Sustainable management of natural resources and improving livelihoods

Project description

Project title: Adapting agricultural production methods to climate change and stabilising livelihoods in Western Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Sudan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development
Overall term: 2013 to 2018

Context
In the wake of its conflict-ridden history and given the ongoing crisis, South Sudan is confronted with immense challenges in securing food for its population. The current agricultural production methods deliver poor yields, added to which the country lacks coping mechanisms such as the capacities and skills, strategies and structures needed to deal with the negative impacts of climate change and a range of other issues. Overall, the resilience of communities – meaning the ability of people and institutions to withstand, adapt to and recover from acute burdens caused by crises, violent conflicts and extreme natural events – has weakened.

This situation is further exacerbated by unchecked deforestation, which is accelerating soil erosion. Many smallholder farmers in the project region of Western Bahr el Ghazal are struggling to feed themselves and their families and to adapt their farming practices to changing climatic conditions.

Objective
The resilience of selected households in Western Bahr el Ghazal has improved and livelihoods are stabilised thanks to the efficient use of available natural resources and climate change adaptation measures.

Approach
The project contributes to increasing the resilience of selected households in communities within the project region through the more efficient use of the available natural resources, climate change adaptation measures and sustainable agricultural production methods. Farmer field schools enable participants to learn about sustainable land management, particularly in relation to cultivating staple foods and vegetables. This helps to stabilise their livelihoods.

In addition, the project is strengthening structures and capacities within the South Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development at state level, especially through the involvement of the agricultural extension service. This facilitates the implementation of measures focusing on sustainable natural resource management at selected locations in the project region.

Since the beginning of 2016, the project has been involved in carrying out the activities of the Regional Transitional Aid Programme for Food and Nutritional Security in Sub-Saharan Africa. This regional programme is part of One World, No Hunger, a special initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The programme aims to improve food security among rural populations, and especially women, in the fragile states of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. One of the priority areas of both the project and the regional programme is providing nutritional advice to smallholder households, which stand to benefit from improved agricultural production thanks to the farmer field schools.

All of the project’s activities are coordinated with the regional ministry of agriculture and are implemented in cooperation with the agricultural extension service. In parallel, the extension officers are trained in the farmer field school approach, thus preparing them for their advisory work with the farmers.
Due to the crisis-related evacuation of the seconded experts in July 2016, project activities have been continued by Johanniter International Assistance and Vétérinaires sans Frontières Germany under financing agreements since November 2016.

Results
Smallholder households in the project region are better able to withstand external shocks through optimised and diversified agricultural production practices that are adapted to climate change. On this basis, nutritional advisory services are helping households to utilise their food more efficiently and are helping to prevent malnutrition.