A cabbage plantation. File photo

South Sudan Supports Farmers With Quality Seeds

By Simon Deng

South Sudan will support local farmers with quality seeds to help boost their yields and reduce on high cereal deficit.

Josephine Lagu Yanga, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security said on Wednesday that quality seeds will help improve food security as well as income for farmers.

She disclosed that most of the time imported seeds from neighboring countries in the region have turned out to be of poor quality.

Adding, that her ministry will also look into the prospect of developing seeds from within the country.

 “Developing a sustainable seed system in South Sudan is one way of enabling small holder farmers have access to improved seeds to boost their yields and therefore increase food availability in their homes,” said Lagu during the workshop on accelerating agriculture and agribusiness held in Juba.

Alexander Fernando, the Regional Director for International Fertilizer and Development Centre (IFDC) welcomed government’s support provide to local farmers.

“We are very pleased to be back in South Sudan for accelerating agriculture and agribusiness seed project, our goal here is to support emergence of private seed sector which is comprised of seed companies but also seed multipliers and include production marketing and distribution,” said Fernando.

Fernando added that their goal is to ensure seeds reach the producers or the ultimate beneficiaries of the project.

Michael Smet, First Secretary at the Netherland Embassy in South Sudan said that peace and stability is vital to unlock the agricultural potential of the country.

 “Now is the 10th anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, and we really think that this is the time to take stock of peace dividend that we are building up and give the people of South Sudan the opportunity for economic development,” said Smet.

A high cereal deficit is expected in South Sudan in 2021 due to the impact of prolonged conflict and floods, leaving millions of South Sudanese extremely food insecure, according to UN agencies.

The Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said that the deficit in South Sudan’s cereal production is estimated at an all-time high of 465,600 tons in 2021.

The report said cereal production in 2020 rose by seven percent on a yearly basis to around 874,400 metric tons.

The growth could only cover the needs of only a third of South Sudan’s 12.2 million population as the country needs 1.3 million metric tons of cereal a year, leaving most people reliant on humanitarian food assistance.

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