Farmers petition Government to increase agricultural funding
By Morris Dogga
The South Sudan Agricultural Producers Union and Civil Society Organizations have petition Revitalized Government of National Unity to ensure adequate funding for the Ministry of Agriculture in the next Fiscal Year budget.
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Report released this year showed that over 6.5 million of the population was facing severe food insecurity and about 2 million malnourished.
According to the report, those affected were mainly women and children.
The country’s agricultural sector was yet again challenged by the invasion of desert locusts as well as the fall army worm; and other losses occurred by flooding and drought.
In a petition signed by the farmers Union and Five other civil society organizations, the farmers said the Ministry of Agriculture was allocated less than 0.4 per cent of the National Budget for the last three consecutive years.
The budget includes the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, then farmers said.
The farmers said the low funding of the sector presents a serious concern among the farmers, adding that adequate financing for Agriculture was critical for the common man’s pattern of growth.
They urge President Kiir to honor the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Growth and transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods as the Africa 2025 Vision for Agriculture of which South Sudan is a member.
In the Malabo Declaration, the governments have agreed to ensure that investment finance in agriculture was up to at least 10 percent of the country’s national budget minimally in order to contribute to the achievement of annual agricultural growth of at least six percent.
The farmers said the current budget allocated for the Agriculture sector was below the target.
“We recommend that the 10 per cent budget allocation be implemented in the country’s Financial Year budget for the year 2020/2021 with the involvement of the Farmers Organizations in monitoring and tracking the implementation,” the statement partly reads.
“We appeal to your high office to take a proactive role in providing oversight on the South Sudan Agriculture Investment Plan and to ensure that the next Malabo Biennial Review Report and results are seriously discussed and a joint appropriate action is taken.”
According to the declaration, the budget allocated would support farmers’ services such as inputs supply, training and extension, processing, marketing, research, coordination and policy guidance.
The Malabo Declaration was also translated into seven thematic areas of Enhancing investment finance in agriculture
They include Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025, reducing poverty by half, by 2025 through inclusive agricultural growth and transformation; Boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services; Enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate variability and other related risks and Strengthening mutual accountability to actions and results.
As the country prepares for the next Biennial Review Report of Malabo Declaration, the farmers also called for the implementation of all the seven thematic areas.
“We call for South Sudan to domesticate the African Union decision passed by the Heads of State and Government on Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOA-I) in 2011 to support organic Agriculture and adoption of Climate Resilience Sustainable Agriculture practices.”