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APO International

South Sudanese farmers expect better crops with high-value seeds

todayApril 3, 2024 2

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The International Trade Centre (ITC) distributed the seeds across different locations in Juba County in Central Equatoria State, based on requests made by farmers after completing several training courses and receiving one-on-one mentorship.

These seeds will help the farmers grow a variety of crops such as watermelon, eggplant, sweet pepper, carrot, onion, tomato, cabbage, sukuma, and green chili, leading to improved production and increased sales in the market. Moreover, these high-value seeds are also expected to maximize crop yields with minimal damage to the environment, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the farmers’ fields.

The 250-gram packets of seeds were distributed between 27 February and 4 March 2024 in Gondokoro, Lokiliri, Luri, and Rajaf. A total of 121 progressive farmers were identified and selected to receive seeds, including 78 women and 54 youths. The seeds have been supplied just before the rainy season so that the farmers can prepare their nursery beds and fields in time.

Samuel Pitia, a 38-year-old farmer from Aru Junction village in Central Equatoria State received some of the seeds. He has farmed since he was a child, and his income relies entirely on his crops. Relying on farming in South Sudan is a challenge due to ever-changing weather conditions. Dry seasons can last longer than usual, with up to six months without rain.

But farmers and producers are adapting by changing the way they farm and conduct their agribusiness, after being trained and coached by ITC.

‘I had an opportunity to learn good agricultural practices like water harvesting, which improved my production. And with the free tillage service recently provided, I have been able to expand the size of my farmland and earn more income as a result,’ Pitia said.

‘Seeds are very expensive in the market and sometimes are of poor quality making it very hard for many of us to afford. With the high-value and quality seeds distributed to us today, I will be able to produce more, meet the needs of my big family, and also give employment opportunities to the people in my community,’ he added.

Similarly, Hellen Poni, a 34- year-old widow and a producer of fruits and vegetables from Gondokoro village in Central Equatoria State, also expects the seeds to boost her income. She owns a three-acre farm in her village. One of her main challenges has been the inability to secure good seeds. ‘With the provision of these seeds, I will be able to grow in all my three acres without worrying of shortage,’ she said.

ITC has been implementing the South Sudan Jobs Creation and Trade Development (SSJCTD) project since September 2020 with the objective of improving the livelihoods of South Sudanese farmers across different project locations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Trade Centre.

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