South Sudan Context
Although 90% of the land in South Sudan is suitable for agriculture, only 5% of it is cultivated. Western Equatoria State, in particular, is a very fertile region, where most of the population engages in subsistence agriculture (UNDP, 2016).
After the transition to a new independent country, the South Sudanese population has suffered from poverty, due to low levels of infrastructure, literacy, public health and market development, additionally worsened by the recent conflict (2013-2015) (USAID, 2016). “WFP, FAO, and UNICEF stated on January 8, 2016 that about 2.8 million people remain in urgent need of food assistance, and at least 40,000 are on the brink of catastrophe” (ReliefWeb, 2015).
The main effects of the long conflicts between the North and the South of Sudan, and the recent 2013-2015 conflict are lack of sustainable livelihoods and resilience to shock, shortage of mechanisms for conflict management and poor infrastructures. The areas which have been most affected by the conflict include Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei and Western Equatoria states.
Main Aim and Objectives
LCED aim is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. (Sustainable Development Goal No. 2). In order to achieve such goal, the LCED initiatives within the area of “food security and livelihoods” work towards the following objectives:
- Provide capacity building training in the latest farming techniques to vulnerable groups and communities, in order to provide them with the ability to improve their livelihood.
- Provide communities, and vulnerable groups in particular, with agricultural inputs (tools and seeds) and/or start-up capital to improve their agricultural production and productivity or to start a self-sustaining activity.
Before the outbreak of the conflict in Western Equatoria State in 2015, LCED has been focusing on agricultural development in Lacha village, providing agricultural training to local groups of farmers and vulnerable people (e.g. female headed households).
After the beginning of the conflict, and due to reasons of insecurity, the focus shifted from agricultural development to humanitarian assistance (e.g. distribution of seeds with FAO), with the aim of providing food security to the communities.
3. Help groups of farmers to increase their production and productivity in order to improve their livelihoods and develop the area
4. Improve the security situation in LCED areas of operation (also part of peace-building activities), in order to guarantee free trade and access to the market for local farmers.
5. Promote environmental protection, by increasing organic farming, use of renewable sources of energy and proper waste disposal, and by facilitating forestry activities.