South Sudan partners with IFAD to boost productivity, food security and resilience of small-scale farmers
A new $19.9 million project will bring much needed help to 38,800 rural households facing the impacts of poverty, food insecurity and climate change in South Sudan. The South Sudan Livelihoods Resilience Project (SSLRP) will empower rural people to boost productivity, food security and nutrition, and resilience.
At a time when the COVID-19 crisis and climate change could further push the 85 per cent of South Sudanese who live in rural areas into deeper poverty, SSLRP will target the most vulnerable, food insecure and small-scale producers, engaged in fishing, cropping and livestock production. The financing agreement was signed virtually by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Athian Ding Athian, Minister for Finance and Planning of the Republic of South Sudan.
In South Sudan, poverty is higher in rural areas, with 80 per cent of the population living below the poverty line and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Therefore agriculture is key to defeating poverty and hunger. However, South Sudan, a resource-rich country and the youngest nation in Africa, remains the third most fragile in the world.
Its agriculture sector’s potential is not fully exploited to due to a long conflict and prolonged instability, and poverty and food insecurity remain challenges. Irrigation and water harvesting technologies are inadequate, and there are poor post-harvest and value addition facilities. Adverse weather conditions and flooding are also challenges to small-scale production and access to markets.
In SSLRP, 70 per cent of beneficiaries will be youth and 60 per cent will be women, including returnees, women-headed households and persons with disabilities, who will receive particular attention to facilitate their integration into agricultural production and rural economy activities.
“SSLRP represents IFAD’s formal re-engagement in South Sudan, and seeks to empower rural communities to conceptualize and manage rural enterprises in agriculture production and post-harvest management, whilst devoting significant resources to address climate vulnerability, social inclusion and the empowerment of women and young people,” said Bernadette Mukonyora, IFAD Country Director for South Sudan.
In South Sudan, farmers continue to bear the brunt of climate change, and the project will address their need for access to drought tolerant and early maturing seeds, drought tolerant agroforestry fodder species, water conservation and management, afforestation, mangroves rehabilitation and conservation, solar and other renewable energy sources. SSLRP will also rehabilitate and construct water infrastructure, rural roads to give access to markets, and processing and storage facilities. To build and strengthen the capacity of the beneficiaries and the government during the implementation phases, SSLRP will partner with the African Development Bank (AfDB), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Bank.
SSLRP will operate in three states and five counties - Eastern Equatoria (Magwi and Torit), Central Equatoria (Kajo Keji and Terekeka) and Jonglei (Bor) and will therefore contribute towards livelihoods recovery and rebuild farming systems. It is also in alignment with the ambitious agenda of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.
To implement SSLRP, IFAD is providing a $1.9 million loan, $7.9 million grant and $4.0 million IFAD climate finance. In addition, the Government of South Sudan is providing $1.6 million, with a further $5.6 million from the African Development Bank as parallel co-financing and $0.8 million from the beneficiaries themselves. The Government of the Netherlands will provide $8.0 million grant as additional co-financing for SSLRP to support rural feeder roads for agriculture production and access to markets.
Since 2011, IFAD has financed 2 rural development programmes and projects in the Republic of South Sudan for a total cost of US$ 43.8 million, with an IFAD investment of $23.3 million, directly benefiting nearly 77,000 rural households.