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Subsistence farmers urged to grow more food

Author: Rose Enosa | Published: Thursday, October 3, 2019

A farmer in Magwi clears weed in his maize farm | File photo

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security has encouraged subsistence farmers to grow more food.

Food production in South Sudan is dependent on subsistence agriculture in which farmers grow food for themselves and their families.

Most urban centers, including the capital, Juba, depend on imported food items from the neighboring Uganda and Kenya.

Onyoti Adigo says local farmers should now produce more in order to supply towns with their surpluses.

“We are trying to move slightly from subsistence farming to commercialization of farming so that we become self-sufficient,” Minister Adigo stated at a press conference in Juba.

“We are trying to [encourage] communities form agriculture co-operatives…to help them develop very quickly and this will increase food production in their areas.”

However, farmers have been complaining about issues affecting local food production.

Two weeks ago, tomato farmers at Aru Junction said their produce was going to waste due to lack of storage facilities and transport.

Earlier, farmers in Gbudue State said poor road networks was hindering them from taking their surpluses to Yambio town for sale.

Sporadic clashes between the army and armed groups, and presence of cattle in the Equatoria region is also said to interfere with farming.

In addition, the ministry has been accused of doing nothing or little to help grow food at a national level, especially the Aweil Rice Scheme.

According to officials, farm machines are worn out and often lack fuel to operate them – a condition that leads to poor harvest.

After more than five years of conflict, South Sudan reportedly remains one of the most food-insecure countries in the world.

Ongoing violent conflict; population displacement and restricted movement; and disruption of trade, markets, and cultivation activities have exacerbated food insecurity and humanitarian needs.

A record number of almost seven million people in South Sudan – or more than 60 percent of its population – are facing severe hunger, according to a new report by the government and three United Nations agencies.

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