CARE supporting rural women in South Sudan to boost food production

Agnes Ayia is a beneficiary of a CARE livelihood in South Sudan. (Credit: Joseph Scott/CARE)

By Joseph Scott, Communications and Policy Coordinator

Agnes Ayia is a shy looking mother of five from Eyodo village, Torit State in South Sudan. In 2016, Agnes and her family fled from their home after violent clashes erupted in her area. When peace returned later in the year, she came back to start a new life.

However, all she had was destroyed, “What used to be my house was now a mound of rubble,” she says.  We had to stay with a relative in town whilst trying to rebuild. But this was difficult since we had no source of income.”

One day, when she visited her village, Agnes got word that CARE was supporting one of the women groups in the village, through a Dutch government funded joint relief programme, to be food secure by training them to establish kitchen gardens. This news, says Agnes, was too good to true.

“I didn’t have a job and my husband wasn’t getting much after doing piece work, so I needed something to do to supplement our income,” she says. “I then approached CARE representatives’ in our village and they admitted me into the farmer field school.”

After completing her training, Agnes and her colleagues were supported with farming tools and seeds. Now, she is one of the leading farmers in her area producing okra, tomatoes, onions and pumpkins.

Agnes sells most of her produce to local vegetable vendors and restaurants in town. “I can now manage to send money to my children in Uganda for their upkeep and school fees,” says Agnes who also suffers from a broken rib suffered when she was fleeing the clashes in 2016.

She adds, “Farming has also helped me to get money for my medication. I am feeling much better now because of the help I am getting from the hospital.”

Agnes use irrigation to plant three times a year. At any time of the year, she has crops in her field, which allows her to harvest her produce after every three days. She says any sales she makes after harvesting gives her around 3,000 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP). In a good week, she gets about 6,000 SSP (about $30).

“I am very grateful for this project. I came back home distraught and with no hope,” says Agnes. “Today, I can feed myself and my family. My children are going to a good school. My dream is to expand my farm so that I can send my produce even to big towns such as Juba.”

The programme 4 is a 15 months project, which aims to reach 43,000 individuals with cereal and vegetable seeds, tools, training, small livestock and nutrition interventions to boost food production at household level.

“I can now manage to send money to my children in Uganda for their upkeep and school fees,”says Agnes. © Joseph Scott/CARE 

Read more on CARE's work in South Sudan.