Home | News    Saturday 9 June 2012

Unity State encourages citizens to produce more food to stop reliance on imports


By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

June 7, 2012 (BENTIU) - Unity State Minister of Agriculture Samuel Lony Geng says local communities lack important tools and pesticide to control pests needed to produce enough food. South Sudan is facing a prolonged period of austerity after oil-production was stopped earlier this year over a dispute with Sudan.

The United Nations estimates that half of the young nation’s 8.2 million population will be food insecure this year.

Asha Hamed and her young daughter pruning tomatoes at the farm, Unity State, South Sudan, 3 June 2012 (Bonifacio Taban/ST)

24-year-old Asha Hamed, who came to South Sudan with her husband Hamed Adom Khamis from Darfur in Western Sudan, cultivates 5 pedants along river Naam Sudd land in Bentiu. She told Sudan Tribune on Monday that they are doing well in producing vegetables but urged others to take agriculture more seriously and asked for help from the government and development agencies.

Hamed and her husband are urging local residents to come out to cultivate the Unity State’s fertile land as it was good for farming. She called on the people of Unity State to intensify food production than importing goods.

Only a small fractions South Sudan’s arable land is used for farming.

“As you have seen us we are struggling with my husband Hamed Adom Khamis we have come here to bring up the country in agriculture sectors, we are asking the government and other NGOs to assist us in providing us pesticide in order to kill the pests that damage crops and we are urging men and women to stand up to bring up this country”, Asha explained.

Asha urged on the fellow women in Unity State to work harder in order to improve their life standards for country building.

Asha Hamed and her husband Hamed Adom Khamis working in their local farm along the River Naam, Unity State, South Sudan, 4 June 2012 (Bonifacio Taban/ST)

Minister Geng said that improving the agriculture sector in South Sudan was one of the biggest challenges of the new nation with communities always complaining of lacking seeds. However, he said that many people needed to think what kind of farming they plan to do before talking about lack of seeds and equipment.

Traditional methods would not produce enough food to feed everyone in South Sudan, he said, observing that there was a demand to move towards more mechanized agriculture.

Pest control, particularly in the northern counties of the state that is in Rwueng County, Abiemnom, Mayom and part of Guit, was also important, the minister said.

Food prices, and other goods, have increased dramatically since South Sudan’s independence last year, with inflation reaching 80%.

South Sudan’s decision to halt oil-production has also severely affected the state-dominated economy as 98% of the government’s income came from oil.

Unity State Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Samuel Lony Geng, speaking to Sudan Tribune in his office in Bentiu, Unity State, South, 4 June 2012 (Bonifacio Taban/ST)


When South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar Teny, visited Unity State over the weeken he called citizens to put their efforts into agriculture as a way to diversify the economy and stop the reliance on oil.

Landlocked South Sudan stopped exporting its oil through Sudan in January accusing Khartoum of confiscating it resources. Sudan responded that it only took the oil as payment in kind for unpaid fees, a position that Juba refutes.

The shutdown has forced Juba to introduce austerity measures which have affected the budget the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as other ministries.

Machar urged the South Sudanese people to produce their own food for consumption rather relying on imports.

“We have stopped the oil production because we came in many disagreement with north Sudanese government, oil production has already stop, as citizen of South Sudan we need to cultivate for our own food production, we don’t want any more foods import outside of country, the government has spend a lot of money to bring food in which we do not want it to happen again, we need to produce our own food in the Country”.

Vice president also called on people to form cooperatives to help boost production and trade between South Sudan’s ten states.

South Sudanese states in the northern part of the country import their food from neighboring Sudanese state after Khartoum closed the border for trade last year.


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  • 9 June 2012 07:56, by Ayom Ayom

    Not just a matter of encouraging citizens to produce more food, Govt should be the live example to cultivate schemes,employing people and distribute a tools/tractors for cultivation on hire purchase/ hire rent. National and state ministries of Agriculture doesn’t initiate the idea of having government schemes across the country.

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  • 9 June 2012 08:12, by Lang

    The northerners just can’t help themselves, they have to come and take land to farm in the south.. Government should watch this very carefully, we don’t need another Abyei.

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    • 9 June 2012 12:06, by katnyokarieu

      the greater Ruweng i.e parieng and Biemnom land are so fertlise where dura(rap raath) maize (anyol)kudra (azarab) Dinka bean (akeem) but due to propaganda by the islamic g,vent in khartoum that wage war and displace the two sisters communities have not been producing good amount of food ,here we need in Biemnom is security .we a good farmers but due the the malitias created this hyena So called Ta

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      • 9 June 2012 12:13, by katnyokarieu

        could almighty God help this poor community
        Ruweng of biemnom in the hands of gangs ,hyenas called SPLM IN UNITY state (nigaade)under leaders Taban Deng de Gai ,the worse tribalist nuer .

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    • 9 June 2012 18:03, by Reuben

      Come on lang
      These are poor Darfurians who taken refuge from danger in their land. they are opressed like we used to be and one day God will set them free as long as they do not give up.

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      • 9 June 2012 21:35, by Lang

        today you say this but tomorrow when they claim the land as their own, you will say something different.

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        • 10 June 2012 08:05, by Northern Sudanese


          Seriously, if you believe that Darfurians want to separate and be as dumb as south sudanese then you must be really retarded XD but keep wishing that for the rest of your live, since Khalil Ibrahim died, Darfur started development.

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          • 10 June 2012 09:38, by john k

            Thanks for the people of Unity State,perhaps the rest of states in the Republic of South Sudan are taking the same chance of this year 2012 to cultivates more of their backyards,ask the local governments to help you expans families acres by ploughing more lands,if we do more, i,m sure next year we will not ask for any help, we will have more of our farms products in our local markets,High spirit

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            • 10 June 2012 12:48, by Runrach

              To all Thugs government of Unity State, I have to thank for conceded Northern Unity State namely Panrieng and Biemnom are the most fertile land for farmers becuase of it richness of loom soils which suit all kind of crops.However, don’t forget to empowered these people to depend on their own instead of depending on humanatrian food aids.

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  • 15 June 2012 08:29, by Eastern

    Government of South Sudan needs to empower the local authorities to enact bylaws to ensure that each household has a certain minimum acreage tilled and planted with the type of foodstuff consumed in the locality. Second, each household must have a granery in their backyard. We just need laws to remove this laziness. It worked during colonial times. It will still work now. It’s not government’s....

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  • 15 June 2012 08:34, by Eastern

    responsibility to feed lazy unproductive people. I know Mr. Sam Lony. He is a proactive individual. Sam think about enactment of laws to require households to cultivate. No village markets should open before certain times during cultivation season. This is already being done in Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

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