MADRE, in partnership with the community-based organization Zenab for Women in Development, launched Women Farmers Unite, Sudan's first and only women farmers union that provides the seeds, tools and training necessary raise more successful harvests and sustain the farming communities. Because of MADRE support, the union has recently purchased a tractor! This will help boost the crop yields and reduce the number of hours women spend farming the land.
Women farmers grow and harvest the majority of food crops in Sudan by hand, backbreaking work made harder by frequent droughts and floods resulting from global climate change. Ongoing warfare, displacement and poverty have increased the need for already scarce food. Yet the government's farm aid programs traditionally deny women access to credit and agricultural inputs, such as seeds, fertilizer and tools.
Women Farmers Unite gives women the tools, resources and technical assistance they need to sustain their families for the long haul. Since recently purchasing a tractor, the farmers are now working to purchase an important attachment: a disc harrow. The disc harrow allows for deeper plowing, giving plants more access to underground water sources. This is an important adaptation now that climate change is causing more droughts in Sudan.
By consolidating resources and knowledge Women Farmers Unite will increase the productivity of small subsistence farm plots managed by women. As a result, women farmers will be able to increase food production, conserve natural resources and decrease malnutrition among women and children. With their new income, women will be able to invest in their communities and send their daughters to school.
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).
Hunger Season in Sudan
Women Farmers Unite Project Page
Zenab for Women in Development