Rural Development and Environmental Degradation: A Case Study of Swedish Free Mission (SFM) Household Food Security Activities in Terekeka , Southern Sudan

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Peter, Daniel Kisembo
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University of Khartoum
The aim of the research was to investigate Swedish Free Mission, a nongovernmental organization that in response to famine and displacement of the people affected by war in the area, it initiated a multi-sectoral approach for development. The major component of the project deals with self-sufficiency in food production. This requires the participation of the local people and their inherent local knowledge for a sound environmental use of their resources. The initiative arose interest in farming activities that auger well with the objective to close the food gap. But this was not without negative effects on the environment as large tracts of land have become cleared of forest. Without initial environmental impact assessment, measures required to safe-guard against such effects were not enshrined. With the sense of ownership introduced by the agency through the village development committees, the citizen participation in the areas of co-operatives and health centres was good as shown by their financial contributions and labour. But there remain more to be done in order to empower the VDCs structures educationally for proper financial and administrative organization. The farmers depend much on their traditional ways of farming, like use of local seeds thus the Groundnut seeds suffer from disease infestation. As such, certified seeds are recommended beside the introduced offseason Sorghum. Environmental degradation like land degradation was indicated by disappearance of forest, decline and failure of crop yield and loss of soil fertility through erosion and nutrient depletion. Proper crop rotation and diversification of crop types should be encouraged. With animal wealth being common, establishment of live hedge in homesteads and crop fields to serve the purpose of shelterbelts is advised. To sustain the vegetation of the area, the government and the NGOs in the area should design policies for establishing community forests, SFM have the potentials for the lead way. SFM objectives on providing clean water and on education should equally be implemented.
84 Pages
Swedish Free Mission; Household; Food; Security; Southern Sudan