South Sudan aims to become food self-sufficient by 2022 – minister

South Sudan Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Onyoti Odigo (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

April 23rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A senior South Sudan government official said on Monday in Dubai that it aims to make the country – the world’s youngest – self-sufficient in food in three years and become an exporter by 2024.

According to international aid groups and the United Nations, around 6.1 million – 60 per cent of the population – suffers from extreme hunger which came as a direct result of a five-year old civil war which has destabilized all the country and displaced millions.

This conflict and a lean growing season have pushed the country to catastrophic levels of food insecurity, with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noting the country now requires $75 million to meet its food requirements.

“If there is peace, with the rate of people going for farming, and the rate of people being trained in modern farming, we think that after two or three years we will be self-sufficient and in another five years we will be exporting,” Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, South Sudan’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Security told The National in Dubai.

Onyoti however agreed that the situation in his country was “very dire” but not to the extent of famine.

“It is in the stage of major food crisis, but also threat of hunger this year [because of] lack of rain last year,” he said citing pest infestations which infected crops across South Sudan in 2017. The FAO developed a $26m five-year plan last year to tackle the problem.

“It destroyed part of the agriculture sector, maize, in most of the parts of the country,” he further said.

“If you compare Ethiopia with South Sudan, our land is more fertile. We don’t use fertilizers, we do organic farming. The world now needs organic vegetables, so we’ll be attracting good investors,” he added.

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