influenced
by the farming systems approach. The experience of the last several decades
has shown that the problems of agriculture in the developing countries cannot
be solved simplistically or in a piecemeal manner. The farming systems
approach recommends itself as a problem-solving tool because it encourages
the researcher to take all pertinent variables into account in order to
investigate the performance of agricultural production. Thus, opportuni-
ties for off-farm employment, investment in non-farm businesses, ritual and
consumption expenditures, and the gathering of wild plant foods are some
of the factors that may be included in a farming systems study because they
affect farming inputs and outputs directly.

The narrow focus of our study is to identify socioeconomic constraints
that work against the production, distribution and consumption of millet
and sorghum in North Kordofan. Although agriculture is the Sudan's primary
asset, the country is not self-sufficient in food. Any recommendation that
will lead to a more efficient production and utilization of millet and
sorghum for food are steps in the right direction, provided that due con-
sideration is given to maintaining soil fertility in this semi-arid region.
K farming system model that defines the farming household as the basic unit
of production, consumption, and economic decision-making seems well designed
to identify the socioeconomic constraints related to millet and sorghum
production and use.

The present study is being carried out by two economic anthropologists
from the University of Kentucky--Ed Reeves and Tim Frankenberger--with the
assistance of two Sudanese graduate students from Khartoum University--
Ibrahim K. M. Zurgan and Muhammed Majzoub Fideil. Both graduate students
have had prior fieldwork experiences in several localities in the Sudan.
During the time that they are participating in this project they will be
collecting data for their master's theses. Although there is a large
amount of sharing and overlap in the work that we all do, the responsi-
bility for overseeingtthe collecting of data in two broad areas has been
divided. Frankenberger and Ibrahim are responsible for collecting mater-
ials related specifically to the farming household economy and agricul-
tural production. Of direct interest to them is the noelingof the
-knowledesystem and decision-making of farmers. In addition, they are
attempting to develop reliable measures of input and -output for the farm-
ing household, since an input-output analysis will provide an objective
standard against which to appraise farmer's decisions. Reeves and
Muhammed are concerned with the institutional context of traditional
farming particularly the organization of rural markets. Another
institutional matter of leading importance concerns land tenure prac-
tices and the changes they are undergoing as a resulEt fura.i popula-
tion growth.


The report that follows begins by outlining the main research operations
of the study showing the need for a major revision of the originally planned
schedule, the problems encountered in the research, and the collaborative
links we have established with other development projects. Those who are
primarily interested in the substantive findings of the work to date may
turn directly to Chapters 2-5.

A. Schedule of Research Operations

Table 1 shows a schedule of research operations. It includes com-
pleted portions of the project, research in progress, and activities
planned for the future. It will be seen that we have completed the
Initial Village Survey and are currently engrossed in two major endea-
vors: the Ethnographic Study of Agricultural Production and the
Household Economy and the Ethnographic and Documentary Study of Rural
Markets. The components of both major research thrusts are described
below in sections III and IV. The fieldwork will continue to have an-
ethnographic emphasis until April 1982 in order to ensure that we have
acquired a sufficiently good understanding of the material to be able
to design a survey questionnaire to elicit all the salient variables
in local farming systems. This survey instrument will be constructed,
pretested, and revised in April. The survey will begin in May with
farmers who have remained in their villages and will continue in June
picking up farmers who have returned from labor migration during the
dry season. The objective is to sample about 300 farming households
by the end of September,* at which time the fieldwork phase of the
project will end.

This plan for the study differs from what was originally con-
ceived regarding the schedule of research operations. Originally,
it was planned to conduct the survey of farmers starting in February,
as the season for crop marketing was ending. This plan appeared
reasonable before we arrived in the study area and learned how exten-
sive the labor migration away from the villages in the dry season is.
In some villages virtually all the able-bodied men migrate and many
are accompanied by their families. To carry out the survey in this
season according to the original plan would lead to a severely skewed
sample. The only adequate way to sample the population of farmers,
therefore, is to put off making the survey until the end of the migra-
tion period. This option brings additional benefits. It allows us
to extend the period of ethnographic research through the dry period.
We are certain that this will result in a better-designed Farming
Systems Survey. Furthermore, the dry season will be an opportune
time to interview the older men left in the village about family
histories, land tenure, and political alignments. At the same
time, women can be interviewed about food preparation, nutrition,
the household budget, and women's economic roles.

This revision in the schedule of the research operations is
urged as the only means to accomplish the project's aims while main-
taining good standards of scientific procedure. It will entail that

*The survey will span the rainy season. Some delays can be expected
due to impassable roads.

Table I


1_981 1982
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep

I. Initial Village Survey X X
II. Ethnographic Study of Agricultural
Production & the Household Economy
A. Ethnography of Three Villages X X X X X X X X X
B. Agricultural Decision-Making X X X X X X X X X
C. Farm Practices, Folk Taxonomies X X X X X X X X X
D. Cultivated Landholdings in X X
Three Villages
E. Fifteen Farm Families in Three
1. Household material goods X X X
2. Household characteristics X X X X X X X
and census
3. Input-output analysis X X X X X X X
III. Ethnographic & Documentary Study
of Rural Markets
A. Ethnography of Rural Markets X X X X X X X X
B. Recovery of Information From X X X X X X
Government Records
C. Marketing System Survey X X X
IV. Farming Systems Survey X X X X X


one American researcher and the two Sudanese researchers remain in the
field until the end of September 1982, which is an addition of three
months to the original schedule.

B. Problems Doing Research

Those who know research conditions in the rural Sudan will smile
knowingly if we mention infrastructural constraints as the leading
problem. Precisely, this has to do with transportation. The success
of our research effort is largely dependent on a rented, somewhat the
worse-for-wear Land Rover which carries us to the villages we are
studying. The driving conditions are never good. Sometimes they are
atrocious and breakdowns occur frequently. Gasoline, which we get
from the government supply is unavailable from time to time for sev-
eral days or longer. But local travel is a piece of cake compared
to getting from El Obeid to Khartoum and back. Our experience is
that it is virtually impossible to fly to Khartoum and return in the
same week. Currently, Sudan Airlines requires passengers to purchase
their tickets at.the same time that the reservation is made and to
show a passport or some other identification. Reservations have to be
made from the city of departure. Thus, it is impossible to book a
return ticket from Khartoum to El Obeid until after arriving in
Khartoum, and in October reservations in Khartoum for El Obeid were
being booked two and one-half weeks in advance. As a consequence,
we cannot go to Khartoum without expecting to spend several weeks
there. Communications between El Obeid and Khartoum are uncertain.
The phone service shuts down every few days. More disturbing still,
our mail has been coming very infrequently due to the lack of carriers.
We hope that the difficulties of flying between El Obeid and Khartoum
and mail delivery will be greatly rectified now that the WSARP air-
craft is in service.

Another major problem has been staying healthy. Ed Reeves
and Janet Frankenberger have had malaria. Tim and Janet Frankenberger
have had dysentery. Alexandra Reeves had diarrhoea and heat rash for
more than a month. Recently, everyone's health has been quite good.

C. Collaboration With Other Projects and Organizations

Because ours is a small project it was thought that we could have
the greatest impact and the most benefit through direct and continuous
collaboration with agricultural development programs in the Sudan which
have a larger budget and a longer life-span than ours. This was a
primary motivation behind our establishing collaborative ties with the
Western Sudan Agricultural Research Project. Since arriving in the
Sudan we have made contacts with many other projects and Sudanese
government organizations, with which we are pledged to cooperate.
Below is a summary of these agreements:

1. WSARP Dr. Dafallah A. Dafallah, Director, WSARP is providing
us with logistic and moral support. By means of informal discus-
sions and formal seminars and by providing copies of our research
reports and recommendations, we are making the results of our
investigations into the farming systems of the hinterland of
El Obeid available. El Obeid is the site of the WSARP headquar-
ters, now under construction.

2. Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Kordofan Province -
Dr. El Taj Fadlallah, Minister. The Ministry's staff of agricul-
tural specialists has kindly provided us with information and
advice. The Extension Service is sharing their instructional
materials and the results of a survey they made of farmers.
We are providing copies of our reports to the Minister and his
staff. We also are carrying extension specialists to the villages
to make talks about improved farming operations. (The Extension
Service is hamstrung by a lack of vehicles.)

3. Sudan Agricultural Bank, El Obeid Abdel Majid Khogari,
Director. The Agricultural Bank Office at El Obeid is in the
second year of an ambitious and important experiment to alter the "
structure of rural marketing. The program thus far is designed
to create cooperative societies in the villages through which
credit for farming inputs can be channeled and transportation and
storage of.crops can be provided during the marketing season. We
are working with the Director to look for ways to make their pro-
gram more effective. In this connection we are helping to estab-
lish new credit and marketing cooperatives in three of the villages
in our sample.

4. ICRISAT Millet Breeding Program Dr. R. P. Jain, Director.
We have collected samples of about 400 millet heads from the fields
in our study area. This is the first time a millet germ plasm col-
lection has been made in the Northern Kordofan area.

5. ICRISAT Sorghum Breeding Program Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Sorghum
Breeder. We have also collected samples of approximately 100
sorghum heads from the fields in our study area. This too is one
of the only sorghum germ plasm collections that has been made in
this area of Northern Kordofan.

6. CARE Renewable Energy Resources Project Stanley Dunn, Director.
As part of the Farming System Survey several questions are to be
incorporated dealing with consumption of wood as fuel. This infor-
mation will benefit this CARE project which is concerned with intro-
ducing an energy efficient stove for use in areas where trees are
being decimated for fuel.

7. Project to map the Sahelian zone for purposes of developing a
desertification control policy Prof. Fu'ad Ibrahim, Beyreuth
University (Germany); Farouk H. Ahmed, Coordinator,.Desertification
Control Coordination and Monitoring Unit. We have an agreement to
assist each other through the exchange of research findings.

II. The Initial Village Survey

Our first objective after setting up house in El Obeid was to obtain a
comprehensive picture of the rural society and economy. Eighteen villages
(see map) were selected for study with an aim to include as much heterogeneity

Location of the 18 Villages
in the Sample Survey

Umm Sot
El Kharta
Umm Kuka
El Hammadiya
El Geifil
El Filia
El Ban Gedid

10. Burbur
11. Kazgeil
12. Umm Arada
13. 11mm Ramad
14. Wardass
15. Abu Haraz
16. Kaba
17. Umm Subagha
18. Ayara


(NOTE: All 18 Villages are within a
50 km. radius of El Obeid.)

U mUn Dom-


Sawdoh: r /


At A

At Oddoiyo Sidmh3 =!y:
2ABAt DA! 3964
9 41
3 1 Iq c
12SO 150 Ai i

-,n 2433 l (.\

32 5

'I --


as possible.* We visited each of these villages in turn carrying out an
interview that lasted four to five hours. The interview was conducted
with a group of people rather than a single individual. Typically, six
to ten individuals were active participants, including the village's
headman and a cross-section of the farmers. A structured interview
format was not employed since we wanted to discover the socioeconomic
patterns and constraints that operate in the villages. We did not wish
to impose our own biases a priori. Therefore, in making the interviews
we relied on an outline of topics that was purposefully broad and open-
ended (Appendix A). By this, we arrived at more than comprehensiveness;
we were trying to develop a preliminary understanding of how the villagers
express themselves on a variety of issues and what kinds of priorities
they set and decisions they make to deal with these issues. A benefit
of conducting the interview with a group rather than a single individual
was that a variety of viewpoints often surfaced in the discussion. Thus,
even when conducting the initial village survey our methodology made us
sensitive to the complexities of agricultural decision-making. We were
laying the groundwork for the transition in our research to a more inten-
sive examination of farming strategies.

In the Initial Village Survey we collected a large, diverse quantity
of data. Most of it is of very high quality. That we worked from a
broad topical outline rather than a structured interview format did cause
some problems, however. Occasionally, we neglected to collect some speci-
fic items of data in one village that were collected elsewhere. But this
oversight does not seriously impair the overall usefulness of this material.
Moreover, the problem will be remedied when the Farming Systems Survey is
carried out by conducting a brief survey of village characteristics
simultaneously with the larger survey. By this means the gaps will be
filled and a check on the reliability of the data we now have will be

Some of the data gathered in the Initial Village Survey can be organ-
ized in a tabular form. Table II presents a liberal sampling of these
data. Before discussing the material shown in this table, it may be
helpful to provide a general portrait of villages in the study area.

The soils in the study area are of two basic types. North and east
of El Obeid are found stabilized dunes--the famous qoz soils of this
region. This is an area where sesame and millet are the leading crops
and gum arabic continues to be harvested in some quantity. South and
southwest of El Obeid are found clayey sand and sandy clays soils; both
types of soil are called gardud. Here groundnuts assume an importance
nearly equivalent to sesame, millet continues to be important for house-
hold consumption, but gum harvesting has a negligible importance. The

*The villages were selected on the basis of differing soil types, access to
water, market facilities, and institutional complexity. The selection was
made with the consultation of Dr. El Taj Fadlallah, Regional Minister of
Agriculture, Kordofan. As seen on the map, villages in the northwest
sector from El-Obeid were not selected for inclusion in the sample.
Dr. El-Taj felt that they were not sufficiently different from villages
in the northeast sector to warrant inclusion in the sample.


qoz soils are very loose and accept water readily, but some of the gardud
soils form a hard pan which causes the water to run off rather than soak
in. In the rainy season, therefore, the roads in the qoz area are usually
reliable, but in the gardud area they can be treacherous because of the
many depressions and watercourses that cannot be crossed after a heavy
rain. Aside from the road which the Dutch government is building to con-
nect El Obeid with Debaibat to the south, all travel beyond El Obeid's
urban boundaries is by unimproved dirt tracks.

The villagers recognize three seasons: kharif, the season of rain
and of growing crops (July through October); shita, cool and dry, the
season of harvesting and selling crops (November through February); seif,
the season for harvesting new gum arabic trees and out-migration (March
through June). June and October are transitional months at the start and
end of the rainy season. The weather tends to be hot with sporadic rain-
fall during these two months.

The density of settlements in the study area depends on access to
water as well as soil fertility. With respect to the latter, for example,
the density of settlements between El Obeid and Abu Haraz to the south-
west is less than what is found to the east or directly south of El Obeid.
This is because the soil along the road to Abu Haraz consists of a heavy
sandy clay which cannot be worked easily using the traditional hoe and
which tends to dry out forming a hard pan during drought. As a result,
little cultivation is practiced in this area. Instead, it has become an
important rainy-season pasture for nomads' livestock. The area is made
more attractive to nomads by the proximity of the markets at Abu Haraz
and El Obeid.

The physical layout of a village is not complicated. It consists of
the loose aggregation of compounds, each one separated from its neighbors
by an encircling millet stalk fence. The narrow lanes that pass between
the fences of neighboring compounds make you think of a maze, but you
cannot wander in the lanes long before coming upon an open area where an
oil press or a shade tree is located. Within each compound's enclosure
there are typically between two and five circular huts with the walls
built of millet stalks and the conical roof thatched with stalks or wild
grasses. These houses are intended as sleeping quarters or storage rooms
for the nuclear family or polygynous family that occupies the compound.*
The compound will also have a smaller hut used as the kitchen, and a
latrine is located along the compound's outer wall. Millet stalks,which
are a main ingredient in the construction of houses and fences,only last
about three years after which they must be replaced. Villagers perform
this maintenance regularly at the end of'the rainy season. The guiding
.principle seems to be to replace all material which will not last another

The headman's compound is often identified by a large shade tree
located at the front and also by the presence of a large rakouba (millet
stalk shed with flat roof) where visitors are received and where meet-
ings of the village council are held. The village is surrounded by its

*As a rule, extended families do not live in the same compound.


lands on all sides. The cluster of compounds which is the village proper,
is surrounded by a zone called khatwat el-hilla (the village's step), an
area denuded of vegetation due to overgrazing. The villagers never
attempt to cultivate this area, which may extend away from the village
for several hundred meters. The thin forage cover in this zone is used
to graze donkeys, goats and camels which are kept near the village for
daily use. Large herds of animals are restricted from occupying this
area and must be sent to graze in areas beyond the cultivated zone.
Outside khatwat el-hilla are the cultivated fields (zira'a) belonging
to the villagers. Here too are fallow lands that have reverted to bush
and Acacia senegal (gum arabic trees).

