Your Support in Action
Sudan: Women Farmers Unite, Project Update
Posted on: Tuesday, February 3, 2009
In collaboration with Zenab for Women in Development, MADRE has supported a Women Farmers' Union in eastern Sudan since its founding in 2007. Prior to the creation of the union, women farmers in Al Qadarif state, which produces 75% of Sudan's staple crops, received no support from the Department of Agriculture. As the union president, Amel, stated, "Before this, we never received help from anyone." Now, through Women Farmers Unite, women have access to state-sponsored seeds, as well as additional seeds, tools, and information from MADRE and Zenab.
In 2008 the union grew to over 2,000 members, and MADRE and Zenab were able to reach a quarter of them by providing seeds to 500 women in 20 villages. Sorghum, sesame, and peanut seeds were distributed in July at Zenab"s center in Al Qadarif City, with 35 union representatives traveling up to five hours each way to collect seeds to bring back to their communities. Seeds were distributed by Zenab staff and volunteers from the Department of Agriculture, who calculated the amount of seeds for each community according to the area of farmland held by union members. Women who wished to grow other crops such as millet in order to better suit their families' needs were able to trade their seeds at markets.
Seeds were planted by union members in late July and early August. Throughout the following months, a local coordinator visited villages and spoke with union leaders to ensure that plantings went well and farmers were well-prepared for the harvest. We hope that in 2009 we will be able to provide more tools for community use, thus enabling women to increase their yields and spend more of their time on other activities.