South Sudan is experiencing very dreadful food insecurity caused by the paralyzing effect of the COVID19 pandemic, Desert locust, floods, degenerated economic situation and long recent history of conflict and population displacement. These have an adverse effect on the already vulnerable population and impeding the resilience and recovery programs in the country.
As the world was celebrating the International Humanitarian Day on August 19, 2020, Star Trust Organization’s “Real-life Heroes” Reached out to 100 vulnerable Households (HH) in Ri-bodo a small village North of Yambio Municipality With lifesaving seeds. The 100HH is part of the 9,000HH that STO is targeting in six (6) Counties (Maridi, Ibba, Yambio, Nzara, Ezo, and Tambura) in Western Equatoria State (WES) with seeds through the Voucher and Cash for Seeds modalities.
With the funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and part of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) programs in South Sudan; the Cash for Seed projects employs “a kill two birds with one stone” strategy. While providing access to seeds for the vulnerable farming community in WES, it also offers an economic opportunity to local farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs of providing market linkage in the informal seed sector in WES.
In the Words of Mr Moses T. Kumbodengbe the sub-chief of Ribodo “This is a push forward”, it is the onset of the second planting season in Yambio and for most community members in Ri-bodo, fighting food insecurity fairly begins with accessing quality seeds. That is what is being done through this project. The sub-chief noted that he observed some traditional seeds that most people in Ri-bodo could not have access to, surface during the activity. “I am happy to see some old traditional seed variety that we thought had disappeared most of them surfaced today which is surprising. I appreciate all the partners that have come to us with this support”.
Like the Sub-chief, most beneficiaries could not hide their excitement and gratitude over the financial support to buy seeds. “As an elderly woman and widow I am so happy that people are thinking about us, it is surprising that you came this far to avail cash and vouchers to enable us to buy seeds. Also, though our farms were ready, getting seeds for timely planting remained a nightmare and now we have a sigh of relief. We appreciate the American people; we appreciate FAO and STO for coming to our aid with seeds” Said Zerifa Ngbatungakoyo a 51 years old woman.
The Director-General of the State Ministry of Agriculture Mr Mariano Mongu commended the partnership and emphasized on the timeliness of the project. “This support has come at the right time, and to the right people. This is the second planting season in Western Equatoria” He went on to encourage the community to plant the seeds not eat or use it for other purposes. “The government is satisfied with the work that you are doing,” he concluded