As far as we are able to determine there has never been a cadastral
survey in the area of our study. The official, legal position is that
the Government of Sudan is the ultimate owner of all unregistered lands
in the country, but Sudanese citizens enjoy usufruct of the land according
to their traditions of land tenure. The tradition in the area that we
are studying is that all land is individually owned and heritable. In
the past each village possessed a reserve of fallow land (the remnant of
a land grant to a tribal section) called gifaar, which was at the head-
man's disposal. The headman could make grants of land to his own vil-
lagers as well as to new-comers. Sometimes--perhaps this was the rule
rather than the exception--the beneficiary paid the headman a fee for
this service. In any event, in none of the villages that we are now
studying is the granting of gifaar considered an important means to
expand the base of cultivation. This suggests that population growth
has overtaken the availability of agricultural land near to water
sources. If this is indeed the case in the future we may expect rent
and sharecropping to assume a greater prominence in the farming systems
of the area.

Table II reveals many differences and similarities between the vil-
lages in the sample. The process of sample selection and the constraints
posed by problems related to travel led us to choose the villages between
10 km and 47 km distance from El Obeid. The distances were taken from
the Sudan 1:250,000 map series and are "as the crow flies" estimates.
On the ground the distance would be somewhat greater in each case. More-
over, distances in this terrain are deceiving. The journey from El Obeid
to Geifil, shown on the Table to be 33 km, takes about 1 hours by Land
Rover under optimum conditions. The same journey, if attempted after a
heavy rain may be delayed hours or even several days because the route
is cross-cut by large water courses that are hazardous to ford.

Population size is a sensitive barometer of water supply, the carry-
ing capacity of the agricultural land, and the appearance of market places
and other services. In our sample the range of population sizes is from
110 for Kaba to as many as 10,000 for Abu Haraz. The points intermediate
between these extremes seem well represented in the sample.

Access to water is an overriding concern in many of the villages that
we are studying. The data collected on this topic are especially good,
although much is not suited to a tabular presentation. Appendix B is a
descriptive summary of the data about water. It should be noted that
two types of cost are clearly involved in obtaining water. One is the
price of the water itself; the other is the cost in terms of human and

Table II
Part 1 (p. I)

Umm Sot el-Kharta Demokia Umm Kuka el-Hammadiya Ceifil

1. Distance from el-Obeid 40
(in km)
2. Population (rough 700
3. Water sources, no. of 0
Distance to water point, beside
rainy season village
Distance to water point, beside
dry season village

Price of water,
rainy season
Price of water,
dry season
Price of water,
delivered to 1HH
4. Price of truck-ride
to nearby town
Rainy season

Dry season




>3 hrs.

3 hra.

0.02/day 0.01/tin

0.02/day 0.05/tin


1.00 el-Obeid,


1.00 el-Obeid, 0.50
Bara el-Obeid

5. Govt. crop market used el-Eidat
most often by villagers el-Obeid
6. Price to transport
crops to market

Heavy (sesame)

Light groundnutss,




-1I hr. 10-15 min. 1-2 hrs. 10-15 min. 10 min.

4 hrs.


3 hrs.


0.02/tin 0.50/season


el-Filia Burbur El-Ban Jedid

40 40 23

500 500 8000

0 0 0

7 hrs.


0.15-0.20/ 0.10-0.15/ 0.07-0.20/ 6.00-10.00/
tin tin tin season

15 min.

15 min.




0.50 0.75 0.50 1.00 el-Obeid 1.00 el-Obeid 1.00
el-Obeld el-Obeid el-Obeid 1.00 Rahad 1.00 Rahad el-Obeid

0.50 0.75 0.50 1.00 el-Obeid 1.00 el-Obeid 1.00
el-Obeid el-Obeid el-Obeid 1.00 Rahad 1.00 Elm el-Obeid

el-Obeid Umm Kuka Umm Kuka
Umm Tugur el-Obeid el-Obeid

0.50/sack 1.00/sack
Umm Tugur

Umm Kuka

Unmm Kuka Geifil


Geifil el-Obeid

0.50/sack 0.50-0.75/sack
Geifil Suweilib,

0.20-0.30/sack 0.30-0.40/sack
Getfil Suweilib,







El-Ban Jedid



1. Distance from el-Obeid
(in km)
2. Population (rough
3. Water sources, no. of
Distance to water point,
rainy season
Distance to water point,
dry season
Price of water,
rainy season
Price of water,
dry season
Price of water,
delivered to HH
4. Price of truck-ride
to nearby town
Rainy season

Dry season

5. Govt. crop market used
most often by villagers
6. Price to transport
crops to market
Heavy (sesame)

Light groundnutss,






4 hr.




Umm 'Arada




10 min.

10 min.



0.75 el-Obeid 0.40 el-Obeid

0.75 el-Obeid 0.40 el-Obied

Kazgeil el-Obeid






h hr



Table II
Part 1 (p. 2)

Umm Ramad Abi


3700 500(


y nearby n

. nearby n


in free 0.1

0.05/tin 0.


0.50 el-Obeid

0.40 el-Obeid

Umm Ramad




u Haraz









0 el-Obeid

5 el-Obeid

bu Haraz

Wardass Umm Subagha

37 23

400 140

? 0

5-30 min. nearby

45 min. 5 hrs.

free free

free free


1.00 el-Obeid

0.50 el-Obeid

Umrm Ramad
Abu Haraz










see below


1.00 el-Obeid

0.50 el-Obeid


0.40/sack 0.50/sack 0.50/sack 0.50-0.60/sack 0.50/sack 0.75/sack
el-Obeid el-Obeid el-Obeid el-Obeid Umm Ramad el-Obeid

0.20/sack 0.50/sack 0.40/sack 0.20-0.25/sack 0.40/sack 0.40/sack
el-Obeid el-Obeid el-Obeid Umm Ramad el-Obeid






1 hr.



1.50 el-Obeid

1.00 el-Obeid

Umnn Tugur

Umz Tugur

Table II
Part 2 (p. 1)

7. Principal markets) for
manufactured goods

Umm Sot


8. No. of shops in village 2

9. Ranking of crops by
Millet 1
Sesame 2

10. Presence of truck no
11. Gum arabic is important yes
12. Landholding (estimates of
avg. size in makhammas)
Poor farmer

Average farmer 10
Rich farmer
13. Most important livestock goats
14. Within-village hired labor no
is more important than
labor hired from outside?
15. Wages paid for Ist weeding 5.00-10.00
of millet, by makhammas

by dahwa (morning work




















Umm Kuka



























5.00-15.00 8.00-15.00 6.00-10.00 6.00-12.00 5.00-10.00 4.00-10.00













El-Ban Jedid






7.00-10.00 6.00-7.00


I. 5}f

El-Ban Jedid










Table II
Part 2 (p. 2)


7. Principal markets) for el-Obeid
manufactured goods

8. No. of shops in village 20
9. Ranking of crops by
Millet 1
Sorghum 2
Sesame 3
Groundnuts 3
Karkaday 4
10. Presence of truck ?
11. Gum arabic is important no
12. Landholding (estimates of
avg. size in makhammas)
Poor farmer 5
Average farmer 10-15
Rich farmer 30-40
13. Most important livestock cattle
14. Within-village hired labor no
is more important than
labor hi red from outside?
15. Wages paid for 1st weeding 8.00
of millet, by makhammas
by dahwa (morning work -

Umm 'Arada













Umm Ramad






Abu Haraz

Abu Haraz





6.00-10.00 2.00-6.00 3.00-12.00 10.00


Wardass Umm Subagha

Umm Ramad 'Ayara
Abu Haraz el-Obeid
2 1

3 1
4 3
1 2
2 4
5 5
no no

yes yes

3-4 <8
10-15 8-9
30 30
sheep goats
no yes

10.00-14.00 5.00-6.00
















5.00-10.00 3.00-5.00


16. Seasonal out-migration
of labor for wages -

17. Village institutions
and services

Flour mill
Oil press
Health dispensary
Primary school
Intermediate school
Police station
Cheese factory
Generator for electric
* power
18. Indicators of wealth
No. of motor vehicles
No. of radio/recorders

Zinc or concrete
All dwellings are

Umm Sot

P. Sudan/

'(mill, pump)





pump station



W. Medani/
P. Sudan













Table II
Part 3 (p. 1)

Umm Kuka















(bakery, mill)

el-Filia Burbur

Habila/ no
Khartoum out-migration

El-Ban Jedid


(pump, store,


0 11
10 "many"
8 TV's
no numerous

Table II
Part 3 (p. 2)

16. Seasonal out-migration
of labor for wages -

17. Village institutions
and services

Flour mill
Oil press
Health dispensary
Primary school
Intermediate school
Police station
Cheese factory
Generator for electric
18. Indicators of wealth
No. of motor vehicles
No. of radio/recorders

Zinc or concrete
All dwellings are



Umm 'Arada




Umm Ramad



1 2
(mill, store, (mill, shop)
6 2
1 2
3 6
1 1
2 1
2 0
1 0
1 0
1 0

7 3
>200 6
2 TV's

numerous 3-5

no no


Abu Itaraz








1 TV




Umm Subagha



Umm Durman






no several

BaU bale
Ba Dura

Umn Durman

Table II
Part 4 (p. 1)

Umm Sot el-Kharta Demokia Umm Kuka el-Hammadiya Geifil

el-Filia Burbur El-Ban Jedid

19. Village professions
Govt. midwife
Cart driver
20. No. of ethnic groups
21. Dominant ethnic group
22. Period of first

After Mahdiya


After Hahdiya

c. 1940


0 0
1 1
Jawam'a Jawam'a
Before Mahdiya After Mahdiya

c. 1914


c. 1920

Table II
Part 4 (p. 2)

Kazgeil Uian 'Arada

19. Village professions
Govt. midwife
Cart driver
20. No. of ethnic groups
21. Dominant ethnic group
22. Period of first



Before Mahdiya




Umm Ramad Abu Haraz



Wardass Umm Subagha




Before Mahdiya






Before 1910


animal labor to transport the water from its source to the household.
Another observation worthy of mention is that these costs rarely remain
constant throughout the year; generally, the price of water as well
as the labor involved in transporting it is highest in the summer
(seif) and lowest in the rainy season (kharif). This high cost of water
during the self contributes directly to the out-migration of villagers to
the cities and large agricultural schemes where the cost of water is com-
pensated by the wages earned.

Villagers differ greatly from one individual to the next with regard to
the number of times per year they visit a nearby town, such as El Obeid or
El Rahad. The cost of travelling from a remote village like El Filia to
El Obeid is one Sudanese pound. Rainy season rates are sometimes higher
than during the dry season because the amount of traffic is less. Travel
is typically by suq lorry. There are no buses operating in the area.
The lorry driver makes his departure from the village early in the morn-
ing and usually returns the evening of the same day. This is true of the
trucks that are locally owned. Other drivers are hauling long distance
but will pick up riders and their baggage for the going rate.

In recent years the government has established a number of crop and
livestock markets in the rural areas in order to facilitate the marketing
of farm produce and to collect sales taxes. Such rural government markets
are found in six of the sample villages. A significant cost to the farmer
is the transport of his produce to a nearby market. Some farmers feel that
they have the option of selling at a nearby rural market or of transport-
ing their crop to El Obeid-where they expect to get a higher price. Mer-
chants have been candid about price collusion and have indicated that they
attempt to shave the margin between the price of the crop in El Obeid, less
the added transport cost, and the price in the rural market so that farmers
will not be inclined to accept the greater trouble and risk of marketing at
El Obeid. Note in Table II that heavy crops such as sesame cost more to
transport than light crops such as groundnuts or karkide (hibiscus).

El Obeid is the primary market for all kinds of manufactured goods
for the entire area covered in the study. Many items of daily household
consumption, however, can be bought in the village. Most villages have
several merchant shops which stock food, kerosene, matches, flashlight
batteries, and medicines. These shopkeepers are an important source of
credit for the families of the village (see section IV below).

Millet is the first or second crop in all the villages. Sorghum and
sesame also assume a great importance; groundnuts (peanuts) are most
important in the south and southwest parts of the study area. The presence
of a huge aquifer makes truck gardening of fruits and vegetables possible
at El Ban Jedid but this is not found in any of the other villages. Gum
arabic for the most part is important in the northern and eastern parts of
the study area but not in the south and southwest. The estimates in Table
II that informants gave us of landholdings of poor, average, and rich
farmers are being confirmed by the censuses of landholdings that we are
making in the three villages where we are carrying out intensive ethno-
graphic studies. (See Appendix C.) The quality of information collected
on livestock is rather suspect, but the data in the table does indicate
a real difference among villages based on what kind of livestock is most
important (i.e., numerous). We are not yet prepared to explain these


The eighteen villages are rather evenly divided according to whether
within-village hired labor is more important than labor hired from outside.
At this time we are unable to explain this pattern, if indeed it is a valid
one. The agricultural season presents a number of opportunities for hiring-
in (and hiring-out) labor. The village survey collected wage data for all
agricultural operations: planting, weeding, harvesting, and threshing.
Wage rates vary for each operation and for the crop involved. There is
also a tendency for the wages to go up or to come down depending on the
availability of labor. Table II only shows the wage rates paid this year
for the first weeding of millet, first by makhammas, a unit of land mea-
surement, and then by dahwa (the morning work period that extends from
7 to 11 o'clock). Paying labor by makhammas is a kind of piece work.
It brings a higher wage because the worker is encouraged to stay in the
field and finish the job. (One makhammas can be weeded in 1 days).*
The seasonal out-migration of labor for wages is another matter, In vil-
lages which suffer from a severe water deficit in the hot, dry season,
the proportion of adult male villagers who migrate may approach 75%, but
the pattern appears in nearly all villages.

Under the general category of village institutions and services it
should be noted that six of the villages in our sample have cooperative
societies that operate a consumers' facility for the benefit of the vil-
lage. As expected, village services are strongly associated with popu-
lation size. The same relation holds concerning population size, indi-
cators of wealth, and the number of village professions.

The last three categories of data recorded on Table II are of socio-
logical and historical interest. All the people in the villages are of
tribal origin, and the tribe still is used for demarcating political
boundaries and for determining political representation in the local and
regional councils. The role that such ethnic groups may play as foci for
political interests at the village level deserves further study. The
effort to learn about the origin of the villages in our study was often
disappointing. Occasionally informants were precise about the date that
a village was founded. More often the response to our question was
"before the Mahdiya" (1885) or "after the Mahdiya" (1898).

