Majok-Chedhiop Community Farm: The Foundation for a Sustainable School Lunch Program and Socio-Economic Development in South Sudan.
Malnutrition adversely affects the health and education of children. In South Sudan, one of the main causes of malnutrition is the rampant deficiency of soil nutrients. Both problems are specifically addressed by the project outlined in this proposal: Majok-Chedhiop Community Farm (MCCF), an agricultural enterprise that will produce food for a school lunch program to be established concurrently. Majok-Chedhiop Community Farm (MCCF) will provide nutritious school lunches for up to 2,500 children that attend local pre-schools and primary schools in the Nyang County of Eastern Yirol, South Sudan. In addition, this farm will address soil infertility by assisting local farmers with: (1) investments in necessary inputs like animals for manure, and key chemical fertilizers; and (2) knowledge of important alternative agricultural techniques (e.g., agroforestry).
Rescue South Sudan Village People (RSSVP), a new non-governmental organization, will develop and manage the community farm such that its main components (crops, animals, trees) reinforce each other in order to sustainably maximize the output of food. A cooperative and reciprocal partnership with local farmers will be established in order to rear small animals such as chickens and rabbits for the school lunch program. This is a key focus of the project, not only for the supply of protein provided to the school lunches, but because of the potential it has for increasing food security and income for households located near the farm. Agroforestry will be a key component because of the multiple benefits this practice provides (e.g., timber, fruits, fodder) in addition to the important role it plays in restoring soil fertility (e.g., nitrogen fixation, green manure). A small dairy will also contribute to soil fertility maintenance via the output of organic wastes/manures.
The symbiotic relationship with local farmers that RSSVP plans to develop will work in the following manner: we will supply our local community farm partners (CFP) with an initial stock of animals, equipment, and training in exchange for a percentage of the output produced. CFPs will be encouraged and supported in the expansion of their operation so as to increase production of eggs and/or meat beyond what they agree to contribute to the lunch program; they can then sell such surplus at market and/or consume it themselves. This system offers a great incentive for local people to improve household income through increased production of rabbits and/or chickens, while ensuring the school lunch program has a consistent supply of eggs and meat. Community farm partners (CFP) believes this concept is an excellent example of the “creative capitalism” that Bill Gates called for at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2008.
In sum: great achievements can be made with global education initiatives put forth by all types of concerned donors, but if most children remain underfed then much of these efforts will be for naught. The school lunch program proposed by RSSVP will benefit children attending primary schools and associated pre-schools (and many more in the years to follow). In the long run these children will be healthier and better educated than they otherwise would be this will increase the human potential of the citizens of South Sudan if enough projects similar to this one is implemented. The great advantage of our program is that it is designed to help communities help themselves, which will make it far more sustainable than simply offering a handout. This is because RSSVP will actively incorporate the local populace as a component of the school lunch program; moreover, we will provide skills training and small loans to nurture the development of the local economy by increasing knowledge and helping households acquire needed tools and other supplies. As many people in South Sudan work in the agricultural sector, improving the productivity of rural households greatly benefits the wider community.
Grant Proposal for Majok-Chedhiop Community Farm Introduction
South Sudan has made enormous strides in terms of repairing the social and economic damage resulting from the two civil wars in 1983 and 2013, and the years of war that preceded it. Yet there remains much work to do in developing a vibrant economy that can give hope to all and ensure that the stable society now emerging can prosper and endure. South Sudan is an overwhelmingly agrarian nation with approximately 80% of the labor force engaged in agriculture, most of its subsistence-oriented production at the household level. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of South Sudan. Estimates on value addition by agriculture, forestry and fisheries accounted for 36% of non-oil GDP in 2010. It is evident that about 80% of the population lives in rural areas, with agriculture, forestry and fisheries providing the primary livelihood for a majority of the households in each state. Much of the rural sector activity is currently focused on low-input low-output subsistence agriculture instead of production for markets. Among the signify cant reasons for this are: (i) the need for improved agricultural inputs and techniques such as seeds and fertilizers, storage facilities and advisory services, and irrigation development; (ii) the difficulties faced by farmers in accessing markets due to the poor road network, lack of other transport modes and nuisance taxes and charges, including bribes; (iii) the lack of a critical mass of farmer and rural producer associations as a means of entering the market place with the aim of minimizing the cost of inputs, accessing loan finance at affordable rates and influencing farm-gate prices; and (iv) uncertainties pertaining to property rights and access to land. Thus, economic development of the country largely implies agricultural development: raising land productivity and the productivity of labor. Many opportunities currently abound in South Sudan for both local and foreign businesspeople. It is a given that people with money and influence can become players in the scramble for national economic development, but what about the poor – particularly in rural areas? Economic development for them is largely dependent upon government investments and other intervention efforts, usually with the assistance of local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). With stability having returned to the political/governance sector in South Sudan in the past several years, there is real hope that the government and NGOs can be effective in facilitating necessary socio-economic changes to the rural areas of the country.
Recently created, Rescue South Sudan Village People (RSSVP) is a non-governmental organization established precisely for that purpose. The first initiative being planned by RSSVP is the development of “Majok-Chedhiop Community Farm” (MCCF). The basic concept of this farm is to stimulate local agricultural production and small-scale enterprises by establishing a working farm in the Yirol sector of Ngang County, which is in Eastern Yirol, South Sudan. The principal goal of this farm in terms of an outcome is to: provide nutritious school lunches for approximately 500-1,000 children or more that attend local pre-schools and primary schools in Yirol and Nyang County, augment the food supplies of local widows and orphans, and serve as a model to be replicated in all sectors of Nyang County. The more far-reaching and holistic objective that RSSVP has, however, is for the community farm program to act a focal point for driving the development of the local rural economy. They key to accomplishing this plan is the constructive participation of the local people by making them active partners in both the farm and the school lunch program. For example, RSSVP (via MCCF) will assist each school in the development of a school garden and will employ local inhabitants to work the farm and teach them site-specific and appropriate nontraditional techniques/technologies that can be replicated locally on their own land. RSSVP will also develop the skills training capacity of the farm by linking it with South Sudan ministry of agriculture and food security), which is the local vocational training program located at Yirol. A basic microfinance program will also be instituted to better support bottom-up economic development at the local household level.
Problem Statement / Context
One of the principal challenges facing the rural economy in South Sudan, as in much of Africa, is the depletion of soil fertility. A lack of soil nutrients has two debilitating consequences that both have long term implications: reduced agricultural output and dietary malnourishment. Perhaps the most pernicious effect of soil infertility is the latter because of the insidious role it plays in hindering the normal growth of children. It is well known that child malnourishment significantly affects pediatric health, behavior, school attendance and learning; all of which impinge on the future ability of a child to become an educated and productive member of society. Thus, a concerted effort to address malnutrition in a sustainable, long-term manner must also concentrate on a key source of the problem: soil nutrient deficiency.
As mentioned, over the course of time soil infertility eventually results in lowered agricultural output; combined with a continued increase in population, an enormous burden is therefore being placed on the land (South Sudan has the highest population density of any country in Africa). Rural communities ultimately become impoverished as their natural capital (i.e., soil) depreciates and productivity cannot keep pace with the demand for food. In response, more land is cultivated to meet consumption demands and crops are often grown on very steep slopes with minimal, if any, soil conservation techniques (e.g., terracing) employed. Such land erodes quickly and this, of course, exacerbates the loss of soil nutrients over time as well.
Compounding the problem is the fact that almost all arable land in South Sudan is currently under cultivation, usually on small holdings (< 1 hectare). As such, traditional methods of preventing gross soil infertility are unable to be used: expanding cultivated areas and leaving some land fallow. In addition, the soil is most often worked by manual labor because most farming occurs on rural area in South Sudan; thus, farmers generally raise few (if any) large animals such as oxen. As a result, there is a significant lack of organic fertilizer with which to replenish lost soil nutrients. Moreover, limited access to inorganic fertilizer due its high cost means that few farmers are able to address declining soil fertility via this option, as well. In the Eastern part of South Sudan where MCCF is located, the soils are acidic and generally deficient in both phosphorus and nitrogen. These deficits must be corrected in order for food production to keep pace with population growth and provide adequate nutrition and decent incomes to rural families.
