Women Farmers Unite has expanded to over 2000 members from 20 different villages in Al Qadarif state in Sudan. MADRE and its sister organization, Zenab for Women in Development, were able to distribute high-quality seeds to 500 women from 20 different towns.
Sorghum, sesame, and peanut seeds were distributed in July 2008 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.
To ensure a successful growing season and harvest, local coordinators visited different villages and spoke with union members. The coordinators also discussed plans for the winter harvest and made sure the farmers were well prepared. The use of high-quality seeds, new tools, and better training for women farmers proved to be a winning strategy. The Women Farmers’ Union celebrated their first harvest last winter, a large bumper crop that produced enough food to feed hundreds of families. The union is now preparing the soil for their next crop this summer and the women farmers have new hope that they can grow enough to feed their families and support themselves.
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