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World Food Day, 16 October 2017
Marcia Davis
Jamaica
"With FAO’s help, we are able to send our children to school and we are starting a school breakfast program. "
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Not long ago, Marcia Davis was considering leaving her family behind and migrating to the capital city, Kingston, in search of work.

Instead, Marcia, 57, has found a new livelihood in pork production after receiving starter livestock, financial resources and training under an FAO, Telefood grant-funded initiative.

Through the project, Pig Production by Ledford/Moneague Women’s Farmer Group, nine women in this rural area, about 60 miles from the capital, have more than quadrupled their initial supply of pigs.

“Things are better now.  A lot of the women are especially happy that they get to remain with their children. We are independent and we have a chance to continue to improve our lives.” 

Marcia and other local women lost their main source of income when their employer, a bauxite company, closed its local operations. They were low on income and food and struggling to support their children.

The women started to grow cassava to produce bammy (cassava bread), but the long cultivation period meant there were months without income. They also turned to cash crops and domestic work, but their earnings were not enough to support their mostly single-parent households.

The 2016 FAO-Telefood initiative provided the women with technical expertise and business management skills. The project is anchored in the understanding that women and girls are critical agents in the fight against rural poverty and hunger, especially when their productive and entrepreneurial capacities are increased.  

 “We know there are many children in our community who attend school sometimes without breakfast and so we have decided to give back to the York Castle Primary school,” Martha says.

“We plan to use some of the funds from sale of pigs to help the school set up a broiler and layer chicken programme. The school can then use the eggs and chicken to prepare school meals and money received from the sale of eggs and chicken can be used to provide a warm cereal for the children in the mornings.”

By mid-2017, the women’s farmer group was also planning to build new facilities and consider ways to move up the value chain for processed pork, given the popularity of meat-related seasoning and sauce production in neighboring communities. They will also support youth education by collaborating with a new agricultural school in the area. 

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