Reviving agriculture is set to improve lives of over 80 percent

National minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Josephine

By William Madouk Garang

The national minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Josephine Joseph Lagu said regenerating the agriculture sector will improve the lives of 80% population, increase productivity, and improve food security and livelihoods in the country.

Minister of Agriculture was speaking during the launching of a joint report by UN Food and Agriculture (FAO) and World Bank titled “Transforming agriculture in South Sudan from humanitarian aids to a development-oriented path.”

Ms. Lagu said the country has a huge agricultural potential with fertile soil but only 4% of this arable land is being utilized while a vast fertile agriculture land remains unexploited.

“Our vision is a sustainable agriculture transformation of the country’s agriculture sector into a vibrant and productive sector that contribute to economic growth, create jobs beyond the primary production that increase national food and nutrition security and reduces poverty,”Lagunoted.

“We strive through the transformation of the agriculture sector to enhance the quality of lives to over 80% of our people who mainly live in rural areas and we do by increasing agriculture production and productivity by improving food security, nutrition, and livelihoods,” she added.

She highlighted that the country might be suffering from oil curse syndrome, citing that most the oil-producing countries tend to neglect other sectors and that could be one of the reasons agriculture is lagging behind.

“With support from our partners, I think now we will be able to really realize our dream, the dream of ministry, the dream of our country, the dream of gov’t – which is to make South Sudan the breadbasket not just for neighboring countries but beyond,” she lauded.

‘Transforming agriculture sector will enable us to reduce our food import bill and with it, the number of our people who spend up to 75% of their income on food at a time when the people purchasing power has been cut drastically and poverty remaining extremely high,” she stated.

Frias Raad, World Bank country manager for South Sudan said total dependence on oil as a source of revenue by the government is very risky adding that alternatives could be agriculture, livestock, and fisheries.

“One of the essential drivers of future economic prosperity, job creation and poverty elevation in South Sudan, undoubtedly is the development of the agriculture, livestock, and fisheries in a country which sectors in a light of country rich natural domain and resilience,” Raad said

“Agriculture in terms of crops, livestock, and fisheries become one of the key sectors that can underpin the diversification of South Sudan economy and supply quality and more job opportunity for the youth of this country who represent more than 50% of the population,” he added.

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