News / Africa

New Nation of Southern Sudan Seeks to Develop Agriculture

Henry Ladu plants crops on land he farms south of Juba in southern Sudan.
Henry Ladu plants crops on land he farms south of Juba in southern Sudan.

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +

During more than two decades of war, the people of southern Sudan relied heavily on food aid brought in by foreign aid agencies.  Following the signing of the north-south peace agreement, and on the eve of South Sudan’s independence, the focus is now shifting from providing emergency food relief to developing long-term agricultural policies.  Initiatives such as the Southern Sudan Food Security Technical Secretariat, chaired by President Salva Kiir, are coming up with policies that aim to make food insecurity a thing of the past.  

Henry Ladu is planting sorghum on land he farms about two hours south of the capital, Juba.

He says he expects to harvest three times the amount he did two years ago, using seeds from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization.


For him and other farmers in South Sudan, it's a new day. “People are ready to farm. They are digging very seriously so that they cannot wait for food brought by the government. They are ready to cultivate," he said.

People here have long needed emergency food aid to survive.

Civil war plagued Sudan for two decades, before a peace agreement in 2005 ended the fighting between north and south. Then a referendum earlier this year brought southern independence.  South Sudan becomes the world’s newest country July 9.

And agricultural is the new government's top priority.

Michelle Iseminger is with the World Food Program. “They are trying to support the WFP in doing an established food strategic grain reserve.  So in times of crisis or high food prices, the government then could release food out into the market and/or as free distribution," she said.

The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the government are monitoring food production, rainfall and other trends.

Government officials say only four per cent of SouthSudan is farmed, yielding around 700,000 metric tons of cereals a year.

Undersecretary of Agriculture Beda Machar Deng wants to change that. “The Ministry of Agriculture is aiming by year 2011, the food production will be at least 1.2 million metric tons, that could be able to feed the farming population that we have," he said.

Deng says his ministry is encouraging farmers to move beyond subsistence farming. “The farmer is going to be advised, to increase the farm size.  By increasing the farm size, he is going to be advised to use the improved seeds.  He is going to be advised also to use the hand tools," he said.

But South Sudan's limited number of all-weather roads presents a problem. The FAO's chief technical advisor Ali Said said, “I think building roads has been a major challenge in South Sudan, and that requires massive investment.  This is where I think the international community, bilateral and multi-lateral donors, can really help in connecting surplus-producing areas with deficit-producing areas."

Cattle rustling and banditry also are problems.

As are the remnants of war, said Undersecretary Deng. “Even up to now, the mines are taking tractors, up to now the mines are taking people, up to now the mines are also blowing up cattle in the farms. The mines are still there, so the population is still fearing," he said.

But, Deng says he still thinks that with the right planning and support South Sudan can be become Africa's breadbasket.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid