Gabriel Peter will tell you himself, for his age and his size, he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. With two wives, 16 children, and a handful of close relatives depending on him, it’s no wonder he takes pride in his farm that feeds and educates his many dependents.
Peter has been farming near Yambio, South Sudan since 1998, a time when many were returning to the area after peace came to the region.
“Farming is good because you can provide food for your family and you have enough left over to sell for other needs” Peter says
In 2012 alone, Action Africa through the EFCRP (Emergency Food Crisis Response Project) has provided seven metric tons of maize, five metric tons of rice, and 1,300 hand tools to farmers in the region along with trainings on better planting techniques. Peter’s family is one of 9,500 households benefiting and has more than praise for AAH which has also supported the building several key roads to give farmers access to markets, community processing centers, and storehouses for their crops.
Alison Paida, AAH Payam Extension Officer, says; he is working in collaboration with county agriculture department of Yambio to help ensure that South Sudan’s “bread-basket” gets back to the needed production levels. Paida said the rebuilding process is slow going.
Because of the war people left and lost the skills they had for farming,” Paida said. “Now that people are coming back everyone has to start over.” Our project is helping farmers regain these much needed skills to grow better crops with high yields.
Although the region is extremely fertile, it is also heavily forested making it difficult for local farmers to access land to cultivate. It is a delicate balance between conserving the environment and providing access to farming land. AAH is working with farmers and local authorities to create sustainable ways of using the available land.
Peter echoed these concerns along with other issues affecting farmers in the area.
“Farming still does have challenges.” Peter said. “Pests are constantly a threat to our crops. It is difficult to make provide for our family because it takes a long time to clear trees from even one feddan (acre).”
Despite his concerns over continued growth in farming capacity, Peter expressed deep gratitude for the new technology and tools provided to him through the project. This has not only helped him to broaden his farming skills but have also increased his farm production five-fold.
“The trainings are appreciated too. We’re learning how to plant in rows and better utilize the seeds we’re given. As we improve we are able to produce more and turn a better profit.” Peter said.