Agriculture only option to boost economy, says official

By Kidega Livingstone

A senior official in the Ministry of Trade and Industry said agriculture was the only option to bolster the country’s economy.

Stephen Doctor Matatia, Director General for External Trade said agriculture is more sustainable compared to other sources that generate revenues in the country.

He described the economy of the country as “new economy” in a fragile, vulnerable, landlocked and less developed country.

“Our production is not yet enough for self-sustainability and export and trade is one sided. We depend entirely on import but we have little export,” Matatia said.

“A country without export is a weaker country. We do not have flow of hard currency because the export earning is the one that finances developmental projects,” he added.

Last week the Ministry of Finance and Planning admitted that the economy of the country was weakening after the oil prices reduced by 55 per cent in the World market because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Matatia stressed for the economy to be settled there must be stability so that people go back to produce, so that the citizens can be in position to talk about production and productivity.

He said the country should depend on agriculture because it is sustainable and that the government should use the oil to promote agriculture.

“We should settle down to produce for ourselves and diversify the economy. We will have a very strong economy. We have virgin land. South Sudan is using only 10 per cent of the total land for agriculture. We have wetland and adequate rainfall. We have very little Irrigation Scheme. We depend on rain for cultivation,” he said.

He said farmers have not start using fertilizers because they have not yet reached the stage of using it.

“We have very little mechanization agriculture. We used traditional way of cultivation. If we settle for agriculture because we have Gum Arabic, Simsim, sunflower, groundnut and cotton, we can benefit from oil and cakes and many other products when these are crops processed,” he said. 

“If we produce we have no problem. We would have enough for consumption in the market. We would have surplus that would be exported to earn us hard currency,” he said.

He said there was need to build a better infrastructure, identify regional and international market and good policy for export and import.

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