Rain fed agriculture, using the traditional method of shifting cultivation, is still the main source of family income. Livestock on the other hand is not very common. The big potential lies in the fact that the region of Western Equatoria is rich in natural resources, like fertile soils, long rain seasons and vast forest reserves.
Because of its high agricultural potential, Western Equatoria is considered as the “Corn Basket” of South Sudan. Hence, it has to play the major role for food supply in the country. Yet, because of the long civil war and the weak infrastructure it is still not in the position to achieve this vital task.
Due to the outbreak of new ethnic violence in rural communities in Western Equatoria, people are again living in insecurity and without a reliable access to education, health and safe roads. This has a negative impact on the ability to increase the food production above subsistence in order to produce for the market and to earn additional income. In the course of decades of insecurity, the former cultivation areas were overgrown with bushes and forest land. Thus, the re-cultivation of the former agricultural areas remains an ongoing hard task. Moreover, due to the long isolation of remote agricultural areas caused by insecurity, many farmers lost their seeds and agricultural tools which resulted in a setback in the production capacity.
While the market prices for agricultural products are high, the production level of farmers is very low. Moreover, taking into account the growth of Western Equatoria population due to the huge number of returnees from the north, the food production needs to be increased.
Malnourishment of children is another problem, resulting i.e. from the above-mentioned issues.
Hence, within the COMPASS programme, Solidarity with South Sudan will aim at achieving the following changes in the region of Western Equatoria State – Yambio County:
- 710 households have diversified their agricultural production
- 370 households have adopted sustainable agricultural practices on their fields and report that lean periods have been reduced
- 705 households are practicing methods of post-harvest loss
- 40 households have additional livestock assets while preserving necessary natural resources
- 560 households report to have additional income through the sale of agricultural and/or livestock products
- 705 households have increased awareness of the need to protect natural resources
- 370 households have adopted new practices to limit negative effects on the environment (460 ha of land rehabilitated)
- 250 households are putting into practice strategies for preventing malnutrition of household members, especially children under five
- 750 undernourished children show a reduction in undernourishment