Aid provided by the Kavli Trust since 2013 to help smallholders in South Sudan get more out of their land is to be extended for another two years.
Repeated shortages demonstrate that producing enough food for the domestic population is particularly important for poor countries.
The trust is contributing in this area by helping smallholders who collaborate through farming groups at Yei in South Sudan and by partial funding of an agricultural school in the area.
“We’re very grateful that the trust is continuing to support our vital work for food security here,” says Liv Tørres, secretary general of Norwegian People’s Aid.
“Every third person in South Sudan doesn’t know how they’re going to put food on their table tomorrow and are threatened with starvation.
“Training farmers and supporting the agricultural school boost crop yields, which means in turn that people can send their children to school, buy medicines and improve their lives a bit.”
Since the collaboration began in February 2013, this project has had a substantial impact. Smallholders in the farming groups have applied the lessons learnt and improved output considerably.
All told, the members of these six organisations have cultivated almost 300 hectares of land, primarily growing maize, sorghum, cassava, beans and peanuts.
In addition to food for their families, these farmers have secured a potential source of income from selling their surplus production.
Apart from funding an education for their children, this allows them to build better houses and invest in more equipment and tools – which in turn boosts food production.
The farmers, and particularly their children, also enjoy improved health because they have access to healthy and nutritious food.
The progress being made by the smallholders in Yei is a gratifying bright spot in the otherwise gloomy conditions which prevail in South Sudan.
This young country is heavily affected by the civil war between its Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups, which exploded in December 2013.
The fighting has led to thousands of deaths and driven two million people into internal flight. Hunger and violence prevail.
“Given the very difficult conditions still found in South Sudan, where food supplies are a challenge, this project is very important,” says Inger Elise Iversen, general manager of the Kavli Trust.
“We’re pleased to be able to support Norwegian People’s Aid, and hopefully to follow South Sudan into happier times, given that we take a long-term approach to development.
“That includes a particular commitment to projects which build up people’s own opportunities to create a better future. So the project in South Sudan is entirely in line with our strategy.”