A Task of Some Magnitude: Gezira Management Logic

  • Maurits W. Ertsen


Well before the first 300,000 feddans were irrigated from Sennar in 1925, enlarging the irrigated area in Gezira became a shared desire of the Sudan Government and the Sudan Plantations Syndicate (SPS). Extending the irrigated area would allow more extensive use of Sennar Dam and its canal system—the two most expensive elements—and increase revenue. Sudan officials were convinced that additional revenue was needed to pay back the huge loans. The SPS obviously did not object to more cotton, as long as the SPS would manage it. Each extension was the result of new negotiations between the Sudan Government and SPS, with two issues coming to the front time and again: whereas the SPS would offer the best management and where to locate the extension areas?


Irrigate Area Canal System Cotton Field Cotton Yield Main Canal 
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    National Archives, F014/579: Minutes meeting on Gezira Extension, dated 23/5/1923. See also R. W. Allen (1924) “Irrigation in the Sudan,” Journal of the Royal African Society, 23, 257–264Google Scholar
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    NA, F0141/579: High Commissioner to J. R. MacDonald 22/5/1924. After all, the early 1920s were complicated years for London-Cairo relations, see R. O Collins (2008) A history of modern Sudan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)Google Scholar
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© Maurits W. Ertsen 2016

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  • Maurits W. Ertsen

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