EU injects $41m for feeder roads

EU injects $41m for feeder roads

The European Union has injected $41 million for the construction of feeder roads to support agricultural activities in rural areas of Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal states. The project will spread to other parts of Upper Nile State.

The resilience support to remote rural communities’ project will be implemented by the World Food Programme [WFP] and United Nation Office for Project Services [UNOPS] where the WFP received a contribution of $26 million for empowering over 100,000 communities to produce their food.

The United Nations Office for Project Service [UNOPS] received $15.4 million to construct 115 kilometers of feeder roads and two bridges.

The United Nations World Food Program Country Representative, Mathew Hollingsworth, said the contribution will tackle food insecurity and boost economic development in the areas.

“We are trying to save and change the lives of the communities in the rural areas and their environment for a successful future. We continue to support the project,” said Hollingsworth during the launching of the grant yesterday in Juba.

 “We wanted to change the peasant farmers into commercial farmers through supporting the farmers in road construction to improve not only economic development but peace,” he added.

On his part, the United Nations Office for Project Services Head of Support Services, Norah Tindimuzara, said they have been implementing the projects in the same area from 2005 to 2014 with the help of the EU, adding the project had improved the lives of the communities.

She said the 171-kilometer road and the four markets constructed earlier in the areas have improved accessibility and income generation among the communities.

“Improved feeder roads have improved good food system and also contributed to the quality schools and health care’s systems in those areas,” Tindimuzara said.

The Undersecretary for the Ministry of Roads and Bridges, Eng. Peter Kuot Jel said the government had planned to first finish the construction of major roads before going to rural roads to link the farmers and the people in the urban towns.

“Currently we are behind the partners to support them in the implementation of the rural roads construction so that our communities access better roads,” he said.

Acting Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation of the European Union to South Sudan, Wim Vandenbroucke, said the union was excited with the project because it would improve the lives of the people.

“Road is not only about access to market places but access to school and health cares. The European Union aims at influencing poverty we need to work with the government for development,” said Vandenbroucke.

“The government needs to set the policy to move forward infrastructure development because South Sudan is behind in terms of infrastructure development,” he added.

Last week, the European Union had also donated $13.8 million to the WFP South Sudan to mitigate the hunger crisis that could be facing over three million people.

The WFP had received an additional contribution of €11.6 million from the EU to provide emergency food assistance to 3.9 million people at risk of famine in South Sudan this year 2021.

Matthew Hollingsworth, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan, empathized with the families that had been displaced due to tensions and the ongoing flooding that continues to create a crisis.

He said families trying to survive in remote areas are already experiencing catastrophic hunger in South Sudan, with pockets of the population facing famine-like conditions and insecurity in the country is now at its highest-ever levels.

“The funds from the European Union have helped us ensure that no one is left behind.”

Olivier Beucher, Head of the EU Humanitarian Aid Office in Juba last week said communities in South Sudan were facing a critical food shortage.

He pledged the EU commitment to continuing to support its partners like the WFP to provide life-saving food assistance to the most vulnerable people suffering affected by conflict, major flooding, and COVID-19.

The donation signals an increase in the total amount the EU allocated to the WFP from $8.8 million to $21.8 million.

The European Union is a long-standing partner of WFP in South Sudan, supporting both its emergency and development work. The EU, through humanitarian and development funding, has contributed €107 million to WFP’s operations in the country since 2017.