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Enhanced Local Value Addition and Strengthening Value Chains Project Newsletter - FIRST EDITION

About the Project

The Enhanced Local Value Addition and Strengthening Value Chains (ELVC) project, implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with funding from the European Union (EU), is working with the Government of South Sudan to support its efforts to transition from food assistance to food security in the region of Bahr el Ghazal. The project aims to contribute to improving food and nutrition security for rural small holders in Bahr el Ghazal by enhancing value addition for local commodities and strengthening local value chains.

Project Fact Sheet - Now available here!

COVID-19 Implications in the Field

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting societies and economies around the world on an unprecedented scale. The industrial sector is not exempt from this devastating impact: with lockdowns, restricted movement of goods and people, and disruptions in global supply chains, industries around the world are forced to severely reduce or even halt production, resulting in substantial financial and social risks at local, national, and international levels. UNIDO is contributing to the concerted efforts put forth by the international community, and the United Nations system in particular, to promptly and effectively respond to this global crisis through cooperation, adaptation, and innovation.

In the case of South Sudan, the COVID-19 pandemic arrives at a time when the country is already combatting the potential onset of a, “hunger pandemic” (UN World Food Program). According to the WFP, food and nutrition security in South Sudan is the worst it has been since 2011, with nearly 60 percent of the population unable to find food on a daily basis. Locust swarms, which arrived in South Sudan earlier this Spring, contribute to heightened risk of food scarcity across the country.

These immense challenges make UNIDO’s work in South Sudan ever more pressing. UNIDO is working closely with its constituents, stakeholders, and partners in South Sudan to monitor the situation and coordinate access to locations that are still accessible, while complying with COVID-19 prevention measures, in order to continue implementing project activities that promote enhanced food security through targeted training programs. For all continuing activities, UNIDO is providing personal protective equipment such as face masks to participants and is enforcing appropriate social distancing measures during all meetings and site visits. Amidst this rapidly-changing context, UNIDO is also designing business continuity plans and is re-prioritizing the project activities to ensure the feasibility of its interventions and their salience with local needs and priorities.

Training for Productivity & Sustainability

In food-scarce regions such as Bahr El-Ghazal in South Sudan, agro-processing centers (APCs) offer an opportunity for smallholder farmers and their families to boost productivity and enhance the quality of their commodities, including sorghum, and groundnut. Though the APCs provide a great deal of benefits to both producers and consumers, operating and maintaining the machinery have proven to be major challenges to their overall performance. At the APC in Kangi, long-time machinery operators Mr. Kangi Achom Uyu and Mr. Santino Kangi Mudut have experienced their share of setbacks by not being able to adequately repair faulty or broken equipment. For any simple breakdown, the APC management board would spend a great deal of money to bring a competent mechanic from an urban center, such as Wau, to fix the problem. In addition to the elevated costs, relying on external assistance for maintenance and operations also significantly reduces productivity that directly translate to economic losses for the APC. From the moment a machine breaks down to the moment it is up and running could result in the APC in Kangi losing up to a week or longer of production time. If they do not hire a Wau mechanic, they are forced to try their luck with a local operator who has limited knowledge in the machinery used, which could risk creating more damage than good. This is especially dangerous in the cases of APCs, such as the one in Kangi, who use diesel engines (needed to process sorghum or groundnut paste), which are particularly susceptible to long-term damage if they are not properly handled.

Finding a long-term solution to the maintenance issues of the APCs is crucial to ensuring that the ELVC project’s impact is sustainable. To address this pressing issue, the UNIDO conducted a four-day comprehensive training in operation and maintenance for diesel engines for the two Kangi APC operators, Mr. Kangi Achom Uyu, and Mr. Santino Kangi Mudut, in late April 2020. The hands-on training program gave the operators practical experience to help them better understand how a diesel engine works through exercises in dismantling and reassembling an engine themselves. By learning the specificities of the diesel engine, Mr. Mudut and Mr. Uyu are more confident in their abilities to operate and maintain the APC machinery. This will also reduce the amount of time and money spent seeking external assistance for problems that they now have the ability to repair on their own. “What UNIDO did is exactly (as per that saying) that instead of giving a man a fish you better teach him how to catch it himself…I used to operate this engine and I was struggling a lot each time that a breakage occurred. Now with this training, I will be able to know the source of breakage and if it is minor I will be able to fix it and if it is beyond my capacity then I will call UNIDO’s mechanic for guidance on the phone, “shared Mr. Mudut following the training.

The positive impact of this training does not stop at APC productivity: “The support that UNIDO has given me through this training is unique in the sense that it will enable me to better support my family and my community at large,” states Mr. Mudut. By providing the skills to properly operate and maintain the equipment used at the Kangi APC, the training program also ensures greater productivity by keeping the machinery running and reducing the amount of time and money required to do any necessary repairs. Keeping the APC running means greater income generation for APC operators like Mr. Mudut and Mr. Uyu, and a source of value addition for their community. “I look forward to a very significant change in my livelihood and that of my family and my village,” adds Mr. Uyu, “the performance of the APC will not be the same.” Furthermore, the skills learned during the training can be applied to maintaining other equipment running on diesel motors, which can provide additional income generation. “I look forward to using these skills to render services to motorcycle riders who will pay me money to meet my family’s needs,” says Mr. Uyu.

UNIDO is replicating the training to machine operators in Ayien APC June 22-25, 2020 as well distribute new toolkits with required tools to maintain the processing equipment.

For more information about the ELVC project, please contact Chie Matsumoto c.matsumoto@unido.org

Created By
Clara McLinden
Appreciate

Credits:

UNIDO ELVC project