Juba, South Sudan,
June 24, 2021 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has partnered with the South Sudan Livelihoods and Resilience Project to boost agriculture and food production through a $19.9 million worth scheme.
A statement released Thursday by IFAD says the project could benefit an estimated 38,800 rural households negatively impacted by poverty, food insecurity, and climate change.
“The South Sudan Livelihoods Resilience Project (SSLRP) will empower rural people to boost productivity, food security and nutrition, and resilience,” it says.
IFAD added that at a time when the COVID-19 crisis and climate change could further push the 85 percent of South Sudanese who live in rural areas into deeper poverty, the SSLRP will target the most vulnerable, food insecure, and small-scale producers, engaged in fishing, cropping and livestock production.
The organization reveals that a financing agreement was signed virtually by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the IFAD, and Athian Ding Athian, South Sudan Minister for Finance and Planning.
IFAD says the rate of poverty in South Sudan was high with affected people mostly in rural settings.
“In South Sudan, poverty is higher in rural areas, with 80 percent of the population living below the poverty line and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Therefore, agriculture is key to defeating poverty and hunger,” it says.
The statement obtained by Nyamilepedia implores that South Sudan was still languishing among the most fragile states in the world.
“However, South Sudan, a resource-rich country and the youngest nation in Africa, remains the third most fragile in the world,” it says adding that the country’s agricultural sector was largely unexploited.
“Its [South Sudan’s] agriculture sector’s potential is not fully exploited due to a long conflict and prolonged instability, and poverty and food insecurity remain challenges,” it says.
“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,” IFAD highlights.
According to the statement by IFAD, the SSLRP will benefit at least 70 percent of the youths and 60 percent of the 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.
Bernadette Mukonyora, IFAD Country Director for South Sudan said the project is a symbol of re-engagement that seeks to alleviate the rural population from suffering.
“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,” Mukonyora said.
SSLRP will also rehabilitate and construct water infrastructure, rural roads to give access to markets, and processing and storage facilities.
SSLRP will also partner with major financial institutions to strengthen the capacity of the beneficiaries.
“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,” it says.
The project will operate in three states and five counties, namely Eastern Equatoria (Magwi and Torit), Central Equatoria (Kajo Keji and Terekeka), and Jonglei (Bor), and will contribute towards livelihoods recovery and rebuild farming systems.
To implement SSLRP, IFAD says it is providing a US$1.9 million loan, a $7.9 million grant, and $4.0 million IFAD climate finance. The Government of South Sudan is also providing US$1.6 million, with a further US$5.6 million from the African Development Bank as parallel co-financing and US$0.8 million from the beneficiaries.
The Government of the Netherlands will contribute an $8.0 million grant as additional co-financing for SSLRP to support rural feeder roads for agriculture production and access to markets according to the press statement.
Since 2011, IFAD has financed 2 rural development programs and projects in the country at a total cost of US$ 43.8 million, with an IFAD investment of US$ 23.3 million, directly benefiting nearly 77,000 rural households.