By Denis Ejulu
The European Union has invested €4.8 million (USD 5.7m) to create jobs and develop trade in the fruit and vegetable subsector in South Sudan, with a special focus on youth and women.
These funds under the South Sudan Jobs Creation and Trade Development Project launched by the EU, government of South Sudan and the International Trade Centre aims to increase the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
“It will improve, over the next 4 years, productive capacities and compliance to standards for MSMEs, increase market linkages for MSMEs and enhance entrepreneurship capacity while addressing value addition, job creation and trade development challenges in the country,” said a statement issued by the EU in Juba on Thursday.
The event also marked the validation of the Food Quality as well as the Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) Infrastructure assessment and the review of the National Quality Policy for South Sudan conducted under the project in collaboration with the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards.
Agak Achuil Lual, First Undersecretary for Trade and Industry disclosed that the project is one among many other important projects that benefited from EU funding in the country and the Ministry will do all that is possible within its jurisdiction to ensure a successful implementation of project.
Christian Bader, Ambassador of the European Delegation to South Sudan said that the EU is glad to launch this very timely initiative.
“Investment in modern agriculture could contribute significantly to poverty alleviation and food security, and boost income and jobs generation in a moment where once again the people of South Sudan are facing a possible famine crisis,” said Bader.
The ITC Director of Country Programmes, Ashish Shah said that ITC is honoured to provide technical support to the government and private sector where the need for economic and trade development is felt the most.
He revealed that ITC will deliver the needed support to enable MSMEs develop their operational capacities and business performance, to provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth and women as well as improve capacities of business development services.
Mary Gordon Muortat, Executive Director of South Sudan National Bureau of Standards hailed the project as it provides an opportunity to improve the quality and food safety compliance capacities both at the level of institutions and operators along the fruits and vegetables value chains.
“It will train advisers on quality and food Safety and assist MSMEs in the fruits and vegetables value chains for compliance with market relevant standards,” said Muortat.
The four year project is funded by the European Union under the EU Trust Fund for Africa. It is implemented by the International Trade Centre, a joint technical agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Republic of South Sudan is the primary coordinating focal point institution for the project, mobilizing relevant stakeholders across the country.