Belgium-funded project contributes to livelihoods, food and nutrition security through support to vulnerable households in West and South Darfur and Blue Nile States in the Sudan

Belgium-funded project contributes to livelihoods, food and nutrition security through support to vulnerable households in West and South Darfur and Blue Nile States in the Sudan

05/11/2015

Belgium contributed USD 300 000 to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to enhance food and nutrition security and livelihoods of conflict- and disaster-affected individuals (60 percent women) in West and South Darfur and Blue Nile States in the Sudan.

Agriculture and livestock production remain the main source of food, income and employment for about 80 percent of the Sudan’s rural population. However, prolonged conflict and new displacement (throughout 2014 and early 2015) have contributed to the loss of assets, disrupted production and, as a result, food insecurity. In addition, high prices severely limit food access for most of the 4.6 million people affected (those displaced and living in camps, communities hosting the displaced and vulnerable resident populations) in Darfur, transitional/central areas and the eastern region of the Sudan.

Under the FAO-Belgium project, crop seeds were provided to 5 000 households (25 000 people) in South Darfur for the main crop season in July. Now, in preparation for the winter planting season in November, 3 000 households (15 000 people) in West Darfur and 2 000 households (10 000 people) in Blue Nile will receive an assortment of vegetable seeds, as well as hand tools and 50 treadle pumps. Training on agronomic and crop husbandry practices, rainwater harvesting and soil protection techniques, improved agricultural production and nutrition will also be provided. Beneficiaries will apply knowledge acquired to produce high quality and nutritious food in a more sustainable manner. Farmers will be encouraged to store a portion of the harvest for use in the subsequent planting season, while the surplus will be sold to generate income and meet other needs.

The Belgium contribution enables food insecure rural populations to grow nutritious vegetables and legumes during the winter farming season. This will provide three to five months of locally available nutrient-rich foods and additional income that families can use to meet their basic needs. This is especially important with the recent impact of delayed and intermittent rains among an already food insecure population.

Furthermore, poor pasture conditions and reduced water access make livestock more prone to disease. Protecting livestock through scaling up vaccination and treatment programmes will help mitigate El Niño impacts for vulnerable families during the winter season and main migration period. The project is preparing to provide 4 750 newly displaced, returnee and extremely vulnerable households (23 750 people) with emergency livestock asset protection in time for the migration season: treatment and vaccination services, concentrate feed and mineral licks. This support also includes refresher training for twenty community-based animal health workers (CAHWs) as well as veterinary equipment to vaccinate and treat animals. The support to the existing CAHW networks facilitate the regular supply of good quality veterinary drugs to their members, administered on a cost-recovery basis. Healthy animals produce 60 percent more meat and milk for vulnerable families, while also generating additional income to help them meet their basic needs.