August Update

GROWING FAMILY PROSPERITY

Crops are being harvested and taken to market in all the COFA Growing Family Prosperity—GFP—communities. New seeds are being sown and families are preparing to receive animals in the next couple of months. Meet Kadiatu Kamu from Gbom Limba village, harvesting maize and leafy vegetables and checking on her groundnut field, and other GFP farmers at home and on their way to market.

These farmers would have none of this without COFA, and even more critical, the hard work of entire families. Here’s a gallery of farmers with the fruits of their labors.

Nbalu Kamara of Gbom Limba selling cassava leaves in Lunsar

Nbalu Kamara of Gbom Limba selling cassava leaves in Lunsar

Ya Sinnah Sankoh with more peppers from Sitkalangba

Ya Sinnah Sankoh with more peppers from Sitkalangba

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

In addition to pictures, GFP Project Manager Mohamed Idriss Sesay and Vision 8 founder and COFA project manager Karim Kamara send monthly reports on progress and challenges. It’s especially important during this first year because we want to improve and expand the project in future years. The major challenges and the solutions we are exploring are described below.

Lack of secure storage for crops to reduce rodent damage, and for tools

Mohamed and Karim are looking into building one storage facility in each community, where farmers can store seeds and produce, as well as protecting their tools.

Lack of access to processing facilities for some crops

As Mohamed and Karim put it, the farmers are “price takers but not price makers” because they have to sell everything raw with no value added. Cassava, maize, groundnuts, and rice all gain value with processing. We’re looking into small-scale cooperative processing, which could also provide employment as well as added crop value.

Extremely high price of commercial fertilizer

The option we’re exploring is producing organic fertilizer in all the communities, which will require training and storage, but will be sustainable in the long term.

Intermittent water shortages

The long-term remedy is irrigation. In the short term, we provided watering cans this year, which has helped a lot. We’re also considering tree planting surrounding farm fields to improve the environment and reverse historic deforestation. This is an issue to keep in our sights.

COMING SOON!

We’ll report on test scores from our July “Nourishing Young Minds and Bodies” program in the lower secondary schools and on the August primary school kids.  Altogether, more than 2400 kids got food and food for thought this year.  Thanks to all who contributed.

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