Contributor's Jackie Edwards Opinion

The Importance Of Embracing Sustainability In South Sudan

 By Jackie Edwards,


A woman waits to receives medical care at an outdoor support clinic in Thaker, Leer County, South Sudan. (Photo credit: Siegfried Modola / MSF)
A woman waits to receives medical care at an outdoor support clinic in Thaker, Leer County, South Sudan. (Photo credit: Siegfried Modola / MSF)

May 10, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — The rich, cultivatable soil of South Sudan is extremely suitable to farming yet the country is experiencing a severe food shortage in the aftermath of a brutal 4-year civil war.  The untapped potential of sustainable agriculture in the country is enormous. Approximately 70% of all land in South Sudan is suitable for crop growing yet less than 4% of the land is currently being cultivated. If the cultivated land can be increased by as little as 6%, the revenue received from the country’s agricultural production can be increased from $808 million to almost $2 billion. Developing countries such as South Sudan are of vital importance in achieving worldwide green growth. These developing countries are particularly susceptible to climate change and are generally more dependent on the over-utilization of natural resources for economic gain.

A country threatened and divided

South Sudan has faced austere social, economic and ecological threats from food, energy and water insecurity to the risks imposed by extreme weather conditions and climate change. The country’s development was further undermined by inferior water quality, disease associated with a varying climate as well as untimely deaths due to pollution. Education with a key focus on practical eco-friendliness as well as sustainable approaches to everyday living can significantly decrease the impact these and other threats have on the people of Sudan. It is pertinent that such educational efforts are equally focussed on all social classes in order to maximize both reach and effectiveness resulting in the best possible outcome for all the inhabitants of the war-torn nation.

Initiatives promoting sustainable agriculture in South Sudan

TechnoServe and Nespresso joined hands as far back as 2011 in a bid to revive the ailing coffee industry in the country.  In 2016, theU.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joined the effort to develop the program further.  USAID’s $3.18 million investment until 2019 will see the initiative scale in new communities, meeting financial goals such as tripling the coffee industry revenue and training more than 1,500 farmers of which 25% are women.  The revenue generated by sustainable coffee farming is already bettering the lives of countless locals in the Yei region of South Sudan, also aiding in the recovery of valuable coffee trees lost during the civil war.

Foreign aid promotes sustainable farming

Following the outbreak of the civil war in South Sudan in 2013, Uganda has provided substantial amounts of aid to the war-torn country. During December 2017 the Ugandan-based Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) started to teach refugees in South Sudan about the benefits of sustainable agriculture. The agency challenged the refugees to further their own independence through producing their own food, a skill that will serve them very well in the future.  At the present moment, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is in charge of a $61 million rehabilitation program in the country that is aimed to help the approximately exiled 250,000 farmers to return to their agricultural roots.

In order for a country like South Sudan to promote sustainability and to preserve nature, it is important to deviate from convention, steering clear of exploitation and greed. While development is born from ideas, innovation, and creative strategies, they can be altered to align with the natural environment. By teaching and practicing sustainability and eco-friendliness, economic progress within a developing country can remain a win-win situation for all.

The author, Jackie, can be reached through her email at jackie@ursamail.com

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