July 20, 2016

Graduation ceremony in South Sudan

Graduation ceremony South Sudan 2016
SPARK in South Sudan is targeting young entrepreneurs to create jobs and take a pro-active role in the development of their community through apprenticeships in food stability and seedling farming. A recent training class graduated  with some early, measurable successes. Through an increase of entrepreneurial farming in this soil-rich country, SPARK is exploring the possibility of job creation and income supplementation with its Agri-Business development (ABC) programme. This is in partnership with the Agriculture Advisory Association (AAO), a local NGO which seeks to support more farmers in their local area of Yei. Despite the re-current conflict in the country, SPARK and its partners are determined to continue to offer youth training and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Germinating ambition

The training sees young people increasing their knowledge of raising seedlings as a key part of the agricultural production chain. This specialised skill set in farming will increase their chances of employment or getting fast returns in business. The AOO have noticed that good quality seedlings are lacking in South Sudan and that raising this skill set will benefit the horticulture value chain, as farmers will have a more robust and healthier local stock of seedlings to choose from.

The AAO is head-quartered in Morobo where they have a demonstration farm with nurseries for tree & vegetable seedlings. It is here that SPARK has been supporting AAO to hold trainings. In the last round, they recruited 20 young people into apprenticeships for 1.5 months to turn their general knowledge into specialised horticulture farming.

Recruitments were made through radio announcements in the southern part of the country. A large number of applications were received with the majority from high school students who were looking to supplement their income in order to save for their higher education.

Although the youth in South Sudan have ready access to land, they often do not see its potential, preferring instead to work in casual labour which has faster returns. This has led to a peculiar situation where farms in South Sudan are actually in short supply of workers and migrants from elsewhere often fill in the labour gaps.  Part of the training is to turn young people’s awareness to the potential of farming as a business while the relatively short time it takes to germinate a seedling is a good introduction to the sector for many young people who want to make fast cash.


At their graduation the students were provided with a starter-pack including fertilisers, basic farming equipment and variety of high quality seeds from onions to fruit trees. Early success can already be seen. For instance, one of the graduates from last years’ trainings has been able to set up his own business supplying international organisations with seedlings for their own agricultural purposes. Clients include the GIZ  – the German development organisation and World Hunger Health. In the future the AAO wants to upscale the trainings to make them more inclusive and capture those young people who have not been through school.

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