III. Ethnographic Study of Agricultural Production and the Household Economy

A. Methods and Types of Data Being Collected

As mentioned earlier, we are presently conducting intensive
ethnographies in three villages of our village sample, El Kharta,
El Geifil, and Umm Ramad.' These villages were selected on the basis
of variability in soil types, principal crop mix, access to markets,
and locality in relation to El Obeid. (See Initial Village Survey,
Table II.) The primary purpose of focusing on three diverse villages
is to gain a detailed understanding of the various farming systems that

*Labor hired-in from outside the village is in nearly all cases, paid by
the makhammas; within-village labor may be hired by the makhammas but
dahwa is very common.


characterize this area of Northern Kordofan so that a survey instrument
can be designed which elicits relevant information regarding farming
operations in this area. This survey instrument will be used to collect
information from a sample of farmers in each of the 18 villages that
were originally selected (see map), beginning sometime in May or June,
1982 (see Schedule of Research Operations, Table I).

Several types of data are being collected in the three villages.
First, we are obtaining detailed descriptions of farming practices as
well as the local names of such practices and the tools involved.
Second, we are collecting information regarding the growth cycles of
crops and the various stages of growth the farmer recognizes as impor-
tant to the cropping decisions that he makes. The local names for
these stages are being collected as well. Third, we are attempting to
elicit the important environmental factors that impact production as
they are perceived by the farmers themselves. We are collecting data
on folk taxonomies of crop pests (insects, plant diseases, birds, etc.),
soil types, and rainfall patterns. Fourth, we are attempting to con-
struct decision models that predict cropping patterns which farmers
follow. Such models take into consideration the constraints and incen-
tives under which the farmer is operating. Fifth, we are using the
farming systems model that was developed by David Norman and associates
as a basic framework for data collection regarding the inputs and out-
puts of farm production for the farmers in these villages. The types
of data that will be collected from several households will include
the farmer's access to land, labor, and capital and how he manages
these resources, as well as how such resources are channeled into
chopping systems, animal husbandry, and off-farm economic activities.
In addition, we will observe and record how the output gained from such
pursuits is channeled into consumption, savings,and working capital for
increasing farm production. At the same time, we will attempt to under-
stand how community socio-cultural norms and beliefs influence these
activities as well as how external institutions such as markets and
government policies impact these farming systems. Finally, to under-
stand how farming is integrated into a system of economic pursuits
aimed at sustaining the livelihood of the farm family, we will be
investigating off-farm migration. We will be inquiring about where
farmers migrate, whether any family members accompany them, in which
wage activities they are engaged when they migrate, and when they return.

Due to the detail that is inherent in the data categories previously
described, it is impossible to collect such information from all the
farmers in all 18 villages. Likewise, it is equally impossible given
our project time constraints to collect all of this information from all
of the farmers in the three villages that are under intensive investi-
gation. For this reason, we decided to focus our inquiries on 15 care-
fully selected farm families. In other words, 5 families from each of
the three villages will be intensively studied. The major assumption
guiding our selection is not that these families are representative of
the whole village, but rather that they are representative of diverse
types of farm households with regard to a number of variables. These
variables are cropping patterns, size of landholding, size of household,
tendency to migrate and off-farm economic activities. Once these fam-
ilies are selected they will be intensively studied for a period of
6 months.


To aid in this selection process, we decided to obtain a 100 percent
sample of all cultivated landholdings of farmers residing in the three
intensively studied villages. This was accomplished through two kinds
oftechniques. First, we had one locally prominent and respected poli-
tical leader accompany us to two of the villages and request the farmers'
cooperation in our study. Second, we provided films and slide-show
presentations in one of the villages so that data could be obtained from
farmers at the same time that they were being entertained. Both tech-
niquesproved very successful. The types of data collected from each
farmer included: (1) total size of household; (2) total size of land-
holding; (3) area cultivated in millet; (4) area cultivated in sesame;
and (5) area cultivated in groundnuts. (See Appendix C for kind of data

From these 100 percent samples, 15 farm families will be selected
from each of the three villages on the basis of household size, land-
holding size and millet/sesame and/or groundnuts mix. From these 15
farm families in each of the three villages, 5 families will be selected
on the basis of the three previously mentioned criteria in addition to
the tendency to migrate and off-farm economic activities.

Although no attempt will be made here to review all the data that
has been collected thus far, some examples will be provided of the types
of data we are obtaining. However, before discussing these data, a
general overview of the farming system in the area will be provided as
we understand it at this time. This will be followed by a discussion
of the farming practices in the area.

B. General Overview of the Farming System for the South Central Part
of North Kordofan

1. Farming System Model

For the purposes of this report, we have attempted to model
the farming system for the south central part of N. Kordofan.
(See Farming System Model.) The components of this model are
derived from four months of ethnographic interviews with farmers
and merchants as well as our initial village survey. The model
represents our cumulative understanding of the farming situation
in this area at this time. We anticipate that revisions will have
to be made in the model in the future as more data becomes avail-
able. No attempt has been made to quantify the model's components.
Eventually, we hope to quantify these components by using the data
obtained in the farming systems survey to be conducted beginning
in May 1982. The model strives to be comprehensive in showing
all the components and their interrelations, all of which impact
the farming household. However, it is simplistic because it
implies that a single farming system model can be applied to all
farmers in the region. We have sound evidence to the contrary.
In all probability, several types of farming systems can be
found in areas differing in soil types and access to water.
There may even be several types coexisting in the same villages.
At a minimum, we anticipate identifying 5-10 alternative types
of farming systems.


S-. V I \/l\ ( 1
m RKE T ---



Tlsoa* s 'l l

(Osa -ao s

M al

I Lad


1^4n( GnTvrOooDj

FOac 4* M..4 *AdTMtflEt.l
Jim ^ 1 usn B .B .


rwrse e_
t 1ct
LA86 .9.



ptteltt.,mt UU'1& (4
yetr w~^
r rirj C*u
3MfSrTA m- 4C(
Mr ^'*e *M"K



-A| mof I

r -. I :TZ bano
oi er SwWTSr seaH w Ogo
CAffSorrl ^--

Season L.

a tau meanwarr

-M4&) OfutWMs
Huii E L4cA

4T To07WCA




C e-P Aclitc.


MIn4r t J
AA# SQKqg d s)qR%

/I rr ee N4.arm *RAre
CM^..TJ < tM I C

roanPIAuE at GIAAus$E

ARe fattei Fthno
cR f xr jo,
oterrot rItO eup
ReAst. r* o OF
5.. FtCr)LTir


tmoo 0 FOR ruoet
GU vvI. 67M1AAW *f1Er

CM '. *1r.3

Il-A 1 1--~-










4:~IlC F~rr

Low san- L
/fea r't-) i

;--~---J~ ----------------~'




Regarding the interpretation of the model, some clarification is
necessary. First, we are treating the household in our model pri-
marily as a consumption unit which provides local labor. We have
separated out the components of consumption, money income,and savings
and investment in order to show how these act upon the system. This
is different from other farming systems models that do not separate
these components from the household component. Second, another con-
vention used in farming systems modelling is to use solid lines to
denote major relationships. We did not follow this convention
because we do not know at this time what weights should be given to
some of the relationships. Third, the system was diagrammed with
the following scheme in mind:

1) All products (i.e., crops, animals, etc.) that are sold in
the market are designated by an arrow leading to the market.
Income obtained from such sales is then channelled through
the thick dark line leading to money income.

2) .Expenses for such things as hiring local or outside labor,
constructing housing structures, or obtaining farm inputs
are taken directly from the money income line.

3) Items for consumption or ritual expenditures not directly
obtained from the farm are purchased from the market so
money income is rechannelled back to the market (thick
dark line from money income-arrows on both ends) and
transformed into market goods which are consumed (arrows
from market to consumption and ritual expenditures).

4) Money income that is not used for consumption, ritual
expenditures, farm inputs (including transportation),
construction materials or hiring labor (inside or outside)
is channelled into savings and investment. Savings and
investment is channelled into animals, gold jewelry, or
capital intensive business enterprises. Money is released
from savings and investment in each of these areas by
selling in the market (arrows leading to market).

5) Animals, crops,and wild foods not sold in the market (or
animals retained as savings) are consumed directly as
consumption items or ritual expenditures (arrows from
crops, animals, and wild food leading to consumption and
ritual expenditures).

6) All arrows going into components such as crops, animals,
wild foods, gum arabic, wood collection,and charcoal
manufacture, represent inputs into those components
The rest of the model should be self-explanatory.

Although the model strives to be comprehensive, certain crucial
factors are only superficially addressed, or are absorbed in other
more general components in the system. These are access to water,
credit, and communal labor. Our findings indicate that access to
water is one of the most important variables in the farming system
of the region. Aside from being critical to the sustenance of


crops and animals, water access is in many cases the key variable in
determining whether farmers migrate for seasonal labor (see Appendix
C). For this reason, it is important to understand how access to
water impacts the farming system as a whole. Although water has
been placed at the top of the consumption list in the model, we
were not schematically able to represent its importance to the
system. Bearing this in mind, it is our intention to give this
component proper emphasis in future revisions of the model.

Likewise, credit is another variable that our model under-repre-
sents in importance. Credit is a vital cog in the maintenance of
the farming system for many farmers, and represents one of the major
expenditures borne by them on a yearly basis (see Section IV).
Numerous types of credit exist in this area ranging from in-kind or
commodity exchange credit to money lending. Although the model
identifies credit lending as an activity pursued by those who are
investing in capital intensive business enterprises. It inade-
quately demonstrates the integration of credit in all major inputs
in the farming system. This is especially true regarding the inter-
relationship between consumption and credit. It is our intention to
integrate credit more fully in the system in future revisions of the

Finally, the model does not distinguish communal labor such as
nafiirs or serbas from local labor. The primary reason for doing
this was because our data indicate that communal work arrangements
have lost importance in recent years due to the prevalence of wage
labor opportunities. The only occasions that such communal labor
activities do occur are in times of need, such as providing aid
to a family following the death or illness of the head of the
household, or to a poor farmer whose crops matured too quickly and
would be lost if they were harvested by the poor farmer himself.
Although we recognize the importance of such communal aid to the
maintenance of the social fabric of the community, we do not feel
it is warranted to separate this type of labor from other types
of local labor in our model due to its low frequency of occurrence.

2. General Description of Farming Practices

In general, the average size cultivated holding in the region
of N. Kordofan is between 10 and 15 makhamas (1 makhamas = 1.8 acres
= 1.73 Feddans). The crops grown on these holdings can be divided
into three groups: 1) A cereal crop intended primarily for subsis-
tence (millet in most cases and/or sorghum); 2) a cash crop (sesame
and/or groundnuts); and 3) miscellaneous crops that can be consumed
in the home or sold in the market: hibiscus (karkide), cow peas
(luba), watermelon (battikh), sweet sorghum (ankoleb), cucumbers
(tibish), okra (waika), maize (aisarif), squash (garaa), green
peppers (filfil akdar), onions (basul), and greens (meloukia). In
addition to these three crop groups, a fourth group of relative
importance consists of wild foods which are primarily collected by
women and children for home consumption and sale (a partial list
includes tabeldi, nabak, ardeb, haskineit, gaddam, meloukhia,
lalob and korsan). Most farmers tend to grow both a subsistence
crop and a cash crop on their holdings, with the cash crop


occupying a greater proportion of the total cultivated area (see
Appendix C El Kharta Data).*

Intercropping is widely practiced in this area, although rarely
are any other crops intercropped with millet (watermelon occasionally).
Farmers say that the millet crop is too "hot" for other crops to sur-
vive in the same field. Sesame, on the other hand, is often inter-
cropped with several other types of crops. In fact, sorghum (a crooked
neck variety called zunari or mareg) is often planted with sesame in
the same hole on sandy soils. Some farmers have stated that this prac-
tice is done primarily because the sorghum tends to stabilize the soil
so that sesame is less susceptible to wind damage (especially on pre-
viously cultivated soil). Other farmers point out that sorghum
(zunari or mareg) is a drought resistant crop, and given the uncer-
tainty of rainfall, it is grown with sesame in order to insure that
some crop produces in their fields. For this reason, the importance
of sorghum (zunari or mareg) as a food crop in this area should not
be underestimated. Occasionally sorghum is planted in a separate
stand in a field, but this is more common to the south of el-Obeid
than it is to the north or east. In addition to sorghum, sesame is
also planted with watermelon seeds, cow peas and karkide. These
various seeds, along with sorghum seeds, are often mixed together
with sesame seeds prior to planting and then planted together in a
random fashion in the same holes, usually with no more than two
different crops per hole. Alternatively, sesame may be planted alone
on soil that was fallow the year before (boor). Two different rea-
sons are given by farmers for this practice:. 1) the fallow land is
"hot" and only a crop like sesame (simsim herehri) will successfully
grow on it; and 2) the boor land is more stable than previously
cultivated land and sesame plants are less likely to be damaged by
the wind. Farmers in the area also rarely intercrop groundnuts
with other crops, except to the southwest of El-Obeid. There we
observed farmers planting 1 row of sorghum (zunari) between every
5 rows of groundnuts. After several inquiries, we found that this
practice was quite common in that area. Besides sorghum, sometimes
watermelon will be planted between the rows of groundnuts just prior
to harvesting. This practice was observed in other areas as well,
though on an infrequent basis. Farmers may also intercrop okra with
sorghum, but in most cases it is grown separately in small plots on
the farm.

Farmers in this area regularly use DDT to protect post-harvest
storage of sesame. To protect them from ants, DDT is placed around
sesame piles left in the field to dry. Every farmer with whom we
talked engages in this practice. In addition, some farmers are

*In addition to the land holdings under cultivation, villages to the south of
El Obeid have small gardens planted near their houses called gebracka. These
gardens are usually planted by women and consist of sorghum, maize and a
large variety of vegetables for home consumption.


using a seed treatment dressing called Aldrex T (a locally-manufac-
tured substitute is dawa suweit) to help protect seeds from pests
during planting. Currently, it is primarily groundnuts and sesame
seeds being subjected to this treatment, despite the fact that it
can be used on other seeds as well. Although many farmers have
heard of this seed treatment dressing, few are.actually using it.
This is primarily because they lack adequate information regarding
its use. This is an area where extension could make a significant

Ants and termites are the major pests that eat the newly-planted
seed. The most important pest, however, in the el-Obeid region is
a beetle called simta (Cyrtocamenta Spp.) which attacks the millet
during flowering and seed formation. To lessen the risk of simta
attack, farmers often plant their millet crop early (May-June) to
avoid this pest's peak season in late September and October.
Simta attacks the millet only at night which makes it hard for
farmers to spot and control.

The second most important pest in millet are the quelea birds.
This pest is most prevalent at the same time that the simta is
active and is a further reason why farmers plant millet early.
Farmers lack any truly effective means for combatting these birds.
Their methods are mostly noise makers carried by children and
"scare quelea birds." Farmers recognize that certain varieties
of millet and sorghum with bristles on the head next to the seed
are resistant to bird attack, however such varieties of.sorghum
and millet are also recognized to be lower yielding. Some farmers
make a point of reserving a few heads of a bird-resistant variety
for planting in the next season.

Perhaps the third most important pest on millet is naffasha
(Eublemma brachygonia). The larva feeds on millet heads at the
milky stage. It eats its way at the base nf the seed starting
from the lower part of the head and working upwards in a spiral
form. As a result, the seeds are separated from the cob and are
usually blown by the wind leaving a bald headed millet plant.
Farmers lack any means of controlling this pest.

The most important diseases of millet and sorghum are long
smut and downy mildew. These diseases appear to be more preval-
ent in the case of millet than of sorghum. Some farmers recog-
nize that long smut is controlled by locally available seed
treatment dressings, Aldrex T and dawa suweit, but their use
does not seem to be widespread.

Buda (Striga) is a serious problem on goz (sandy) soils
which have been cultivated in millet for 4-5 years. The appear-
ance of buda is a signal to the farmer to rotate his crops or
to let the land go fallow. The major rotation in this region to
control buda is to alternate millet seasons with seasons of grow-
ing cash crops--e.g., sesame and groundnuts.


