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Over 60 percent of populations on brink of hunger

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security

By William Madouk Garang

At least 62.7 percent of the population equivalent to 7.74 million people are expected to face severe food shortages in the country, the government and UN joint report said.

According to the report, the severe food insecurity condition has been intensified by climate shocks such as floods and droughts, communal fights, and cycles of arm conflict.

Joint Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report projected that in the lean season of April to July 2022, more than 60 percent of the population will likely face a crisis or severe food insecurity.

It also stated that populations suffering most from the food shortages are located in the Unity, Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, and Eastern Equatorial states.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Josephine Joseph Lagu said the report finding is worrisome and urged the government and partners to refocus and invest in agriculture.

“We must refocus our attention on and redirect resources toward resilience building and strengthening the institutional setup and food system governance framework,” Ms. Lagu said.

“We must ensure that our rural and urban markets are better integrated into the national economy by supporting farmers and entrepreneurs to improve agriculture production,” she added.

She stressed that sector’s underfunding as one of the factors, adding that the budget allocated is 2 percent compared to the 10 percent target that African countries agreed upon in Malabo.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Sara Beysolownarrated that aid’s response is just to save lives and shouldn’t be relied on because it will never develop the country.

“We will continue to have the situation we have in South Sudan if we don’t start to make that transition to ensuring peace at the community levels,” Beysolow said.

“We can’t continue to have an increase in the number of people who are severely food insecure when you have South Sudan that has the land, water, and people. People who know how to farm, people who know how to produce. What’s missing?” she wondered.

World Food Programme acting country director to South Sudan, Adeyinka Badejo said; “Until the conflict is addressed, we will continue to see these numbers increasing because what it means is that people do not have safe access to their lands to cultivate,”

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Peter Mayensaid investing in the agriculture sector is the key to combating food insecurity and safeguarding economic growth.

“The agriculture creates various opportunities and these opportunities are basically to empower local people, traders they will have jobs and they will be food secure and create another opportunity to boost the industry,” Mayen said.

He narrated that in some parts of East African countries to be appointed as a minister of agriculture is a powerful thing because they are technical people doing a great job.

“That’s why even within East Africa region, to be a minister of agriculture is the most powerful thing but in South Sudan is now turning to be the other way,

“People are looking at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to be the most powerful and busy, I should just sit back and relax and the minister of agriculture and industries they should be doing that great job,” Mayen clarified.

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