WFP/RDAA making households find money in the garden rather than office.
Decades of civil war prevented households in South Sudan from undertaking long-term farming activities because they feared the risks involved in insecurity. Therefore in most parts of Western Equatoria people find themselves in a continuous mode of survival, and will need humanitarian assistance for some time to come. Further factors undermining food production include a lack of appropriate storage and poor feeder road connections, making it difficult for food to reach markets.
However, in order to make meaningful progress in attaining food security we need to strengthen our collective focus on building resilience.
In the past years, food security program in Maridi for small-scale farmers sponsored by WFP and implemented by RDAA has drastically strengthened their livelihood with increased nutrition and surplus in food production for consumption and for sale. Addressing food security and breaking the cycle of hunger requires investment in the right kind of programmes. This is why the WFP has been working with RDAA to design programmes that address short-term needs and at the same time build the resilience of households and communities
Mboroko is one of the Bomas where RDAA began working in 2018. At that time Mboroko farmers lacked agronomy skills and post-harvest loses were high and vegetable growing were lacking. The inadequate knowledge about vegetable production contributed to high levels of malnutrition especially among children under five and women of reproductive age. Mboroko Boma is home to Mr. Charles Hassan Michael household, one of RDAA beneficiaries in the community.
By using cash for asset method, communities are being organised to address the causes of food insecurity, and for sustainability of the project, RDAA facilitated Charles with his acquired skills to make an action plan for training and of passing on the skills to the rest of the community. And so far he has trained many households within Mboroko. He has trained them on backyard vegetable farming, proper planting and weeding procedures and post-harvest handling.
Most of the South Sudanese population lives in rural areas, relying principally on livelihood systems that include rain-dependent, small-scale agriculture, fishing, livestock and natural resource extraction. It is for this reason that WFP distributed the farm implements to enhance the existing agricultural potential.
In fact South Sudan’s agricultural potential is so enormous, given the fact that one of the world’s mightiest rivers (River Nile) flows through the country, humanitarian programs should encompasses the development of irrigation schemes to avert the dependence on the irregular and unpredictable rainy seasons. If this could be achieved, crops, horticulture, fish, livestock and forests can flourish throughout the year.
Investing in irrigation would create a condition that generally favour production and, in theory, if adopted there would be no food shortages. Agricultural growth can therefore be revitalized by expanding aid to encompass rural irrigation development services, and finally, the vulnerable can be shielded from the worst effects of food insecurity by agricultural initiatives focused on small farmers like Charles.