As for the rotation of crops, this practice is widespread in
this area, although farmers are not very systematic in the sequenc-
ing of planting alternative crops. Usually a different crop is
planted in the same field in each successive year, alternating
between the cash crop and the cereal crop (e.g. millet, then sesame
or groundnuts, then millet again). However, sometimes the same
crop may be grown in the same field in consecutive years, because
the crop continues to bring a high market price. Farmers will
usually plant in the same field anywhere from 6 to 10 years,
depending on the fertility of the field and the farmers' access
to other cropland. The appearance of striga (buda) is recognized
as a sign by most farmers that the field should be allowed to go'
fallow. Fallow periods last anywhere from 3 to 4 years to 10 to
15 years, depending on whether the farmer has access to other
farmland elsewhere. If enough farmland exists elsewhere, the
farmer will allow the gum arabic trees in his fallow field to
grow and will begin tapping them after 3 to 4 years. Tapping of
gum may continue for as much as 10 more years, but frequently
farmers return these fields to cultivation after a shorter time
period (the whole system of gum production in previously culti-
vated land is called the tonja system). The old gum arabic trees
are usually tapped in October and gum collection usually begins
40 days later. Following this 40-day period, gum is collected
every 15 days, up to six times, so collection of gum will continue
through February. New trees are tapped in March and gum is col-
lected after 20 days. After this 20-day period, gum is collected
every 10 to 12 days for up to 3 times. The older trees yield
more gum than the new trees. Gum arabic has decreased in impor-
tance in this area in recent years primarily because the return
to labor is lower and slower than it is to other cash crops,
and because the tapping of gum trees is hard, nasty work.
Gum harvesting is more widely practiced in the area east of
el-Obeid than to the south or southwest. The women, children
and older men who do not migrate from the v-llage during the dry
season are usually the ones who collect the gum.

In many of the villages under study, there is a tendency for
farmers to migrate to large urban centers or large agricultural
schemes during the dry season following the harvesting of their
crops. In most cases, these migrants are young farmers, but we
have found evidence that some older farmers with families may
migrate as well, either taking the whole family along or migrat-
ing by themselves. Farmers begin to migrate sometime in late
December of early January, and do not return to their farms until
May or June. Usually those who are migrating to urban areas
attempt to secure wages as construction laborers, while those who
are migrating to the large agricultural schemes such as Habila or
the Gezira are either involved with sorghum or cotton harvesting.
Migration of farmers seems to be closely tied to water availabil-
ity in many of these villages. (See Appendix B on water data
obtained from Initial Village Survey.) Because water is in short
supply and can become quite costly during the dry season, many
farmers migrate out. In some villages, more than 75% of the adult
males migrate. For this reason, migration and its relationship
to water availability will receive greater attention as the study


As for the allocation of labor, farmers--especially the poor
farmers--are hiring their labor out to other farmers within the
village. This activity is quite common in many of these villages
because poor farmers do not have enough food supplies to get them
through the cropping season and are forced to work for wages to
purchase food. This necessity draws their labor away from their
own fields during critical time periods in the crop production
cycle, and probably results in lower productivity for their own
farms. Also, farmers tend to hire labor (both outside and inside)
for-the cultivation of their cash crops but.usually work on their
millet fields by themselves or with their families (however rich
farmers do hire labor for millet cultivation). This tendency to
allocate hired labor to cash crops rather than subsistence crops
might be explained by the fact that farmers are well integrated
into the cash economy, and place a higher value on cash generat-
ing crops that allow them to purchase commodities from the market
that are not locally produced. Such commodities include food
items as well as manufactured goods. Our material goods inven-
tories of both shops as well as households in these villages
indicate a shift in this direction. (See Farming Systems Model.)
Allocating hired labor to subsistence crops such as millet would
not generate the same amount of income to purchase such items.
This labor allocation question bears further investigation.

The purchase of livestock seems to be the main form of sav-
ings and investment for farmers in the region. Small amounts of
surplus cash are often invested in goats and sheep, while larger
amounts are invested in cattle and camels. One of the main rea-
sons cited for why livestock are the preferred form of savings
is that whenever the farmer is in need of ready cash he can just
sell an animal. Other forms of savings include gold jewelry,
crops, and investment in capital intensive business enterprises.
Such forms of savings and investment are usually for the richer
farmers in the village and are not generally pursued by poorer
farmers. (See Farming System Model. Also see the market sec-
tion of the report.)

Farmers in this region have also had a long history of con-
tact with nomads. In many cases, this long contact has resulted
in the development of a symbiotic relationship between the two
groups. Nomads are often allowed to graze their animals on the
stubble left in the field after harvest, which enhances the
fertility of the farmers' field because of the manure deposited
by the animals. (See Farming System Model.) Also, farmers pur-
chase milk and meat from the nomads as well. Despite these
positive relations, some friction has been detected between
these groups. Some farmers complain about the damage these
grazing animals cause to their crops and gum trees, and several
court cases have been brought against the nomads. However,
this friction is not widespread and is found in only a few of
the villages under investigation.

C. Some Examples of the Types of Data Being Collected.

Although we are still in the preliminary stages of our village
ethnographies, we feel that the data we have collected thus far are


nevertheless quite revealing. To give the reader some idea of the speci-
fic kinds of data already collected, some examples will be provided below.

As stated earlier, we are collecting detailed descriptions of farm-
ing practices, such as the methods and techniques involved in the culti-
vation of millet, sesame,and groundnuts. For instance, we have identi-
fied 9 distinct tasks that farmers perform in the process of harvesting
millet, and have recorded the local names for each of these. Although
all of these tasks are in some way agronomically significant, one in
particular seems to be extremely important regarding seed selection.
After millet heads are cut from their stalks, farmers gather them into
piles--first many small piles (called khulba or kom), then later into
a number of larger piles (called sott), and finally into a single pile
which contains all the millet heads harvested in one field (called
jeruun). The reason for this three step procedure in accumulating
millet heads into larger size piles is to minimize the risk of damage
due to late rains or pest attack (termites in particular). The millet
heads are gathered into one large pile so that one large threshing area
(tugah) is all that the farmer needs to prepare for processing the millet.
The millet is then threshed (dugg), winnowed (mudraa), sacked,and taken
to a storage pit (matmura) which has been dug beside the farmer's house.
Several sacks may be retained for immediate consumption, while the rest
is dumped out of the sacks into a storage pit lined by millet chaff.
Aside from threshing the jeruun, farmers also select seed heads from
the pile for next year's planting. Selecting next year's seed from
the jeruun rather than from the millet stalks themselves could have
negative consequences. Farmers, in their cutting of millet (gata),
will gather millet heads which appear of high quality from "bunches"
of stalks* that may contain mostly inferior seed heads. Because of
the high cross-fertilization tendencies of millet, a strong possibility
exists that inferior genotypes are being passed on to next year's seeds
through the selection of such superior seed heads from a "bunch" of
inferior heads. As a result, farmers may be retaining inferior types
of millet in their fields from one year to the iext. This seed selec-
tion problem may be one area where agricultural scientists can provide
direct input as to when and how this process should be done.

We have also collected data on the various distinct growth stages
of millet that farmers recognize, and have obtained the names of these
stages. They recognize 12 stages in all. It is our hypothesis that
some of these various stages have something to do with the decisions
that farmers make regarding replanting practices or estimates of crop
failure or success. Such estimates may determine whether a farmer
will migrate to work for wage labor in another region or remain on
his farm. Also, we hypothesize that some of these growth stages may
represent stages at which particular types of pests such as insects,
birds or disease may be most prevalent. For instance, we already know

*Farmers will plant anywhere from 10-20 millet seeds per hole. As a
result, the millet plants grow in bunches or bushes. Farmers have
stated that anywhere from 10-50 heads may be present in one of these
bunches. Because the seed heads are in close proximity in these
bunches, cross-fertilization is quite frequent.


that birds are a significant problem when the millet reaches the milky
stage (leboni). We plan on investigating more thoroughly the relation-
ship between these stages and their corresponding pests.

In addition, we have found that the feriik stage (see below) of
millet growth is one of the most critical stages in millet production.
It is at this stage that the millet can first be consumed. Millet
reaches the feriik stage when the seeds on the heads begin to get semi-
hard. Through our investigations, we discovered that nearly all of the
villagers collect feriik out of the field when it first appears, and
rely on it heavily as a food source throughout the remaining part of
the rainy season (khariif)until the rest of the millet is harvested.
For the short maturing varieties of millet (dukn herehri), feriik
can be collected after 60-65 days, whereas it takes at least 80-85
days to appear in the longer maturing varieties (dukn beledi or dembi,
and aish bornu). This 20-25 days can be very critical to the small
farmer, because it is during this time of the rainy season that the
poor farmer usually runs out of food. As a result, he may be forced
to work as a wage laborer on someone else's farm to obtain funds to
purchase food supplies. This has the adverse affect of drawing the
farmer's labor away from his own field during a critical time period
in the crop production cycle, and could result in lowering the pro-
ductivity of his own farm. If the poor farmer is growing the short
maturing variety of millet rather than the long maturing one, he is
better able to secure a food supply sooner, reducing the pressure on
him to work for wages to obtain food. This would allow him to devote
more of his labor to his own field. Farmers themselves recognize
this and many poor farmers we have interviewed have emphasized the
benefits of growing the quicker maturing variety of millet. However,
because they cannot afford to pay for the seed, many poor farmers
are forced to plant the only variety of millet at their disposal.
In many cases, this is the longer maturing variety.

From these findings, it appears that some type of seed distribu-
tion program which provides quicker maturing varieties of millet to
small farmers would have a significant positive impact on those farmers
who rely on feriik as a food source. Access to such seeds would have
the dual effect of providing an earlier food source as well as allow-
ing the poor farmer to allocate his labor to his own productive

An additional type of data that we obtained that we consider
significant entails the practice that most farmers follow with regard
to supplementing their millet food supplies with purchased sorghum
feteritaa). Through numerous interviews, we have found that most
farmers do not grow enough millet to meet their consumption needs
(except for the rich). They often do this intentionally, allocating
a bigger portion of their farmland and meager resources to cash crops
rather than millet production. The strategy that is normally fol-
lowed is that farmers begin consuming their millet while it is in
the feriik stage (late dough stage) and continue to do so until the
millet is threshed and brought back to their compound for storage.
Farmers then keep a couple of sacks of millet out for immediate con-
sumption and store the rest in an underground storage pit located


outside their house.* After storing the rest of the millet, the farmer
then purchases a sack or two of sorghum feteritaa) from either a local
merchant or a large city market nearby (El Obeid or Rahad). This sorghum
most likely originates from the big mechanized farming schemes to the
south or east of El Obeid (Habila, Rahad, or Gedaref). The farmer then
combines 1 measure of millet to every 2-3 measures of sorghum. Farmers
say they mix millet and sorghum because they believe the millet tastes
better and is more nutritious than the sorghum. This purchasing of
sorghum and mixing it with millet continues until the following rainy
season. When the rains come, farmers dig up their millet in the stor-
age pits and consume this throughout the rainy season.

Several farmers reported that one reason they try to save their
millet until the rainy season is because they feel stronger when they
are eating millet. Farmers say that the Nuba wrestlers are so strong
because they eat millet. Farmers like to be eating millet rather than
sorghum when they are engaged in the onerous tasks of planting, re-plant-
ing, and weeding their fields. Some farmers also say that the millet
is "hot" (harr) and they do not want to eat it during the hot, dry
season (seif) of the year.

This strategy also makes sense when one considers the market price
of sorghum and millet at various times of the year. Sorghum and millet
prices are at their lowest in late December and January because the
supply of these crops is high due to the marketing of sorghum and some
millet from the large agricultural schemes. It is at this time that
farmers start purchasing millet and sorghum with cash obtained from
the sale of part of their cash crops (sesame and groundnuts)*. They
continue to buy sorghum until the rainy season begins, at which time
the price of sorghum and millet start reaching their peak prices. At
that time, farmers start consuming their own millet supplies until they
can eat millet from their fields again.

Ideally this is how the strategy works. Ii reality, poorer farmers
open their storage pits before the rainy seasons to obtain more of their
own millet supplies. As a result, farmers often run out of their own
millet before they can eat from their own fields again, so they are
forced to purchase sorghum at its highest price. To obtain cash for
such purposes, farmers may be forced to work for wage labor.

We are also collecting considerable data on the types of decisions
that farmers make with regard to cropping patterns. Our findings
indicate that farmers' behavior with regard to planting practices
may be logically patterned, and that decisions are made in systematic
ways. We refer to these patterned decisions as decision models, and
hypothesize that the models with which rich farmers operate are

*The millet is stored in storage pits outside the house primarily to
protect it from fire.

*Farmers will often put a major portion of their sesame crop in a
storage pit and hold it till one or two months before the rainy sea-
son. They then sell it at this time to have cash on hand to pay for
planting and other agricultural operations.


different from those of poor farmers. From the data collected so far,
it appears that poor farmers desire to plant short maturing varieties
of millet and sesame in order to obtain a quick return on their farm-
ing efforts. This might be explained by the fact that poor farmers
find themselves year after year in a position where they are in need
of food and cash at the time when the harvest season approaches. Thus,
quick maturing varieties are considered more desirable to grow because
they help alleviate this yearly crisis more quickly. Although this is
the ideal, in reality most poor farmers do not possess the quick matur-
ing seeds of both millet and sesame, nor can they afford to purchase
them, so they are often forced to plant the longer maturing variety
of one or both of these crops. As stated earlier, this puts the poor
farmer in a critical position and may influence how he allocates
his labor (either to his own production or to wage labor in someone
else's field).

The rich farmer, on the other hand, operates with a much more
complicated decision model. His first priority regarding his cropping
decisions is to plant crops which will bring about the greatest return
given the current environmental conditions. Ideally, such farmers will
attempt to grow longer maturing varieties of millet and sesame because
they are higher producers than the shorter maturing varieties. Unlike
poor farmers, rich farmers are usually not in need of food or money
during the harvest season, and can afford to wait to sell their crops
until the prices reach their peak. This is another reason why longer
maturing varieties are preferred. Usually, the only times that rich
farmers will grow shorter maturing varieties is when environmental
conditions are such that longer maturing varieties will not produce
well. Because the rich farmer is in a position to purchase all of
the needed inputs he requires, he is better able to pursue alterna-
tive cropping strategies. For instance, the rich farmer may decide
that the rains will be good this year, so he plants a long maturing
variety of millet. If by chance he miscalculated on the rains, he
can return to the field and replant in a shorter growing variety of
millet or sorghum or even sesame. Because he can afford the short
maturing seed and the labor necessary for a quick replanting, he is
less likely to suffer from his previous miscalculation and is still
able to obtain a good return from his field. In fact, because he
can afford to purchase alternative seeds, he can replant in any crop
which he estimates is more likely to be successful and give him the
greatest return. Poor farmers, on the other hand, do not have such
latitude available to them when it comes to replanting.

Our findings indicate that replanting is a common phenomenon in
farming in this area and that access to appropriate seed for replant-
ing may be one of the most serious constraints to production. We
hypothesize that one of the major reasons why replanting is so common
in this area is because of the preferred practice among farmers to
plant their crops prior to the rains (the practice is called remain).
Because the rains do not come in any consistent fashion from year to
year, farmers often miscalculate on this early planting and plant too
early. As a result, much of the planted crop does not germinate, and
large tracts of the field have to be replanted.


