ACORD to distribute agricultural items as rainy season begins in South Sudan

As the rainy season closes in ACORD plans to distribute agricultural items to farmers. ACORD South Sudan mainly operates in Lobonok Payam in Juba County as well as Terekeka County in Central Equatoria and Magwi in Eastern Equatoria.

ACORD South Sudan’s monitoring, evaluation and communication officer Guya Scopas Bethuel said as part of its livelihood plan, ACORD had advertised for tender to bid for the supply of items and out of seven bids, 4 were selected to supply the items. He said the selected companies have been informed that they should supply the items as soon as possible.

“We have given the companies the shortest time possible to supply the items because many of the farmers especially in Lobonok and Terekeka have gone through the first phase of the farming process of clearing the land”, Scopas said.

The items to be supplied to farmers include cassava stalks, groundnuts, and sorghum. Vegetable seeds such as those of cabbages, onions, Sukuma wiki (Kale), and Amarantas (dodo) are also to be supplied while farm tools include axes, machetes, racks and hoes. All of these are expected to be supplied by the first week of April.

Scopas said they also support fish farming and are currently supporting fish farmers in Terekeka County through two fisheries corporations namely Loyi and Sernum. He said, the corporations mobilize interested individuals and as an NGO they use these corporations to meet their needs.

“As a means of encouraging and giving back to the communities, ACORD South Sudan buys some of their supplies from the farmers in their areas of operation. For instance, they buy cassava stalks from farmers in Lobonok and groundnuts from the farmers in Terekeka”, he added.

According to Scopas, ACORD introduced animal traction last year in Lobonok and the outcome has been immense. He noted that they had conducted a month-long training in order to teach them how to plough and how to identify diseases and treat the animals.

Mogga Michael, the Food Security officer said one of the companies will supply fishing gear to Terekeka. He added that before the supplies are made, farmers have to undergo basic agronomic principles and practice training in order to know how to handle and plant seeds, and how to manage their fields.
The training, he said, also educates farmers on how to make and use organic pesticides such as use of Neem leaves, Red pepper, tobacco leaves as well as fermented cow urine.

“We are also working with a women group in Magwi and hope to send them supplies as soon as possible”, he said.
“This year, there are over 75 farmers groups each comprising of about 15-25 farmers”, he added.
When asked whether ACORD South Sudan supplies fertilizers as well, he replied, “No we don’t. What we do is to advocate and promote organic farmers where farmers are advised against using chemical fertilizers rather use cow dung and decomposed grass from the garden.

Mogga said last year that prolonged drought affected the crop yield and in Terekeka flooding occurred but not during the rainy season thus affecting many farmers’ crop fields.
“The purpose of our early planning this year is due to lessons learnt from last year and not being sure of what will happen this year”, said Mogga.

He said they are also working on environmental protection and urged that deforestation, and poor disposal of plastic containers as well as plastic bags should reduce otherwise in the next years South Sudan may become a desert.
He urged the government to intervene and help set up policies that would help reduce the wastes in the country. He cited recycling as the best possible solution to the problem of littered plastic containers.

Original version of this article appeared here: The Citizen

ACORD works across Africa to support smallholder farmers, especially women, improve their productivity and get better income from selling their produce. We also support farmers' engagement with policies such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and provide policy recommendations to decision makers.

Read more about ACORD's work on agriculture and food security. 
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