South Sudan’s youth shunning conflict for agriculture

South Sudan’s youth shunning conflict for agriculture

A boom in agriculture in South Sudan’s northeast is providing much-needed income to the youths, who when idle have often been misused in conflicts.

In Renk County in Upper Nile State, youths are engaging in different components of agriculture, especially at a time when the sorghum harvest season is at hand.

Koor Aleu Koor works as a porter, loading sorghum on and off trucks, a job he has engaged in for three years.

He has fed his family with the proceeds over time and believes Renk has been a blessed place for him.

He earns 4000SSP on a daily basis from the work.

“I am here as a porter and I used upload trucks loaded with sorghum and usually get good money daily,” Koor told The Juba Echo while urging people to shun violence and engage in productive activities.

According to Mayar Yuen Mayar, the Secretary-General for the Porters Association in Renk, since the sorghum harvest began in Renk last November, youths have turned to it, abandoning crime and focusing on transporting food from it the farms to the stores.

“We don’t have Niggers now in Renk town, everybody is busy, we have more than 100 youths working as porters here at the warehouses where all the food is stored in Renk, nobody is participating in crime, even if you move at night nothing will happen to you,” Mayar said.

World Food Program, Mayar said, was created for the youth job opportunities.

“We have been doing a lot of work here in Renk,” he disclosed.

“Youth in the area are happy because they are getting money, not like before when they didn’t have jobs and they are just sitting in the place of alcohol or joining rebels in the bush.”

According to Mayar, engaging in agriculture has greatly helped in mitigating insecurity in Renk.

“We have peace now in the area, all the issues that happen at night are not there now because the youth are busy and Renk is a peaceful place where everybody is busy and has no time for crimes,” he said.

Another youth, Ameel Guchweng Deng said that he has managed to garner money for both his own school fees and to feed his family.

Deng completed senior four in 2021 and is waiting to join the university.

He works day and night to subsist his family and save some for higher studies.

“My advice to young South Sudanese people is to abandon crime and labour in work, we have job opportunities here, we should work and help ourselves and our families,” Deng said.

Youths in Renk said that they have seen violence on both sides of the border, they sought refuge in Sudan during the civil war, only to find themselves in the middle of another violence when former Sudan’s president Omar Al Bashir was overthrown, consequently, chaos and political uncertainty followed, so now they are in their own country doing their labour peacefully without fear. 

The youths thanked WFP for creating jobs and empowering them economically.

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