Although there has been a fair amount of attention paid to agricultural development in South Sudan, most of it has been related to the cultivation, processing, and marketing of cash crops such as coffee and tea. While important, there is no question that a huge need exists for educating subsistence farmers in soil amendment strategies and other low-cost productivity increasing techniques (e.g., agroforestry); and in developing their capacity for applying such skills and for affording the necessary inputs. While much research has been conducted on such topics and much knowledge has been gained, it is all worthless if rural farmers in developing countries are unable to access the knowledge and adopt the technologies. Thus, agricultural training centers and micro-credit programs are a vital necessity that must be established all over the country to address the widespread problem of soil infertility.
Program Goals and Objectives
Through the community farm concept, RSSVP addresses the problems identified above by promoting a comprehensive development agenda that incorporates the surrounding community in the process of producing food for a school lunch program. At the center of our program, RSSVP will nurture local farm households towards increased productivity by symbiotically linking with them to jointly produce and supply food for the lunch program. In partnership with South Sudan ministry of agriculture and food security, the farm will also support local farm households by specifically providing vocational training for agricultural activities and other small-scale production enterprises. Notwithstanding the wide reach and broad scope of the goals outlined above, the specific core objectives of this project can be summarized as:
- Implement a school garden program; RSSVP will provide funds and technical direction to enable each school in the Nyang County to plant a large garden. This will allow students to contribute to their own lunches and will serve as a teaching platform for themselves and for local households interested in planting their own home garden.
- Cultivate crops and raise animals; MCCF will be the principal force behind the sector wide school lunch program, in terms of its management and the supplying of food for the 4 primary schools and 4 pre-schools located in Nyang. Local orphanages and widows within the sector will also be supported as part of the program.
- Promote local ownership of the program and “creative capitalism” by developing a symbiotic relationship with any household wishing to become a community farm partner (CFP). In order to achieve Objective # 2, RSSVP will rely upon CFPs to augment the productive capacity of the community farm.
- Provide microcredit, employment, skills training, and technical support to CFPs and other resource-poor individuals; this will give local households the opportunity to increase farm productivity and/or develop small-scale enterprises (or expand existing ones).
- Serve as a model for improved agricultural management and techniques for the wider community and country; and (in a limited capacity) as a location for on-farm research of promising/adaptable agricultural and agroforestry cultivars, technologies, and techniques.
As described above, MCCF will be the foundation of the Majok-Chedhiop primary school lunch program while serving as a model for increasing local agricultural productivity. RSSVP firmly believes that we can make a positive difference in the rural economy of Nyang County by instituting our plan for soil fertility restoration and management, small-scale enterprise development, and associated training and micro-credit programs. The next few paragraphs describe the general concept and structure of the community farm program, while the subsection that follows provides a detailed discussion of the main farming systems components.
Conceptual Framework and Organizational Structure
MCCF will utilize a farming systems perspective that actively incorporates agroforestry principles into the design, structure, and management of the farm. Generally speaking, a farming system is denoted as a farm that is explicitly managed so the productive components (i.e., crops, animals, trees) reinforce each other in order to maximize total productivity of the farm enterprise. Agroforestry is the integrated use of trees and shrubs on a farm in such a manner that is supportive of (and enhances) the productivity of crop cultivation and/or livestock operations, while providing additional products and/or services such as timber, fruits, windbreaks, etc.
Emphasizing these concepts as the philosophic and conceptual foundation for MCCF should enable RSSVP to achieve sustainable agricultural production based on good soil management practices. A key objective of this model will be to limit the purchase and use of 5 external inputs (e.g., fertilizer) which are usually expensive to obtain. This is because the constraints of local farmers must be considered when designing a program that intends to serve as an example for how to realize long term sustainable agricultural productivity increases. As such, MCCF will strive as much as possible to implement a farming system that uses techniques and technology which can be adopted without much difficulty by local farmers, but it is important to acknowledge that some components of this operation are likely to be beyond the capacity of many local farmers. This is because the main objective of MCCF is to produce and supply food to local school children.
