Expanding a community run farm to employ 20 people and create food security for a village
Why are we doing this?
“I always believed the farm here in our village is the only answer for all our economic needs. Now it has come to be” – Jukistra, resident of Theravil village.
Theravil village sustained significant damage during the war, and its residents were displaced to refugee camps. Returning to find their livelihoods destroyed, Palmera assisted them to begin rebuilding in 2014.
We did this through supporting a group of people to use one of the community’s key assets, a disused community owned farm, to establish a Poultry Business.
This Poultry Business has been very successful, providing employment and a regular income for the people who work there. And there is more opportunity- demand currently outstrips supply for poultry projects, and there is unused land that can be used to grow crops.
The success of this business has led us in 2016 to expand the poultry business and the surrounding farm so we can employ and increase the income of more entrepreneurs in the village.
Jukistra and Sumathy both work at the Poultry Farm. They came to us with a plan to grow black gram on this unused land. They believe that with hard work and some support, they can significantly increase their income through this community farm.
Jukistra is a big believer in the power of this farm to transform the community. She is a 42-year-old widow with a 12-year-old daughter. Losing her husband due to the conflict in 2009 and sustaining an injury to her hand, Jukistra struggled to rebuild. She explains:
“I survived by doing labour work, but unfortunately this work doesn’t last for more than 10 days and the pay is only 60 cents (AUD) per day. There were times when there was no food to eat. I needed to find a way to survive for my daughter, and for myself.
We wanted a different life and a different direction. For a long time, I couldn’t think about the past. Those years were dark times for me. When others began sharing how they lived 10 years back, I realised how far my daughter and I were pushed back because of the war. We have nearly nothing.
I always believed the farm here in our village is the only answer for all our economic needs. Now it has come to be. Because of this, I now have a sense of hope for our future.”
How will this project work?
We will support the people of Theravil village to expand their Poultry business to meet the high demand for their products.
We will also support people like Jukistra and Sumathy to establish agriculture businesses using the land available at the community farm.
To do this, we will provide:
- Training and mentoring on small business ownership.
- Training and mentoring on environmentally friendly, efficient and sustainable agriculture techniques
- Interest free loans to invest in the Poultry business and other agriculture activities on the farm.
- Support to access new markets to sell products in.
- Support disadvantaged people to access economic opportunities, so they can increase their income and better meet their basic needs such as food, education and shelter.
- Support vulnerable people to learn the lifelong skills needed to be more resilient for the rest of their lives.
- Strengthen the community by investing in local solutions to poverty.
Sumathy talks about the impact that war and poverty has had on her generation. “My dream was to be a teacher but it never became true,” she says. “I lost my education and hopes due to the war. Because of this farm, we now have a sense of hope.”
For Jukistra, this project will first and foremost give her the ability to provide three nutritious meals a day for her daughter and for herself. But it will also mean she can invest in her daughter’s education, so her daughter can realise her dreams in a way Jukistra’s generation was never able to.
Jukistra shares with us her plans for the money she and Sumathy will earn from growing black gram at the community farm:
“After the first harvest, we will repay the loan and reinvest on peanut and banana crops. And, for the first time I am going to buy something new for my daughter, and something small for myself.”
How do we ensure the project is sustainable after we leave?
- Investing in local people to create local solutions
- Utilising an already existing community asset, the community owned farming land
- Expanding an already existing business, the Poultry Farm, which has shown great potential to provide income and employment for the community