Residents of southern Sudan have long relied on subsistence farming utilizing traditional methods. These practices, such as hand tilling and broad casting of seed, result in crop loss, disease, and infestation, and severely limit farmer’s yields.
USAID is working to overcome these challenges by introducing new technology and farming methods to residents of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Unity states.
Maliah Gai Luoi, a USAID beneficiary from Lingere Boma in Mayom County, Unity state, is learning firsthand the benefits of ox plow technology, proper spacing and planting techniques, and improved seed varieties.
Maliah returned to Lingere in 2000 after years of living as an internally displaced person at a camp on the outskirts of Khartoum. At 30 years old, he is responsible for 18 dependents, whom he had been supporting with a small retail shop and cattle trading business. Maliah first saw ox plow farming during his time in Khartoum, but never considered that he would one day practice it himself. When USAID offered ox plow training in Mayom County during June 2010, Maliah was quick to sign up.
After 30 days of training on the proper commands and instructions for his bulls, BRIDGE provided Maliah and another farmer with an ox plow to share. When he began farming his fields, Maliah saw that ox plowing was an easy, quick, and effective method of cultivation. He was amazed that he was able to plow a plot of land in two days.
In addition to the ox plow training, Maliah participated in other USAID trainings on planting techniques, crop spacing, pest control, and weeding, and received a grant of improved maize seed. When harvest season arrived, Maliah experienced a record yield from his maize crop, something he attributes directly to the training and USAID assistance. “I’m so happy, imagine I have harvested 10 bags, nearly 1,000 kilograms, in just one season. This year, food will not be a problem for my family,” he said.
News of his and others’ success with ox plow technology traveled rapidly through the surrounding villages. One farmer said, “Why are we dying of hunger if we could produce so many bags of maize using our bulls?”