Breaking cycle of hunger in South Sudan

Monday, August 27, 2012

Aweil, South Sudan: During decades of conflict in South Sudan, food assistance provided a vital lifeline to people affected by the fighting.

Now, the government of the newly independent country has set its sight on attaining food self-sufficiency.

Groups of farmers backed by WFP, South Sudan’s ministry of agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are helping make this a reality through community-based projects.

In the little village of War Adhot in Aweil county of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, women and men sing as they weed out grass that may hinder the growth of their sprouting plants of sorghum, maize and groundnuts.

Bountiful harvest

These farmers are looking forward to a bountiful harvest. They expect to produce 540 metric tons of food which should cover about six months of cereal requirements for 3,500 beneficiaries in the surrounding communities. These crops will help break the cycle of hunger and reduce the need for food hand-outs.

WFP is providing their community with 243 metric tons of food assistance and training to tend to their crops until the end of the year as an incentive to help develop skills and encourage longer-term food security.

It is part of the WFP strategy in South Sudan aimed at assisting South Sudan in moving away from food aid dependency towards food security and self-sustainability.

Through these Food-for-Assets projects, which started in April this year, WFP plans to assist 867,000 severely and moderately food insecure people in the country.

That is nearly a third of the total number of people WFP aims to reach in 2012, and the goal for the future is to expand this approach.

The harvest from the War Adhot project will feed the farmers’ families, as well provide seeds for the next season's planting and a surplus for sale. The project is improving food security and livelihoods in a part of one of South Sudan’s most food insecure states.
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