WHY AGRICULTURE CAN SUSTAIN OUR ECONOMY
By Paul Jimbo
I recently visited a friend’s poultry farm in Gurei, Jubek State and was just impressed by the kind of psyche, passion and energy he manifests in his work.
While many young people think life is all about white collar jobs, my friend thinks otherwise. Despite boasting of three degrees including two masters’ degrees, my buddy does not give an impression of someone who has travelled the world far and wide.
He paints a picture of someone who has consigned himself to fate yet reality has the opposite of this, he is making a fortune in the poultry business.
When I had an opportunity to listen to my friend, I could not believe the stories he narrated regarding his travels, experiences and achievements.
Furthermore he doesn’t display any sense of wealth despite owning an empire that boasts of 3,000 plus chicks. Mr. James Nyikole is the Managing Director of the South Farmers Company Limited.
His thoughts and insights about life are quite a departure from the traditional ways most youth perceive life.
Out of experience, I have learned from experience that there can never be free lunch, in other words, nothing comes easy.
Indeed, similar previous engagements with most youth exposed how most people would want to live good life but cannot afford to because they do not have what collar jobs. They envy well placed individuals in the society but I think their ambitions are misplaced. Furthermore, some have risen to their positions courtesy of their hard work.
My friend Nyikole says his conviction to leave the trappings of good life in Australia, including the comfort of running tap water, full-time power supply and generally good lifestyle was informed by his dream to feed his starving fellow South Sudanese.
He says he was touched by the perennial famine, drought and hunger and thought of doing something to change the situation and so packed his belongings and left Australia for South Sudan, he was armed with a USD 500.
Nyikole says majority of youths have intentionally found themselves in the unemployment bracket because of their own making, attitude, some people think there are some jobs that are dirty.
He advises the jobless not to sit back but at least start something on their own, however small it is. He does not believe in idleness and says sitting back and crying when you are doing literally nothing to improve your living standards is a bad approach to life.
When we arrived at his farm, some five kilometres away from Juba Custom market, we found farmers streaming into his premises for a training session.
Nyikole says his decision to empower fellow farmers through awareness creation is irreversable.
His firm provides free knowledge on poultry farming, which he believes, has opened several opportunities to many young people because they have realised that there is money in poultry keeping.
Today South Farmers Company Limited has several broilers, layers and Kuroiler birds.
Nyikole projects that despite the challenges that come with poultry farming; his eyes are strained on keeping some 100,000 birds by the end of the year.
The challenges include cost of operation such as fuel costs for generator, water, poultry feeds and vaccination.
He knows very well that nothing comes easy but adds with a rider that challenges should motivate farmers to work harder. Nyikole says he has never looked back since he ventured into poultry farming because he has tested the fruits.
Nyikole points out that South Sudan has the potential to produce its own food if more resources are channelled into the agricultural sector. He says the country’s fertile land can feed the entire population if more farmers embrace farming.
The government, he says should also consider giving more farm incentives including waivers on agricultural and farm implements and equipment.
He argues that this would cut down costs of feeds, vaccination and even operation costs by almost half and assures Juba City residents that locally produced farm products will be relatively cheaper compared to imported ones.