South Sudanese farmers are forming groups to boost their fruit and vegetable business

18 March 2024
ITC News

The International Trade Centre (ITC) has been implementing the South Sudan Jobs Creation and Trade Development (SSJCTD) project since September 2020 with the objective of improving the livelihoods of South Sudanese women and youth in the fruits and vegetables sector.

People in South Sudan often face immense challenges in making ends meet. Farmers from Bakpara Boma, Sakure Payam (situated in Nzara County) struggle to produce good quality fruits and vegetables due to inadequate knowledge of good agricultural practices. More often than not, they engage in inefficient ways of nursery bed management, and plant crops at random without proper spacing. As a result, these farmers often suffer from invasion by pests and high post-harvest losses.

The story was no different for 34 farmers from the Riaboro group of farmers. Comprising of 12 men and 22 women, these farmers operated individually and lacked knowledge of proper agricultural techniques. Due to ITC’s support, they were able to participate in capacity-building trainings under the South Sudan Jobs Creation and Trade Development project. In 2021, the farmers decided to come together, pool their resources, and form a group. They secured a farm of 4.5 hectares, and shifted their focus from growing cereal to fruits and vegetables as the latter would help in bringing more income in a shorter period. Through this increased income, they bought farming tools and inputs such as a water pump, a solar irrigation system, and a sprayer to help the group in irrigation and water management on their field.

As a result, group members are now able to pay for their children’s school fees and cater to the needs of their families. Some members have been able to buy mobile phones and bicycles for their commute. The shift to vegetables also helped the farmers and their families in diversifying their diets. The group now continues to conduct regular meetings every month, and are currently in the process of registering themselves as a cooperative with the South Sudan Ministry of Cooperative and Rural Development.

Similarly, the Naduru vegetable group is a group of 45 farmers from Bodo Boma, Bazungua Payam (situated in Yambio County) that was formed in March 2021. Previously, they were experiencing high post-harvest losses in vegetables and were unable to keep proper farm records. Thanks to the support provided by ITC, they managed to acquire assets such as solar panels and an irrigation pump to help during the dry season. The members even bought a motorbike to aid in transporting their produce to more markets and expand their seller base to include wholesalers, restaurants, and hotels. The members of the group have successfully improved their income levels, and are now able to eat a more balanced diet. They are also able to provide for their children, and pay their school fees, medication, and food.

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.