Create jobs by buying local in South Sudan
Farmers in South Sudan sell most of their harvest in local markets. Restaurants and hotels in Juba often buy imported produce. ITC introduced them to each other so they can trade locally.
Just a few miles outside of Juba, Thomas Gore grows fresh fruits and vegetables on his small farm.
In the city itself, hotels and restaurants are buying fresh produce grown in other countries.
It’s a seemingly simple problem, with dozens of underlying causes, but a big chunk of Gore’s business problem boiled down to crates.
He didn’t have crates to safely ship his harvest from his farm in Rejaf Payam to markets in South Sudan’s capital. Without decent containers, his produce arrived bruised or just splattered, forcing him to write off the delivery or settle for a much lower price.
He got a glimpse of how his business could operate when the International Trade Centre gave him crates to help deliver and display his produce at the Buy from South Sudan trade fair in Juba.
More than 30 farmers, traders and food processors displayed their offerings to buyers from hotels, restaurants and supermarkets who currently rely on imports from neighbouring countries.
‘With crates, we can safely store and transport our fruits to Juba market,’’ said Gore.
The trade fair was the first of its kind, organised with the Government of South Sudan and with EU funding.
The event was part of the South Sudan Job Creation and Trade Development Project, with the goal of encouraging businesses to buy local.
“We used to believe that the local produce were not of high quality,” said Kuot Madhor Kuot, the national coordinator of the project. “But today, this can be proven wrong. We can see the quality of the produce that are here. They are very rich, very organic and actually very good for the hotels.”
Among the buyers was Joel Nelson, the procurement manager of the Pyramid Continental Hotel. He urged the farmers to explore ways of guaranteeing a steady supply of produce, so that they can work with hotels consistently.
“It is a good time meeting, because we will be able to connect ourselves to our customers, directly from the hotels, and from the other companies here in Juba,” said Catherine Muoki, a farmer from Gondokoro, just outside the capital. “We are happy that now you will be able to get our produce directly from farms, not importing them from other neighbouring countries.”
Improving local supply chains is one way the government wants to create more jobs, especially for young people.
“It is now a victory that the ITC has shown us we can produce,” said Steven Doctor Matatia, the director general of external trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“I am sure all the partners, including the hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, can now buy” locally, he said. “Our produce are organic and free of harmful chemicals. This is the only factor that we can be proud of. This is the only factor that makes us more competitive with neighbouring countries.”
About the project
The International Trade Centre’s ‘South Sudan–Jobs Creation and Trade Development’ project aims to increase the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and employment opportunities for the South Sudanese population engaged in the fruit and vegetable subsector.
The European Union-funded project contributes to addressing the value addition, competitiveness, job creation and trade development challenges of South Sudan. Specifically, the interventions of the project are expected to improve productive capacities and compliance to standards for MSMEs, increase market linkages for MSMEs and enhance employability and entrepreneurship capacity for the South Sudanese labour force, focussing on youth and women.