On August 8, 2022, the government of the Republic of South Sudan officially launched its first development strategy for the fruits and vegetables sector to boost the country’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) and create jobs for youth and women.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) has provided technical assistance in designing the strategy as part of its Jobs Creation and Trade Development Project, an EU-funded project focusing on creating quick-win economic and employment opportunities for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the fruits and vegetables value chains. The strategy will ultimately foster vibrant, resilient and sustainable food systems, inclusive growth, and job creation.
South Sudan’s Fruits and Vegetables Strategy is a five-year roadmap that addresses the sector’s constraints and defines opportunities through a detailed Plan of Action.
“This strategy provides a clear market-oriented vision, a framework for collaborative action and pragmatic and realistic recommendations. But it is only the first step: a good strategy is one that gets implemented and generates results,” said Darius Kurek, Senior officer for export strategy at the International Trade Centre.
A sector with potential
The global production of fruits and vegetables has increased consistently over the last few years to cater to the growing world demand. In 2020, the worldwide production of fruits was estimated at approximately 887 million tonnes, while the production of vegetables was estimated at approximately 1.14 billion tonnes. With South Sudan’s conductive climatic and soil conditions for fruit and vegetable cultivation, the sector has potential for development, offering market opportunities in the region and globally, especially for women and youth who are forced to move to urban areas in search of jobs.
During the launch, Jacob Bandasi, on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that “the strategy spreads a positive message about using the resources available, especially the soil of South Sudan. With the help of the strategy, (South Sudan) will be able to produce (its) own products and hence have minimal reliance on getting products from outside and the ability to contribute to the neighbouring countries.”
Hon. Ocum Genes Karlo, First Undersecretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of South Sudan, sad “with the goal of creating jobs and reducing poverty, our government is pleased to place this project among its priorities and will take every possible step to achieve maximum implementation of the fruits and vegetable strategy. The government is convinced that the sector has great potential for creating jobs as it opens opportunity to improve livelihoods.”
This strategy also paves the way for invigorating the private sector. Hon. Mary G. Muortat, the CEO of the South Sudan Bureau of Standards encouraged “the private sector to take this strategy and run with it. The strategy is important for the women and youth of South Sudan.”
Other relevant stakeholders expressed their support in the implementation of the strategy, including Abah Ofon, Senior Manager of Export Development at the African Export-Import Bank (AfrEximBank), who assured that, “the bank is there to support this comparative advantage that is evident in South Sudan.”
About the project
The International Trade Centre’s ‘South Sudan–Jobs Creation and Trade Development’ project aims to increase the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and employment opportunities for the South Sudanese population engaged in the fruit and vegetable sector.
The European Union-funded project contributes to addressing the value addition, competitiveness, job creation and trade development challenges of South Sudan.
Specifically, the interventions of the project are expected to improve productive capacities and compliance to standards for MSMEs, increase market linkages for MSMEs and enhance employability and entrepreneurship capacity for the South Sudanese labour force, focussing on youth and women.
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