Farmers cite three reasons why they plant prior to the rains.
First, they point out that crops that are planted early (May) avoid the
peak seasons of pests, and so have a higher output. Second, food is
retrievable earlier from the field the earlier it is planted. Third,
labor is cheaper to hire the earlier one plants because the soil is
easier to work (very sandy-loose) and because the demand for labor
is notas high (not all farmers plant remail). Another adaptive advan-
tage we see for planting earlier is that crops that are planted before
the rains are able to take advantage of all the moisture that falls
during the season. This is critical in this area because some years
the total amount of rainfall just barely meets the.mihimum requirements
of the crops grown. Missing one or two rains could mean the difference
between success or failure for a farmer's crop. In the long run, plant-
ing early before the rains may be an adaptive approach to farming in th
this region.

Despite the possible long-run advantages of planting before the
rains, the subsequent need for replanting does pose serious problems
for poor farmers in this region. Although rich farmers, through their
marketing channels, are able to obtain short maturing seeds for replant-
ing, poor farmers are usually unable to obtain the desired seeds. As
a consequence, they tend to replant with whatever seeds are available,
and these are often inappropriate in view of the lateness of their
planting and decreasing availability of adequate rainfall. For this
reason, we feel that a seed distribution program should be started in
this area which can provide short maturing seed varieties to poor
farmers for replanting purposes.

The types of data just described are a few examples of the kinds
of information we are collecting. The collection of such data is
essential if a thorough understanding of the farming systems in this
region is to be obtained. It is our hope that these kinds of data will
enable us to construct a data collection instrument which elicits the
relevant information about farming practices in this area of N. Kordofan,
and that this information will be of use to any agricultural programs
impacting this area.

IV. Ethnographic and Documentary Study of the Rural Marketing System.

While the main focus of this study is on farming systems in North
Kordofan, with the farm household considered to be the basic unit of pro-
duction, consumption,and economic decision-making, considerable attention
is also being given to the marketing system which services the rural economy.
The significance of the marketing system in the aims of the present study
lies in its complex relationship to the farming system. This relationship
may be broadly characterized as follows: (a) the marketing system provisions
the farm household with most of the consumption requirements as well as with
farm inputs such as seed, seed dressing, and agricultural implements; (b) the
prices, or anticipated prices, of agricultural produce have far-reaching
effects on the selection of crops which farmers plant; (c) the marketing
sector is the main source of credit to farm families, local merchants are
accustomed to making loans in cash and in kind, and market forces deter-
mine the terms of repayment and the interest rate; and (d) the marketing
system is partly responsible for the development of different kinds of
farming systems that are based .in the economic inequality evident among
farmers in our sample of villages. The capital-intensive business of the


wealthy farmer allows him to purchase inputs and to adopt farming strategies
that are beyond the capability of the poor farmer lacking non-farm business
investments. The difference in farming systems carries over into differences
between the means by which the poor and the rich farmer market their crops.
The poor farmer may have mortgaged his crop to a shopkeeper in order to
obtain a consumption loan during the month before harvest. Another eventual-
ity is that the poor farmer will be compelled to sell his crop early and at
a low price because he lacks the capital to overcome the two bottlenecks of
marketing in the area--transportation and storage. The capitalistic farmer
can afford to lease transportation and storage if he does not in fact own
these facilities already.

The sources of data for this part of the study are two: the documentary
evidence afforded by government tax receipts for crop and livestock sales
and the ethnographic material obtained through observation and interview.
The government tax receipts contain a wealth of reasonably reliable infor-
mation about agricultural produce sales in the study area. A major draw-
back is that we have not been able to locate the tax records for several
of the markets in our samples of villages. A complete list of data is being
collected from the tax records of Abu Haraz market. However, we should be
able to gain access to the tax data for the current year. Each livestock
tax receipt indicates the date of sale, kind and number of animals sold, the
total price, and the tribe and residence of the seller and buyer. These
materials about livestock sales are still being collected and no attempt to
analyze them has yet been made. It is foreseen that the data can be used
to estimate volumes of sales throughout the year and changes in prices.
From the data about the tribe and residence of livestock buyers and sellers
we may be able to map the social identities of participants in the livestock

The tax receipts having to do with crop sales do not contain as much
information as those concerned with livestock. Nothing is recorded about
the identity of the seller, except in instances where the seller pays the
tax on his crop in order to transport it elsewhere (usually to el-Obeid)
hoping to get a higher price for it. The name of the buyer is recorded,
however, and by analyzing buyers' names on the tax receipts we are able to
quantify the degree of imperfect competition that prevails in the market.
The daily sales of crops in the Abu Haraz market, from March 15, 1980 to
March 20, 1981, have been recorded and analyzed in a preliminary manner.
These data will be referred to in order to illustrate some points when
the government crop markets are described below.

Another approach to study the marketing system that is complementary
to the gathering of documentary materials is the collection of data through
direct observation in conjunction with open-ended interviews and survey
interviewing. The end of October marks the start of the marketing season
(concurrent with the harvesting of the principal cash crops, sesame and
groundnuts). To prepare for studying the market, we were occupied during
September and early October gathering data using open-ended interviews
with merchants, itinerant vendors, clerks of government markets, and
farmers. We have endeavored to get a general picture of the organization
of marketing activities. Currently, we are preparing a survey interview
instrument designed to gather comparable quantitative information about the
marketing system. The survey is divided into five parts: (1) a checklist
of characteristics of the marketplace; (2) an interview schedule addressed
to fixed merchants (e.g., their social characteristic, career history,


description of their business, capital investment, credit lending, crop
buying, farm holdings); (3) a similar interview schedule for livestock
merchants; (4) another interview schedule addressed to itinerant vendors;
and (5) an interview schedule addressed to visitors in the marketplace
(e.g., frequency of visit to market, other markets visited social char-
acteristics, occupation, residence, indebtedness, purchases, and buying
strategy). This survey will be carried out in all six villages of the
sample of eighteen that have a market. The prospects are good for our
obtaining a nearly 100% sample of merchants and vendors in each market-
place; a random selection procedure will be devised for interviewing mar-
ket visitors.

This Market System Survey will be carried out from November to January.
As soon as the survey is completed we will go back to recording the data
from government tax records on the current year's sales. From January to
April we will also give our attention to gum harvesting and marketing.
Charcoal production and marketing is a second activity deserving study
at that time.

It would be premature in this report to offer an analysis of the rural
marketing system. Instead,the pages that follow relate to two more limited
topics. The first of these deals with the roles of the village shopkeepers.

A. The Village Shopkeeper

In the sample of eighteen villages only two--Kaba and el-Filia--lack a
resident shopkeeper. At Kaba, the proximity to el-Obeid may be citel as the
reason; at el-Filia it is extreme isolation and poverty. That the large
majority of the villages in the sample have at least one, and usually several,
shopkeepers is an indication of the importance of the shopkeeper's economic
roles. Merchants other than shopkeepers--such as millers, well owners, oil
press owners, bakers, and truck owners--are also encountered but not as
frequently, and it is doubtful that they influence the farming household
economy as broadly as the shopkeepers. Shopkeeping is an easier enter-
priseprise to start than these other types of business concerns because
the initial investment is comparatively low. A thatched hut will serve as
the shop and it can be equipped with scales and measures, tables, shelves,
gunny sacks and stocked with consumers goods for 500-1000 Sudanese pounds.

The economic roles of the village shopkeeper vis a vis farming house-
hold can be identified in these domains. First, the shopkeeper is respons-
ible for the day-to-day provisioning of the household with many of its
consumption requirements. Second, the shopkeeper is the first-line buyer of
the products produced by the household. Third, the shopkeeper is the source
of credit to households, particularly late in the cropping season before
the grain can be harvested--a time when many farm families are without
income and are unable to purchase their consumption needs.

A survey was made of the stock in trade of five village shops. Their
inventories of goods were found to be remarkably similar. Some of the com-
mon commodities are: tea, coffee, sugar, salt, red and black pepper, a
dozen or so kinds of spice, canned tomato paste and dried tomatoes, biscuits,
sorghum feteritaa), wheat flour, yeast, onion, dried okra, pasta, sesame oil,
candy, chewing gum, matches, hand soap, laundry soap, bleach, razor blades,
flashlight batteries, padlocks, henna (a dye applied to the hands and feet),
kerosene, bicarbonate of soda, aspirin, chloroquine phosphate in ampules


(for malaria), and custard powder mix (for treating diarrhea in children).
The availability of particular commodities varies with the season. For
example, the shopkeeper will sell feterita sorghum, imported to the area
from the mechanized farming schemes at Habila and Gedarif, during the
rainy season when the farmer's stores of grain are exhausted. During
the marketing season (November-January) when customers have cash to spend,
the shopkeeper may stock cloth and inexpensive shoes.

In examining the inventories of these shops we are struck by the num-
ber of commodities that are ingredients in the daily needs of farming fam-
ilies. From this and other evidence we are led to the conclusion that
farm families require continuous supply of cash in order to pay for con-
sumption purchases at the village shop.

The importance of the shopkeeper does not end with providing fellow
villagers with consumer goods. He is also the primary buyer of many pro-
ducts of the farming household. In fact we hypothesize that the sale of
its products to the local shopkeeper is one of the chief reasons why the
farming household is able to meet its consumption costs. To get a clearer
picture of the shopkeeper's role as a buyer we may take the example of a
shopkeeper at el-Kharta. He belongs to a prominent extended family in
the village, which in addition to large land holdings also has several
business interests, including the operations of a flour mill, two shops,
and a truck. The table below lists the produce that the shopkeeper pur-
chases from farming families and how he disposes of it:

Table III

Purchase and Disposal of Products by a Village Merchant.

Purchases Disposal
millet consumed by shopkeeper's household
sorghum processed by mill owned by shopkeeper's
father and resold to villagers
feriik (an immature sent to el-Obeid in grandfather's
sorghum favored for trucks for sale*
eating on festive
watermelon seeds same as above
gum arabic same as above
charcoal same as above
sesame sent to el-Obeid in grandfather's truck
for sale; small amount reserved for
consumption by shopkeeper's household'
groundnuts same as above
karkide same as above

*On such trips to el-Obeid, the shopkeeper can buy goods from wholesalers to
replenish the inventory of his shop.


Purchases Disposal
cucumber resell to villagers
okra' resell to villagers
millet stalks repair shopkeeper's structures, sell
surplus to buyers from Bara or
wild fruits sell at el-Obeid

This example is not atypical. It illustrates the prominent role of the
shopkeeper as a first-line buyer of farming household products. The reasons
that farmers sell their produce to shopkeepers rather than at a market
where the prices may be higher are basically three: (1) Because the shop-
keeper is near at hand and willing to purchase in small quantities, the
farmer can obtain a sale without incurring storage and transportation
costs. (2) The opportunity of going to the market and possibly getting a
better price is outweighed when there is an urgent need for cash since
the market can only be attended on the those days when it is operating
and to go and return usually takes up the whole day. The simple conven-
ience of trading with the local shopkeeper is also significant in this
connection. (3) The farming household may be in debt to the 'shopkeeper
in which event the sale of produce to the shopkeeper is usually part of.
the loan agreement.

Another factor which is pointedly illustrated in the above table is
that from the standpoint of facilitating marketing, the shopkeeper is
frequently able to mobilize social ties (notably kinship) to assist in
transportation, processing and storing his purchases. Ordinary farmers
do not do this.

Shopkeepers make loans to fellow villagers late in the cropping sea-
son, before harvest. This is generally a time when farming households are
bereft of cash and are feeling a consumption squeeze. Shell is the term
used generally to refer to this sort of credit in the traditional farming
sector, but credit arrangements are more complex than this term signifies.
Strictly speaking, shell refers to crop mortgaging. The farmer receives
an amount of cash or consumption goods from the shopkeeper while promising
to repay in a cash crop the equivalent value of the loan based on the
crop's current market value. Such loans are usually made very near the
harvest period when the merchant can observe the borrower's crop and
assess if it is worth the risk to make the loan. The borrower is supposed
to pay the merchant as soon as his crop is harvested. The shopkeeper then
waits as much as two months before selling. Profit margins of 100% are
not unheard of in these cases. A second reason for insisting that the
loan be repaid immediately after the harvest--other than to keep the price
of the mortgaged crop low--is to allow the shopkeeper to make direct
purchases of crops while the prices are still low.

Another credit arrangement which, according to shopkeepers is more
popular with farmers nowadays, who may refuse to borrow under terms of
sheil, is a commodity loan with cash repayment. Here the customer buys
commodities on credit from the shop and promises to repay in cash. Pro-
vided that the shopkeeper is confident that his customer will pay after
the harvest, this form of loan generally carries no interest. It moves
the shop's inventory and builds goodwill with customers. In actual loans


of money, interest is usually charged however. The rate varies between 25%
and 50% depending on the length of time before repayment. Two months is
considered the maximum limit of time for repayment.

Credit is a difficult subject to investigate because both shopkeepers
and farmers are reluctant to speak about it in concrete terms. It is a
subject of considerable importance to the farming systems analysis, never-
theless, since it is by means of credit that a sizable proportion of farm-
ing families are able to pay their consumption bill during the months of
August through October. It is our hope that patient and persistent inter-
viewing will bring to light the concrete data that we are seeking.

This section has focused on the role of the village shopkeeper vis a vis
farming households. It will have achieved its purpose if it has shown how
dependent the farming households are on the goods and services that the shop-
keeper provides. Another economic role of the shopkeeper which is integral
to this operation of the rural marketing system is the tendency for shop-
keepers to serve as agents for big urban-based merchants and commercial firms.
This aspect of marketing will await a future report for full treatment, but
the next section touches on it briefly.

B. Government Crop Market

To illustrate the organization of a government crop market, the market
at Abu Haraz is described below.

The marketplace is open the year around, but crops are mainly sold in
the period from October to April. The marketing of various crops
depends on their times of harvesting. The volume of groundnuts sales
show a sharp increase in October. Sesame, gum and karkide follow in
November. Approximately 25 villages sell crops at Abu Haraz. There
are 11 shopkeepers who regularly buy these crops; all of them live
in Abu Haraz. They. in turn are usually acting as the agents of firms
or big merchants at el-Obeid. These firms or big merchants number
about 15, but this figure is deceiving. In relation to the number of
transactions, a very few buyers actually control the market. For
example in November of last year one firm in el-Obeid bought 63% of
the lots of groundnuts sold, 100% of the sesame, 50% of the gum arabic,
and 100% of the karkide.

One of the purposes of the government crop markets was to instill
greater competition in rural marketing by having crops sold at auction, but
this objective has been circumvented by monopsonostic buyers who never bid
at this auction themselves. Their agents bid in their stead after agree-
ing among themselves to set a ceiling for the bidding.

The following is an outline of sales procedures at the Abu Haraz crop

1. The producer transports his crop to the zariiba (market enclosure at
his own expense).

*All government crop markets are supposed to follow these procedures, but at
the small ones even the semblance of competition by means of a formal auc-
tion is dispensed with.


