Backyard farming:  A solution to food insecurity and poverty in South Sudan

Backyard farming:  A solution to food insecurity and poverty in South Sudan

South Sudan is among the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa with huge potential in agricultural production owing to its absolute comparative advantage over many countries within our region. Some of these areas of advantage include soil fertility, availability of the fresh Nile waters, swamps and good climate coupled with the youthful human resources.  

Food is an important necessity a family cannot afford to go without as it nourishes our bodies and sustains life. However, the global economic crises make it difficult for many urban dwellers in Juba to put food on their table. In Juba, South Sudan, many households buy food commodities such as vegetables daily from the market. The unpredictable daily increase in food prices is rendering many families food insecure, resulting in malnutrition and extreme poverty. Backyard farming, therefore, can solve food insecurity and poverty in South Sudan. This is because it requires a small space within a homestead just to grow vegetables and other crops using the available resources within a household.

Backyard farming is sustainable and will help us to reduce over-reliance on food imports from our neighbouring countries and food aid from non-governmental organisations. Solving food insecurity at the household level is the way any nation can prosper.  It is therefore paramount for the government to exert policies which promote urban and backyard farming in all cities and towns, namely: Juba, Awiel, Wau, Bor, Malakal, Bantiu, Kuajok, Zambio, Torit, Yei, Rumbek, Maridi, Nimule, among others.

The non-governmental organizations should mostly engage in equipping South Sudanese with knowledge and skills for sustainable development and reduce just giving food aid, as the phrase goes ‘’don’t give me fish but teach me how to catch the fish’’.

Backyard farming is a technique where crops are grown and animals reared within a homestead in small spaces, or in sacks, and bottles, among others. This technique can offer a sustainable solution to food insecurity and poverty in South Sudan. It is significant to make use of the free small spaces within our homes for backyard farming. Also, crops which can be grown in backyard farming include all vegetables like cowpea leaves, Amaranth, cabbages, kudra, okra, cucumber, tomatoes, green peppers, eggplants, spinach, Sukuma-wiki, nakati, beans, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, Irish potatoes, among others.

In addition, animals that can be reared include chickens, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, pigeons, pigs, goats, and sheep, among others. The crops used in backyard farming require small amount of water for them to grow. Therefore, kitchen water can also be used for irrigation. The farmer can harvest a large quantity of vegetables for food consumption rendering the household food secure, and also the vegetables can be sold in the local markets to get income hence liberating the family from poverty.

Nicholas Lokuya is an Agro-Consultant

Sack mount gardens

This is a technique of backyard farming where crops are grown in sack filled with soil. This technique is very simple as it requires a very small space just for a sack to be mounted. The procedures are as follows: get a sack and fill it with soil, put some small stones in the middle of the sack as you fill the sack with soil, then make zigzag holes at the sides of the sack using a knife or hot plate, irrigate the sack well, get your seedlings and transplant them into the sacks at sides and on top of the sacks. The crops that can be grown in sack mount gardens include cabbages, okra, cucumber, tomatoes, green peppers, eggplants, spinach, Sukuma-wiki, nakati, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, and Irish potatoes. The more the sacks mounts are made the greater the harvest and subsequently higher income. This technique is environmentally friendly as it requires the use of plastic sacks which are collected from the environment, thus reducing the risk of plastics polluting the soil, water and the air when they are burnt.

Bottle farming

This is a form of backyard farming where environmentally hazardous bottles are collected and are tactically shaped for planting crops within a homestead. The tools and equipment needed include plastic bottles, razor blades to facilitate the shaping of the bottles. The crops that can be grown in sack mount gardens include cabbages, okra, cucumber, tomatoes, green peppers, eggplants, spinach, Sukuma-wiki, nakati, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, and Irish potatoes. This technique is environmentally friendly as it will solve the problem of plastics polluting our soil, and water bodies, and blocking drainage channels. Its significant role is solving the problem of food insecurity and poverty within the city.  

We can feed ourselves!!!

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