We are pleased to share the success stories of a number of smallholders benefiting from the Sudan Food Security Programme. The programme is funded by the EU with technical advisory support provided by Landell Mills. It focuses on improving the food security and livelihoods of rural smallholders and in so doing, helps in combatting the drivers of migration from the area. It targets four states in Sudan, focusing on rain-fed sorghum production in Kassala, Gedaref and Blue Nile States and on fisheries and horticulture in Red Sea State.
The beneficiaries' stories show how productivity and incomes have increased in the target areas due to the introduction of improved agricultural practices and new technologies. This has led to production surpluses and lifted smallholders out of a subsistence-based way of life. Beneficiaries’ knowledge and understanding of the new production techniques have grown through training conducted under the programme and they now have access to farmers and fishermen's associations, which give small-scale producers a voice and purchasing power beyond their village's boundary.
While much of the support is currently coming from EU funds, beneficiaries are required to pay a small contribution towards the cost of technical support. The aim is to gradually increase this contribution to 100% by the end of the project.
Mahgoub Said Mustafa
Since joining the programme a year ago, the sorghum produced from Mahgoub's five feddans (about two hectares) has increased from 25 to 40 sacks. He said, 'this is a result I could never have dreamt possible.' He is also chairman of the Wad Elhilew Small Scale Farmers Association established under the programme and through the training provided by the project he commented that, 'I now understand my important role and responsibilities in making the association a success.'
Seif Eddin Mohamad Mustafa
Since Seif's grandfathers’ time, the land has been cultivated year after year using traditional methods which have caused a loss in soil fertility and falling productivity. Seif had been aware of the problem for a long time, but did not know how to address it. In 2014, he became a beneficiary of the programme and the situation has already improved. He has gained an average yield of four sacks of sorghum per feddan and can cultivate additional land for cash crops. On top of this, there is decreased need for his children to provide farm labour and they have been able to keep going to school.
Sharifa Ishag Adam
Since deciding to join the programme, life has transformed for Sharifa. She had suffered from back pain caused by traditional farming techniques that kept her in the field all day. She couldn’t take adequate care of her small children or maintain her home. Now she has more time to spend with her family, her health status has improved, and her yield has increased from one to six sacks per feddan. She has plans to build a grain store with the extra income she has earned from the project as she needs storage space for the surplus harvest she is producing.
Adam Ahmad Mohamad Hurun
In 2013 Adam had a complete failure in his crop production which resulted in him being imprisoned as he was unable to repay money he had borrowed. Despite his release, Adam remembers, 'I felt like my life had reached a point of no return.' This all changed in 2014 when Adam became a beneficiary of the programme. In the first year he produced 75 sacks from 5 feddans, the highest production ever seen in his neighbourhood. The harvest allowed Adam to pay back his debts, cover his family’s basic living expenses as well as save some money for the following season. For the first time in many years Adam knows that he will be able to take care of his family and their needs. Other beneficiaries in neighbouring villages who have achieved similar results are thinking about forming an association so they are able to continue to use the packages even after the programme ends.
Mohammed Ali Asharif
Owing to the new agriculture packages provided by the programme, Mohammed's most recent harvest has doubled from previous years. The increased production has improved his household food security as well as his financial situation. He has learned valuable knowledge and information by participating in the farmer field schools organised by the project. Mohammed commented, 'A lot of farmers have decided to join the project next year because they saw our success.'
Mohamed Musa Mohamed
Mohamed plants alfalfa to fatten his sheep, as well as growing cucumbers, tomatoes and egg-plant on about five feddans of community land. Since Mohamed joined the programme he has seen production and profit from his farm increase. His family are now picking 60-70 boxes (10-12kg per box) of tomatoes every other day during the season. As a result Mohamed has been able to buy a vehicle which means he can now take his tomatoes to market by himself. Mohamed said, 'This is very convenient as now I can choose exactly the right time before the crop is spoiled so I get the best price.' He also saves on the cost of transport which previously took away 25% of the profit. Mohamed also helps other farmers from nearby farms take their produce to market at the right time.
This year he is able to extend his area of farmland by an additional 1.5 feddan, which means that next year he will be able to produce even more.
A few years ago Hashim lost his right leg in a mine explosion while he was fishing close to the Sudanese border with Eritrea. As a result, it became even harder to meet his family’s needs while working as a fisherman. However, once he received a complete package of subsidised fishing gear from the project including fishing nets, lines, hooks, ropes, leads and an icebox, his life has changed for the better. Hashim's said, ' My income has increased and I am now able to meet my family expenses and I have even paid fees in advance for my youngest son to study at a private college.'