South Sudan launches ambitious agriculture reform agenda
Under the plans, the government would embark on initiatives seeking to support research, access to financing, infrastructure development, review of land policies and enhancing public-private sector partnership, Onyoti Adigo, Agriculture and Food Security Minister said on Thursday during a three-day conference in Juba.
He added that the government would support the formation of farmers unions, revive cooperatives across the country and also roll out nationwide farmer-education initiative in a bid to improve their knowledge on commercial farming and modern food process techniques to reduce post-harvest wastage.
"Key to achieving agriculture transformation in the country is raising productively level in the farms, driving the revolution in productivity, mechanization and improving farm management techniques based on research and adaption of hybrid varieties of maize and rice," Adigo said.
According to Adigo, agriculture constitutes 80 percent of people's livelihoods in South Sudan, and it also contributes 36 percent of South Sudan's non-oil gross domestic production, but this has been hampered by conflict, inadequate research facilities, and poor infrastructure among others.
The UN and other aid agencies have warned that at least 1.5 million South Sudanese could face famine as the East African nation enters what has been described as the worst lean season in history between January and March.
Adigo said that to achieve the set targets, South Sudan will have to double its efforts to bring peace and stability in the country to enable farmers to return to their home and revive agriculture.
"There is great opportunity for us to change the narrative for us from being a hunger prone country to ending hunger in our country. What is required is sustained partnership and strong political commitment to leverage agriculture production," the official said. ■