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N. Bahr el Ghazal caretaker governor says area hard-hit by crop failures

December 21, 2014 (JUBA) – The caretaker governor of South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state said the region continued to grapple with widespread crop failures this year.

In his Christmas message on Saturday, Kuel Aguer Kuel said addressing challenges in the agricultural sector remained one of his administration’s most pressing issues since taking over from his predecessor.

Kuel attributed crop failures to late and unreliable rainfall, floods and displacement in some areas, which had fuelled tensions between herders and farmers as market prices shot up.

The year’s second harvest delivered poor returns due to unusual rains, while insecurity on the Juba-Rumbek road, coupled with the bad condition of roads, also affected access to supplies from neighbouring Sudan and delivery of commercial goods.

“This year is a very special year for all of us. Our country has been at war for a year now and our government under the leadership of president Salva Kiir has been seeking for [a] peaceful solution in every avenue. During the last rainy season our state like any other states in [the] Great Bahr el Ghazal region was cut off from the capital Juba by land. This had led to shortage of food items and prices went up almost double,” he said in his address.

“In addition there has been crop failures this year, and above all some citizens from this state joined the rebellion of [former vice-president] Riek Machar unfortunately,” he added.

However, despite the many difficulties throughout the year Kuel said the state had forged head with development projects, including, road upgrades and had also taken steps to reform the education sector.

“Our former governor, Paul Malong, kept about state peace and undertook major steps on building infrastructure and social services deliver despite the economic difficult of oil shutdown and [the] consequent war with Sudan [in] 2012,” he said.

“The situation of our state now is calm and peaceful and we are hopeful that we shall have [a] peaceful Christmas if the enemies of peace don’t think otherwise. We are hopeful and God almighty shall be with us as we maintain peace and stability [in] our land,” he added.

(ST)