Despite abundant and fertile land (648,000 Km2), only 4 per cent of South Sudanese land area is cultivated by mostly smallholder subsistence farmers on small, hand-cultivated plots farmed by mostly women. Adding to extremely harsh ecological conditions, low input and output agriculture makes food security a serious concern in a country 80% of the households depend on crop farming or animal husbandry as their primary source of livelihood (FAO, 2016-2017).

A five year Jonglei Food Security Program (JFSP) was originally designed as a development program to strengthen the capacity of producers and Government agricultural professionals to increase agricultural productivity and livelihood of vulnerable households. JFSP mobilized and assisted over 400 producer groups with basic agricultural inputs and extension services. At the end of JFSP in January 2017, a follow-on program the resilience and food security program (RFSP) was designed to sustain the investments that were made under JFSP focusing on strengthening technical and organizational capacity of producer groups (PGs) to increase agricultural production for home consumption and selling the surplus for income generation.

RFSP Support Includes:

Facilitating vulnerable communities access to basic farming inputs (seeds and tools);

The program assists the internally displaced people, returnees and other vulnerable households to recover from the consequences of the crisis of December 2013, through provision of seeds and tools. To revitalize local economy, stimulate the market and motivate higher productivity, the program facilitates access to locally produced seeds through seed fairs and local direct procurement and distribution arrangements. The seeds are distributed to the producer groups on a seed recovery basis. Certified seeds for vegetables and maize are imported from neighbouring countries. During rainy season, RFSP supports communities to produce key staple food crops (sorghum, maize and groundnut) while in dry season, the program assists households that have access to a water source with vegetable seed and small scale irrigation equipment for dry season farming.

Building the capacity of producer groups and government field extension staff;

Through formal and on the job training, RFSP builds the capacity of government seconded field extension agents (FEAs) deployed at the payam level to provide close monitoring and timely extension services to the farmers. These FEAs in turn work closely with the farmers organized in small farmer producer groups (FPGs) of 20 members each to learn new farming techniques and cascade them on their individual farms. This type of capacity building is vital since these FEAs will remain and continue to support the community and continue to support the community after RFSP terminates.

Engage unmarried youth in large scale commercial farming

To promote peaceful cohabitation and reduce recurrent episodes of conflict, RFSP is piloting youth in farming on five sites in Bor, Twic East and Duk counties by engaging unemployed youth into large scale farming to generate decent income and stay away from potential recruitment by armed forces for nefarious actions.

RFSP supported 300 young men involved in large scale farming on 150 feddans (~60 hectares) in Duk, Twic East and Duk. Better rainfall distribution in Duk and Twic led to a better crop performance which has boosted the morale of the youth, local authorities and entire community at large. “It is the first time in five years to see crop performing better in Wernyol”. Said Deng Garang Wach member of Wernyol Youth farm in Twic East.  Kongor Deng a Dean of Cathedral said that sorghum fields are doing exceptionally wonderful not only in the youth farm but even on private cultivated farms. This was echoed by the Relief and Rehabilitation Coordinator for Twic East Maker Ajok who described the general crop performance for Twic east as better compared to last year and he attributed improvement to timely distribution of agriculture inputs which led timely planting immediately at the onset of the first rain in May.

 Support professionalization of the producers;

The program supports selected PGs to expand cultivated area and produce improved quality seed as professional seed producers to avail locally produced seeds of sorghum and groundnut at an affordable price. Currently, some RFSP supported seed producers have slowly become the main suppliers of improved locally produced seeds to humanitarian relief agencies. Other PGs have slowly started operating as real agribusiness commercial enterprises. Some have acquired own tractors which they use to plow and expand own farms and provide tractor hire services to their neighbors, while others have engaged with processing and value addition related activities providing grind mill services especially at town centers.

Linking producers with the markets through agro-enterprise development.

RFSP supports producer groups to increase their productivity and increase quantity and quality of production to respond to the market demand. Through improved governance and accountable group organization, the program supports 12 more mature FPGs to complete formal registration as cooperatives. As a result, despite the economic and security challenges in South Sudan, producers in some locations have started shifting from household subsistence to commercial production, improving market incomes and identifying opportunities to grow. Currently, some fishery and vegetable producer groups have established market linkages with hotels and restaurants for regular supply of fresh fish and vegetables.

Integration with other sectors

Under RFSP agriculture sector is implemented in close coordination with other program sectors to promote nutrition sensitive agriculture for nutrition gains and ensure efficient use of natural resources through multiple uses of water.  Through consultation with nutrition sector, the program supports local communities to grow nutritious crops for a balance diet. During dry season the program supports communities with vegetable seeds and small scale irrigation equipment to produce green vegetables for home consumption and income generation through sale of the surplus. Using the nutrition led cooking demonstrations,  agriculture and nutrition sectors work together to educate the communities on how best to use the locally produced food commodities to prepare balanced diets  at their homes’ level.  In rainy season Agriculture sector coordinates with the resilience sector  to ensure that excessive water is safely managed through construction of dykes to protect farmlands and excavation of water ponds to store excessive water for future use for dry season farming. In dry season, agriculture sector coordinates with WASH sector to ensure multiple uses of scarce water for human and livestock consumption as well as optimum use for dry season farming. Lastly, through agro-enterprise development, agriculture sector coordinates with other program sectors to strengthen the business and entrepreneurial skills of different groups involved in various IGAs to establish lasting market linkages and generate sustainable revenues.


RFSP Agriculture Program Video