Kapoeta & Aweil celebrate Rural Women’s Day

Community of Kapoeta, Eastern Equatoria have celebrated International Rural Women’s day under the Theme “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19.

The day is commemorated on Oct 15 globally to recognize the role of rural women in development and food security to end poverty. Several women display their produces during the event in Kapoeta and Aweil towns in South Sudan.

Lore Josephine is the senior Gender base Violence officer working for an Alight organization in Kapoeta.

She says the government and partners should work together to support women in the field of Agriculture to reduce hunger in the state.

“For us to make these women silver, we need to provide complete protection to them whenever they are going to get their tools. Women and girls are exposed to danger, and they need full protection to ensure they realize their dream,” she said.

The Deputy Chairlady of Kapoeta Women Association encourages fellow females to participate in agricultural activities to produce enough food for their families.

Cecilia Namoi Achuma says Agriculture is the country’s backbone, and every person should engage in it rather than depending on humanitarian support.

Several women and girls also turnout to celebrates the day in Aweil, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. They expressed willingness to produces food despite devastated flooding that destroyed their crops.

Some women spokes to Akol Yam 91.0 FM Aweil.

“We are happy that the partners and our government have recognized us today. We are very people who suffer and facing a lot of challenges, especially home responsibilities. We are asking for support like seeds, farming skills for us to produces our food”.

“We need farming tools and skill so that we can plant more vegetables and reliance on our own.

“Our government will be able to get back to us with good information because we are now expecting to be trained on planting vegetables and finding food for our families.”

Northern Bahr Ghazal state minister of agriculture Anei Deng Akok says he will work with partners to empower rural women.

Deng started his ministry mandate to implement a food security project to provide rural women with training and other supports.

The United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women celebrates and honors women and girls living in rural areas on Oct 15 each year. It recognizes the considerable role that rural mothers, daughters, and grandmothers play in producing food and building agricultural and rural development worldwide.

South Sudan get $116 million to tackle food insecurity

World Bank has offered new financing to address acute Food Insecurity and Desert Locust Crisis. South Sudan will get 116 million US dollars hoping to strengthen the capacity of farmers, improve agricultural production, and restore livelihoods and food security.

The country is facing increasing levels of food insecurity despite increased production, with exceptionally high food prices constraining access to food for large segments of the population and desert locusts devouring crops.

According to the World Bank projection, 7.2 million people will face acute food insecurity in the coming months, which is the highest number since South Sudan’s independence.

South Sudan Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Project (RALP) provides a grant of $62.5 million that will support investments in training for farmers to help them efficiently manage their organizations, adopt new technology, and use climate-smart agriculture practices to boost their yields. It will also invest in tools, machinery, and seeds required to improve productivity.”

World Bank allocated $53.7 million to boost South Sudan’s response to desert locusts by restoring livelihoods for the poorest and strengthening the country’s preparedness systems through Emergency Locust Response Project (ELRP).

Mr. Ousmane Dione is the World Bank Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan. He said the money would ensure direct income to the most vulnerable households to produce more food for themselves and local markets.

 “These two timely projects provide a mix of investments in social protection and agriculture to address drivers of both acute and chronic food insecurity. The implementation modality supports a broader agenda of institutional capacity building for the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, and we look forward to collaborating closely with the government and other development partners to ensure that no one goes hungry,” said Dione.

The two grants will be the first World Bank-financed projects since 2018 to be implemented through government systems, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

Awerial county official says they lack funds to addresses water crisis in Bunagok

Bunagok residents face extreme water shortages, with over two thousand people sharing two water hand pumps.

Some of the residences who spoke to Mingkaman 100 FM say they spend many hours in the queue to fetch water in the two working hand pumps.

Martha Alut is one of the residences in Bunagok Payam. She said people are walking from different villages to fetch water at Bunagok.

Ms. Alut had appealed to local county officials to rescue the situation and help fix the broken boreholes to ease the congestions and suffering.

She said they are now making tough choices between drinking and bathing. Adding that they go for days without bathing because it is not easy to get water at the hand pump.

She said the issue of water starts in August, but the situation is now worse because the pools which villages were using have dried. “clothes are dirty, and children don’t take a bath sometimes, this can cause sicknesses.” Said Martha.

Mr. Paul Chak is the head of the Awerial county water department in Lakes state. He said his office is aware of the dire water situation at Bunagok and other areas in the county. 

He said they are making every effort to fix the broken boreholes by early next year because they do not have spare parts that are needed.

He said the pump mechanic are idle because they do not have spares, and he can’t send them without spare parts to repair the boreholes.

He said that he is engaging with one of the partners who has promised to come in January to drill more boreholes and repair the damaged ones.

Fuel shortage affects public transports in NBGs.

The business traders in Northern Bhar El Ghazal State say a dramatic increase in fuel price from 200 to 2,000 pounds per one liter has affected the cars and Boda Boda movement on Monday 12th.

The business people were alarm over higher economic inflation in the country. They said fuel rate shoot-up over the weekend has made some people stranded to access the market. They believe such development will cause a rapid scarcity of goods and services.

The Chairperson of Trader’s Union in NBGs, Deng Makol Athian, has warned people to stop selling fuel at a higher price. He advised residents to buy petrol at the legal fuel stations because a liter of petrol costs 500 pounds.

“We are aware of this crisis, but the petrol has not increased. Why do people leave the petrol station and buy from the black market? Those people charge more money, but there is available petrol in one fuel station despite the congestion. We are expecting some oil trucks to arrive at Aweil soon, and everything will return to normal; I want to advise traders to avoid exploiting the public.” Makol stated.

The Boda Boda rider Taban John felt worried about a price increase. “I tried to buy a 500 ml bottle of petrol this morning at 1000 SSP, but I have not got even one passenger today because they are afraid of the price that increased due to an increase of petrol, it seems I will go home with nothing”. 

Ajiing Upeiu had a similar reaction: he appealed to the State government to come up with immediate amicable solutions.  

“Our Government should prioritize basic needs like fuel. Everyone uses petrol differently. I bought a fuel bottle at 1000 SSP, which will not return me home on my bike. It’s tough.”

Some community members say they are afraid of a commodities price increase. They say their families will soon lack food to eat if the economic deflation is not addressed. 

Resident Adut Mawien urged Government to intervene.

“You see, this thing is about the traders, and they want to make abnormal profits without thinking of the public. This morning I came from Mapper to town here at 600 SSP, which used to be 200 SSP. I am just thinking of how I will return home; the Boda Boda will finish the money I might have made in the market.

A government official who demands anonymity says people will not afford public transport due to vulnerability, because many residents have no financial capacity. He explained that his monthly salary is only 3000 pounds. “This money is not paid on time by the government,” he stressed.

“I can afford a liter fuel with 2000 pounds. I came here in the morning to this petrol station, but the station is closed. If I can’t get petrol here to struggle for my children, they will not have anything to eat. We hear that petrol stations have fuel, but they don’t want to give out.”

Last week, Aweil reported severe river flooding that distracted the main roads connects the state capital with its Counties, making it difficult to transport goods.

Awan Community contribute 7,000 US dollar to support flood victims

The Awan Chan community in Warrap State have contributed 7,000 dollars to support internally displaced persons affected by flood in the remote villages.  Seven thousand US dollars were donated after the committee formed to lead the fundraising initiative.

The committee’s leading member said the money contributed will be used to buy medicines, food items, and non – food items to support affected families.

Committee representative Garang Bol Akoon promised that the contribution would continue until the target amount of 15 thousand US dollars reach.

“We are almost done because there are some people that have made pledges. So, we wouldn’t again stay here for two weeks before we take the support home. And if our targeted amount is not met, then we will go with what we have. We decided this because people didn’t cultivate due to flooding with its associated diseases” Bol stated.

Member of the community leader of the Awan Chan community Mr. Agau Agau Lual, has welcomed the contribution. He urged the committee to consider food assistance as a “priority”.

“I am truly excited and NOT only me but the entire community of Awan Chan that includes Akon South and North for the great contribution have they done. This support will help those in need wouldn’t be enough. It plays some role. So, we deeply appreciate them”Agau said.

