New market rakes in more profit for women in South Sudan

bananas in vegetable and fruit market
Women’s groups in South Sudan sell vegetables and fruits to an average of about 100 buyers a day. © UNDP/Jenn Warren

Grace Poni, a 42 year-old mother of 10, no longer has to shell out precious cash to transport her farm produce to market.

These days, she and 100 other women sell their goods directly at a newly constructed market right in their hometown of Nyai-Wudabi in South Sudan's Central Equatoria State.


  • The project has saved market sellers up to three hours of travel time as well as reduced loss of perishable goods.
  • As many as 25 sellers are accomodated on a first come-first serve basis.
  • Women like Grace have generated greater income with savings earned from transportation and post-harvest losses.
  • Assorted vegetable seeds, fruit seedlings and agricultural tools and equipment were provided to communities to increase their agricultural productivity and household income levels.

Nyai-Wudabi's covered market was built with a small grant from a fund aimed at linking the new country's recovery from more than 20 years of conflict to its long-term development goals.

Sudan Peace and Education Development Programme was one of 69 national non-government and community-based organizations to receive grants under the Sudan Recovery Fund.

Built along the main road, the new market, completed in December 2010, saves sellers up to three hours of travel time, reducing loss of perishable goods and high transportation expenses.

The market now attracts about 100 buyers each day. Sellers, who set up their stalls in 25 lots, first come first serve, every Thursday and Friday, have quadrupled their income as a result.

"I used to earn about US$15 per month from selling vegetables," said Poni. "Now, I bring home US$3-4 per day."

The initiative, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), also provided seeds, farming tools and training to communities elsewhere in Morobo county and Central Equatoria.

The funding source for the small grants is led by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, administered by UNDP South Sudan and supported by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.