COVID-19 has hit every community around the world. But when curfews and economic shutdown were put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Africa, the impact on some rural communities was severe. In Senegal for example, even before the pandemic 47% of the population lived in poverty and 17% were food insecure. For women farmers, the lockdown disrupted food production, supply and markets sparking food shortages that forced many producers to use their seeds for food, threatening next year's harvest.
In many communities we serve, the pandemic continues to compound challenges of climate-related conditions such as drought and access to water, which is putting thousands of people at risk of hunger and malnutrition. Women make up more than 60% of smallholder, rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, yet they are among the most vulnerable because they often do not own the land they farm, they lack productive inputs such as quality seeds and fertilizers and need technical advice and new technologies to help them adapt their approaches to the changing climate. As lockdown measures ease, there is an urgent need to boost resilience of rural women farmers to guarantee their food and nutrition security now and in the future.
Crossroads International is tackling these issues head on providing training to adapt to the changing climate and increasing access to water and drought resistant crops.
In Senegal, Crossroads is bringing access to water and new farming techniques to a network of women-led rural agricultural cooperatives in two of the country's most vulnerable communities: Pambal and Cherif Lô. The 1500 women farmers are learning sustainable techniques to help mitigate the impact of climate change to increase their economic power and their ability to grow enough food to meet their needs, their families' and their communities'. Already this rural project is changing the lives of thousands of people thanks to training on new crops, equipment operation in farmer field school and new drip irrigation systems, wells and solar powered water pumps.
Don't let COVID 19 undo gains we've made. Will you stand with us to help rural farmers increase their food security. Help us, help them.
Crossroads and its local partners are mounting a COVID-19 response to provide emergency food, seed and health kits to help the farmers while we work with local partners to adapt their approaches and programs to build resilience among women farmers.
Sign your name today to pledge your support to these vital programs to protect food security for women farmers!