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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid