JUBA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) — The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced a 14 million U.S. dollar grant on Monday to boost food security, value addition and trade in South Sudan.
Benedict Kanu, AfDB country manager for South Sudan, said the five-year project will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization 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,” Kanu said in a statement issued in the capital, Juba.
The project will help increase the production and incomes of almost 20,000 farming families in Central and Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei states, he said, noting that the grant will 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,” Kanu said. “This prevents farmers and processors from realizing the full value of their products, even in their raw form.” The AfDB also said that the project will create aggregation business opportunities for farmers and traders, including women and youth, and provide them with new skills and knowledge, and the agro-processing equipment they need to produce competitive products.