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Agricultural development and conflict management in South Sudan following UK scholarship

The Marshal Papworth Fund, an agricultural development charity managed by the East of England Agricultural Society, is pleased to share news of a new cooperative vegetable farm that will benefit over 15,000 beneficiaries, established in South Sudan by alumni Efuk Barsabas, who has also provided training for over 300 women in conflict management following his Marshal Papworth scholarship and through his work with United Nations Mission.

Barsabas Efuk on the site of his cooperative vegetable farm in South Sudan
Efuk on the site of the vegetable farm in South Sudan

Efuk, who completed his MSc in Food Security and Development at the University of Reading with a Marshal Papworth Fund scholarship, said: “Before my return to South Sudan I promised to establish a vegetable farm in my community to fight poverty and food insecurity. I have begun to implement my words by establishing a community farm, named Hidiriha Cooperative Society. We have cultivated varieties of vegetables and crops for over 15,000 beneficiaries locally, planting crops such as egg plants, okra, sukuma wiki, green pepper, squash, and tomatoes. By embarking on agricultural development in this way we are working towards ending food insecurity in South Sudan.”

Clearing the site in South Sudan ready for cultivation

He continued: “Since my return, I have also implemented several training workshops on conflict management – particularly targeting pastoral groups and working with 300 women at the grassroots who are caught up in conflicts within South Sudan.”

As well as his work with United Nations Mission in community liaison, Efuk has also been offering voluntary consultancy on Agricultural Extension, providing support to over 34 small scale farmers on different aspects of farming. His knowledge of agricultural extension and self-reliance has helped several farmers increase their productivity beyond just subsistence.

“In the wake of COVID -19, I have also helped in engaging over 500 people from the Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan to observe COVID-19 guidelines to prevent its spread in my country,” said Efuk.

Marshal Papworth Fund chairman, Tom Arthey, said: “It is great to see Efuk making inroads to promote sustainable agriculture in South Sudan, where conflict often leaves little space for agricultural development. With over 15,000 beneficiaries of his cooperative vegetable farm as well as his participation in vital workshops to support women to overcome the pains of conflict, Efuk is doing the Marshal Papworth Fund proud.”

The Marshal Papworth Fund has now welcomed 215 agricultural development students, working across developing countries to overcome issues including food insecurity, poverty and climate change in a sustainable way. Whilst in the UK, the students attend a number of supplementary visits to farms and other agricultural enterprises, that allow them to see, first-hand, the techniques and management practices UK farmers use to build sustainable and profitable businesses. For both the Masters and 10 week short-course students, these practical learnings enable them to go back to their home countries with both policy design and practical implementation ideas that can benefit the farmers in their own communities, as shown by the work that Efuk is doing.    

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