March 29th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —— The Awail Rice Scheme (ARS), opened by the British Colonial Government in 1944, was taken over after independence by the Sudan Government in 1953, and was expanded by FAO and UNDP during 1970s, and in the 1980s with financial assistance from the European Economic Community (EEC).
The ARS remains today the sole rice producing area in South Sudan with current area under cultivation of over 1,000 hectares. It is owned by the federal government but the rice cultivation is done by different groups such as private farmers, cooperatives and the government. At present all the framing operations related to the paddy cultivation in ARS is carried out manually except the land preparation which is done using tractors.
The weeding is done with maloda whereas paddy is harvested using munjal (sickle). Threshing is also done manually by beating them on wooden plank. All these operations are labour intensive and lead to high post-harvest losses. Thus to overcome the challenges the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has recently supported the Rice Scheme with two paddy reapers, two paddy threshers and 5,000 plastic bags said Mr. Ram Kishore Prasad Singh, the Chief Technical Advisor of UNIDO in South Sudan. Mr. Singh added that UNIDO also supported the ARS with a single pass two stage rice mill of 750kg/hr capacity to locally produce rice in Aweil town.
Mr. Daniel Rube Ateng, the Project Coordinator of EU Project further explained that a total of 30 farmers, who are having farms at the ARS, and the government officials working with the Aweil Rice Scheme were trained by UNIDO on the proper use and basic maintenance of these equipment. Special emphasis was given on importance of observing safety measures before and during the use of the machines, such as using proper clothing, avoid touching rotating parts, etc. Participants also learnt basic maintenance such as changing engine oil and filters and replacing worn out parts.
Mr. Abdall Wadabdalla one of the project beneficiary said “I am very glad to be part of this training conducted by UNIDO. Harvesting of one-hectare paddy by hand takes many days and requires many people. But now using the Paddy reapers takes only less than an hour”. The Aweil Rice Scheme manager Mr. Ahou Deng stated that “introduction of these machines will increase the production and productivity of rice in near future and it will also help in reducing the losses during harvest”
Mama Mary a farmer and a mother to 8 children when asked about her impression regards to the Rice Mill she replied “All this time I only seen the paddy rice and getting clean rice was big challenge but now I am happy to see the rice mill provided by UNIDO working and producing good quality rice that I can even sellout”
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is implementing the European Union (EU) funded project on “Enhanced local value addition and strengthening value chains in the Greater Bahr El Ghazal Region” which is part of the EU supported rural development programme called Zonal Effort for Agricultural Transformation- Bahr El Ghazal Agricultural Development (ZEAT-BEAD). The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the improvement of food security and income of the population of the target beneficiaries in the Greater Bahr El Ghazal region of South Sudan by enhancing value addition and development of the identified value chains.
For more information, you can reach Ram Kishore Prasad Singh the Chief Technical Advisor of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in South Sudan at firstname.lastname@example.org