The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Monday announced a $14 million grant to boost food security, value addition, and trade in South Sudan.
The financial institution’s country manager for South Sudan, Benedict Kanu said the five-year project would be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
“With South Sudan being land-locked and experiencing weak urban and peri-urban infrastructure, having good access to lucrative markets especially within the country is a necessary condition for farmers to be profitable, productive and reduce risk of loss of surplus farm produce,” he said in a statement issued in the capital, Juba.
Kanu said the project would help increase the production and incomes of almost 20,000 farming families in Central and Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei states, adding that the grant would benefit formerly internally displaced persons now returned to their homes in need of economic reintegration.
“A key factor explaining Africa’s and indeed South Sudan’s low level of agricultural value addition is the inefficient marketing infrastructure.
“This prevents farmers and processors from realizing the full value of their products, even in their raw form,” stressed Kanu.
The AfDB also said that the project would create aggregation business opportunities for farmers and traders, including women and youth.
It further stressed that the grant would also provide them with new skills and knowledge, and the agro-processing equipment they need to produce competitive products.
Nearly 1 million people across South Sudan have been affected by heavy floods, according to the United Nations.