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South Sudan gets $14 grant to boost agricultural markets

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February 4, 2021 (JUBA) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday signed protocols to disburse a $14 million grant to boost agricultural markets in a project to be implemented by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in South Sudan.

South Sudanese farmers and their produce, January 2011 (Getty)

The Agricultural Markets, Value Addition and Trade Development (AMVATD) project aims to enhance agricultural productivity and boost the marketing and trade of agricultural products in South Sudan.

The project will be implemented by FAO in close liaison with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

The five-year project will help increase the productivity and incomes of almost 20,000 farming families in Central and Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei states, most of whom are formerly internally displaced persons who have returned to their homes.

“A diversified economy away from oil and long-term growth depends on promoting agribusiness development,” said South Sudan’s Finance Minister Athian Ding Athian.

He thanked the African Development Bank for its growing assistance to his nation.

“With the support from our partners, we are building an improved marketing and trade environment for agribusinesses, increasing people’s incomes and creating new jobs, particularly for the youth,” stressed Athian.

For his part, AfDB’s Country Manager for South Sudan, Benedict Kanu, said 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 produce, even in their raw form,” he added.

South Sudan has considerable unrealized agricultural potential, but the effects of continued violence combined with unprecedented flooding have seriously damaged food production, resulting in a huge food import bill.

The FAO Representative in South Sudan, Meshack Malo lauded the generous contribution from the AfDB, saying farmers will move faster from subsistence to commercial agriculture by having access to new technologies, markets and linkages with other services and actors.

Despite South Sudan’s agricultural potential and over 70% of its population employed in agriculture, the sector reportedly contributes only one-tenth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

(ST)

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