ZEAT-BEAD Project in South Sudan

The conflict that erupted at the end of 2013 sharply exacerbated the already fragile food security situation in South Sudan. Although the greater Bahr el Ghazal area has not been the hardest hit, it has not been spared of the impacts of the crisis. The relative stability of this area will allow the implementation of FAO’s Extension, inputs supply and services project that will contribute to improved food security and income of the South Sudan population. The project is designed within the overall frameworks of National Agriculture and Livestock Policy (NALEP) and Zonal Effort for Agricultural Transformation (ZEAT) funded by the EU. The project promotes management of a pluralistic extension system and the enhancement of private sector-driven systems for the sustainable supply of inputs and agricultural equipment.

It aims to assist 20,000 households of rural subsistence producers by developing their entrepreneurial skills in the crop, livestock and fishery sectors, as well as their skills to combine farm modernization with the sustainable management of natural resources and the preservation of the local ecosystems.

The greater Bahr el Ghazal area covers almost one-third of the country’s surface and comprises two major livelihood zones with an estimated 2.7 million people, most of which are engaged in agropastoralist systems. The region encompasses Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Lakes States, where there is huge potential for diversified crop production, fishery and livestock-rearing.

The Extension, inputs supply and services Project will focus on increasing food production on an economically viable and an environmentally sustainable basis. It will aim to enhance the capacity of agro dealers and private service providers to timely and continuously deliver required inputs, equipment and services of good quality and at competitive prices. It will also apply a market-based approach which will aim to re-vitalize the local economy.

Realizing the potential of the greater Bahr el Ghazal area to underpin South Sudan’s food security is hindered by general poor service delivery for rural production, processing and marketing; poor roads and restricted access to markets; disrupted and underperforming input supply chains in all productive sectors; and a limited supply of financial services. Despite the greater Bahr el Ghazal’s high potential, crop productivity in the area is generally low. Labour is the major constraint for the expansion of the fields, which are usually around 1 ha per household. Mechanization levels are very low since almost all producers rely on the labour power of their family members. Furthermore, soil fertility is another constraint due to macronutrient imbalances common on mineral soils.

Although the challenges are many, the potential is high. FAO’s extension, inputs supply and services project was initiated in February 2015. It is funded by the European Commission (EC) and is one of the components embedded in a bigger European Union programme for agricultural development to improve the livelihoods of the South Sudanese population. Its 6-month inception phase will help define the definite methodology for implementation and will help establish partnerships with organizations to complement the work being carried out in this region of South Sudan.


Core Themes