DMI changed our lives -Famers
By Kidega Livingstone
It was last week when I traveled to Nyarjua Ma-Mere Boma in Luri Payam, Luri County to witness the activities of Daughters of Mary Immaculate (DMI) assisting the vulnerable communities in the area. Before reaching the place we met many women bringing okra, Sukuma wiki, Dodo and sweet potatoes to Juba town for sale.
Reaching the place, Joseph Ladu one of the prominent famer in the area told Juba Monitor that “DMI has really changed the life of people in Luri. According to Ladu, the people in the area used to grow only vegetables and engage in quarrying as their main activities for generating income but in 2014 when the DMI started giving seeds such as grains, beans and Groundnuts, people started getting interest in growing other crops in the area.
“It was since 2014 when DMI started ploughing land for the community here which was about eight hectares out of eight, we had two hectares of groundnut, four hectares of maize and two hectares of beans,” he said.
He said in 2015 they repeated the same activities and increased the number of hectares to 22 hectares but due to limited rainfall, they got poor harvests. “It is now coming to four years DMI provided us with agriculture programmes including education which have really changed our life here because people are now able to take their children to school as well as earn income for their survival,” said Ladu.
He stated that orphans and elderly people in their village have been assisted with School feeding programmes and scholastic materials while the elderly have been assisted with soap, clothes and food items.
“This year alone (2017) they have cultivated thirty one (31) hectares for this community for growing grains, beans and groundnuts but the only problem we had the seeds brought was less that is why some parts remain empty but we were able to cultivate twenty hectares,” said Ladu.
“This time they only bring grains, bean and groundnut but before that they used to bring even simsim and other seeds,” he added.
Ladu revealed that DMI told them to use the food provided for home consumption to fight hunger and sell the surplus of the harvest to cater for other commodities in the market. He said DMI does not ask for anything in return for the seeds and food assistance the community receives.
Lillian Juan Women leader in Nyarjua-Ma-Mere Boma told Juba Monitor that lives of women in the area have greatly changed because they are able to produce liquid soaps after they were trained by the DMI.
“There are some women here who get a lot of money in this liquid soap because those who wash cars buy it from us and most of the women here have knowledge on economic activities after being trained ,” said Juan.
Government officials buying some of the produce of farmers supported by DMI during world Agriculture day (Photo by Kidega Livingstone)
Food Security Programme Coordinator for DMI, Sister Rani Maly said they have introduced food security programmes in order for the community to get out of hunger since they don’t have enough food to feed their families.
“In our assessment in the area the communities were facing many challenges especially hunger,” she said. “The first step as DMI, we have taken the initiative to bring basic needs to the community, we introduced food security programmes through distributing seed crops and vegetable seeds and some garden tools.”
Sister Maly said after teaching the farmers food security, they ploughed the land with tractors and divided it to the families so that each family cultivates their portion.
She said they also trained the farmers on how to control pest and disease.
DMI Country Coordinator, Sister Jeny Maila said that they have seen that more people are getting interested in agriculture that encourages them to work closely with communities in order to get rid of hunger.
“Due to the hunger in the country DMI planned to give food to the families, not ready food but knowledge on how to produce food as well as giving them farming tools to grow more,” she said. “We don’t want our communities to depend on others but independently,” said Maila.
Women and Men showing their harvest at DMI compound during World Agriculture Day (Photo by Livingstone).
DMI is Abba Father Mission, the Africa mission contribution in reaching out to most vulnerable and deprived communities in South Sudan according to Maila.
DMI opted to work in South Sudan after witnessing the suffering of people and based on a detailed need assessment. “Loving God in serving the poor to be fully human and fully alive,” she said.