Farmers’ perceived sustainability of cotton production under the Gezira scheme in Sudan

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University of Cape Coast
Cotton production plays an important role in farmers livelihood in the Gezira State in the Sudan. Cotton is the main cash crop produced in the scheme. However, sustainability of cotton production in the Gezira Scheme has been an interesting issue, especially, after the noticeable deterioration of the cotton industry in the last few years. This study determined the environmental and economic sustainability of cotton production in the Gezira Scheme as perceived by farmers who are the direct beneficiaries of the scheme. Data was collected from farmers using interview schedule. The data was analysed with descriptive statistics including frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation and the inferential statistic Spearman fs rank correlation. The results showed that majority of the respondents were above the productive age set by the United Nations. The majority of the farmers had access to formal education and had an average farm size of 8.4 hectares with about 22.33% of it under cotton cultivation. The level of sustainability of cotton production was found to be moderate or fairly sustainable. There were positive relationships between farmers education level, farm size and sustainability, the relationship between farmers f age, family size and sustainability was negative. The study found adequacy of irrigation water, availability of farm inputs and mechanization of agricultural practices as the main contributing factors to the sustainability of cotton production in the Gezira Scheme. The study recommends that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Gezira Scheme Management should promote the use of organic fertilizers, educate the farmers on soil conservation practices and negotiate with the actors along the cotton value chain to reduce the price of production inputs to affordable levels and increase the price of the outputs.
Cotton farmers, Cotton, Cotton production, Cash crop production, Livelihood, Farmers, Gezira State, Economic sustainability, Cotton industry, Sudan, Gezira Scheme