Reducing vulnerability in Blue Nile State
Practical Action Sudan
After 15 years of conflict in Blue Nile State, families have been forced by insecurities and conflict to abandon their fields. They must move and carry out their agricultural activities on poor quality land with fewer animals, leaving them extremely vulnerable. Practical Action has devised a three-year plan to help them rebuild their lives. The main objectives of this project are:
- Improving the community's capacity to plan and manage development and reduce conflict over resources.
- Increasing food availability through improved crops and animal production.
- Facilitating access of targeted communities, such as returnees and Internally Displaced People (IDP) to reliable and high value agricultural, forest and animal products markets.
- Facilitating access to water, sanitation and rural energy services.
Activities are planned which should directly benefit 55,770 people. The beneficiaries are located in 19 villages of the Kadalu area, with 5 clusters occupied by returnees, 2 IDPs camps and 12 villages in Baw Locality. It is anticipated that a further 40,000 people from the immediate vicinity of the project area will benefit indirectly from the project.
Read more about this project: Rebuilding the livelihoods of war-affected people in Blue Nile State
Building on indigenous knowledge: community farms in Blue Nile
The black cotton cracking clays are very hard and are difficult to cultivate using manual tools. Tractors with disc ploughs are the only available tool used by large and small mechanised farms. Small scale farmers may hire a disc plough, but tractor owners dislike ploughing small scattered plots owned by small-scale farmers.
To solve this obstacle, Practical Action's projects in Blue Nile have assisted small scale farmers to come together in groups of 50-100 farmers, collectively owning a big farm of a size that is attractive enough to tractor owners to come and plough. Eighty farmers from Salbel village of Bau locality in Blue Nile state acquired 300 feddans, later increased to 700 feddans. It was cultivated with sorghum and weeded collectively through the known labour collective practice known as nafeer.
In 2009, 500 feddans were cultivated and a yield of 3,000 bags of sorgum was produced, achieving a productivity of 6 bags per feddan (considered by local standards as high productivity). Food was secured for the concerned families - 10 bags is the average family need - and the groups generated income from selling the excess sorghum (28 bags per family) for SDG 2,800 (approximately £700). Farmers agreed to buy their own tractor the following season.