Khartoum, Sudan (January 23, 2013) — The Near East Foundation (NEF) has concluded a year-long emergency farming initiative that supported 300 farmers in the wake of a conflict in Sudan’s South Kordofan state.
The NEF initiative helped farmers plant and harvest crops, increasing food security for families in a region threatened by famine because of the conflict that erupted in June 2011 and displaced an estimated 75,000 people. On-going instability in South Kordofan has limited the ability of farmers to cultivate the crops that feed their families and sustain their livelihoods.
NEF was on the ground to assist farmers when they began to return to their lands in the Fall of 2011. Project activities helped farmers overcome some of the obstacles created by the conflict – including lost planting time – and adjust their production to accommodate for limited water supplies. NEF and its local partners also replaced tools, seeds, and other items necessary for planting which were looted during the conflict.
Through the emergency initiative, NEF worked in coordination with the South Kordofan Rural Development Program and the Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to support vulnerable farming communities in the areas of Al Samma West, Al Samma East, and Al Shaeer in South Kordofan.
Conflict and on-going instability in these areas have reduced the land available to both farmers and herders—increasing conflict as nomadic groups try to move their animals through cultivated land. While the harvest period in South Kordofan typically runs between mid-October and January, this year farmers sought to harvest as early as possible in order to protect their crops. Tractors were provided by the project to help participating farmers accelerate their harvest.
The 300 farmers supported by NEF had a successful harvest after receiving seeds, cultivation training, and other support services through the project. The crops they produced increased food security for conflict-affected families in the region.
In total, the one-year NEF emergency farming project:
• Distributed 4.5 tons of seeds to farmers;
• Cultivated 1,500 fedans of land (a fedan is approximately equal to an acre);
• Provided tractors to plow the land in each of the targeted sites and weeded land to contribute to crop cultivation;
• Formed and strengthened farming groups; and
• Provided extension services to farmers to promote improved knowledge, skills, and understanding of improved farming technologies that will contribute to food security in the future.
Moving forward, NEF will continue to provide extension support to participating farmers to help build food security in the region, which continues to endure instability.
The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa for almost 100 years. Founded in 1915, NEF has helped build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities through education, governance, and economic development initiatives. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to implement grassroots solutions and build “knowledge, voice, and enterprise.” To learn more visit www.neareast.org.