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Improving food quality and security

In five villages near to the city of Wau in the north west of the South Sudanese federal state of Western Bahr al Ghazal, Malteser International is helping 850 especially needy families – in total more than 5,000 people – to make long term-improvements to the quality and security of their food. The population in the region lives primarily from the land, but since the renewal of violent conflict in the county in December 2013, the forces of civil war have determined the life of the people. The already precarious food situation – which suffered from the limitations of local farming methods and fluctuating weather conditions – has been pushed to breaking point and beyond by ongoing political crises, violence, and a continually growing number of displaced people and refugees.

Malteser International has been working in close collaboration with the Catholic diocese of Wau since the end of 2014 in order to improve the nutrition and livelihood of the villagers sustainably, and to reduce their exposure and vulnerability to future crises and disasters. Malteser International is returning abandoned acreage, irrigation systems and access roads to use in cooperation with local families: distributing seeds, plant cuttings and tools to the population, as well as setting up warehouses. The families are taught improved farming methods in training sessions – allowing them not only to increase the yield, but also the diversity of their crop: providing themselves with a healthier diet for the long-term. The diocese of Wau has given its own land for farming.

The current crisis is just the latest manifestation of South Sudan’s fragility as a state. Despite the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005, which brought an official end to the decades long war of secession, and the eventual independence of South Sudan on the 9th July 2011, conflicts with bordering states and seemingly insurmountable inter-ethnic conflicts continue to torment the world’s youngest state. Even in regions of the country which are relatively free from conflict, the food situation is precarious due to the inefficient farming methods used and extreme fluctuations in seasonal weather. On top of this comes the drastically inflated price of corn and other staple foods. This places all segments of the population under strain, and poses a particular problem for families who have taken in refugees from other parts of the country. A further consequence of the conflict and violence is the great number of nomadic herdsmen forced to drive their cattle into Wau county. The animals often damage to the fields - destroying harvests - and causing new conflicts to break out between the nomads and the local agricultural population.

  • The improvement of the rural infrastructure.
  • The improvement of the food situation by increasing agricultural yields, diversifying the crop, and introducing alternative methods of processing food.
  • The creation of a livelihood through improved marketing strategies for agricultural products, incorporating members of especially vulnerable groups.
  • An increase in sensitivity and the application of appropriate strategies for the solution of seasonal land conflicts.
  • Return of unused / damaged land, irrigation systems and other agricultural infrastructure to use, including the access roads to the former mission station at Bussere.
  • Organization of small farmers with help from development committees and foundation of an agricultural cooperative.
  • Allocation of plots and parcels of land from the unused land of the Bussere mission station.
  • Training in efficient farming of staple foods and local vegetables.
  • Establishment of sample gardens and seed beds.
  • Distribution of seeds and basic agricultural equipment to participating households.
  • Supply of equipment for the processing of agricultural products and training of cooperative workers in their operation.
  • Training in marketing agricultural produce.
  • Protective systems for the agricultural land and infrastructure.
  • Information and awareness campaign about food security and agriculture via local radio stations.

Country Info

Capital: Juba
Area: 644,329 km²
Population: c. 12 Million

Project data

Project duration: since 2002
Donors: European Delegation in South Sudan, provate donations
Partners: National health authorities

Last updated: January 2016

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