Seed Fairs in Darfur Provide the Foundation of Sustainable Communities

DARFUR – Halima is a widow farmer from Mukjar who has 6 children. Being from Mukjar, where seeds are so hard to obtain due to the poor security situation in the area, Halima was so worried about this coming agricultural season. She and her children would be facing hunger in an area where there is a vivid scarcity in all aspects of life due to the continuing conflict between the Messeriya and the Salamt tribes.

Halim was far away out of town seeking seeds for cultivating her two acres of land, when the seed fair in Mukjar was about to start. Mohamed Bahar, Mukjar’s field agent, knew about Halima’s desperate situation, so he exerted his best efforts to notify her about the seed fair and about being registered as one of the beneficiaries. Mohamed Bahar succeeded in getting hold of Halima after he left the town, chasing her into the far rural areas.

When Halima arrived to the seed fair and saw her portion of seeds for millet, sorghum, and peanuts were ready for her, she was so overcome with emotion she wasn’t able to pick up her sacks. Bursting into tears, not believing that all these seeds were for her, she said:

“.. I can’t believe that all these seeds are for me.. I approached so many well off people to help with some seeds, but all of them turned their back on me. This is the first time for me to get such invaluable help from someone.  I do thank Mohamed Bahar and the whole program in this organization for remembering me. I was so worried because my children have no one to support them and we were facing a real hunger this year.. Thank you, thank you .. now I can go to my land and start planting to catch this rainy season.”

Getting seeds and basic agriculture tools to small-scale farmers is a critical foundation to helping communities recover from the affects of conflict and climate change. NEF organizes seed fairs so that beneficiaries can have seeds for the upcoming planting season – the amounts will allow them to grow crops for themselves, their families, and even have some to take to market. The increased food security and the ability to generate income is also a key component to conflict mitigation in areas like Central Darfur. The components of sustainable development, increased food security, income-generating activities, and conflict mitigation make an effective combination and are the keys to the success of NEF’s programs in the region.

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