Sidic was born in the Republic of Sudan, just a short distance from Orshi dam, in a village called Lil. In 2016 COOPI repaired the dam which had been damaged by flood waters and so hadn’t stored water for several years. Now the dam not only provides water for much valued camels and cows but irrigates a large area of land used for growing vegetables. When we meet Sidic he is busy tending his plot of land. With 3 wives and 15 children (the youngest just 6 months old) to support he needs to be busy but he is able to provide food not only for his family but to sell some surplus vegetables in the local market. At the farm Sidic is one of the most active growers and lists some of the vegetables he produces; okra, water melon, tomatoes, carrot, onions, as well as a wide variety of salad. “Before the dam was repaired the growing season was short and area of the land that could be farmed was small so the repair of the dam has made a very big difference to my family’s life” Sidic explains with the help of a translator. Despite the fact it hasn’t rained since last September there is still enough water in the reservoir by the end of January for people to continue growing vegetables and plant new seeds for harvesting later in the year.
Many dams in Africa become damaged due to the high amounts of water that flows into the reservoir during the rainy season. Climate change and the decrease of the trees and plants make this problem worse. With funds COOPI aims to expand the reservoir spillway at Orshi dam so by reducing the chances that once again the dam is broken and unable to hold water.
The big impact of a small dam
We continue our tour of the farm and meet other growers. COOPI provided some of seeds for these vegetables and the community discuss the merits of new seeds against traditional varieties. Some seeds produce better fresh produce while other varieties are better for drying. There is certainly plenty of sun in this part of the world and women can be seen slicing tomatoes and leaving them to dry in the sun. Locally Orshi tomatoes have a very good reputation for their flavour. Later in the day one of the village elders tells of his plans to export ‘sun-dried Orshi tomatoes’. You never know.
R. Delaney, Water Expert
Sidic is one of the 7500 people who benefited from COOPI’s project Support to the nomad and sedentary food insecure communities in Um Baru locality, North Darfur. The project started in January 2015 thanks to the funding granted by the European Union and contributes to improve the food security situation of vulnerable population groups in conflict affected areas of North Darfur (Sudan) in the Um Baru locality, targeting – as vulnerable population – pastoralists and farmers with low income as beneficiaries. The programme aims to increase the ability of communities to accumulate resources and will help developing communities’ capacity to manage and sustain those resources over time. Reaching those objectives COOPI help increasing resilience to recurrent shocks and facilitate development by giving people the opportunity to invest.