The crops grown at MCCF will generally consist of the basic staples currently being grown there and in the local area (e.g., cassava, potatoes, sorghum, wheat, peas, peanuts, millet, maize, rice, sunflower, beans). In addition, other vegetables will be identified based on nutritive content, local preferences, and site appropriateness. As illustrated in Figure 1, other key components of the farm include a small-scale dairy and a poultry and small animal (SA) production operation – these enterprises will provide important sources of protein to the diet of the school children. Moreover, they will provide an opportunity to help local people to improve the production of poultry and SAs through knowledge and skills transfer. A very important aspect of the dairy and the poultry/SA operations is the generation of manure for maintaining the productive capacity of the soil. This compliments the agroforestry component of the farm well, as one main reason for incorporating selected trees species into the production plan is to increase soil organic matter through additions of green manure (residual plant matter). Additionally, a key aspect of agroforestry is to utilize nitrogen-fixing species to augment the addition of nitrogen to the soil.
Specific Farm Components
Managing a farm based on the integration of its separate components has various names but as mentioned previously, the term farming systems is commonly applied to such operations. The interdependency of all components in a production system, when structured correctly, allows for almost complete self-sufficiency while retaining a high degree of productivity. Loosely following the traditional economic factors of production, the basic components of the farm presented in Figure 1 are discussed in detail in the following subsections.
Land (site description)
An area of land known locally as Majok-Chedhiop was selected for the site of the community farm, and we can select another area that have a huge land. Most of the feddans/acres are scheduled for purchase and lease agreements; the targeted parcel has been roughly estimated to be 8.5 hectares (21 acres) in size. It is in Majok-Chedhiop village of Nyang County, approximately 10 miles off the main road from Nyang to Yirol town. Majok-Chedhiop Primary School is located on the edge of a rather prominent flat area that forms the eastern part of the Majok-Chedhiop village, and the presence of this school was an important consideration in selecting this property. South Sudan ministry of agriculture and food security will be supported by, and affiliated with, RSSVP and the community farm.
The flat area currently consists of a grass covered field that serves as a local football pitch, but there is room to accommodate additional structures related to the farm (e.g., the dairy). It is bordered mainly by cultivated banana trees, other tree species, and a few scattered houses. From this field, the farm field behind the school and is sectioned into small plots in which various staple crops are currently being grown; some plots also include peanuts. There are numerous mature trees growing on this slope along plot edges.
In the southern part of South Sudan where MCCF is located, the soils are very acidic (pH < 4.5) with a high aluminum content (> 3.5 cmol (+) kg 1), and are generally deficient in both phosphorus 7 (P) and nitrogen (N). These elements are limiting factors, because amending the soil with one will be of little use if the other nutrient remains deficient also. In addition, the acidic nature of the soils in this area indicates that remediation with lime may be required as well. Thus, to restore soil fertility and increase agricultural output, a comprehensive soil amendment plan must be followed and will be among the first tasks undertaken on the farm. This plan will consist of the following inputs: inorganic fertilizer for P amendment, organic fertilizers derived from animal manure and green manure, compost from other organic (yard) wastes, and biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) provided by leguminous crops and trees via agroforestry.
Because of the way in which P is stored in the soil and released over time, a large dose is initially applied as a “corrective application” that returns the soil to a proper balance. Such an application will last for 5 to 10 years depending upon the initial deficiency, the rate applied, and the type and quality of inorganic fertilizer. For example, as per local conditions, recommended doses for corrective applications of P range from 150 to 500 kilograms per hectare of triple superphosphate (TSP). However, phosphorite (rock phosphate) is the locally available material that will most likely be utilized by MCCF. Soil samples will be obtained and analyzed to determine the extent of nutrient deficiencies prior to any soil amendments being applied.
In contrast to P remediation, the cycling of N – and the timing of its application for maximum benefit to crop growth – is more important that rebuilding the stock of this key nutrient via a corrective application. As such, N must be gradually replenished in the soil through periodic amendments of organic fertilizer, inorganic fertilizer, or both. While small amounts of inorganic fertilizer may be used initially, the goal of MCCF is to become completely sustainable in terms of using only organic sources of N. Therefore, agroforestry will be a key component in the process of restoring and maintaining soil fertility: fallows incorporating BNF crops and BNF woody perennials will play an important role in soil fertility amendments, also becoming green manure when worked back into the soil. In addition to green manure, incorporating animal manure and compost from organic wastes management will also be an important source of N and will help improve the organic (carbon) content and volume of the soil.