2. The crop is assigned to a numbered lot (called nimra).
3. Among the producers with crops on the same lot, one has been chosen to
represent the group; he is called the khabiir. Selection of the pro-
ducers' representative is not formalized, but sometimes the representa-
tive may be a village merchant who arranges to transport the crops.
Otherwise, the representative may simply be a volunteer, while the
position rotates among several farmers who usually market their pro-
duce together. The khabiir receives a ticket for his numbered lot on
which is recorded his name, village, council, kind of crop and number
of sacks.
4. At 11:00 a.m. the merchants are summoned to the auction (dalaala). The
merchants' names have been selected at random to determine the order in
which to make their bids. (The merchants sit in chairs lined up in
this order.) The merchant whose name was drawn first begins the bidding.
The other merchants in turn may increase the bid above the previous offer;
each merchant may bid as many times as necessary until the bidding stops.
The bids are stated as price per kantar (a unit of weight equal to 44.9
kg.). If there are no following bids after the first offer, the auction-
eer (dallaal) asks the khabiir if he agrees to sell at the price quoted.
If the khabiir refuses, bidding on the lot is postponed until later in
the day, when another attempt will be made to auction it. The official
procedure is to hold crop until the next day's auction, but because
many producers are poor farmers who intend to return to their villages
that same night, this procedure of offering the crop for sale twice in
the same day has been instituted for their benefit. If the khabiir is
still dissatisfied with the price offered after several attempts to
auction the crop, he may pay the ushuur tax (a 15% government levy on
market value) on the highest price bid and take his crop to the
el-Obeid market, hoping for a better price there.
5. After a sale price has been determined in auction, the lot is weighed
to determine its total value. The khabiir is then given a ticket stat-
ing the lot's weight and value. The khabiir takes a copy of this ticket
to the buyer to receive payment. At the weighing station the crop is
removed from the producer's sacks and put in the buyer's sacks.
6. Two other forms are filled out: a record of the merchant's purchases
(daftaar mushtiraat at-taajir) indicates the weight and sale price;
the other record shows the taxes--gibaana and ushuur--which must be
paid. These taxes are assessed at constant rates, namely:

gibaana is .15/kantar
ushuur is .15 on each 1.00 L.S. of total price

The seller pays ushuur and the merchant pays gibaana. If the merchant
wants to remove his purchase from the market right away, he goes to the
market office and pays the tax; otherwise, the market clerk may have to
seek him out.
7. After paying the gibaana the merchant may remove his crop. The common
practice is to transport the produce to el-Obeid immediately because
storage facilities in Abu Haraz are limited*

*This is one reason for the monopsony by the commercial firms and big mer-
chants from el-Obeid in Abu Haraz market. They own or can rent storehouses.
The second reason for their control of the market is that they often supply
their agents, the shopkeepers of Abu Haraz who bid for crops at the auction,
with cash advances so that they can purchase these crops in large quantities.


8. The truck driver who carries the purchased crop to el-Obeid must have
three documents to get past the police checkpoints which are designed
to discourage countraband: the bill of sale, the tax receipt, and a
transport permit. All of these documents are provided by the market
clerk (kaatib as-suuq).

The imperfect competition which is so evident in Abu Haraz market
appears to be characteristic of the marketing system in the study area as a
whole. This suggests that the income of farmers might be raised and their
incentive to produce increased by a well-formulated program to by-pass the
existing market structure. The Sudan Agricultural Bank has such a program,
although it is still experimental. In the last two years the Bank has set
up cooperative societies in eight villages. In addition to supplying cash
loans to farmers for agricultural inputs, the program arranges for the
transportation of participating farmers' crops to el-Obeid and storage there
until a favorable price appears in the market.

V. Recommendations

Our intention in this and future interim research reports is to provide
an extensive summary of our findings so that the agencies with which we are
collaborating can use this information immediately rather than waiting for
a final report a year or more hence. Likewise, we intend to make recom-
mendations which according to our current knowledge are strongly indicated.
The following recommendations are made at this time. A much longer list
is anticipated when we are more sure of our findings.

1. Our research procedures may be generalized as a guide for rapidly collect-
ing information about farming systems in an area. A complete analysis
requires the quantitative backing of a large-sample survey, such as our
Farming System Survey. But if the objective is to learn as much about
the farming systems as possible in a short period of time, one cannot do
better than using the village survey as a means of gathering a broad
array of data about the village economy and then following it up with
an intensive ethnographic study of two or three villages with an aim
to joining farmers in their fields and seeking a comprehensive under-
standing of production decisions and constraints. By this method a
single researcher may hope to "do" 8-12 villages in four months' time.

2. A seed propagation and distribution program is needed for millet, sor-
ghum, sesame, and groundnuts. Special emphasis should be given to
producing early maturing varieties of crops:and making these available
to poorer farmers for first planting as well as replanting.

3. The Agricultural Extension Office for North Kordofan needs vehicles,
spare parts, and fuel in order to carry out its mission. Extension
agents should be prepared to address farmers on the correct use of seed
dressing with different crops.

4. An agricultural scientist should make close observations of seed selec-
tion practices in the area of the study to determine if improvements
are necessary.

5. Entymologists should further study the life cycle of the sinta
(Cyrtocamenta Spp.) beetle that is perhaps the most damaging insect
to millet crops in the region. Farmers need some effective way to
combat this pest.


6. Agricultural research should be directed toward investigating integrated
crop and livestock production systems. Especially important is deter-
mining economically productive, risk-minimizing, ecologically sound
crop rotation patterns for the region. Unless such systems are identi-
fied and developed desertification of this fragile region will not be
long forestalled. We believe that systems that begin with the aim of
improving existing practices in the area are likely to be more success-
ful than those that depend on wholesale change.




Appendix A.

I. Number of Households (use informant's definition of household)
A. Population size
II. Access to Water
A. Water sources (locality)
1) Cost of water
2) Distance
3) Seasonality
III. Access to Transport
A. Motorized transport (types)
1) Destination (amount of time required)
2) Costs for passengers
3) Costs for hauling crops
4) Differences in seasonal access
5) Differences in seasonal costs
6) Ownership of vehicles
B. Animal Transport (including cart transport)
1) Destination (amount of time required)
2) Costs for hauling crops (from field and/or to market)
3) Differences in seasonal access
4) Ownership of animals or carts
C. Human Transport
IV. Access to Markets
A. Place(s) where crops are sold (distance in time)
1) Difference in price paid
2) Amount sold of total output
B. Place(s) where everyday commodities are bought (distance in time)
C. Place(s) where farm equipment is bought (distance in time)
D. Nearest Periodic Market
1) Distance in time
2) Market days
3) Types of goods
4) Number of shops
E. Other Periodic Markets
1) Distance in time
2) Market days


3) Types of goods
4) Number of shops
F. Nearest Permanent Market
1) Distance in time
2) Types of Commodities
G. Other Permanent Markets Frequented
1) Distance in time
2) Types of Commodities
H. Shops in Village
1) Number
2) Types
3) Commodities sold
4) Times the shops are open during the day and during the week
I. Nearest Shops in Other Villages
1) Location
2) Distance in time
3) Types
4) Commodities sold
5) Times the shops are open during the day and during the week
V. Principal Crops Grown
A. Rank all crops grown in order of importance (Informant's perspective)
1) Crops marketed
2) Subsistence crops
B. Wild Foods (types marketed)
C. Delineate average size farm (in local land measurement unit)
1) Poor farmer
2) Rich farmer
3) Average farmer
D. Area cultivated for each crop on a typical farm
E. Rotation Practices
1) Cropping sequence
2) Number of consecutive years a plot of land is cultivated
3) Fallow periods
a) Signs farmers use to determine land should be followed
b) Length of fallow
c) Uses of fallow land


4) Crop selection by soil type or soil condition
F. Intercropping
1) Kinds of crops intercropped (limit on number cropped together)
2) Intercropping by row
3) Intercropping in the same hole
G. Five-year recall of harvests (good or bad)
H. Assessment of this year's crop
I. Major crop pests for each crop
1) Insects
2) Plant diseases
3) Vertebrates
VI. Livestock
A. Rank livestock in order of importance
B. Estimates of number of each type of livestock per household
1) Poor household
2) Rich household
3) Average household
C. -Uses of Livestock
D. Marketing of livestock
*E. Major diseases and pests
*F. Kinds of fodder
*G. Use of Veterinary Services
*H. Use of grazing lands: seasonal migration
VII. Labor
A. Communal labor
1) Types
2) Occasions
3) Average number participants
4) Consumption of food, beverages, etc.
B. Hired Labor
1) Outside hired labor
2) Inside hired labor
3) Wage rates by agricultural operation for each crop
4) Differences in wage rates between piece work and internal work


C. Labor Migration
1) Rank migration destination in order of preference
2) Time period of migration
3) Characteristics of migrants
4) Types of employment sought in migration destinations
VIII. Village Institutions and Services
(e.g., flour mill, oil press, bakery, cooperative dispensary, school,
police station, cheese factory, electric generator, mosque, rural coun-
cil buildings) (Try to be exhaustive.)
IX. Non-farm Occupation
(e.g., tailors, butchers, carpenters, bedmakers, shoemakers, government
midwives, nurses, policemen, mill workers, guards, barbers, cooks, women
craft producers).
X. Overt, Observable Indication of Disparate Wealth
A. Housing materials
1) Types
2) Number of each type.
B. Radio/tape recorders/TVs
C. Motorized vehicles
XI. Ethnic Diversity in Village Population
A. Tribal affiliations (or other ethnic classification)
B. Percentage of total population
C. Residence patterns (quarters vs. dispersed)
XII. History Village
A. Period when first settled (founding ethnic group)
B. Date of establishments of major institutions and public works
XIII. Land Tenure
A. Existence of communal land
B. Private ownership
C. Rental arrangements
D. Sharecropping


APPENDIX B. Access to water, from the Initial Village Survey.

The data below come from the initial survey that was made of 18 villages.
As elsewhere in North Kordofan the scarcity and cost of water impose severe
constraints on the farmers in the area of our study. The most obvious con-
sequence of the shortage of water is the villagers' out-migration during the
dry season to areas such as the cities and large agricultural schemes where
the supply of water is more secure. Other factors related to the avail-
ability of water include the size of the village and the number of economic
and social institutions it has. In the descriptions that follow it becomes
evident that each village has met the problem of getting access to water in
a unique way.


donkay diesel-powered water pump

girba goatskin for hauling water

hafiir large pond, usually dug and maintained with government assistance

khor rainy season streambed

tamed shallow well dug in a depression or the bank of a streambed

Umm Sot

Orientation from el-Obeid: 40km N
Population: 700
Access to water:

A diesel water pump station (donkay) is beside the village. Vil-
lagers are charged 2 piasters each time they draw water for their house-
hold. An additional 4 piasters is charged to water a camel; 2 piasters
for a donkey. The average family pays 2-5 piasters each day for water.
The pump was established by the government as a self-help program for
the village. Other villages also draw water for the same fee. The
money collected is used to buy diesel fuel for the pump. The man who
collects the money is elected from among the villagers; in addition,
there are 2 or 3 government workers who operate the pump and oversee
the watering of livestock. The pump operates all the year long, and
the fees are constant. If the pump breaks down, the villagers must
go to the wells at ed Diriis, about one hour away by donkey. In an
emergency when the pump is broken, water may be drawn free at these


Orientation from el-Obeid: 23km N
Population: 2000
Access to water:

Water is obtained from the diesel pump at Khor Tagget and at
el-Obeid. There is also a hafiir about one-half hour away by donkey,
at Farajallah. In the rainy season about 2/3 nf the families go there
to get water for their household needs (the water is "dirty", meaning
both muddy and unhealthful).

The trip by donkey to either el-Obeid or Khor Tagget takes about
3 hours. Men who sell.charcoal after the rainy season transport their
product to el-Obeid and return with water; those who have nothing to
sell at el-Obeid usually go to Khor Tagget. In the dry season, Khor
Tagget is often crowded with animals, and it is necessary to wait in
line. In this case, the villagers may go to el-Ban Jedid which is 2
hours away by truck. During the dry season the villagers are not
allowed to take water from el-Obeid.

During the rainy season only, water may be purchased from pumps
at el-Obeid for 11 piasters/barrel, although the official price is
only 3 piasters/barrel. The balance is a bribe because it is illegal
to sell this water to villagers although the officials will do it
during the rainy season. Last rainy season when the pumps at Khor
Tagget and el-Ban Jedid were not operating, the headman at el-Kharta
went to the rural council and obtained permission to draw water from
el-Obeid for seven days at the official price. During the dry season
it is possible to get water from private wells near el-Obeid at
5 piasters/tin.


At Khor Tagget water can be purchased for 12 piasters/barrel
year-round (hauling by truck--see below). To fill two waterskins
(girba) plus letting the donkey drink costs 3 piasters. To fill four
waterskins and let the camel drink costs 9 piasters.

El-Ban Jedid and sometimes Bano are sources of water only when
the pump at Khor Tagget is out of order. Informants were not sure of
the price but said it would cost more at these places than at Khor
Tagget because the pumps were private. The pump at Khor Tagget breaks
down once or twice each year for several days each time.

There are six cisterns in el-Kharta that are owned by different
families. Their capacities in barrels are: 1-60, 2-37, 3-50, 4-25,
5-60, 6-30. Water is hauled to fill these cisterns by a rural council
truck, which comes according to request in the rainy season and weekly
or bi-weekly during the dry season, and by 3 commercial trucks which
come daily but only in the dry season. The government driver sells
to the cistern owners at 100 piasters/barrel. The cistern owners sell
the same water to the villagers at a rate around 150 piasters/barrel.
The commercial truckers sell to the cistern owners for 150-160
piasters/barrel, and the cistern owners sell to the villagers at
180 piasters/barrel. The owners of the commercial trucks do not own
any cisterns in el-Kharta.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 25km ENE
Population: 750
Access to water:

In the rainy season water is collected from two rain ponds--one
about hour away by donkey the other 1 hour away. In a good year the
ponds will yield water from July to October. Water is hauled by
families as needed, the water is free, and no one hauls water for
a fee.

In the dry season, water is brought for Khor Tagget and el-Obeid
by two commercial trucks whose owners are residents of Demokia. The
truck owners have permission to take water from the government pumps.
They buy water at Khor Tagget for 10 piasters/barrel and sell to
cistern owners in Demokia for 150 piasters/barrel. (Truck owners do
not own cisterns). The cistern owners sell to their fellow villagers
at 16 piasters/tin. The cisterns, which are owned by different per-
sons, are four: 15 barrel, 18 barrel, 20 barrel, and 34 barrel.
Sometimes, families haul their own water from Khor Tagget by camel
or donkey, but it is a 9-hour round-trip.

Umm Kuka

Orientation from el-Obeid: 20km ENE
Population: 400
Access to water: (Continued on next page)


Access to water:

In the rainy season, the villagers drink from two rain pools, 10
and 15 minutes away by donkey. About 10 other villages also drink at
the same pools; the water is free for all. Animals are barred from
using the easternmost pool but are allowed to drink at the westernmost

In the dry season, water is brought from Khor Tagget, which is 3
hours distance by donkey. Water costs 4 piasters for a donkey load
(2 waterskins) and 8 piasters for a camel load (4 waterskins). Live-
stock may also water at Khor Tagget--e.g., 2 piasters/cow for each

The village has 2 cement cisterns (18 barrels each) which are
filled in the dry season with water trucked from Khor Tagget. The
cistern owners are local shopkeepers. They do not own the trucks
that haul the water. One of the trucks comes from Egeila and the
other is from el-Hammadiya. The first of these comes once daily
hauling water. (It actually makes two trips daily, one to Umm Kuka
and one to Egeila). The truck from el-Hammadiya visits Umm Kuka
every other day; alternating days it hauls water to el-Hammadiya.
The cost of water to the cistern owners is 80-90 piasters/barrel
when the supply is ample and 170-180 piasters/barrel when water is
scarce (e.g., when the pump at Khor Tagget breaks down). Villagers
buy water from the cistern owners at 15 piasters/tin at the end of
the rainy season increasing to 20 piasters/tin in the height of the
dry season. Three or four families in the village own water barrels
and are able to buy water from the trucks at the same price as the
cistern owners. The truck operators pay 30-40 piasters/barrel of
water at Khor Tagget. If the pump at Khor Tagget breaks down, the
same trucks will get water from Bano and el-Obeid.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 22km E
Population: 1200
Access to water:

This village hasn't a hafiir, but in 1976 the residents applied
to the rural council to have one built. 300 L.S. has been accumula-
ted by the villages to help finance the project, which is currently

During the rainy season, the villagers get water from hafiirs
in Dajo (1 2 hours away by donkey) and el Deilat (1 hours away
by donkey). The pond at el Deilat is the smaller of the two; when
its water is finished the villagers go to Dajo. To use either
hafiir costs 50 piasters per season.

