Getting The Most Of A Community Fruit Tree Nursery In Central Darfur

Where land is plentiful and under-utilised it is possible to improve livelihoods through farming that is attuned to market requirement as well as the consumption needs of farmers.

This was the situation in Um Shalaya, the second most populous town in Central Darfur after Zalingei. Agriculture is the main economic activity. However, unemployment is high and migration to Libya is significant, especially among young men, a situation that some say is responsible for the existence of many women-headed households.

A community project aimed at providing participating beneficiaries with income and skills was launched in February by the Darfur Development Reconstructive Agency (DDRA) in partnership with the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa.

Around 200 women are involved in Um Shalaya nursery, where 600 fruits seedlings (200 mangoes, 200 guavas, 200 lemons), have been provided, along with support items.

Among the beneficiaries are returnees from Libya and members of their families as well as others from the community. The aim is to enhance agricultural practices while also ensuring returnees’ well-being and socio-economic reintegration.

In April, amid the onset of COVID-19, DDRA proceeded with the implementation of the project while assuring physical distancing. In coordination with the Ministry of Health, DDRA distributed agricultural tool kits to 109 women. Each kit consisted of a shovel, a hoe and a rake.

The first part of the project was a two-months training in which around 90 women received technical training in nurseries' management and the cultivation of fruit seedlings.

“I was a trainee in the first batch of the nursery training and now I’m training women from the host community,” said Fatima Ibrahim, 40, the nursery supervisor.

She added: “We produced more than 1200 tree seedlings and saplings from a variety of fruit such as mango, grapefruit, lemon, guava.” The seeds were put up for sale and also planted with the aim of yielding fruit for the beneficiaries in the future.

Zamzam Dawood, 34, a mother of five children, said: “I saw my neighbours plant seedlings within their households and they let me know about the training and the nursery. I’m excited to join the next batch to learn how to plant grapefruit and mango.”

Commented Reem Eldwwari, IOM Sudan National Programme Coordinator: “We are proud to support the Um Shalaya community in central Darfur through strengthening the capacity of women in the locality as well equipping them with market-driven skills and creating a sustainable source of income and livelihood.”

About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative

Launched in December 2016 and funded by the European Union (EU) Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the programme brings together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa, the EU and IOM around the goal of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities.

For more information please contact Yasir Elbakri at IOM Sudan, Tel: +249 92 241 1339, email:; or the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi: Julia Hartlieb, Tel: +254 734 988 846, email: and Wilson Johwa, Tel: +254 20 4221 112, email: