While about 85 percent of the population of the new nation of South Sudan depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, most grow only enough food to survive. Very few use agro-inputs (fertilizers, seeds and crop protection products) or have experience treating agriculture as a commercial enterprise.
In May 2011, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Kingdom of the Netherlands, IFDC and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) signed a communiqué to formalize their joint commitment to promote food security and the development of a private agricultural sector in South Sudan. Following the signing of the communiqué and in light of a looming food crisis, IFDC and AGRA are supporting the Seeds for Development program, which will help transform agriculture in South Sudan from subsistence farming to a market-oriented, competitive and profitable agricultural system.
Seeds for Development was developed by the South Sudan Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and is currently funded by USAID and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation through AGRA.
Over the life of the program (2011-2013), Seeds for Development will harness the entrepreneurial spirit of agro-input dealers, seed companies, farmers, food processors and bankers to commercialize the agricultural value chain. A key methodology is integrated seed sector development combined with the development of specific agribusiness clusters. Components of the program include:
- Building and strengthening a service-oriented public seed sector.
- Promoting investment by private seed companies.
- Supporting professional private seed producers and organizations.
- Promoting the marketing of quality seed of superior varieties.
- Promoting linkages to smallholder farmers.
- Supporting the development of an agro-dealer network.
- Designing and implementing a seed and fertilizer voucher program.
Program activities are beginning in South Sudan’s “greenbelt” (Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria states). IFDC is educating farmers about the benefits of high-quality seed and modern fertilizer technologies and training them in their proper use. A voucher program is being organized to increase farmers’ access to much-needed agro-inputs and to build business for rural agro-dealers.
IFDC is working with the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK) to develop and train a network of agro-dealers that will market agro-inputs and provide advice and support to farmers. Recently, IFDC and AGMARK provided assistance to six agro-input supply companies to participate in the country’s first agricultural trade fair in November 2011. IFDC and AGMARK established and managed a model agro-dealer shop at the fair to demonstrate the types of farm products and services that agro-dealers offer.
Seeds for Development Information
Seeds for Development Brochure
Seeds for Development Flyer
Developing Rural Agribusinesses to Transform South Sudan’s Agriculture (The Citizen )
We'll Help Agro-Dealers Get Funding, Says Seeds for Dev't (New Times)
South Sudan Receives Historic Fertilizer Consignment as Part of Effort to Transform Agricultural Production (March 12, 2012)
Media Advisory - South Sudan Receives Historic Fertilizer Consignment in a Move Set to Transform Agricultural Production (March 8, 2012)
Developing Rural Agribusinesses to Transform South Sudan’s Agriculture (February 21, 2012)