Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2021

World Food Day


“I’m growing more than we manage to eat, so I don’t need to buy expensive vegetables anymore and sell them instead at the market.”

South Sudan 

Lina is a single mother of five who lives in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, in the tumultuous zone of Gudele Block 9. As a resident of an urban area worst affected by years of conflict and instability, Lina has remained resilient. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic added to Lina’s challenges...  

The demand for gravel and sand from nearby quarries, which serves as the primary source of income for many, diminished considerably. 

“I was lost. I used to quarry and sell stones to buy food and medicine and pay school fees.” 

As restrictions on movement and the partial closure of borders disrupted global and local food systems, the price of imported food skyrocketed in Sudan while simultaneously; a significant drop in supply limited the availability of many foods. 

“Vegetables used to always be on our table, but last year I barely cooked any for my children.” 

Thankfully, things took a turn for the better when FAO expanded its support to over 35 000 vulnerable people living in urban areas of South Sudan. Pilot activities kicked off in Juba, Wau, Nimule and Aweil with the aim to mitigate the devastation caused by COVID-19. 

Through a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Lina received an assortment of fast-growing vegetable seeds, a double-headed hose, and a watering can as a starter kit to build her vegetable garden. 

Interviewed while watering her eggplants, Lina explains how FAO also provided hands-on training to farmers on building and managing home gardens, including vertical or container methods. With little gardening experience, food hero Lina joined other farmers in a demonstration plot to learn about how to grow vegetables from tomato, amaranth and eggplant seeds, as well as how to make a living out of it!  

These techniques enabled vulnerable city dwellers to grow nutritious and quick-maturing vegetable crops in limited spaces and convert their backyards into a new livelihood for their families.