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South Sudan to improve agricultural production and restore food security

South Sudan will benefit from two new projects totalling US$116mn that aim to improve agricultural production, strengthen farmer capacity, and restore livelihoods and food security

South Sudan is facing increasing levels of food insecurity despite increased production, with exceptionally high food prices constraining access to food for large segments of the population and desert locusts devouring crops. It is projected that 7.2 million people will face acute food insecurity in the coming months, which is the highest number since independence.

South Sudan Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Project (RALP) provides a grant of US$62.5mn that will support investments in training for farmers to help them efficiently manage their organisations, adopt new technology, and use climate-smart agriculture practices to boost their yields. It will also invest in tools, machinery, and seeds required to improve productivity.

The Emergency Locust Response Project (ELRP), which consists of a grant for US$53.7mn, will boost South Sudan’s response to desert locusts by restoring livelihoods for the poorest and strengthening the country’s preparedness systems. The project will ensure direct income to the most vulnerable households to allow them to produce more food for themselves and local markets, as well as use labour-intensive public works to provide income opportunities while promoting restoration of pasture and farming systems.

“These two timely projects provide a mix of investments in social protection and agriculture to address drivers of both acute and chronic food insecurity. The implementation modality supports a broader agenda of institutional capacity building for South Sudan, and we look forward to collaborating closely with the government and other development partners to ensure that no one goes hungry,” said Ousmane Dione, World Bank country director, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan.

The two grants will be the first World Bank-financed projects since 2018 to be implemented through government systems, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The financing for these projects includes US$50mn from the IDA19 Crisis Response Window Early Response Financing mechanism.

The ELRP includes two grants: a US$50.7mn grant to South Sudan and a separate US$3mn grant to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which will establish a regional coordination platform that will, inter alia, provide support to IGAD Member States, including South Sudan, to develop their own national preparedness plans and create a regional preparedness plan for desert locust and other transboundary pests. The platform will also help move information to and among its member states on transboundary threats and responses.

Desert locusts know no borders, so this crisis demands a coordinated regional response,” said Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. “It is critical that every affected country acts urgently to control locust population growth and shares information and lessons learned to enable a speedy and effective response,” she added. This is the third phase of the regional Emergency Locust Response Programme, which has already provided financing to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia.

The two complementary projects provide a continuum of support from stabilising household food security through safety nets to investing in the organisations, capacity, and technology to move South Sudan’s agriculture sector to a development orientation. 

The ELRP and RALP projects will be implemented in close coordination and collaboration with other World Bank-financed projects in South Sudan, such as the ongoing South Sudan Safety Net Project and the South Sudan Enhancing Community Resilience and Local Governance Project. They will also prioritise close collaboration with donors to coordinate implementation across the country and to partner on the broader reform agenda to move South Sudan from humanitarian aid to a development focus.