Central Equatoria State, News

Yei farmers receive inputs

By James Innocent


Over 500 farmers in Yei River County, Central Equatoria State received valuable farming inputs from Organic Farming Advisory Organization (OFAO), a national organization.

Returnees, host communities, and internally displaced people were the main beneficiaries.

The initiative, titled “Promoting Ecosystems and Communities for Enhanced Livelihoods through Understanding and Learning” (PEACEFUL PROJECT), aims to support these vulnerable groups and facilitate sustainable agricultural practices.

Yei River County has faced numerous challenges in terms of agricultural support since the outbreak of the South Sudan conflict in 2016.

The conflict forced many citizens to flee their homes, resulting in the loss of lives, properties, and disruption of farming activities.

With their recent return, these individuals are currently living without proper farming inputs, facing the harsh reality of hunger.

Last Month, Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa, the Commissioner of Yei River County, said many people are returning to Yei, which means there is a need to provide farming inputs to combat hunger and ensure food security in the region.

Lasuba Gabriel Henry, the Project Officer for OFAO, said they encourage farmers on organic farming and agroecology activities that promote healthy soils and chemical-free food production.

OFAO distributed vouchers worth 48,150 South Sudanese pounds to each farmer, enabling them to purchase assorted seeds and tools from cooperative societies, agro-dealers, progressive farmers, local farmers, and Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLAs) groups.

“We as OFAO together with Caritas Switzerland have grouped farmers by giving them vouchers for purchasing different farming inputs like Maize, tree seedlings, G nuts, beans, okra, Tomato seeds, onion seeds, tools such as hoes, pangas water canes to support these farmers,” he said.

“The reason for using seeds and tools fair is to promote local marketing for vendors within and avoid direct seed purchases outside the Country, which our farmers always complain of unviable seeds. In this seed fair, farmers are given their own choices to purchase whatever they want.”

Betty Sunday, a returnee from Uganda and one of the beneficiaries, expressed her gratitude towards OFAO for mobilizing and supporting both returning refugees and host communities.

She recounted the challenges faced by refugees in Uganda, including limited access to cultivable land.

Sunday called for continuous support and training from the organization and its partners to help them secure their livelihoods in 2024.

“I am also urging OFAO to give us more training and support because we are really suffering as returnees from Uganda having nothing on hand really,” she said.

Another beneficiary, Mike Gaga, a young farmer, commended OFAO for the timely delivery of a wide variety of seeds and tools.

He acknowledged the importance of the vouchers, which allow farmers to obtain the specific seed varieties needed for sufficient food production.

However, he also mentioned the unpredictable weather conditions as a significant challenge that farmers face, particularly delayed rainfalls.

This initiative by OFAO and its partners not only addresses the immediate needs of vulnerable farmers but also promotes sustainable farming practices, ensuring long-term food security and the revitalization of agricultural activities in Yei River County.

The funding for this project was provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation-SDC, through their partnership with Caritas Switzerland, the lead partner in this consortium project.


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