South Sudan, IFAD call for speedy implementation of food production project

South Sudan, IFAD call for speedy implementation of food production project
Bernadette Mukonyora, IFAD Country Director for Eritrea and South Sudan

South Sudan government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have called for the speedy implementation of the country’s Livelihoods Resilience Project (SSLRP) to boost productivity, food security, and resilience of small-scale farmers faced with climate change in rural areas.

Speaking at an opening session of a five-day technical workshop to review last year’s project on Monday, in Juba, the Country Director of IFAD Bernadette Mukonyora said it is important to review the projects to expedite their implementation.

“Today the challenge is how we start up this project which was designed under COVID-19. There are a lot of assumptions that we made; some may not hold water today. There are a lot of ambitions that we had in this project and we may have to step back one-two step,” said Mukonyora.

“We [shall] think again shall and take more measures to approach certain things that shall we put on the transitional arrangement to make sure we move quickly while setting up the different pieces to enable this project to move ahead,” she stressed.

Mukonyora said the review of the project will allow the government and the development partners to mobilize more funds to successfully implement it.

“It is indeed through a re-engagement that we will be able to mobilize additional funding if we can set up those pieces at the very beginning,” she said.

“So we will commit as IFAD to work hand in hand with the government providing our technical assistant team to work with the government and implementing partners to ensure that we have a very strong starter” she added.

The deputy minister of agriculture and food security Lily Albino Akol said the project is an important step that builds trust between the ministry and partners.

She assured IFAD of her ministry’s commitment to fully participate in the implementation of the project to ensure transparency and accountability to improve the livelihood of the people in the rural areas.

“I want to assure you that we will be fully participating in the implementation of the project. There will be an absolute transparent, accounting process that we will adhere to because at the end of the day we also want to take ownership of this project to deliver services to our people.

“What is important in this project is the impact they are going to have on the lives of our people because most of our people leave in rural areas,” she added.

She emphasized the importance of improving the lives of the rural people through the agricultural transformation that will have a long-term impact on the people when the project ends and this she said will help the government and partners to measure the positive impact.

“What we need to see different this time is what happens after the project ends. The sustainability of this improved livelihood is very important. It should be for a long run it should be a continuous change, not a change for one year or two years only” Lily stressed.

 “We want to be fair in spreading the services and we want to be fair in improving the livelihoods of all our people where ever they are,” she said.

According to the agency, the project objective is to empower communities to participate in decision-making processes that will recover agriculture livelihoods, build household resilience and promote stability.

The SSRLP cost of $ 25.93 million will be implemented in three States and five counties this includes, Eastern Equatoria (Magwi and Torit), Central Equatoria (Kajo Keji and Terekeka), and Jonglei (Bor) targeting food production corridors with high numbers of returnees for a period of six years starting 2021-2027 IFAD said.

Agencies say poverty is higher in rural areas across the country, with 80 percent of the population living below the poverty line and depend on agriculture for their livelihood.