Lual says, thirty-one villages have been affected, and many farms destroyed in the area starting from July this year.

The selected committee task for fundraising explained that their target beneficiaries for the funds are Akon North and Akon South Payams of the Awan Chan community.

The severe flooding in South Sudan has forced more than 600,000 people to flee their homes since July, according to the United Nations. Most places affected include Jonglei, Upper, Unity, and part of the Bahr El gazal region.

Commodity prices hiked in Kapoeta, vulnerable groups affected

Residents of Kapoeta town said the price increase of commodities in the local market has badly affected the vulnerable groups in the area. Families were going hungry for days due to the high prices of food in the market.
The residents said the skyrocketing prices have made it difficult to sustain their families.
“We can not afford a meal. The situation has worsened this month after the increase in the US dollars exchange rate against the local currency,’ said one resident.
Some of the affected families who spoke to Singaita FM how hard life has become with the market’s daily price increase.
A family at Hai Atalabra residential area explained how they spent two days without eating. Rose Imiyang, a mother of five, said she was struggling to feed her children.
“Things are high in the market, you go to the shop and find prices are high, this is making my life difficult and can’t buy food for my children. There is nothing, you can’t buy enough food”. Imiyang said.
A widow at Malakia who lost her husband during the civil war echoed the same, saying she was finding it difficult to feed her children.
The information officer in the office of chambers of commerce, Mr. Abraham Duot, said that he was aware of the market situation. He said that his team was following up with traders in the market to address and find a solution to the issue.
“We plan to meet with traders to find out the cause of the increase of prices in the market and find ways of controlling.”
He urged the public to be patient as his office look into finding a way forward with the traders.

Fall armyworm destroy nearly fifty farms in Warrap

Crops pest known as “fall army-worm” has smashed forty-nine small scale farms at Ajak Kuac Payam, in Warrap State

Local farmers reported that their farms were simultaneously destroyed by the fall-army-worm.

Some of the farmers complaints that the insects has invaded their crops. Adding that they would not  have good harvest this year because the pests have eaten crops which they planted”.

“It changes the color of the crops to blackish like the wild grains and loses the grain. It also pierces the leaves of the sorghum and maize and ends up losing them. We thought these farms were going to help the producers and those who don’t have, but now we are back to square one where no one will help the other” Public concerned.

Officials from the ministry of agriculture in Warrap State said they have been informed and had dispatched a team to visit the areas and to assess the damage.

Peter Madut Amet is the director of agriculture. He explained that the monitoring system team is expected to see the level of destruction and promised to support the farmers after the outcome the assessment.

“We will support some of them with the fishing tools, and others will tool for growing the vegetables, and we have sent out the assessment team. It will collect the data, and these data will be sent to Juba for action on the destruction,” Madut said.

Last month, many villages in Warrap State  flooded, displacing people from their and farms destroyed in Tonj East County.

Bakers to maintain the size and price of bread in Aweil

Bakers in Aweil have ended their strike in protest to the government proposal to maintain the price and the size of bread in the market. The governement has agreed to supply the local bakery with wheat floor in subsidised price of 19,000 SSP per 50kg bag instead of the hiked market price of 24,000 SSP per bag.  

The bakery operators were protesting the governement decision to impose the old price of bread  in the market. The bakers had earlier hiked the bread price and reduced its the size. A planned meeting between the bakers and the authority to reach a consensus on thursday failed to bear fruits, prompting the bakers to close bakeries in Aweil. They had hoped for the government to maintain  the old wheat floor price.

Community has welcomed the resolution over the impasse between the bakers and government. Some community members had complained about the inadequate bread in Aweil town after the closure of bakeries.

The traders promised to maintain the bread size and price of 20 SSP per piece. They said the order would have affected their business amid the severe economic crisis in the country.

 Mr. Atak Madut, a bakery owner, said they have agreed with government to purchase wheat floor at the lower prices which has made them re-open their businesses.

“The reason some of us stopped operating is that we buy wheat flour expensively. Now the Government ordered us to maintain the size and price of bread. Still, today we are all happy because the Government has purchased wheat and to sell it to us at 19,000 SSP, but before we could buy it at the Market price at 24,000 SSP. We will accept the orders now because we can make profits,” Madut said.

