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“Food secure” is what everyone strives to be in South Sudan’s Akobo county

ACTED engages the population in Akobo in agro-pastoral field schools activities to alleviate food insecurity.

Akobo is a continuously flooded area where movement is very difficult, making it one of the hardest to reach regions in South Sudan. The population has been dependent on food distributions and other coping mechanisms, such as selling fire wood, hunting, eating bushmeat and skipping meals. The population has also relied on traditional techniques of cultivation such as seed sowing, preparing cultivable land by burning minerally rich grass, using uncertified low-yielding seeds, and using traditional tools, such as maloudas, which can not clear large plots of land. All of this, coupled with small average cultivable lands of 2 feydens (100mX50m) per household, leaves the population short of food until the next harvesting period.

As part of its Agro-Pastoral Field Schools (APFS) project, ACTED has distributed certified seeds and irrigation tool kits, trained agro-pastoral field schools groups in new farming practices. ACTED also trained community animal health workers in identifying animal diseases and helping the community to apply preventive measures. Critical to this has been to ensure that communities work together to help themselves and to ensure the sustainability of these good practices in farming to create cohesion within the communities.

Toang is from Wechgandeng village in east Akobo county and has been a member of one of the 30 Agro-Pastoral Field Schools group, which was formed in December 2015. He received tools, crops and vegetable seeds, such as maize and sorghum, as well as mango and guava seedlings. He is now taking care of the crops and is experimenting with new seeds and new ways of doing farming, such as row planting and multching. The new techniques can now help him grow more in the future to support his family and help his neighbours and village members.

With support from the Switzerland Development Cooperation and L'Ambassade de France, the project has improved food security and nutrition in Akobo county.