CES farmers blame low production on poor seed variety

CES farmers blame low production on poor seed variety
Local farmers display their fruits and vegetables during the exhibition in Juba yesterday. [Yiep Joseph, City Review]

A group of farmers in Central Equatoria State said the lack of modern farming tools and poor-quality seeds is to blame for the low production of fruits and vegetables in the country.

The group called on the government to provide modern farming tools such as tractors and modern machines for weeding to meet the increasing demand for fruits and vegetables by the hotel industry.

The revelation came up during the one-day fruit and vegetable exhibition organised by the International Trade Centre (ICT)with support from the European Union.

The event brought local farmers together from eight payams of Central Equatoria State to display their locally produced vegetables and fruits.

In an exclusive interview with The City Review during the exhibition, Jackline Laja, a farmer from Juba Na Bari, decried the lack of support from the government.

“I have been producing vegetables for hotels and [other] markets, but our problem as farmers is that we do not have enough seeds.” We also lack tools like water pumps for watering during dry,” she lamented. 

She reiterated that local farmers are willing to produce vegetables and fruits to meet the demand of the growing hotel industry in Juba.

“As local farmers in South Sudan, we can produce 100 kilograms per day as required by big hotels like Pyramid, only that we lack tools and modern seeds,” she said.

She revealed that her daily sales of vegetables stood at SSP 20,000 per day.

Meanwhile, Jada Francis, a local farmer who sells tomatoes, cabbages, and pepper also echoed their sentiments, saying lack of access to high-yield seeds is the main problem.

“I can produce more than 1,500 kilograms of tomatoes or cabbage per day but the seeds I used at the time are very poor and they can’t grow well,” Jada said.

He called on the government to provide farmers with good seeds as well as awareness of better farming methods.

Jada said the ministry of agriculture should give more attention to farmers in the country.

“We are neglected by our government, especially the ministry of agriculture, which is not focusing on the challenges facing us at the grassroots,” he complained.

Another farmer,  Tombe Isaac, said, “What pains us a lot is that we use our hands, we do not have tractors, and there is no water pump.”

Also, pests remain disastrous to the vegetables, which often affects the production on the farm.

“I can produce many vegetables and make money, I make 50,000 per day and a month I can get a million pounds, only that vegetables are sometimes destroyed by pest and production is low,”  Tombe said.