Families Farm What They Can in Darfur

Darfur seeds

The metal hoe, ax and rake Hawa Bara selected at the tool fair in Habila will let her grow some crops to supplement her emergency food rations. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

In addition to working with the World Food Program to distribute emergency rations, CRS is bringing its seed and tool fairs to communities in Habila and Mukjar in the southern part of West Darfur. This work furthers the seed and tool distributions previously supported by other agencies that were recently expelled, but with a twist: Farmers can now select tools and seeds of their choice, brought in by local traders.

“This is exactly the time for planting,” shares a local sheik in Habila town, which received its first rain two days before the distribution. The sheiks, who serve as community leaders, are hoping that residents will reap larger harvests by planting proven local seeds instead of seeds coming from outside that often fail to produce well in Darfur.

One farmer, Hawa Bara, picked out a rake, hoe and ax at a tool fair held this week and plans to select millet, peanut, sesame and okra seeds at the upcoming seed fair.

“We lost all our tools when we came to Habila town,” she explains. Hawa will now start hiking every day three hours each way to farm on her original land. Due to continued insecurity in the area, she’ll return to Habila each evening to sleep.

Displaced families who have moved to Habila and Mukjar over the years will use these seeds and tools to grow whatever crops they can near town to supplement their emergency food rations. While it’s not an ideal situation, this farming support is greatly appreciated by residents who miss growing a wide variety of crops and having plenty of food as a result.

Reported by Debbie DeVoe, CRS’ regional information officer for Eastern and Southern Africa

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