Opinion

Hunger likely to affect many people due to little food

Last year insecurity happened in Juba which has affected the lives of the majority of people in the country. Many innocent people were forced to flee their homes who have become refugees in Uganda, Kenya Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan because of wrong and unhelpful deeds within the system.

They are forced to live in a miserable situation in the camps because the way of living in the camps is not like in their home country. They are not very happy because of uncontrolled violent conflict which erupted in the country since 2013. What had happened in 2013 which later developed in July 2016 has affected our communities economically, socially and politically.

Yei, Aweil, Kajo-Keji and Magwi are among the fertile areas where farmers produce enough local agricultural produce for domestic consumption.

It was known that farmers in the green-belt areas such as Magwi, Kajo-Keji, Yambio and Yei were supplying Juba and some areas with their huge agricultural produce.  But this year the delivery of local agricultural produce has dropped significantly because many farmers who are supposed to engage in agriculture are now living in the camps as refugees.

Last year, areas of Magwi County including Lobone in the eastern side of the Equatoria region did a wonderful job in agriculture. But this year that performance might not occur because many hard working farmers are forced to stay away from where they are supposed to be due to insecurity.

Is there any strategic plan being made by the government to enlighten the humanitarian agencies about the need to supply more food aid to South Sudan this year?

If the subject of devaluation of local currency against the foreign exchange has not continued up to now, many people would not worry about the scarcity of local food for their daily consumption in the coming months ahead. If the idea of stopping the policy of devaluation is not put in place before the end of the year, then many of our people are going to suffer in getting access to food because the money they get has less value in the market.

From 2011 up to late months of 2013 our money had gained value in the region. But today, its former good value does no longer exist because of corruption and war.

The government policy of devaluation was or is still not a good economic strategy because it has left majority of the people to suffer from shortages of food and medicine. Even these days the number of believers going for places of worship on Sunday’s has dropped because of economic reasons. People are more careful about daily, weekly and monthly expenditure. This mess has materialized because of evil deeds in the hearts of those in the system.

In some weeks back, the National Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security introduced a merger of agriculture proposal. The proposal was highly appreciated but it will not work because the people who are supposed to farm are living outside their homes. Their doors are either closed or broken into because of their absence for longtime. I don’t think they will come back anytime soon if the miserable and hopeless situation is left to continue like this. They will not come back home if the government fails to double its effort to bring peace and stability in the country. We have been waiting for peace to come from its hiding corner. We have been searching for peace but there are very few who are searching for war. Peace is necessary and more vital for the development of agricultural industry.

With transparency and the truth the government should admit that there will be less agricultural produce this year. The government should be sincere, open and friendly and truthful. There is no need for us to wait for famine misadventure (catastrophe) to happen any time this year without early preventive measures.

If there is a future plan of distributing food to the people affected by the conflict in camps and people living in the rural areas including those in big towns should be included.

Many citizens in Juba were depending on food such as maize coming from Magwi County with a reasonable price than the ones imported from Uganda.  But this year the supply might reduce because some of the farmers are now staying in Uganda as refugees.

By Omuno M. Otto

 

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