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

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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs