“It was all possible because of the support I got and also the hard work I put in”, shares Omar, a 53-year old father of six and a Sudanese national who moved to South Sudan to seek refuge due to conflict in his hometown in Darfur. “When I came, I had nothing to call my own or anything for my family to depend on.”
The area chiefs in Dengiri Sufu in Malakal County, a part of South Sudan’s Upper Nile State, allocated a small piece of land for Omar to cultivate. Omar recalls, “I still faced challenges of seeds and tools, until World Vision intervened and provided these needs.”
With funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the Restoring Lives of Families in Emergency (R-LIFE) in South Sudan Project, World Vision supported Omar along with other farmers, with fuel, water pumps, seeds, tools and technical support on farming practices.
“I learned how to use irrigation and organic pesticides to keep my crops healthy and protected. This helped improve our life, thus, I urge everyone to learn how to practice farming properly, use technology to earn more income. I appreciate World Vision for the knowledge I gained”, Omar says.
Omar adds, “With the countless training, seeds, and agricultural tools provided, my farm slowly expanded. I started selling my products in the market.” Isaiah Sei, R-LIFE Project Manager says, “The project aims to improve the food security of the people, especially hardworking farmers like Omar and strengthen their resilience.”
According to Omar, he never looked back as his family bid hunger goodbye. “It takes support, effort, courage, patience, and determination to fight hunger. In 2020, I harvested up to 25 bags of onions and sold at SSP 16,000 each, 75 jerricans of tomatoes and sold at SSP 3000 each. I also sold 60 bundles of jute mallow at SSP 2,500 per bundle.”
With the countless training, seeds, and agricultural tools provided, my farm slowly expanded. I started selling my products in the market.
Sei explains, “The project expects farmers like Omar to improve their agricultural production and provide food for their families as they increase their income from sales of their farm products.” With his improved income, Omar was able to send back his children to Sudan for higher education.
Now a proud owner of several farmlands and a restaurant in Malakal town, Omar shares, “I was able to buy a water pump to water my plants from my income and open a restaurant. Above all, I am glad to have employed eight people who are now able to provide for their own families.”
Mary Kuol, a 36-year-old mother of six, is among the customers buying from Omar. Mary shares, “Our small businesses depend on Omar’s shop because his goods are sold cheap and we are able to sell in the community and make some profits to provide for our families.”
She adds, “Helping farmers like Omar is a blessing. With the increasing prices in the market, we would have closed down our businesses if not for his generosity to extend credit for the goods, which we pay later. We are grateful for this support from him.”
Omar appeals for more assistance for farmers, “In this time of need, the most vulnerable look up to farmers in their communities for help. Supporting them means solving the hunger crisis in South Sudan.”
“The need is high in many communities. We appeal to donors to help World Vision reach out to children and families who are facing hunger in the different parts of Greater Upper Nile State in South Sudan”, Isaiah concludes.
Watch Omar's Promise
Story and photos by Scovia Faida Charles Duku, Communications Coordinator