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Food Security

Food and Agriculture

Sowing the seeds of food security in South Sudan

15 January 2013, Rome - A new programme in the Republic of South Sudan is helping vulnerable farmers to improve their livelihoods by boosting the quality of the seeds used to produce key crops.

With the support of the Government of France, FAO is joining efforts with the South Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture to implement the year-long programme in several states.

The project, valued at more than $612 000 (EUR 500 000), will help to train farmers in the production, storage and marketing of quality seeds and cuttings for staple crops like sorghum, maize, cassava and cowpeas. It will also increase the availability of seeds to South Sudan's most vulnerable farmers.

Decades of conflict and displacement have taken their toll on farmers' access to quality seeds and other planting materials, and eroded their knowledge of seed production techniques. Together, these factors have severely undermined crop productivity and farmers' livelihoods.

"The importance of seeds to the food security and livelihoods of South Sudan's farmers and rural communities is very high" said Sue Lautze, the head of FAO's office in Juba. "Despite widespread food insecurity, the country is committed to ensuring food security for all, as soon as possible. Seeds are a critical component to realizing this important ambition."

The programme aims to help an estimated 30 000 people from more than 5 000 vulnerable farming households, in addition to 400 seed producers. The beneficiaries, half of whom are women, live in the states of Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, Lakes, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Northern Bahr el Ghazal.