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Report: Egypt discontinues mandate of agricultural experts in Sudan’s Sennar state

February 17, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Egyptian minister for agriculture Mohamed Reda Ismail made an abrupt decision to end the mandate of a team stationed in Sudan that is overseeing work in a farm there, according to a newspaper report.

Egypt’s state newspaper Al-Ahram said the 10,000 acres farm in Sennar state was planned to be a pilot test for lands offered by Khartoum to Cairo for agricultural development.

The Sudanese government granted Egypt up to 1.3 million acres of lands on which it is allowed to grow certain food products with focus on wheat and can employ up to 200,000 Egyptian farmers.

The Egyptian minister ordered the four agricultural experts out of Sudan though the report did not specify the reasons.

However, Al-Ahram pointed out that the move resulted in a dispute between the agriculture ministry on one end and the foreign ministry with international cooperation ministry on the other saying that it threatened the signed protocols between Sudan and Egypt.

The Sudanese government also reportedly protested the decision with Cairo but no details were given. The newspaper said the decision practically means the end of the farmland project in Sennar.

Khartoum has offered free use of its lands to a number of countries particularly the Arab Gulf states who wish to secure their food supply. Sudan wants to benefit from the vast capital at the disposal of these countries and the agricultural technology that comes with it.

(ST)