The KEDA (Koyle East Development Association) Peanut Paste capacity-building project has proved an immense success for the group. During this current COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been impacted adversely but due to planning ahead, the KEDA group managed to increase their production as they settled the issue of machinery through the USADF Grant and began stocking the raw materials of their groundnuts (peanuts) from November by paying attention to the global news after hearing the report of the first COVID-19 cases and decided to prepare themselves in case of a global and national crisis. They accomplished this by going to the production site once a week, the cleaning of the groundnuts; The four stages for their groundnut production being; shelling/roasting of the nuts where the groundnuts, the next stage is peeling the outer layers of the groundnuts. Then cleaning is done after they have been removed from the peeling machine then they kept in the grinding machine where the G-nuts are ground into small peanuts and then they are kept into the containers ready to be taken the producers who use their machinery to turn the raw nut into peanut butter, which was tested and was proven to be good quality ready for consumption. They process their peanut butter by putting it in the filling machine depending on the grams after they produced the peanut butter. They locally commercialized the peanut, as the locals supply them with the groundnuts. They get the supply to see if it is clean, take it to the roaster, peel it, clean it again and grind it and put them in commercial packaging containers called “SHUSU-SHUSU Peanut Butter “approved by the South Sudan Standard Bureau which they supply their peanut butter to the vendors and so far, they have six vendors (supermarkets where they supply the 500gs and 250gs) to multiple commercial vendors in Juba; Juba Mall, Jamal Shop, Nasama Supermarket, Elenna Supermarket, Sabriem Supermarket, Super Market Tonj, and Mine-Supermarket where their products are competing with imported goods to the market and NGO’s.
Though the group is doing well, the issue with the pandemic is the prices of their peanut butter keep’s fluctuating as the economy is unstable, however, due to their planning ahead they are generating more sales because most peanut paste producers in Juba have been affected by the pandemic and therefore their production is low compared to KEDA, giving the group an advantage in the market.
Their future plans for expansion is to educate the local people to produce more and provide more farmers with seeds to expand their raw material supplier base whilst benefiting multiple farmers who will give back in the form of the volume of grams. They are looking forward to producing groundnuts oil and sesame. The group of suppliers agreed to supply them with the groundnuts in three months as they are ready for supply.
The USADF C.A.R.E.S Emergency Fund given to the group during the current COVID-19 -19, 75% is going to be used to upscale their groundnuts production and improve some operation inputs. The group also plans on giving the local public COVID-19 awareness by running a campaign on safe practices and providing safety gear such as masks to the farmers and soaps. Their advice to farmers (G-nuts farmers) is locally producing the groundnuts for the country’s consumption to reduce the country’s dependency on importing products that can be locally produced.
“We would like to thank our granters USADF and FYI for supporting us during the Covid-19 and that it will come to an end for farmers to continue producing their products in South Sudan. We would on our side do our best in the production of the G-nuts into peanut butter and let us keep on doing what we can to help the country’s agricultural and private sector improve” – John Faustino, Business Manager