A New Farm by the Nile in South Sudan
One of our Afrinspire Young Entrepreneurs is Iman Opan from South Sudan. Iman has qualifications in agriculture and has started several farms in South Sudan including marketing of the crops. With the disturbances in South Sudan since late 2016, those early farms became inaccessible to Iman but we hear that they are still being continued by people who remained after the majority of the population fled for safety to Northern Uganda.
Iman has been working in the refugee camps hosting Ethiopian refugees in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The area for 25 miles around Juba is a safe zone.
In January 2020 Afrinspire supported Iman Opan again with a new farming project to combat the food insecurity which has persisted as a consequence of years of war. This farm uses a supplementary irrigation system to water vegetables which can be grown all the year round using water from the River Nile.
A tractor was hired for ploughing the land. A pump was bought for pumping water from the Nile. Tools and seeds were bought. Nursery beds of spinach, aubergine, collards and onions were created and during August these were all planted out. The first crop of okra on the land was partially damaged by the Nile flooding but what could be sold paid for three months labour and okra seeds for the next planting.
The coronavirus outbreak made the work harder and jeopardised the lives and livelihoods of many.
This year, some of the food will go to five families which have been harshly affected by food insecurity caused by COVID-19 and the unstable economy.
More families will be helped as the farm expands. These entrepreneurs expect to succeed because they are competing with the import of food from Uganda which is very expensive and they can produce more cheaply locally. The produce is sold to wholesalers and retailers in Juba. Fresh vegetables are in demand.
The long-term goal is to reduce poverty in the area through the creation of jobs and from the income generated by the sales. The farmers are trained to engage in commercial farming and to sell agricultural products in South Sudan.
Iman has already proved that she can do this with the previous farms around Yei and now in this new farm she is exploiting the method of irrigation from the Nile. We wish them every success as they press on.
The Afrinspire Young Entrepreneurs Fund issued six grants during the past year to delegates who attended the 2019 AYE conference and then submitted applications.