Project rationale: the project entitled “Supporting the Small-scale Traditional Rainfed Producers in Sinnar State (SUSTAIN)” responds to the alarming levels of land degradation as this factor poses the biggest threat to smallholders’ livelihoods and social peace. It responds by introducing environment friendly and productivity enhancing technical packages and mobilizing concerted efforts to formulate a regulatory framework for the development of both smallholder and large-scale farming in a way that conserves the environment. Sinnar State offers a number of enabling measures for the successful implementation of the project: (i) a strategic development plan that allocated more than 90% of the budget to sustainable development and poverty alleviation and where conservation agriculture is the main technology promoted for the rainfed sector; (ii) complementarity with the investments of Government (through the State and the Agriculture Revival Programme) and other donor funded initiatives; (iii) a clear intent in promulgating appropriate legislation with more than 10 bills under preparation for natural resources management.
the project area covers three of the seven localities constituting the State of Sinnar namely Dinder, Abu Hujar and Dali & Mazmoum. The total population is about 390,000 persons (30% of the total population of the State of Sinnar) or approximately 64,600 households distributed over 227 villages. About 70% of the population is rural. Based on secondary sources and mission estimates, 76% of the population in the project area can be classified as poor to very poor.
Project beneficiaries: the project will cover 100 villages distributed over the three localities of Dinder (60 villages), Abu Hujar (10 villages located in rainfed zone) and Dali & Mazmoum (30 villages). The project will target principally 3 groups with the following socio-economic profile: (i) smallholders who cultivate less than 9 fed and own about 5 small ruminants or less and are thus not able to meet basic food and non food requirements; (ii) settled pastoralists in registered villages in the three localities who cultivate a smaller area but raise a larger number of animals and who are constrained in their access to water and fodder ; (iii) destitute women who were displaced ten years ago by the civil strife in the South Sudan and relocated to the Mazmoum area and currently living on welfare assistance. The project is expected to benefit 20,000 households including 19,000 smallholder households, 800 households who are settled pastoralists and 200 households who are returnee women-headed households.
Poverty targeting and gender mainstreaming: The poverty targeting strategy of the project relies on the following sequential approach: (i) survey of all villages in the project area and their ranking against a set of poverty related criteria; (ii) selection of the 100 poorer villages by the locality coordination committees; (iii) mapping of household poverty in the selected villages using the wealth ranking tool; and (iv) monitoring the profile of beneficiaries for its alignment with the target group description. This process will involve in-depth discussions with the community members and their traditional authorities within the selected villages. The 100 villages where the project will intervene will be phased over a 5 year period from 2012 to 2016.
The project’s gender mainstreaming strategy aims to enable women to access extension services as well as participate in relevant training, demonstration and scaling up activities. The gender mainstreaming strategy rests on tailoring technical packages to women’s needs, introducing post harvest management techniques that support income diversification, alleviating women’s workload whether in weeding through the use of cultivators or in fuelwood collection through the use of gas stoves, establishment of a quota system of 50% for technology transfer activities, gender training for all stakeholders involved in the project and finally an accountability framework for gender mainstreaming reflected in the terms of reference of the project staff and in the sex-disaggregated M&E system.
Project goal and objective: the project goal is to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, and incomes of about 20,000 households in the project area. Its objective is to increase productivity of staple and cash crops as well as small ruminants for approximately 20,000 households. Its outputs are to: (i) demonstrate improved technological packages for livestock and crop production; (ii) build the capacity of agro-pastoralists to adopt project–supported, improved technologies; (iii) implement appropriate measures to improve the quality and outreach of the extension services; (iv) facilitate market access in the rainy season and diversify production in the dry season; (vii) put in place appropriate incentives enabling producers to finance the scaling-up and replication of successful technological packages; (viii) remove the barriers impeding the private machinery operators from providing timely services to smallholders, and (ix) put in place the necessary measures for effective project management and implementation.
Project components and activities: the project has three main components described as follows.
Technology transfer, which addresses productivity constraints for crops and livestock; its main expected outcome is that at least 60% of the participating households adopt minimum tillage, soil and water conservation and livestock nutrition packages. This component has three main activities (i) demonstration of minimum tillage, soil and water conservation and animal nutrition package; (ii) scaling up of the successful packages and (iii) collaborating with the Agriculture Research Corporation on applied research for adapting zero tillage techniques to agro-ecological and livelihood contexts in the project area, production of quality drought resistant seeds and capacity building of the extension agents drawn from the pool of staff of the State Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Wealth and Irrigation in Sinnar State.
Market access and post-harvest management which tackle issues related to physical market accessibility and post-harvest handling techniques; its expected outcome is that at least 80% of the participating households’ access to markets is improved. This component has three main activities: (i) construction of 35 multipurpose crossings (ii) improvement of traditional grain storage facilities and (iii) introduction of solar drying techniques of vegetables and fruits and improvement of local oil seed presses.
Capacity building and institutions strengthening will support the establishment of appropriate arrangements for building the capacity of producers to adopt environment-friendly production techniques, promulgation of laws favouring sustainable use of land and water resources, and the establishment of an efficient project management set-up. The main expected outcome of this component is that the social cohesion of the participating communities is improved. The main activities under this component include: (i) animation, mobilization and formation of village development committees and common interest groups; (ii) establishment of a Community Environment Conservation Fund; (iii) development of an enabling environment for sustainable management of land and water; and (iv) establishment and operation of a management office and deployment of 5 extension teams at rural administrative unit (RAU) level.