The World Bank has donated $116 million to South Sudan to fund two new projects aimed at strengthening the capacity of farmers to improve agricultural production, and restore livelihoods and food security.
According to a press release seen by The EastAfrican on Monday, it is projected that 7.2 million people will face acute food insecurity in the coming months, the highest number since independence.
“The South Sudan Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Project provides a grant of $62.5 million that will support investments in training for farmers to help them efficiently manage their organizations, adopt new technology, and use climate smart agriculture practices to boost their yields.
“The Emergency Locust Response Project, which consists of a grant for $53.7 million, will boost South Sudan’s response to desert locusts by restoring livelihoods for the poorest and strengthening the country’s preparedness systems,” reads the statement from the World Bank.
The World Bank said 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 the government, 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 for 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 $50 million from the IDA19 Crisis Response Window Early Response Financing mechanism.”
Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa said, “Desert locusts know no borders, so this crisis demands a coordinated regional response. 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.
“This is the third phase of the regional Emergency Locust Response Program, which has already provided financing to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia.”
According to the World Bank, 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.
Food insecurity in South Sudan has reached the most extreme levels since independence in 2011. Famine has eased after a significant scale up in the humanitarian response, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP).
WFP needs $473.7 million to ensure uninterrupted food assistance until June 2021.