During the dry season water is brought from el-Obeid to
el-Hammadiya by commercial trucks. There are 2-5 trucks operating
daily out of the village itself which haul water in barrels to fill
the village's four cisterns. The cistern owner buys from the truck


owner for 140-150 piasters/barrel and then sells to the villagers at
10 piasters/tin in December and 15 piasters/tin in March-June. The
cisterns are not used during the rainy season.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 33km E
Population: 600
Access to water:

Depending on the supply of water in rain pools, the villagers will
start using their hafiir between October and January. The hafiir is
usually dried up in March, because the drainage system for collecting
the water was poorly designed so that the hafiir does not fill suffi-
ciently. More than 40 villagers drink from the same hafiir--all free
of charge.

There are three cisterns in the village--one owned by the rural
council and two that are privately owned. In the dry season the coun-
cil truck delivers water every day to fill the council cistern. There
is a charge of 7.5-8 piasters/tin for this water when it is drawn from
the cistern. A villager (elected by his fellows) takes charge of
these accounts and pays the rural council a 20 L.S. deposit for use of
the cistern each season. He then buys each truck load of water (250
tins) for 16.80 L.S. and sells it to the villagers for 7.5-8 piasters/
tin. When there is an acute water shortage, commercial trucks may
be hired in el-Obeid to haul water to fill the two private cisterns.
The owners of the private cisterns pay 1.70-2.00 L.S./barrel and sell
to the villagers-15-20 piasters/tin. The commercial trucks and pri-
vate cisterns are generally used only when the council truck is broken
down or without fuel. Water may also be purchased in the surrounding
villages--Karra (1 hour by donkey) and Umm Kiceira (45 minutes by
donkey) for about 20 piasters/tin.

In the dry season, small animals--sheep, goats, donkeys--are
watered in the village. Cattle are sent to the pump at el-Hamra (3
hours away walking) where the charge is 2 piasters/cow/day and 4
piasters/camel/day. Alternatively, the villagers may send their
animals to Khor Tagget, but most prefer el Hamra because its resi-
dents are members of the same tribal segment.

Another source of water in the dry season consists in shallow
wells that are dug in a depression about 1 hours to the north of
Geifil or in another area about 1 hour to the south. Usually two
brothers or a father and son dig a well in partnership and pay the
landowner 25-50 piasters/season. This type of water source may
last until May or June before going dry.

In the rainy season, the villagers drink from 5 rain pools
located within 15 minutes walk of the village.



Orientation from el-Obeid: 40km ESE
Population: 500
Access to water:

In the rainy season, the villagers rely on rain pools within 10
minutes walk from the village.

In the dry season (January to June), every family digs 5-6 shallow
wells in khors and depressions. These shallow wells are all nearby the
village. The wells go dry in April or May. From that time until the
rains come, the villagers use the government hafiir at Wad el-Baga,
which is 7 hours away by donkey. Each family sends a camel or donkey
every day to fetch water, and no one hauls water for a fee.

Until about 3 years ago the people of el-Filia used to visit
shallow wells at Ajari (3 hours away) where they could draw water
during the dry season after paying a seasonal rent of 6-10 L.S. In
recent years, however, these wells have dried up early in the dry
season. So the villagers began making the long trek to Wad el-Baga.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 40km SE
Population: 500
Access to water:

A government hafiir is only 15 minutes away by donkey. About
13 villages--besides Burbur--drink from it free of charge during the
dry season. In the rainy season, the people of Burbur find water in
the watercourse (khor) which is right beside the village. The khor
usually has some standing pools so that shallow wells (tamad) are
unnecessary. Water is taken from the khor from July until October
and hauled to the village in waterskins or tins by both animals and

In the dry season, the supply of water in the hafiir is usually
insufficient for large herds, so livestock is taken to el-Ban Jedid
or Sheikan, both about 3 hours walking. At Sheikan the animals drink
free. There is a charge at el-Ban Jedid (government pump): 3 piasters/
cow/day; 1 piaster/goat or sheep/day; 5 piasters/camel/day. Cattle
are prohibited from using Burbur's hafiir after the rainy season and
must go to either el-Ban Jedid or Sheikan (livestock accepted at
Sheikan from April until July). From October until April, livestock
have to be taken to el-Ban Jedid. The pump there makes drawing water
easy; at Sheikan water must be drawn by hand.


El-Ban Jedid

Orientation from el-Obeid: 23km SSE
Population: about 8000
Access to water:

el-Ban Jedid has a huge acquifer which supplies plentiful water
year-round. The village is flanked by several hundred truck farms
where vegetables and fruits are grown for the el-Obeid market. In all
there are 163 pumps in the vicinity of the village. Humans and animals
mainly drink from the pump (donkay) operated by the government coopera-
tive, but on occasion they may drink from other sources. The cost of
drawing water at the cooperative pump is 1 piaster/tin. Animals are
watered at the following rates: 20 piasters/cow/month; 10 piasters/
sheep or goat/month; 5 piasters/camel/day; 2 piasters/donkey/day. If
the cooperative pump is not working, water can be purchased from the
private pumps for about 2 piasters/tin. There are four wells with-
out pumps available to the villagers free of charge but these are
rarely used because people prefer to pay and have their water drawn

There are no cisterns in el-Ban Jedid but about 15 carts haul
water daily from the cooperative pump to residences.and sell it for
4 piasters/tin. Each cart is owned individually, and the cart owners
are all part-time farmers.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 43km S
Population: 5000
Access to water:

A half-hour walk from Kazgeil there are 5 privately-owned wells
which are reliable the year around. In the dry season water is sold
at the wells for 12.5 piasters/barrel. Cart drivers haul two barrels
at a time to the village and sell the water for 8 piasters/tin. There
are 30-40 such cart drivers operating in Kazgeil. Each one makes up
to three trips to the wells and back each day. From July to October,
water is obtained free from nearby rain pools and from pits dug in the
banks of khors.

Umm Arada

Orientation from el-Obeid: 25km S
Population: about 1000
Access to water:

Two hafiirs were dug side by side by the government in 1966. Water
is always available throughout the year. It is free for the residents
as well as outsiders. Also, within 5 minutes walk from the village are
two cement-lined wells that were also dug by the government (1950's).


They too supply water through the entire year, and it is free.
Thirty-five villages get drinking water from these sources on a
first-come, first-serve basis. Often, visitors to the resevoirs
come at night. The hafiirs are surrounded by a fence to keep out
the animals, and each resevoir has a guard.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 10km S
Population: 110
Access to water:

From the beginning of July to the end of October water is taken
from a nearby Khor. During the dry season water is obtained at the
private pump at Khor el-Abyad. Water drawn for human consumption is
free but there is a charge for animals: 1 piaster/goat/day; 2 piasters/
cow/day; 5 piasters/camel/day. Every household fetches water about 2
times each day during the dry season. If the pump is not working at
Khor el-Abyad due to a break-down or lack of diesel, the villagers
travel 1 hours to another government pump at Bano, which charges the
same fees. Sometimes in the dry season when the villagers are going
to el-Obeid shopping they will purchase water there at 2 piasters/tin.

Umm Ramad

Orientation from el-Obeid: 30 km SSW
Population: 3700
Access to water:

In the dry season water is drawn from two cement-lined wells
(saniya), five minutes walk from the village. One of the wells was
dug by the government; the other is owing to the collective sponsor-
ship of the village. Both water sources are used free of charge.
There is also a government hafiir near the wells which is also free
of charge. Thirty villages drink here as well as nomadic pastoralists.
In November and December, shallow wells (tamad) are dug in the nearby
khor primarily for watering animals, and this is done largely because
the other watering points are crowded. Shallow wells are dug by
100-150 persons each season, and each of these digs 3 or 4.

In the rainy season, the villagers continue to use the cement-
lined wells and the hafiir, and they also use rain pools.

Two carts haul water to the village and sell it; about 5 donkeys
also haul water in leather bags for sale. The price--rainy season or
dry--is 5 piasters/tin. Most families depend on their women to carry
water to the house on their heads.


Abu Haraz

Orientation from el-Obeid: 47km SW
Population: 5000-10,000
Access to water:

During the rainy season ample water for animals is provided by two
large khors near the village. Humans drink from 8 privately owned wells
where the water is during the rainy season and costs 1 piaster/tin in
the dry season. In the dry season more than 50 shallow wells are dug
in the beds and banks of khors; charge is also 1 piaster/tin. Also
women dig shallow pits in the branches of the khor to find clear water.

A government pump is scheduled to go into operation in the coming
year. Another pump that is privately owned and used for irrigating a
farm also sells water for 60 to 100 piasters/barrel. Surrounding
villages also buy from this pump which lies 1 km outside Abu Haraz.

Water is delivered to the village from the wells in carts, which
carry 2 barrels each. The cart owner buys a barrelful of water for
about 60 piasters in the dry season and sells at 6 piasters/tin. In
the rainy season, the barrel costs him only 10 piasters, but he still
sells at 6 piasters/tin.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 37km SW
Population: 400
Access to water:

In the rainy season water is accessible in 3 khors (5-30 minutes
away). During the dry season the villagers go to Umm Ramad (45 minute
walk) for water. (Umm Ramad is also one of the main marketing centers
for the inhabitants of Wardass). At Umm Ramad, the villagers from
Wardass have access to a government hafiir, a government well, and a
private well. The government facilities are free. The private well
charges 25 piasters/cow but humans drink free; the price for sheep
and goats is negotiable. Many people prefer to water their live-
stock at the private well because it is equipped with a crank mak-
ing it easier to draw water.

The villagers also use shallow wells dug in the khors near Umm
Ramad. These are owned by the people of Wardass. They are used
principally in the first part of the dry season and are preferred to
the deep wells because it is easier to draw water out of them.


Umm Subagha

Orientation from el-Obeid: 23km SW
Population: 140
Access to water:

July through October, there is water available in the pond next
to the village. Other rain ponds can be reached within hour walking.

When the rainy season ends, three groups--each composed of 3-4
families--dig about 15 shallow wells (tamad) each in the dry water-
courses. The wells are between 3 and 8 meters deep. All the wells
are in the same general area and the villagers have traditional
proprietorship over that area. The nearest well is about 30 minutes
away on foot; the farthest requires about 1 hours to reach. The
group of families digging the well is considered to own it, and out-
siders are excluded from using it. Each year the well must be dug
anew. The digging is carried out from November through January,
depending on the supply of water in the rain ponds.

After April, the wells are usually exhausted. From May until
July, water is purchased from Aiyara, Umm Arada, Umm Ramad and
Khor el-Abyad. Trip by donkey to Umm Ramad or Umm Arada takes 5
hours and the water is free at the large government resevoir in
each village. Trip to Aiyara by donkey is 45 minutes; water costs
20 piasters/tin. Khor el-Abyad is more than 7 hours away by donkey.
Humans may drink there free. Charge for animals: 45 piasters/cow/
month; 10 piasters/camel/day; 1 piaster/goat/day.

Most people go to Umm Ramad and Umm Arada to get water for house-
hold consumption because, although quite a bit farther away than Aiyara,
the water is free. Each family is responsibl- for transporting its
own water.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 24km W
Population: 800
Access to water:

From February until July water is hauled to Aiyara from el-Obeid
by one commercial truck that makes the trip daily. The truck owner
is a merchant from el-Obeid with business interests in Aiyara. He
has permission from el-Obeid municipal council to take 27 barrels/day
from the government pump. The cost for the 27 barrels of water is
2 L.S. If more water is needed, the truck owner sends the truck
again and buys water on the black market, about 10 L.S. for 27 barrels.
The merchant owns a cistern (81 barrels) in Aiyara which he fills with
the water hauled by the truck. He then sells water to the villagers
at about 20 piasters/tin.


The remainder of the year the people of Aiyara drink from the
hafiir beside the village. November to January, a charge of 2
piasters per donkey load of water is levied by the guard in order
to defray the cost of dredging and maintaining the hafiir.


Orientation from el-Obeid: 42km NE
Population: 200
Access to water:

Major sources of water for this village are 3 locally dug wells--
one of which is owned by the villagers and the other two owned by
residents of neighboring villages. These wells are about 30 meters
deep and are lined with tree branches to support the walls. There
is also a government-built concrete well but its water supply is not
dependable throughout the year. The local wells are sponsored by
corporations of 9 to 16 farmers who assist in digging the well and
who pay for the specialist who actually does the digging and for
another specialist who seals the well's walls so that they will not
leak. Such a corporation is formed whenever a new well has to be
dug, and recruitment of members is informal. The advantage of being
a well shareholder is that it permits free access to the water on
the basis of a schedule, divided into 3-hour segments, which rotates
around the clock. Non-shareholders may take water free but if one
of the shareholders is present they have to provide labor by drawing
the shareholder's water. (The non-shareholder must give the share-
holder one bucket of water in every four buckets he draws up.)

In the dry season, water is also obtained from the government
diesel pump at Umm Tugur, about 1 hour away by donkey. The cost is
2.5 piasters/waterskin (girba). There are no -isterns at Bagbagi.


Appendix C. Cultivated Landholding in el-Kharta

Charts 1-9 present an analysis of the data gathered for nearly 100%
of the farmer household units in el-Kharta. These data reflect the situa-
tion in October 1981. It is from this 100 percent sample that we will
eventually choose 5 households for intensive study. Although not presented
here, we have also collected 100 percent samples of the farming household
units Umm Ramad and el-Geifil. These data have yet to be fully analyzed
and will be presented in a later report.

In collecting these data, some difficulty arose as to what kind of
sample unit to use. From the perspective of the total farming system, the
preferred unit of analysis might be the compound. Unlike many other parts
of Africa, compounds in this area do not usually consist of extended fam-
ily units. This is due to the cultural preference of having married sons
establish their own compounds independently of their parents or their
wives' parents. For this reason, compounds in this area usually consist
of nuclear or polygynous family units and their dependents. Given this
tendency, the compound residential unit in these villages might still be
considered the ideal unit of analysis for it seems to be comparable to
the unit of household. However, some difficulties still arise. From
the villagers' perspective, land and the crops on it are perceived as
being under the management of a single farmer, who typically supports a
number of dependents. Given this perspective, in most cases the compound
or household corresponds nicely with this farm unit. However, in many
cases single farmers, such as unmarried men or wives who individually
own tracts of cultivated land live in compounds or households which are
supported by another farmer (their fathers or husbands respectively). In
these cases, the compound or household does not correspond with the farm
unit. Young unmarried men in particular are a sizal le category of farmers
in our sample who claim no dependents because of their co-residence with
their natal compound. With no dependents to feed, they can specialize in
cash cropping in order to accumulate money for bride payments. These
young men cannot be considered a separate "household" from the perspective
of residence, but they do count as a different sample unit for purposes
of farm management and use of land. The same argument applies to married
women who privately own land and manage it independently of their husbands.
They too cannot be considered separate households although they are farm
managers. For these reasons, neither compound nor household are completely
adequate concepts that delineate the farming unit precisely in this

With these problems in mind, we have decided to use the concept of
"Farm Management Unit" (FMU) to delineate the sample unit in this analyses
of the el-Kharta data. The FMU consists of the farmer who makes cropping
decisions for a parcel of land and his/her dependents. Essentially, FMU
and household delineate the same unit of analysis if unmarried men and
married women who are private landholders are excluded. In fact, in most
of this report, the concept of household is the preferred unit of reference
because our findings so far indicate that it is around this unit that most
economic decisions are centered. FMU is only used in this section to
account for those farmers who do not represent separate households, yet
still manage a parcel of cultivated land.


