Changing Agricultural Practices in South Sudan

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“Our families have all benefited from World Renew’s agriculture training,” said three women from Pisak village in Yei, South Sudan. “Our farms are producing more crops, and with the new techniques we learned from World Renew our tasks in the fields can be finished faster.”

In 2012, Benna Jabez, Hapilonia Agoro, and Cecilia Tomalo represented three farm families that participated in World Renew agriculture training in Yei. World Renew has been present in the country since it became independent of Sudan in 2010.

Hedd Thomas, World Renew’s country representative, said, “Women like Benna, Hapilonia, and Cecilia are spearheading the transition of Pisak’s people from decades of violence and displacement to being food secure.” While the results so far are mixed, said Thomas, the work done in Yei two years ago is still producing benefits. 

“Each year World Renew assists 1,160 families in Yei with growing crops like corn, peanuts, beans, and sorghum,” Thomas said. “The new practices are also promoted through two Christian radio stations in Yei.”

The broadcasts reach Christian and non-Christian listeners across the region with hope and strength as resettled residents work to reestablish their lives and heal the land.

Many of the improvements Benna, Hapilonia, and Cecilia have made are adaptations of their current practices that can increase the amount of food grown and its nutrient value. These include

  1. planting just two corn seeds together instead of five or six. This gives the plants adequate nutrition from the soil and reduces the overall number of seeds needed.
  2. planting corn in rows instead of broadcasting the seed to make weeding easier.
  3. weeding early in order to give plants a sturdy start.
  4. spending less time weeding.

The mixed acceptance of the new practices also gives World Renew new opportunities, Thomas added. “We are now changing some of our methods and the time frames of our activities to better fit farmers’ needs,” he said.

An important part of World Renew’s development strategy involves listening to community members and making adjustments for the specific context in the 3,500 communities where it works.

World Renew’s food security and livelihoods programs help families like Benna’s, Hapilonia’s, and Cecilia’s make the transition from depending on relief in times of war and natural disaster to redeveloping their livelihoods. Their goal is to provide their own food today with the assurance that they can also support themselves in the future.
 

“None of this can happen,” Thomas says, “without prayer that God will cause men of violence to stand down and cause men and women to be bold, supported, and heard in working for peace.”

Please pray for continued hope and healing for communities in South Sudan and for World Renew’s work there.

Related articles:
Building Ties with South Sudan (The Banner)
Christians in Sudan Face Increased Hostility (The Banner)

About the Author

Beth DeGraff is a Senior Project Manager with World Renew. World Renew works in about 30 developing countries worldwide, living justice, loving mercy, and serving Christ.

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