AfDB approves $8.1M to fund South Sudan’s food production

AfDB approves $8.1M to fund South Sudan’s food production
A herder leads cattle in a cereal farm in Central Equatoria State (photo credit: VOA)

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $8.1 million to fund South Sudan’s Emergency Food Production Programme.

In a press release issued on Sunday, the lender said the fund was approved by its board of directors and it will channel it through the Transition Support Facility.

The money will be used in ‘‘financing to the ongoing Agricultural Markets, Value Addition and Trade Development Project (AMVAT). AMVAT seeks to contribute to reduced food insecurity, poverty reduction, economic growth and building of community and household resilience and social cohesion.’’

According to AfDB, going by the findings of the World Food Programme (WFP) which reveal that over 8 million people in South Sudan face hunger, there is a need to break this hunger circle by harnessing the country’s food production potential. The lender added that the need has been increased by the economic meltdown that followed the Russo-Ukrainian war.

‘‘This Emergency Food Production Programme targets an additional 600,000 of the most vulnerable groups in five states where recent severe flooding has affected hundreds of thousands of households and resulted in heavy crop and livestock losses: Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Eastern Equatoria and Western Equatoria. Those who have received food aid in recent years – half of them are women – will get priority,’’ it stated in a press release.

Nnenna Nwabufo, the Bank’s Director General for East Africa, said, the aid “is a continuation of the of the performing AMVAT project but with a focus on the emergency food crisis and disruption of supply of critical inputs for food production in South Sudan”

Nwabufo said the AMVAT aims to spur agricultural productivity by ensuring that farmers get proper seeds, fertilisers and other material supports to increase yields.

The help will come in terms of distribution of ‘‘498 million tonnes of sorghum seeds, the same amount of cowpea seeds, and 10 million tonnes of rice seeds and 30 million to farmers.’’