"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  July 2008 FOOD

Emblem of World Food Expansion Drive: New Merowe Dam on Nile River; New Wheat Harvest in North Sudan

In April this year, two sensational developments in the Nile Basin in Sudan stand out as emblems of the reality that we can succeed in doubling world food production. Our only limitation is policy, not physical constraints.

On April 16, the last spillway gates were closed on the new Merowe Dam, allowing the reservoir to begin filling. The site is 350 miles north of Khartoum, near the town of Merowe, at the 4th cataract of the Nile River. This is the largest such engineering project in all Africa. Work began in 2003, involving 4,000 Sudanese engineers, and companies from China, France and Germany.

A major bridge over the Nile now replaces a primitive ferry. The dam, standing 67 meters at its maximum, will provide water storage for flow through 10 generating units, with a total installed capacity of 1.25 million kilowatts--a huge increase for the whole nation. Five new towns have been created for 70,000 displaced residents, who now, for the first time ever, have safe water, electricity, and other infrastructure, especially for irrigated farming.

Also in April, about 8,000 hectares of wheat, planted last year, were harvested with excellent yields. The farm operations took place at the new agricultural area associated with three resettled villages.

Although limited in scope, this symbolic first harvest is significant and shows what can be achieved in a short time if the right measures are taken. When the Merowe Dam project was first begun, it was strongly opposed by the International Rivers front group for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), whose American Rivers sub-group opposes flood control and water management of the Mississippi River. Fortunately, they lost.