3rd October 2023
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Govt, UN partners launch Aweil Rice Scheme research center

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Minister of Agriculture Josephine Lagu (front/right) and UN officials cut ribbons to launch Aweil Rice Scheme Research Center. July 31st, 2023. (Courtesy).

South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and the UN’s food agencies on Monday inspected Aweil Rice Scheme in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State and inaugurated a research center for the project.

The scheme was revived on a minimum capacity in August 2022 with support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Bank.

On Monday, visiting heads of the World Food Program, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, were in Aweil to assess progress made since the revival of the rice plantation.

The project activities include the installation of irrigation machinery, dykes, construction of a 25-lillometers road, establishment a research station, and trial of variety of improved seeds, among others.

Speaking at the scheme, the Minister of Agriculture Josephine Lagu, said the project is to ensure that the country produces enough food to feed the population.

Ms. Lagu stressed that the county cannot continue to import food when it has fertile land.

“We want to ensure that we can produce enough food to feed ourselves, our slogan is let’s produce what we eat or let’s eat what we produced,” the minister said.

“We cannot continue to import food from outside this country when we have fertile land like this and we can have rice can grow up like this, this will feed hundreds and thousands and millions of people in this country.”

In his remarks, the Director General of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mr Qu Dongyu, has commended progress made at the scheme.

“First of all , I am really salute and appreciate the progress have been achieved in this region because you have strong leadership and very international partners working with you and making change efficiently and effectively, especially FAO and together with other UN agencies now we are working in these areas to help you and assist to develop the rice scheme.”

On his part, Santino Deng Ngong, the Director for Administration and Finance of Aweil Rice Scheme appeals to the Ministry of Agriculture to provide at least 10 tractors, and UN FAO to develop the technical capacity of staff.

Mr Deng was briefing the delegations from FAO, WFP and government of South Sudan in Aweil.

“The Rice Scheme management urge the national Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to allocate fund for purchasing ten new tractors. They should also lobby for more funds to construct the ARS compound,” Deng said.

“FAO to support the development of capacity of RAS employees for better service deliver. Development of strategic plan for the scheme is a priority which will include long and short-term training of technical staffs. National Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to advice for sustainable operational funding for rice scheme project.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries Onyoti Adigo Nyikec has emphasized on the need to embark on irrigation to address the challenges related to the climate change.

“You can even use power energy, so that we embark on irrigation because of climatic change that is coming, sometimes there’s heavy rain and sometimes there’s drought, so these things we need to change our mindset.”

The Aweil Rice Scheme is a national project of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security established in 1944, with an area of 1,100 feddans.




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