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Cassava in Yei: NGO works to feed locals and ward off shortages

O. Hannington
Although an estimated half of South Sudanese face grave food insecurity, a few still access plenty.
20.08.2014  |  Yei
Cassava drying out in the sun, Yei, January 25, 2006.
Cassava drying out in the sun, Yei, January 25, 2006.

Seida Cecilia who lives in Yei New Site area is among the lucky ones. I am glad I live near the source of food,” she says, holding her purchase of raw cassava and adding that she buys cassava every day and will dry out some in the sun to store it for the future.

I am glad I live near the source of food.”
Seida Cecilia
She and many from the nearby villages buy raw cassava from the Yei Agriculture Training Centre, which is run by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). The centre offers food from its fields at what it calls give away prices”.

Assistant Field Supervisor, Ropani Betty, says they aim to enable locals to source enough food for their families. Our price makes it affordable to most of the people,” she says.

Our price makes it affordable to most of the people.”
Ropani Betty
During a telephone interview, Ropani says the centre sets prices cheaply to encourage customers to buy as much cassava as possible — to make space for the next crop. The centre plans to plant more crops this season while the rains are ongoing.

Customers pick the cassava right from the field, while the centre’s Field Supervisor watches to ensure everyone gets their proper measures in accordance to their pay.

On average Ropani receives fifteen customers on a daily basis. The customers buy the cassava, spending as little as 2 SSP, still getting enough cassava to feed a family of ten adults for about two days or six meals.

It is about seven times cheaper than the current market price.”
Richard
Richard, a customer, says he bought cassava worth 10 SSP for his family. It weighs about 65 kilograms,” he explains, adding that he wishes however that the centre had a variety of food for sale rather than just cassava. It is really cheap. It is about seven times cheaper than the current market price.”
 
With an influx of internally displaced persons as well as impassable roads caused by heavy rains in Yei County, the region has seen soaring prices of foodstuffs at the market.