A Growing Year in South Sudan
Have you ever wondered what the growing year is like in countries other than your own? In a country like the South Sudan for instance, the growing cycle can be very different than those in northern climes. This greatly affects how the local people plant, and how we as donors and project managers can help them to succeed in creating long-term agricultural self-sustainability.
Most of Canada enjoys about one crop growing season or harvest each calendar year before facing a harsh winter lasting several months. Meanwhile, South Sudan is blessed with a climate affording diligent local farmers three harvests during a successful calendar year. October, November, December marks the rainy season, followed by the hot, dry season over January, February and March. The prime growing season then, falls between April to September.
From March to November there is adequate rainfall to nourish three consecutive growth-cycles. In some areas, the dry months (January to March) are offset with the implementation of an irrigation system. In the South Sudan project where HPI works however, we are fortunate to have a river flowing year-round through our 250 acre plot.
Understandably, these 3 harvest cycles will allow for a lot of produce to feed not only the local farmers and their communities but also, to be sold to, or shared with other communities. Additionally, farming techniques themselves become a commodity to be shared with adjacent communities. This wealth-sharing of food, materials and ideas benefits not merely one community but many in the long-term and helps move entire regions towards self-sustainability.
So, Why Was This Not Done Previously?
The $64million question as they say, is why was this not done previously? South Sudan—like many third world nations—suffers from a lack of knowledge. Despite, fantastic growing seasons, willing workers and a heartbreaking urgent need for food and jobs, basic farming practices are not commonplace and even common tools are not available. This is where organizations like HPI come in.
Land Clearing Initiatives
The people of the area have granted HPI Int’l exclusive use of the 250 acres for the purpose of advancing their current agricultural practices. The goal is to introduce new farming methods and grow new plants which will advance their productivity and increase their yield so they have enough to feed themselves. Their surplus can then be shared with their neighbors or sold to generate revenue so they may purchase what they cannot grow.
40 acres have been cleared by locals who are diligently farming the land for fruit crops. The remaining 200 acres will be cleared in various phases at an approximate cost of $60 USD per acre. Given their full 12 month growing season, the best time to clear land in South Sudan is during the dry seasons running from January to March. All existing vegetation such as trees, grass and more all dry out and are easily cleared with controlled burns. The resulting nitrogen further enriches the already fertile soil.
Clearing Phases 1-3 (Years: 2021 to 2023)
The first phase of clearing will occur during the dry months of the 2021 calendar year. This will result in 50 new acres becoming available for first planting during the rest of 2021. The second phase of clearing will occur during the dry months of the 2022 calendar year and avail 50 additional acres for first planting during the remaining months of 2022. By Phase 3 in 2023 the remaining acres controlled by Humanity’s Promise Int’l will finally be cleared for first planting.
How can you help?
For just $60 USD you can help the people in this region of South Sudan clear an acre of land and start the crowing cycle.