Sourcing food in South Sudan

South Sudan remains one of the most food-insecure countries in the world with years of conflict, instability, mismanagement, and climate-related issues severely limiting the country’s food productivity.

Back to all stories | Posted on 10/27/21 in News

In 2019, Mary’s Meals Founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, visited the country and saw for himself what a difference Mary’s Meals was making - helping to ensure that over 40,000 children had access to an education by providing them with a nutritional meal each day at school.

When Mary’s Meals started feeding in South Sudan, all the food was sourced from across the border in Uganda. However, Mary’s Meals has always recognized the economic, environmental, and social impact of purchasing food from within the countries where we work. With this in mind, and working closely with trusted, local suppliers in South Sudan, we started to source locally grown produce.

Our suppliers are committed to working with farmers to help revitalize local food production, offering equipment and training and ensuring a fair and consistent market for their crops. This approach has helped to reduce food insecurity, improved job opportunities, and stimulated the local economy.

Husband and wife team, Natele and Levia are two such farmers. Both in their fifties, they live in a small village called Nagbaka in the southern part of South Sudan and have supplied maize for Mary’s Meals since 2019.

“There are a lot of challenges in farming. It is not easy. The cost of farming here is very high, but we persist. We sometimes have problems with the rain and also weevils. But we always get the market price for the maize, and our arrangement [with Mary’s Meals] is very fine.

“It helps us solve most of our problems, especially sending my children to school. For health too, when we need to buy medicines. Also, when we need other things – just the basic needs for the survival of the family. It helps us a lot."

“In the future, we would like to extend our plot and build a house.”

Henry Rays Legonda, CEO of PG3 Logistics, Mary’s Meals’ supplier in South Sudan explains.

“If there is a chance that farmers are motivated, we can get food here and Mary’s Meals can buy that food locally. We can support our local farmers and we can raise and fight food insecurity, building confidence in the people.”

Previously, PG3 Logistics helped train ex-soldiers to become farmers, not only helping boost local food production but also building peace. So far, they have trained 30 to become farmers.

“We happened to enter a village where we found former soldiers. Former soldiers who were out fighting, turned to be farmers” Henry said.

“And I got excited, and I asked them – what are the challenges, what is it they need help with? They told us that what they need are seeds and tools to help them farm."