Darfur, Sudan (January 17, 2014) — This season Mudathir’s harvest was five times larger than his crop last year.
He was able to achieve this extraordinary increase by implementing the new integrated pest management techniques that he learned through the USAID-Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance funded initiative, which is helping communities successfully transition from receiving relief to early recovery in Darfur.
Through the project, farmers like Mudathir are learning to fight common pests – such as grasshoppers, locusts that destroy germinated plants – as they resume agricultural production in their villages.
Mudathir grows millet on a 6.5 Feddan farm in Khor Ramlah village. When grasshoppers began to infest his millet this season, he was prepared to respond with the IPM techniques he learned in training.
First he applied a mechanical control practice of removing harmful weeds that harbor grasshoppers – including parasitic species like striga hermanthica, commonly known as “budda.” At the same time, he applied practices for natural protection – which include the early sowing of crops.
As a result of these combined efforts, he was able to nearly eliminate the locusts. The impact on Mudathir’s harvest was dramatic. This season he produced 10 sacks – or 400 kilograms – of millet per feddan, as compared to 2 sacks per feddan last season.
While farmers are often skeptical of new techniques, they learn from experimenting and from the success of others in their community. Mudathir’s neighbor produced only 3 sacks per feddan and hopes to adopt the integrated pest management – or IPM – techniques next season after seeing positive results.
Farmers like Mudathir are also receiving training in a variety of skills to resume and improve production, including best practices in irrigation and seed germination.
“I am grateful for the many new techniques I am using from the training,” said Mudathir. “I hope many other farmers can learn the same ways and become more self-sufficient too.”
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 nearly 100 years. Founded in 1915, NEF helps 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 to empower citizens through “knowledge, voice, and enterprise.” To learn more visit www.neareast.org.