Dominic Kang Deng is the secretary-general in NBG state. He said the initiative aims at supporting citizens to buy food items cheaply.

“The Government wants to help citizens by buying wheat flour with a high price of 24,000 SSP and sell cheaply in the market with a price of 19,000 pounds per sack”.

The government said it had secured 300 sacks to be sold to the bakery’s owners and will ensure to purchase more from neighboring countries to make a long term initiative.

The commodities price reduction was also endorsed by the Government of Northern Bhar El Ghazal. All bakers were ordered to “maintain affordable prices and sizes of loaf bread” as part of government regulatory policy

Palakal Residents Going Thirsty as the Main Water Tank Bursts

The Palakal area resident in Kapoeta has raised concerns over the shortage of water after their source of water damaged. The community has been fetched water from the tanker installed in the area that busted last week.

Some residents said they find it challenging to get enough clean water for drinking, washing, and bathing.

Others argued that the remaining tanks could not supplies every resident despite water pumped daily.

 “We are urging the government to help them because of the water tank which is busted or spoil no water they always cry every day of water when there is sun water come, but all pour out, so they run shortage of water they are urging the government to help and make the tank,” she said.

“People do quarreling every day because of the water supply. What happens with water? What take water? The tank busted and did pour water out, so children cry for thirst; nothing we can wash the cloth tells the authority to come and help us,” community member stated.

The Palakal asked the town council to address the matter urgently.

Singaita FM spoke to Juma Buhari, Council’s Chief Executive in Kapoeta town Eastern Equatoria, distance his government responsibility to repair the broken water tanker. He said the facility had been handed to the community, and people should contribute money to replace the tank and other maintenance costs.

The water tank of Palakal was hand over to the community management team, mostly the tank that got spoil or burst. Those people did not give any money to the government. It is almost one year they have not given anything to let them collect money to buy another the other tank NGO who did so they have handed to us want the NGO to give the tank the community has to assist.

The government expressed a lack of budget for purchasing a new tank. Some residents said they resorted to drinking from the river as an alternative way to meet their needs but highlighted the fear of water-borne diseases.

 

 

 

 

Farmers worry of looming hunger

Farmers in the Warrap state and Abyei region expect a poor harvest that has created fear for food crisis next year.

The planting period started  late June through July followed by heavy rains resulting to massive flood in the area.

Some farmers said that their crops could not properly be weeded due to the floods. They expressed fears over looming hunger year as a result of the failed crops and expected poor harvest spotlights. 

Farmers lamented that most people in the villages are only dependant on crop farning for food. 

Mr. Atem Deng Chuor, a farmer from Nyideng Ayuel village, says he planted four feddans of sorghum but could not weed due to the rains. 

’If these four feddans were to yield well, I would not talk of shortage of food next year, but it is bad. Instead, I have decided to sell  some cows and keep the money so that I buy sorghums in December or January at any price available in the market.’’

Nhomachot Garang Deng in Ayien Amuol area said his family usually survived on farming but would not hope for a better harvest this year.  

Deng said that he secured 14 sacks of sorghum last year, and this year, he increased the size of the farms, but all got flooded.

‘’I sold my bulls to cultivate the farm in June, but after successful cultivation, the rains never stopped. The crops standing in the water now and no hope completely even to get two sacks from it”, he said.

The Farmers urged the affected people to properly plan for food stock for next year. They said livestock should be sold to buy food reserves.  

While in Abyei region, most people did not cultivate due to constant insecurity in the area.  The farmers blamed lack of time and displacement for not cultivating. They claimed they were mostly sheltered in Abei town. 

The Secretary-General of Twic county Nyuol Kon Mawien says the plans on how to rescue the situation shall be made when the state cabinets are appointed.

Nyuol told Mayardit FM that there were plans for his office to conduct the flood assessment in the entire Twic County.

The floods have affected many parts of South Sudan this year making President Salva Kiir declare a state of emergency for Jonglei and Pibor administrative area.