Sustainable agriculture is key to lifting rural families out of poverty and chronic malnutrition. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women grow as much as 90% of the region's food. However, custom and family demands often prevent women from spending the time needed to cultivate agriculture. An optimal solution is to empower them with greater food security by investing in shared agriculture. Cash crops generate income and the garden becomes a classroom for nutrition and organic cultivation techniques.
For these desert regions, herding dominates and agricultural knowledge is scarce, resulting in low crop outputs and malnutrition. Drought and rising food costs create constant food insecurity. Custom and family demands often keep women from cultivating crops successfully on their own. With limited diversity, lack of planting strategy, and lack of access to a seed bank, garden yields stay at subsistence level with no income potential.
Up to 100 women share a garden, reducing time invested by 50% while increasing crop yields tenfold. Drip irrigation saves time and water. Seed banks allow planting of a greater diversity of crops and extend one growing season into three. Income generated from cash crops enable members to buy medicine, send their children to school, and buy food between harvests. Hands on lessons in organic techniques and nutrition maximization promote good health. Well installations bring access to fresh water.
Up to 200 women and 1,000 family members will gain more economic and food security. Organic practices replace environmentally damaging methods. Members spread their new knowledge to the community. With income from cash crops and value added food products, families gain more stability. Fresh produce provides critical supplementation to the nomadic staple diet of milk and millet. Women become empowered and more financially independent. A food secure and self-sufficient community is the end goal.