Understanding socio-economic challenges facing smallholder farmers in Gondokoro, Central Equatoria State (South Sudan)
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Smallholder farmers in Gondokoro of Central Equatoria state (now Jubek state) have failed to increase food production due to socio-economic challenges. This study was designed to identify critical factors that hinder smallholder’s ability to become food sufficient and the means they used to cope with these challenges. A sample of 60 smallholder farmers were purposively (convenient) selected to participate in the study. In addition, 8 focus group discussions/interviews were conducted. Semi-structured questions were used to obtain data from the participants. The socio-economic constraints the study revealed include: crop diseases, lack of tools, seeds supply, land constraints, household labour shortage, marketing challenges affecting women, credits, infrastructure problems (poor roads), extension services, challenges associated with livestock and fisheries, absence of smallholder’s association, community obligations and lack of proper medical facility. And the Smallholders’ means to cope with the challenges are irrigation and off-farm activities such as charcoal burning, making canoes and mats, and selling tea by women. The study recommends that there is a high need for both national and state governments, development agencies and NGO’s working in the field of agriculture to support smallholder farmers in Gondokoro. Addressing these constraints will enable them to produce food for household consumptions and markets around Juba town. This will in turn reduce dependency on food aid and food imports from neighbouring countries.