From Maize Farmer to Community Educator – Meet Sahar
Farming during the COVID pandemic
Sahar began her farming journey cultivating maize crop. While she used seeds from different companies, she always went back to the Pioneer® seed (Corteva Agriscience). In her experience, these seeds produced higher yielding crops than the other seeds she tried.
When the pandemic struck and Pakistan went into lockdown, Sahar realized it was going to have a big impact both on her community and the agricultural sector. Fear of contracting the virus, coupled with the new counter measures disrupted their wheat harvesting period.
As migrants returned home financial struggles became commonplace. Sahar and her husband decided to help them safely resettle in the community. Armed with their knowledge of COVID management, the couple started educating the community about social distancing, mask usage, hand sanitization and personal hygiene.
Education during the pandemic
The lockdown also restricted the flow of information. The internet became a lifeline. Sahar and her husband conducted online lectures covering topics such as sowing, how to grow Pedi-rice, and how to setup drip irrigation for maize crops. These lessons were all built around activities that required fewer people in the field. These lessons were also an opportunity to highlight the importance of water-saving and the couple offered additional training on Biofloc fish farming and taught people to make vermicompost out of biogas slurry for use in organic farming. In another series of sessions, they taught people how to farm silage to provide fodder for animals during the lockdown period – saving a number of dairy farms in their local area.
Finally, Sahar and her husband used the internet to uncover new employment opportunities – not just for themselves, but for their local community.
The biggest lesson learned
Sahar says that the pandemic has taught them to fight the battle collectively, with their community, because that is the only way to can beat it. In her words,
“Let's try to tune ourselves to see light in the darkest period of our lives.”