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Aululic, South Sudan: Farmers Face Significant Challenges Due to Climate Change

For five years, farmers in Aululic, South Sudan, have seen their sorghum crops decay due to flooding. However, as the 2023 harvest approaches, they are expecting a plentiful rice harvest.

Rice is not traditionally grown in this part of South Sudan, but climate change is causing significant changes in the country. The World Bank reports that traditional crops are becoming unviable, invasive plants and pests are increasing, and extreme weather events are more common worldwide.

In 2022, the farmers in Aululic switched to rice after facing continuous destruction of their sorghum crops due to flooding. They harvested 150 bags of rice, 15 of which were sold for profit. They are now anticipating an even larger harvest of rice this year.

Aluel Tong Mawein, part of an agricultural project by ForAfrika, expressed her hope for more people to engage in agriculture in South Sudan. Although the switch to rice has been beneficial, it required a substantial cash outlay and extra work from the farmers. They utilized a cash-for-assets program to fund the purchase of seeds and had to convert their fields into paddies.

Now, scientists are predicting an El Niño effect in the second half of 2023, which is expected to worsen global warming and lead to severe changes in weather patterns. This new variability in weather patterns presents challenges for farmers, particularly for those with limited access to climate information and adaptation resources.

The Council for Foreign Relations confirms that the Horn of Africa is facing rapid warming, leading to increased socio-political insecurity due to various factors. ForAfrika is working to mitigate the effects of climate change by teaching farmers climate-smart farming practices and adaptive strategies.

With climate change worsening, ForAfrika emphasizes the importance of preparing and collaborating at a community level in the face of climate-related risks, especially as weather events can disrupt training programs and lead to new challenges for farmers.

As climate change continues to bring new challenges, the focus is on strengthening communities so they can better cope with the stresses it brings. After the 2023 rice harvest, the farmers in Aululic will have to use the information they have to decide on future planting strategies based on changing climate conditions.

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