Along with terracing, agroforestry will be an important component of erosion control and must be implemented before any soil fertility amendments are made. Otherwise, such efforts are wasted. Note that planting trees, shrubs, and grasses at the margins of crop plots is already a common practice and will be incorporated at MCCF where it is needed and appropriate. What will be emphasized, however, is the intercropping of leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) and/or other nitrogen-fixing plants within individual crop plots, following the contours of the slope. This forms hedges that help to check erosion by slowing the movement of surface water run-off, which initiates deposition of sediment, and inhibits the formation of destructive gullies. The prunings obtained from intercropped hedges can be spread on top of the soil for additional erosion control and for soil moisture conservation. Intercropping design and intercropping techniques will be key components of the agricultural training program offered by RSSVP.
As important as agroforestry is for erosion control, it is just as valuable as a vehicle for restoring and maintaining soil fertility. As mentioned previously, planting nitrogen-fixing cover crops or woody perennials as fallows is a key technique the farm will utilize. Rotational fallows 10 will be employed so that each hectare of land will be planted on a cyclical schedule with leucaena and other valuable agroforestry crops such as tephrosia (Tephrosia purpurea) and calliandra (Calliandra calothyrsus). Indigenous shrubs such as tithonia (Tithonia diversifolia) and acanthus (Acanthus pubescens) will be also used as potential sources of biomass for soil fertility replenishment. In general, the biomass produced will be incorporated back into the soil to ensure enough N is introduced; if other fertilizer sources are available in sufficient quantities, some of the biomass produced will be used as fodder for the dairy cows. Pruning from intercropped hedges can also be used to amend the soil with organic N or utilized as fodder. For some soil conditions, agroforestry can contribute to N cycling via the process of deep-nitrate capture: tree roots are able to access nutrients at depths that crop roots cannot reach. When the litter from such a tree is subsequently incorporated back into the topsoil, then the deep-nitrate capture acts as a net input into the cropping system.
Crops currently being cultivated on the site proposed for MCCF include soybeans, cassava, sweet potatoes, peanuts (groundnuts), maize, and sorghum. RSSVP will continue to grow these same crops and investigate the potential for improved varieties of these and other plants and trees. An emphasis will be placed on adding leafy green vegetables to the list of crops grown because of their high nutritive content; examples include spinach and the edible leaves of the moringa tree (Moringa oleifera). Fruit-bearing trees found on the site include avocado and banana; these will be augmented with papaya, guava, passion fruit, oranges, other citrus fruits, and perhaps mango and other fruit trees. Additional tree species observed on the property are silver oak (Grevillea robusta) and eucalyptus. The eucalyptus (and perhaps some silver oak) will be harvested for use as construction timbers, as eucalyptus is a water-intensive tree that can adversely impact soil moisture content and (sometimes) local groundwater supplies.
Poultry and small animal production
RSSVP will develop a decentralized, yet cooperative, partnership with local farmers to rear small animals such as chickens, goats, and sheep. This is a key focus of the farm, not only for the protein it will produce for the lunch program, but because of the potential it has for increasing food security and income for households located near the farm. A reciprocal relationship will be established with local farmers such that MCCF will supply these community farm partners (CFP) with an initial stock of animals, equipment, and training in exchange for a certain percentage of the output produced. The farm itself will maintain a poultry production facility to incubate chicks for new CFPs, for training new CFPs, and for additional egg/meat production to supplement the lunch program. This operation shall be the nucleus from which the decentralized CFP production system will follow.
CFPs will own the chickens and coops, provided by RSSVP in exchange for x number of eggs and/or meat per week. If CFPs expand their operation to produce an amount equal to x + y, then the amount y shall be their productive surplus that they can sell at market or consume in their own household. This system offers an excellent incentive for local people to increase household welfare through improved production of rabbits and/or chickens (via knowledge and skills transfer), while simultaneously ensuring that MCCF has a consistent supply of eggs and meat for the school lunch program. Each CFP household that wishes to participate in this system will likely own 50 to 100 laying hens; the farm itself will have roughly 500 layers, so that the whole production system will consist of approximately 3,000 hens producing eggs. (This is an estimate 9 of the initial production capacity and will be increased through time.) Broilers will also be produced as part of the decentralized poultry system, both on-farm and in CFP households.
