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Sowing seeds for future generations in Morobo
Margerita Angaika has a small plot in Ombasi village in Morobo, a county on the southernmost tip of South Sudan.
Her farm is around 4200 square meters, what the locals call one feddan. This area is part of the green belt. It has regular rains and very fertile soils – perfect you’d think for bountiful crops, but modern agricultural methods are unknown here.
She’s one of a group going to a "Farmer Field School" in Morobo. Twice a week they walk to a plot of land to learn modern growing techniques and experiment with seed varieties. She’s also joined forces with seven other farmers, to clear and cultivate a combined landholding called a "block farm" using the skills learnt in school. The aim is to produce high quality seed in the country. At the moment, much is imported.
Through a local partner relief agency, FAO has set up 5 Farmer Field Schools and 5 block farms here. This is part of a seed production project funded by a 500,000 Euro grant from the French government.
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Also Mother Nature threw them a curve ball. In 2011, the rains came late and many of the crops dried. Margerita was one of the hardest hit. She planted groundnuts, and they didn’t do well. She’s decided next year she’ll plant maize and she has big plans.
Margerita has a special incentive that spurs her on. She has big dreams for her family. Only 25 years old, Margerita has five children, the oldest of whom is eleven. She wants them to have an education, something she never had.
FAO’s seed project will help her fulfil that dream.