The charts that follow represent the results of the analyses that
were conducted on the 100 percent sample of Farm Management Units (FMU)
found in el-Kharta. Each chart will be discussed separately and major
findings will be identified.


Table I is a frequency distribution of Farm Management Units (FMU)
according to the number of members in the FMU. In total, our census
identified 222 FMU's. The average size of these units (farmer + depend-
ents) was 5 members, while the range was from 1 to 15 members, (If we had
counted the number of members in households rather than in farming units
the average size would have more nearly approximated the average estimated
for the N. Kordofan region, which is 7.7 members). The largest percentage
(23.0%) of FMU's is made up of single farmers without dependents (51).
This group of farmers is mostly single unmarried men who are, in most
cases, residing in their parents households. Because they are residing
in their natal compound, they are able to pursue different farming
strategies than most other farmers living in separate compounds. These
differences will become apparent below. As for farmers with dependents,
a large percentage (12.6 + 12.2 = 24.8%) appear to have 5 to 6 members.
This corresponds closely with the mean size of FMU's. From this frequency
distribution, the population of el-Kharta is estimated to be 1120.


Table II presents a frequency distribution of total land cultivated
by each Farm Management Unit (FMU). The total land cultivated by all
FMU's taken together is 3704 makhamas (1 makhamas = 1.78). The mean
size FMU cultivated landholding is 16.7 makhamas, while the range is 1
to 72 makhamas. The most frequently mentioned size of cultivated land-
holding was 10 makhamas (mode). The table shows whrt percentage of the
total village land under cultivation is accounted for by various sizes of
FMU cultivated landholdings. The table indicates that 56 percent of the
total village land under cultivation is accounted for by FMU cultivated
landholdings of 20 makhamas or less. The table also shows the frequency
and percentage of FMU's that are accounted for by various sizes of total
cultivated landholdings. This table indicates that 61 percent of the
FMU's are 15 makhamas or less in size. These data are comparable to those
which were presented in the first table. When the information from the
two tables is combined, we find that 61 percent of the farmers only have
access to 35 percent of the total land cultivated. To determine whether
inequality of access to land exists in this village, we compared the
figure with that of the rich farmers with large cultivated landholdings.
We found that 12 percent of the rich FMU's controlled 30 percent of the
total cultivated village land. When these figures are compared, it
demonstrates nicely that inequality of access to land does exist in this
village. We hypothesize that this difference in access to land is not
due to the rich farmers' ability to purchase land, but rather to his
ability to mobilize labor for working on larger cultivated landholdings.
This relationship between size of landholding and labor bears further



Frequency Distribution of Farm Management Units According to Number of Members,
El-Kharta (October 1981).

Number of Members



Number of Households



Percent of Total
















N.B. From the above distribution the
be 1120.

N = 222
X = 5.0
R = 1-15

population of El-Kharta is estimated to



Frequency Distribution of Total Land
Cultivated by Farm Management Unit (FMU)

el-Kharta October, 1981

Percentage of Total Village Land
Under Cultivation by Size of FMU
Cultivated Landholding

Number of Makh % Village Land










above 60











Frequency and Percentage
by Size of Total Cultivated

Number of Number of
Makh FMU's










above 60

of FMU's











FMU's = (N=22)

7 = 16.7 makhamas per FMU's

Range = 1-72 makhamas



Table III actually consists of 2 tables, so each one will be dealt
with separately. Table IIIA is a frequency distribution of land currently
cultivated in sesame by each Farm Management Unit (FMU). 217 of the 222
FMU's grow sesame. The total land cultivation in sesame by all FMU's
taken together is 2471 makhamas, which is 67 percent of the total land
cultivated in el-Kharta. The mean size FMU cultivated landholding in
sesame is 11.4 makhamas while the range is 2 to 70 makhamas. The most
frequently mentioned cultivated holding size in sesame was 10 makhamas.
The table shows the frequency and percentage of FMU's that are accounted
for by various sizes of total cultivated holdings in sesame. This table
indicates that 66 percent of the FMU's have sesame landholdings of 10
makhamas or less in size. -Even more revealing is the fact that 50 percent
of the farmers have between 6 and 10 makhamas in sesame. Although this
figure is small, it is proportionately large when one considers the fact
that 61 percent of the FMU's in the village have 15 makhamas or less in
total land under cultivation. This finding in conjunction with the fact
that 67 percent of the total cultivated land in the village is planted
in sesame demonstrates the importance of this cash crop in el-Kharta.

Table IIIB is a frequency distribution of land currently cultivated
in millet by each Farm Management Unit (FMU). Only 158 of the 222 FMU's
plant millet (71 percent). The total land cultivated in millet by these
158 FMU's is 1032 makhamas; which represents 28 percent of the total land
cultivated in the village. The mean size cultivated landholding in mil-
let is 6.5 makhamas, while the range is 1 to 30 makhamas. Five makhamas
was the most frequently mentioned cultivated holding in millet. The
table shows the frequency and percentage of FMU's accounted for by various
sizes of cultivated landholdings in millet. The table indicates that 58
percent of the FMU's have cultivated landholdings in millet of 5 makhamas
or less. In fact 93 percent of the FMU's have holdings in millet that
are 10 makhamas or less. When one compares these findingss with those
presented for sesame, it is apparent that farmers in this village cultivate
twice as much land in cash crops as subsistence crops. This is a fair
indication that farmers in this village are well integrated into the cash
economy, and probably depend heavily on purchasing food stuffs as well as
manufactured items from the market place. In fact we hypothesize that
FMU's in this village are less likely to produce enough millet to sustain
themselves throughout the year because of their reliance on cash crops.
This is one area in which we are continuing our investigations.


Table IV presents a graph which represents the mean area cultivated
in each crop and mean area in total cultivation for various sizes of
Farm Management Units (FMU). In general, the graph illustrates that
total crop area tends to increase as FMU size increases. Likewise,
area cropped in sesame and millet tends to increase as FMU size increases.
The exception to this trend is groundnuts. Here, no real pattern appears
to be present. This can be explained by the fact that groundnuts were
only introduced into el-Kharta this year,* and were adopted in a haphazard

*The Farmers' Union distributed groundnut seed to the village to whoever wanted
to grow them. The only stipulation was that farmers had to return to the Farm-
ers' Union an equal amount of seed after harvest. This program was sponsored
by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Office of Extension forKordofan Province.


Frequency Distribution of Farm Management Units by Lands
Cultivated in Millet and Sesame

el-Kharta October, 1981

A) Sesame (Simsim)
Frequency and Percentage of FMU's by Size of
Current Cultivated Landholding in Sesame

Number of Makh

above 30

Number of FMU's




B) Millet (Dukhn)
Frequency and Percentage of FMU's by Size of
Current Cultivated Landholding in Millet

Number of Makh


Number of FMU's






Mean Area Cultivated in Each Crop and Mean Area in Total Cultivation
for Various Sizes of Farm Management Units (FMU)

S- El-Kharta October 1981



S 30

w Total Cultivation
S 20

3 0

- 35

10 Sesame

e 30

5 Millet

1 2 3 4 5 .6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Total Cultivation

10 Sesame

1 2 3 4 5 .6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Farm Management Units (Number of Members)


fashion by FMU's of various sizes. Groundnuts still only represent 5 percent
of the total land cultivated in the village and 77.5 percent of all the FM7"s
do not grow groundnuts. For this reason no pattern in groundnut cultivation
is expected.


Table V consists of 2 graphs, and each one will be discussed separately.
Table VA presents a graph which represents the proportion of the total area
cultivated which has been planted in sesame for various sizes of Farm
Management Units (FMU). This proportion is expressed as the mean area
cultivated in sesame for each category of FMU size divided by the mean
total area cultivated for the same category of FMU size. After plotting
these proportions, it appears that a pattern emerges in the data. As the
FMU increases in size, the total proportion of cultivated land devoted to
sesame decreases. This inverse relationship is even more pronounced if one
excludes FMU's of greater than 10 members (the n above 10 members is 11).
The meaning of this pattern will become more apparent after looking at
Table VB.

Table VB presents a graph which represents the proportion of the total
area cultivated which has been planted in millet for various sizes of Farm
Management Units (FMU). These proportions were calculated in the same
way as the sesame proportions. After plotting these proportions, another
interesting pattern emerges. As the FMU increases in size, the total
proportion of cultivated land devoted to millet increases. Similarly to
the sesame data, this relationship becomes more pronounced if one excludes
FMU's of greater than 10 members. When this millet pattern is compared to
the sesame pattern, it is apparent that they are inversely proportional.
This may be explained by the fact that as FMU's increase in size, they .are
in need of more millet to meet their consumption needs. This leads to a
decrease in the proportion of the total cultivated land devoted to cash
crops such as sesame, and to d corresponding increase in the proportion of
land cultivated in millet.


Table VI presents a graph which represents the proportion of total
area cultivated which has been planted in groundnuts for various sizes of
Farm Management Units (FMU). These proportions were calculated the same
way as they were calculated for the sesame proportions in Table VA After
plotting these proportions, it is apparent that no pattern emerges.


Table VII is a frequency distribution of land currently cultivated in
groundnuts by each Farm Management Unit (FMU). Only 50 of the 222 FMU's
plant groundnuts (22 percent). The total land cultivated in groundnuts is
182.25 makhamas which represents 5 percent of the total land cultivated in
the village. The mean size cultivated landholding in groundnuts is 3.6
makhamas, while the range is .25 to 20 makhamas. Less than 1 makhamas
was the most frequently mentioned cultivated holding in groundnuts. A
table is presented in the Chart which shows the frequency and percentage
of FMU's which are accounted for by various sizes of cultivated landhold-
ings in groundnuts. The table indicates that 42 percent of the FMU's have
cultivated landholdings in groundnuts of less than 1 makhamas, while 84



Proportion of Total Area Cultivated Which Has Been Planted
in Millet and Sesame by Number of FMU Members

(Expressed as the mean area cultivated in each crop for each category
of FMU size divided by the mean total area cultivated for the same
category of FMU size)


October 1981


fn E-

C: ra
0P 0"
0 w
" I

-w "

.J fl3



I I I I i I I 4I I I 1 a- I I
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

FMU's (Number of Members)

B) Millet (Dukhn)

I I I I I I -I I I I I I I--
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

FMU's (Number of Members)

.9 -




.5 -



.2 -

.1 -

A) Sesame (Simsim)

.4 -



r-1 T.


01 0
*U U



1 z


.2 -

.1 -



Proportion of Total Area Cultivated Which Has Been Planted in Groundnuts
by Number of FMU Members
(Expressed as X Area Planted in Groundnuts Divided by X Total Area Cultivated
for Each FMU Category)

El-Kharta October 1981

SGroundnuts (Ful Sudani)

> .10

5 .09

Sr .08

0 /I-
S o .0 -


o .05
0C 0

c .024 \

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

FMU's (Number of Members)


percent have holdings of 5 makhamas or less. These findings indicate that
groundnuts are not very prevalent in el-Kharta as a cash crop. This is
primarily because of their recent introduction.


Table VIII is concerned with showing whether a preference is indicated
by FMU's of different sizes for growing a kind of crop. The three graphs in
the chart show the proportions of FMU's of various sizes which grow sesame,
millet, and groundnuts. The proportion of FMU's growing sesame is never
less that 0.93, and all FMU's of 7 or more members grow it. In el-Kharta
one may conclude that most FMU's are disposed to grow sesame regardless of
the number of members. Not so with millet. Generally speaking, the propor-
tion of FMU's growing millet increases rapidly in-relation to the increas-
ing size of the FMU until the FMU of 8 members is reached. FMU's of this
size and larger are all disposed to grow millet. Groundnuts present a
highly erratic pattern which was mentioned earlier as probably being indi-
cative of the fact that this crop has only recently been introduced at

The difference between the pattern for sesame and the pattern for
millet requires an explanation, although at present it must remain in the
realm of the hypothetical. It suggests a difference in the consumption
needs of FMU's of different sizes. Millet is less preferred by FMU's with
small memberships. Perhaps this makes sense if we consider that these
small FMU's are predominantly made up of bachelors and new families. In
these cases not only is the FMU small but it has a high proportion of
productive members and relatively few non-productive mouths to feed. Its
cash needs may be high (a bachelor must collect his bride price; newly-
weds need household furnishings). Another consideration is that young
men, whether bachelors or newly married are the most likely to migrate
during the dry season for wage labor. As long as the FMU contains only
a few people, the entire group may accompany the farmer obviating the need
to store millet to get the family through the dry season and wet season
until the next harvest. Larger FMU's, it is hypothesized, do not have
this option. The ratio of unproductive consumers (children, old people)
to producers is likely to be higher than in the case with smaller FMU's.
Food consumption requires a larger share of the budget; this can be off-
set by growing millet as a subsistence crop. Finally, the large FMU
cannot easily follow the farmer during his labor migration, so that a
store of millet must be left behind to feed his dependents during his


Table IX summarizes the data collected about women farm managers and
the FMU's which they head.

The number of women's FMU's is 25, which is 11 percent of the total
of 222 FMU's in el-Kharta. In other words, men farm managers outnumber the
women by a ratio of nearly 8 to 1. The mean number of members in the
women's FMU's is 2.2, and the range in size is from one to seven members.
These figures are well below those shown in Chart I for el-Kharta as a
whole. A large proportion of the women's FMU's (52 percent) have only
one member. In all probability these are not single women living alone



Frequency Distribution by FMU of Lands Cultivated in Groundnuts

el-Kharta October, 1981

Groundnuts (ful Sudani)

Frequency and Percentage of FMU's by Size of
Current Cultivated Landholding in Groundnuts

Number of Makh




above 10

Number of FMU's




5 1I 2
5 10 15 20 25

Number of FMU's

(172 farmers grow no groundnuts)
(77.5% grow no groundnuts)

20 -t







Proportion of Farmers Growing Each Crop
By Number of FMU Members

El-Kharta October 1981



. 9







I I I I I 5 I I I I I I 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

FMU's (Number of Members)


but members of farming compounds who have their own tract of land to manage.
In many cases they are married women. For purposes of identifying FMU's,
they must be counted separately from their husbands.

The total cropped land held by women's FMU's ranges from 1 to 17 makhamas,
while the average holding is 7.8 makhamas--about half the average of all FMU's
in el-Kharta. Because the laws of Islamic inheritance* are supposedly fol-
lowed, it is expected that women would have smaller landholdings than men.
Moreover, women are accustomed to handing over their landholdings to mature
sons, because domestic tasks keep them from attending to their fields properly.
Women are not regarded by the men to be good farmers.

*A daughter inherits one-half the share of a son.



Women's Farm Management Units, El Kharta

N = 25

FMU size: X = 2.2 Members

R 1-7 Members

Total Cropped Land: X 7.8 Makhamas

R = 1-17 Makhamas

Millet/Total Cropped Land: X = 34%

R = 0-100%

Frequency Distribution of Women's FMU's According to Number of Members

Number of Members Number of Households Percent of Total

1 13 (52%)

2 5 (20%)

3 3 (12%)

4 0 (0%)

5 2 (8%)

6 1 (4%)

7 1 (4%)

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs