Western Sudan: Increasing Food Security
On the southern edge of the Sahara desert and lying within Africa's arid zone, North Darfur State offers extremely difficult conditions for growing food, raising livestock and living.
Sixty per cent of the state's 1.4 million-strong population are constantly faced with nagging doubts about whether the rains will come and if they will have enough food to survive on each year.
Drought is a regular, unwelcome visitor to the region. Declining rainfall over recent years has led to low production of crops, which makes households vulnerable to food crises. When there is a good production season, farmers often need technical know-how on food processing and storage to help overcome supply problems in poor growing years.
The North Darfur food security programme works with poor communities to help improve their lives through various initiatives. Although is the biggest of Practical Action Sudan's projects in terms of budget, it is very cost effective, produces very tangible results and has impacted on a huge number of beneficiaries.
The programme's first task was to understand local communities' perceptions and definitions of problems in food production and use of resources together with reasons for declining productivity. Existing local knowledge of farmers has been enhanced and supported by Practical Action Sudan's work with the rural community on aspects of the design, manufacture and introduction of new technology to improve the production of food.
The work to help increase poor people's ability to improve their livelihoods has been undertaken in the following areas:
Against the odds in Darfur
A report from Mohamed Siddiq, Practical Action's team leader for reducing vulnerability in Sudan, on the current situation in Darfur and our plans for the future.