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    Five Cheap Ways To Help Subsistence Farmers

    Here are five simple, cheap solutions to help female farmers around the world. The following five solutions cost less than a coffee, and could make a real impact on the daily life of one family.

    The severe problems faced by subsistence farmers are not simple in scope, but some simple solutions can go a long way to helping a farmer. Here are five simple, cost effective ways that could help subsistence farmers around the world.

    1. Planting in Rows = Less Weeding

    Kelly Doig

    A publication by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) found that women in African countries spent between 60 and 120 hours of weeding a year. Farmers should plant in rows with crops evenly spaced (proper spacing determined by a local agronomist). This can easily be achieved with a cheap string and wooden stakes, and this will reduce time weeding as well as allow for visual inspection of plants by the farmer for fungus.

    2. Grain Bags

    Storage is a key issue for poor farmers, bags like GrainPro's bag can be bought cheaply for $1.50 in bulk. The bag prevents oxygen from entering, while still allowing oxygen to escape. This stops insects from surviving in the bag and ruining the harvest.

    3. Fruit and Vegetable Bags

    Kelly Doig

    Keeping fruit and vegetables ripe can be difficult. However, greens bags like Debbie Meyer’ Green Bag can keep them better for longer for 50 cents each ($9.99 for 20) or Ziplock (pictured above) has a Fresh produce bag which cost 3 dollars for 15 bags.

    4. Cheap Corn Sheller

    After harvest the seeds can often be broke while getting taken off the corn cob and is hard work for the women. Cheap shellers can be easily bought for less than a dollar, or made from a tin can.

    5. Sieve to Clean Seeds

    Kelly Doig

    Clean seeds are imperative to have a good harvest, and help prevent weeds by making sure weed seeds are not mixed in with the desired seed. A simple, cheap sieve can help sort the good seeds away from the bad.

    Now that you know five cheap items to help subsistence farmers, let your friends, and even your government representative in on the secret. Show everyone the cheap solutions that cost less than the coffee you bought this morning. #lessthanacoffee

    Kelly Doig

    Student at The University of Guelph

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