Feb 24, 2021

2021: year of new opportunities for rural farmers?

M.S. Kamara visiting a district meeting, febr 2021
M.S. Kamara visiting a district meeting, febr 2021

Thank you for opening the first newsletter in 2021.

COVID-19 update

Worldwide everyone struggles with the COVID-19 visue. Also in Sierra Leone: although the number of registered cases is relatively low with currently 3862 cases and 79 deaths, it still dominates daily life.

Around the 20th of january a new lockdown of the capital Freetown and a night curfew throughout the country were needed to counter the increase of covid cases. Since then, the number of new cases have indeed decreased. Nevertheless transport systems and the entire economy have big challenges to overcome.

 

SEEDS FOR GROWTH PROGESS

Since our october 2020 update, we started to prepare for a new cropping season project.

Grateful for your support and donations in november/december 2020, we were able to restart the agroproject with a small group of farmers, after the lost loan recoveries due to dramatic weather and bad harvest results at the end of 2019 and in 2020.

During an evaluation of the varying outcomes of several Maize cropping seasons since the start in fall 2016, the board was advised by the local program manager Momodu Sheku (M.S.) Kamara. Based on the results since 2016 and the advice, the board decided to change to a less risky approach: Rice cropping combined with a few other crops like sorghum, benni, cassave and groundnuts. At this moment in february the preparations have been started: Brushing, burning and clearing a new rough part of local fertile bush (see photo's below), to start the new project.

Our local program manager, mr. M.S. Kamara, is happy to lead this new approach and committed himself to make the best of it, supported by the board members in the Netherlands.

 

GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES

The Government also has taken some new initiatives to promote agriculture as an essential economic pillar of the country. On a district meeting in begin february (Photo above) the present regional farmers and NGO-s were informed about the Governmental support to buy asian tractors for the land cultivation. Additional district meetings have been postponed due to the COVID-restrictions.

These kind of initiatives provide us new options to cooperate with the government and NGO-s to strenghten the development opportunities for farmers in the region.

 

NEXT STEPS

The board of Seeds for Growth consists of a small team of volunteers who is committed to the mission of Seeds for Growth. To make next steps forward we need to expand the team with knowledge and interest in agriculture in africa, social media and fundraising.

Do you happen to know friends or other connections in your network, who could help us, or support us in our cause to improve the livelihoods of farmers in rural Sierra Leone?

Please connect them to us!

Why not consider for yourself to support us and volunteer? We ‘d love to have an online chat with you about the options.

Just email us to arrange a call: ben.bolland@bevon.nl 

 

Let’s make 2021 a great year of recovery…

Rural bush, to be used for rice farming, febr 2021
Rural bush, to be used for rice farming, febr 2021
Rural bush, burned for rice cropping, febr 2021
Rural bush, burned for rice cropping, febr 2021
Oct 27, 2020

Surviving COVID-19, update october 2020

Rice donation to farmer familys in Malal chiefdom
Rice donation to farmer familys in Malal chiefdom

COVID-19 UPDATE

With a relatively low official number of 2390 cases and 74 casualties by today, Tuesday october 27th, Sierra Leone seems to be more succesful than many other countries in the world.

But due to the fact that the majority of the people depend on their farming and additional daily work for their income, many people still suffer from the economic crisis.

And, although, according to the UK Governments recent COVID-19 update, there are currently no restrictions on travel in Sierra Leone but COVID-19 measures are still including an over-night curfew and the compulsory wearing of a face-mask or face-covering in public are in force.

SURVIVE NOW, OR SUPPORT NEXT CROPPING SEASON?

After a very difficult consideration and discussion with the board members and local project management between two options:
A) provide food to survive now, or
B) provide seeds and support for the future harvest
we finally decided to provide food to survive. See the picture on top..

The rice has been distributed in august/september, leaving us behind with an almost empty bankaccount.

At this moment we are focussing on the next few months to start fundraising again, to be able to support the farmers at the start of the next cropping season by February 2021. For the current cropping season, the farmers revert to their old methods with previously harvested seeds.

Would you like to support us and share a little of your wealth with the less fortunate?

Please donate and support us to restart the project soon!

Thank you in advance!

Jun 29, 2020

Surviving by fighting COVID-19

Repacking and distribution of rice, may 2020
Repacking and distribution of rice, may 2020

COVID-19 determines daily life in Sierra Leone

Soon after publishing our Global-giving report in early March, the corona virus has taken over the world. The rural farmer families in Sierra Leone also having a dramatic time: instead of growing the crops and working towards a successful spring harvest, they suffer of hunger, disease and some villagers already died because of the corona-virus.

In contrast to a low number of official published corina cases and deaths (60 casualties and 1430 cases in the country per 29th of June), our local program manager already reported 4 deaths in april in his own relationship network in a chiefdom of 15,000 inhabitants.

And where Sierra Leone is mainly an informal economy, staying home is not an option: no daily income means no food!

Your support and GlobalGiving's exceptional grant help to survive !

Thanks to an exceptional COVID-19 grant from GlobalGiving in April, we were able to bring some relief in May by distributing rice to the farmers in Rochin, Malal chiefdom. Although the amounts of products may look small, this kind of support was very welcome during these dramatic time.

See the pictures, where local people help to repack and distribute the rice. Not always keeping safe distance in the rural areas ...

How to go forward during summer season?

At this moment we are preparing for a second round of rice distribution together with our local program manager. Therefore we’ll start a new funding campaign soon in July.
Of course we also aim to look beyond todays crisis and will discuss options with our local program manager how we can resuscitate the agricultural project after a disastrous harvest season of autumn 2019 and this dramatic spring.

So, during summer months we will focus on:

  • Support in the daily emergency, where needed and possible, and also:
  • Bring new hope and energy to the farming families by helping them to restart the cropping activities for autumnal season again.

Finally...

Thank you for supporting our cause, we appreciate your donation and sharing this news letter in your network!

Ben Bolland, president
Kapri Turay, secretary
Momodu Sheku Kamara, program manager in Sierra Leone

Rice repacking for distribution
Rice repacking for distribution
 
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