Description

Enrico currently studies supply chains involving date production (Phoenix dactylifera) along the Nile in northern Sudan. Date production has long been an essential part of the local population’s livelihoods in this area. In 2013, national annual production was estimated by FAOSTAT at 437,853 tons, with the main part of production conducted at the Nile banks north of Khartoum. However, recent radical changes in the population’s environment, as well as many other aspects of everyday life, have posed enormous and often existential challenges to these livelihoods, specifically agri- and horticultural production. These changes include climate change, the impact of large-scale agricultural investment schemes, and the Merowe dam construction and subsequent resettlements. The research is based on multi-sited anthropological fieldwork along the Nile between Abri, Dongola and the areas flooded due to the Merowe dam (Dar al-Manasir). These areas are affected by the changes in similar ways, but to different degrees, which allows a study of successive transformations and adaptation to new environmental and socio-economic situations. The radical, irreversible nature of the changes furthermore enhances the need both to document and analyse how people deal with the loss of something they previously regarded as a constant, essential aspect of their life. The study of ideas and practices around immobile, durable, productive trees is exceptionally suited to grasp both the biographical long-term perspective and the annual rhythm of a rural agricultural life-style, including occurring subtle and/or substantial shifts; the common usage of every part of the palm trees for food, weaving and construction strengthens this aspect. In a larger perspective, the inclusion of historical, macroeconomic and climatic aspects will contextualize these individual situations and lead to insights into contingent effects of these changes on different scales.

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