Conflict and climate-driven shocks in South Sudan have significantly damaged agricultural production, which is South Sudan’s primary economic sector and source of livelihoods. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, up to 95 percent of South Sudanese rely on farming, herding, or fishing. Any disruption to this sector causes ripple effects, and has the potential to harm South Sudan’s overall economy. Dramatic increases in food prices resulting from soaring inflation, disrupted markets and trade, and low food production due to conflict or natural disasters have worsened food insecurity. (USAID 2022)
Low productivity can be attributed to natural and man-made reasons. Natural factors include erratic and inconsistent rain in nature that leads to drought and famine. Man-made factors are poor soil fertility, traditional farming systems, lack of improved agricultural inputs, overcultivation of the land and the like. All of these problems have resulted in low productivity and food insecurity of the area. Diversification of agricultural production is important because there can be many sources of both income and products.
A high incidence and severity of poverty in Torit County results in hunger, high school drop-out rates and low levels of learning, problems which affect millions of primary school children. The main nutritional problems facing school-age children include stunting, low body weight and micronutrient malnutrition, including deficiencies of iron, iodine and vitamin A. Children who come to school hungry, or are chronically malnourished, have diminished cognitive abilities that lead to reduced school performance. They also suffer from decreased physical activity and reduced resistance to disease, and hence have shorter life expectancy. In the long run, chronic undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies decrease individual potential and have adverse effects on productivity, incomes and national development.
Fruit and vegetable production is one way in which agriculture can be diversified and it is one component of crop production that can contribute to food security of the area. How-ever, the system of production is backward and as a result, no enough yield is obtained from it. Besides, there are no enough sources of fruit and vegetable seeds for farmers. If these are planted and grown by the farmer, households could be able to get balanced diet that contributes to good health of the society. Therefore, production of these has double Importance, namely; for income generation and nutritional value.
With support from Seed International Programs USA. WRA runs club-based Vegetable project in Eastern Equatoria State, South Sudan which helped to build resilience at the household and community levels to help local communities affected by economic, conflict, or environment-related shocks. These activities restored livelihoods, strengthen community and intercommunal resource-sharing and management practices, and protect and strengthen agricultural productivity of vulnerable households and communities. These interventions focus in Eastern Equatoria State.