USAID launches agriculture program

USAID Director in South Sudan, Jeffrey Bakken speaks to Eye Radio. Photo by Victor Lugala, May 25, 2017

The United States Agency for International Development, USAID has launched a three-year new project on sustainable agriculture for economic resiliency in the country.

In a press statement sent to Eye Radio, USAID said the program will address widespread food and nutrition deficiencies.

It also said the program will help communities become increasingly resilient to shocks including conflict, economic and environment-related shocks.

According to USAID, over three years of conflict have made the country one of the world’s most food-insecure countries, with more than half the population facing life-threatening hunger.

It said the program will be implemented in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO.

The project will target households experiencing stress and crisis levels of food insecurity, to prevent them from falling into worse levels of food insecurity— emergency and famine.

The statement also indicates that program will focus on sustainable livelihoods for people displaced by conflict and those who have returned to their home areas and have access to productive assets such as livestock and microenterprise activities.

The three-year project will help restore and diversify household and community livelihoods enterprises like beekeeping, aquaculture, and livestock, among others, restore and strengthen agricultural production practices and strengthen community and intercommunal resource sharing such as water, land and management practices to promote peaceful coexistence and reduce conflict over competition for limited natural resources.

“We continue to adjust our programs to best assist the people of South Sudan considering the enormous challenges they are facing, including dire economic circumstances and widespread displacement due to conflict,” said USAID Mission Director Jeff Bakken in the statement.

“This project is designed to complement our humanitarian assistance for the most at risk-people, by helping to empower those who have means of growing their own food and engaging in income-producing activities. We want to help those people to be able to support their families.”

Meanwhile, FAO’s Deputy Representative and Officer in Charge in South Sudan Pierre Vauthier said: “this three-year project offers a real chance to improve conditions for the most vulnerable families”.

“Farming, fishing, and pastoral households will be supported to produce, process and sell their own food, leading to families and communities being more resilient to withstand any new threats to their food security,” he added.

The project will operate in former Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Lakes, Jonglei and Western Equatoria—areas that are conducive to agriculture, livestock, fisheries, natural resource management and income-generating activities.