Affected maize plant, december 2017
Thank you for opening this newsletter, We are here to inform you on recent challenges we had to overcome since december 2018. But let us start with a bit of history…
October 2017: Project extends from 50 to 125 farmer families.
The aim of Seeds for Growth is to help building a better life within a group of at least 500 farming families (3,000 family members) within 5 years. We want to achieve this by actively supporting farmers with good seeds, other essential means and agricultural practice training.
The recent growth path to 125 farmers was only made possible, with a successful fundraising campaign, carried out during the summer of 2017.
December 2017: A natural disaster…
During this third cropping season a natural disaster occurred: Nation wide, insects have damaged large cropping areas all over Sierra Leone. About 60 of the 125 acres of our project areas were attacked and affected by the so called "army worms": the crops needed to be destructed (burnt down), if chemical spraying was not done within a few days.
To prevent destruction of the crops, we decided to use recently received donations to invest in spraying the affected areas. This was really a difficult decision, because these donations originally were meant for further extension of the project with new farmer families.
But we decided that our only option was to support the current group of 125 farmers, and thus preventing a loss of 50% of the group due to a natural disaster.
By mid january 2018, the spraying seemed to have been successful in killing the insects, and the majority of the crops grew well. At this moment (end of March 2018) we are awaiting for the harvest outcome of the third cropping season.
When the harvest results and the repayments of the loans are sufficiënt we aim to start the fourth cropping season in april/may with the same group of 125 farmers again. Even if not all farmers might have been able to repay their loans, but shared their part of the harvest.
FYI: In the rural areas of Sierra Leone one can not find Insurance companies, that insure these kind of risks.
Further outlook for 2018.
Having learned from the recent natural challenges, and the need to build further on a robust organization, the board of Seeds for Growth has decided to stabilize the project, supporting a maximum of 125 farmers during the cropping season until september 2018.
In the meantime we'll start a new fundraising campaign to raise funds for further extension to 200+ farmer families for the cropping season, planned to be started in october 2018.
Thank you for supporting our cause, we appreciate sharing this news letter in your network!
PS: New donations until april 13th of 2018, are eligible for a 50% match by GlobalGiving!
Program manager (left) educates spraying, dec 2017
Farmer on affected maize field, january 2018