A small-scale dairy will be developed and incorporated into the farming system because of the important outputs that are produced. Most importantly, the dairy will provide milk for the school lunch program; any surplus will be marketed to help pay for expenditures of items that cannot be produced on the farm. The dairy will also offer employment and important skills-training for local people and will serve as a pilot for demonstrating an agricultural-based, value-added operation that can be replicated in other areas of southern Rwanda. Eventually, with assistance from our donors, RSSVP will help to establish and fund new dairy operations that can be set up with the intention of local communities owning and operating them as a corporation.
The MCCF dairy operation will consist of 25 to 30 cows housed in an open-air barn approximately 5,000 square feet in area. The cows will be stall-fed with a diet of farm-grown alfalfa, other forage, and a commercial concentrated feed that contains important proteins and minerals. Approximately 2 hectares will be dedicated to the production of irrigated alfalfa; the exact figure will depend on the amount of biomass produced from agroforestry crops and the necessity of using them for soil amendments. Manure from the cows will be an important factor in the rehabilitation and periodic amendments to the soil and will help to determine how much agroforestry biomass will be used as fodder.
Once the dairy is operational at a sustainable level (in terms of herd size), subsequent offspring produced will be a natural byproduct of the process of keeping lactating cows. As such, this may offer an opportunity to further develop the creative capitalism concept through the establishment of a local productive cooperative. Like the arrangement described for poultry production, calves can be given to CFPs as productive capital that will: (1) provide household income via the cooperative, (2) provide manure for their fields, and (3) help supply milk and meat to the school lunch program. The advantage of such a system is that participating CFP households would have access to the farm’s milking equipment and storage facilities and would hold shares in this local milk cooperative.
Labor and training
Local inhabitants of the surrounding area will be employed to work the land, raise the livestock, grow/harvest the crops, and build many of the structures that will be needed. It is intended that a living wage be guaranteed to these people; we especially plan to hire landless individuals and those with little or no skills. Besides monetary wages, RSSVP will provide other benefits to them such as hands-on training, access to health care, and access to micro-credit to establish productive enterprises in their own households.
The on-farm employment and agricultural extension training for local farmers and other interested people are integral to MCCF. As described previously, specific focus on livestock management and agroforestry concepts and practices that are used to improve soil productivity (through natural fertility amendments and erosion control) will underpin the training and knowledge transfer. Specialists in agronomy and agricultural development from the South Sudan Agricultural Research Institute, and South Sudan ministry of agriculture and food security will provide training support for MCCF and local farmers; a corps of local farmers can then train others over time to spread new information and new skills. At the request of the local authorities, RSSVP will also provide support for the training program that currently serves the local community. We will increase the curriculum by adding new programs – especially those related to agriculture. For example, there is a great need to improve production, processing, and marketing of value-added agricultural products and other small-scale goods and services.
Paid compensation for labor activities and the development of CFPs will help ensure livelihoods in local households, but the actual contribution towards the provision of lunches for their own children’s school will also reinforce a sense of ownership that RSSVP hopes to cultivate amongst the local population. In this vein, RSSVP also plans to train some of the mothers of the school children with the assistance of the World Food Programme (WFP) and The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). We will recruit local mothers to become cooks for the school lunch program, which will defray some operational costs and in turn help the economic sustainability of the project. More importantly, however, it will foster a greater sense of community – and such commitment is what will make our project successful and sustainable in the long run.
This component of the school lunch program will complement MCCF in three very important ways. First, a school garden will represent the initial manifestation of the community farm project for all school communities not located near MCCF. As such, it provides RSSVP the opportunity to become acquainted with the surrounding community and to form relationships with local families – many of whom will later become CFPs. Second, a school garden allows each school to contribute food to its own lunch program; this will help augment the supply of food provided by newly enrolled CFPs and a local RSSVP community farm (to be established in the future). Also, having students, their parents, and other local inhabitants help prepare, sow, and maintain the school garden will foster a sense of ownership in the school lunch program. Third, school gardens will serve as local “classrooms” within which RSSVP extension workers are able to demonstrate appropriate technologies (e.g., agroforestry, micro-irrigation) and various levels of agricultural training. This function will be especially important for those households that are not located near MCCF or a future RSSVP community farm.
