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A boost for food security in South Sudan as nine ventures bag US$200,000 in WFP-UNDP’s IGNITE Food Systems Challenge

Juba – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) yesterday awarded funding to nine ventures in a competition aimed at strengthening food systems in South Sudan by improving access to food and nutrition and empowering the most vulnerable producers and consumers.

Most families in South Sudan rely on subsistence farming to survive, but a significant amount of the food produced is lost through post-harvest losses and the country relies heavily on food imports to feed its population. This innovation challenge, which was spearheaded by WFP and implemented by UNDP, serves to boost the agricultural sector, and encourage South Sudanese youth to engage in activities that positively influence local food systems.

Each of the winning ventures was awarded up to US$40,000 to scale up their projects and positively impact food security in the world’s youngest nation.

A women’s association that empowers vulnerable women economically through livelihood activities is among the winners. Mildred Lawino Ocida from Nile Agro-Tech and Seed has been training women to grow their own food.

“There is a big gap in the food chain in South Sudan,” said Mildred. “With this grant we hope to increase vegetable production and install solar powered refrigerators at our storage facilities.”

“Many South Sudanese youths have lost hope. Yet there is opportunity in agriculture, and I encourage them to get into agribusiness,” she said.

Another winner was James Nyikole from South Farmers Company Limited who plans to use the funds to develop his company’s out-growers programme to produce hatching eggs and chicks. “At

the moment, we import hatching eggs from Turkey, and half of the cost goes into transportation. With this support, we will be able to produce hatching eggs right here in Juba,” said James.

The winning package also includes a six-month acceleration programme that offers technical support and mentorship tailored to the needs of each entrepreneur to enable them to expand their food systems solutions to scale and create job opportunities for young people.

“South Sudan’s biggest asset is its youth who have the potential to make a difference by transforming local food systems and contributing to developing the economy of their country,” said Adeyinka Badejo, the Acting Country Director for WFP in South Sudan. “This initiative has been made possible due to generous support from donors and will equip young South Sudanese entrepreneurs with funding and the technical know-how to grow their businesses and contribute to improving food security and systems across the country.”

“UNDP stands committed to supporting entrepreneurs who take it upon themselves to close gaps in South Sudan’s food systems,” said Christy Ahenkora, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Programme in South Sudan. “People who have bright minds bring forward bright ideas to transform the whole society.”

The winners were announced at the Palm Africa Hotel in Juba, where each of the finalists presented their innovative solutions at a pitch event to a live audience including the Minister of Trade, Hon. Kuol Athian Mawien and a panel of judges including the Director General of Food Security Policy and Stakeholder Coordination, Mr. Jacob Mogga and the French Ambassador to South Sudan, H.E.M. Marc Trouyet.

Note to editors

Launched in South Sudan on 19 November 2021, the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge sought to discover and promote locally driven solutions to food systems challenges. Food systems are the sum of interactions that make up the food value chain starting from crop production, livestock, and fish to transport, processing, wholesaling, and preparing food for consumption.

The nine winning ventures are: South Farmers Company Limited, Ubuntu Farms, Green Farms, Hagana Agro. Processing Company, Nile Agro-Tech and Seed, Asal Saleh Bee, Eco Friends and Kanybek and Rainmaker.

The initiative is implemented in partnership with South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and made possible through the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and a

US$2 million grant from USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The competition is running concurrently in Uganda and Rwanda.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.

WFP’s IGNITE Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa was launched in December 2020, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, to leverage WFP’s brand, public and private partners, deep field access, and expertise to develop, nurture and scale sustainable innovations for increased food security in the region.

UNDP works to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities through sustainable development. Through the Sustainable Development Goals, we aim to bring peace and prosperity to all. Make a Difference Today. Services: Resilience, Governance, Gender Equality.

Follow us on Twitter @WFP_Africa @WFP_SouthSudan @undpsouthsudan


For more information please contact (email address:
Marwa Awad, WFP/ South Sudan,
Mob: +211 926 221 460
Brenda Kariuki, WFP/ Nairobi,
Mob: +254 707 722 104
Amos Agiro, UNDP/South Sudan
Mob: +211 928 747 291