Estimated Sequence of Planned Activities
- Establish CFP relationships and finalize land purchase/lease contracts.
- Collect data and soil samples; begin advanced operational planning.
- Begin to implement the school garden program.
- Initiate erosion control efforts such as terracing, hedge intercropping, etc.
- Purchase necessary equipment and fertilizers; apply initial soil fertility amendments.
- Sow crops and plant trees; initiate establishment of irrigation systems.
- Begin construction of dairy barn and poultry barn, CFP chicken coops.
- Begin poultry and small animal production.
- Purchase dairy cows and equipment; begin milk production.
- Begin implementation of school lunch program.
- Develop formal agricultural training programs
- Expand scale of farm by increasing CFP membership.
- Expand school garden program to two additional sectors.
Estimated Project Budget
Capital expenditures (fixed costs)
Coops for 25 CFP households
Kitchen construction & cooking equip
Supplies for school gardens
Recurrent expenditures (variable costs)
Farm staff salaries
Seed and specialty feeds
Total Estimated Expenditures
The table presented above itemizes a list of expenses that RSSVP estimates will be incurred during the initial development and implementation of MCCF. As such, this estimated budget will serve as the financial framework within which MCCF will operate in the first two years of the project. Efforts have been made to accurately assess the cost of all items listed; however, the overall budget itself is approximate in the sense that is impossible to: (1) account for all possible items potentially required; (2) know with exactitude the cost of items likely to be purchased in future time periods; and (3) plan for all contingencies likely to occur. Nevertheless, RSSVP is committed to maintaining a cost-efficient operation and will strive to obtain the best prices for materials and services. The budget will be continuously revised as new information is acquired.
Expected Outcomes / Measurement
The outcomes anticipated by RSSVP depend upon the timeframe and spatial scale being considered. Short term and locally: (1) in the first year following project approval, we will have established a school garden at every primary school in the Majok-Chedhiop primary, and Yirol of Nyang County; (2) within two years, MCCF will be feeding a full, nutritious lunch to 2,000 children each day of the school year in the schools of the Nyang County. With the passing of an additional year, this figure will increase to 2,000 children as the project grows (i.e., more land is acquired and productivity increases). As supporting the school lunch program is the principal objective of the community farm, achieving these benchmark targets will constitute the initial success of the program.
Nevertheless, RSSVP will also measure progress by tracking the number of local farmers that: (1) contribute to the project as supply partners; (2) benefit from on-farm skills training and/or employment; and (3) receive small loans to start or expand a small enterprise. We anticipate having approximately 25 farm families as the initial corps of CFPs with which we will work; the expansion of these ranks will be supported and monitored in due course. Employing additional measurement criteria will be considered, and might include quantification of agricultural output and related aspects of CFPs such as: poultry output per household, crops productivity increase, agroforestry adoption rate, etc.
Mid-term expected outcome: within approximately five years, RSSVP will have also developed a community farm in each of the Majok-Chedhiop and Nyang County to support school lunch programs there. During this period, we also plan to expand dairy capacity and develop additional dairy related production (e.g., cheese), as well as develop a formal agricultural extension program. In addition, given sufficient community interest and donor funding, RSSVP intends to place a community farm in each of the other 4 villages of the Nyang County within approximately 10 years. Accomplishing this goal means that our school lunch program will ultimately be feeding a nutritious school lunch to approximately 10,000 children each day of the school year.
At a larger spatial and temporal scale, success of this project will be defined by the replication of our project to districts surrounding the Nyang County, and eventually to all villages of South Sudan. RSSVP could conceivably branch out into other countries over time, as well. Achieving the initial target represented by the 2,000 school children of the Nyang County will demonstrate the validity of our concept, allowing us to raise funds from additional donors in order to facilitate our desired plan for widespread replication.