South Sudan requires 1.3m tons of cereals to feed citizens- FAO

South Sudan requires 1.3m tons of cereals to feed citizens- FAO

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has said South Sudan needs to produce 1.3 million metric tons of cereal to feed its citizens.

The common cereal crops grown in South Sudan include sorghum, maize, millet, rice, and wheat.   

Deputy Country Representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Felix Dzvurumi, said the farmers are already producing about 800 tonnes of the crop.

“We are producing about 800 metric tonnes of cereal against 1.3 million which [we] require to feed the nation. This we can achieve in the next four to five years if there is security,” said Dzvurumi during an interview with Radio Miraya ahead of the International World Food Day celebration slated for October 16, 2021.

He said there is a need to look ahead for the government to work closely with several stakeholders in the private sector so that they can provide inputs on technology and agriculture extension.

 “Public service is important in bringing in the policy and strategy. The farmers have to be capacitated so that they can be able to produce because they need the asset, land, and animal power,” he said. 

However, the Director-General for Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Loro George Leju, said the ministry is working closely with FAO and WFP to encourage the pastoralists not to only depend on the milk but also grow vegetables for balanced diets.

“With the peace agreement in place, we hope that issue of insecurity will reduce to allow the farmers to move into their fields and the pastoralists’ to raise their animals,” said Dr. Loro.

He added, “We are not performing very well because of the present situation of insecurity. Our farmers are not able to increase the production into productivities provided that they have been supporting,” he added.

 He said farmers need to be supported with cultivation equipment and viable seeds are given to them as well as creating markets season for them. He said the presence of insecurity may bar them from farming.

“Better nutrition means we have to produce balanced food, which can give all the elements that can be essential for bodybuilding. This means we have grown all the varieties of all the crops. We should not have to rely on cereal, we have to grow other crops like beans,” Dr. Loro said.

Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security called on the citizens to shun the mentality of importing basic food items like vegetables, which can be locally produced.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Josephine Lagu said it was disturbing that citizens were outsourcing so much money to purchase vegetables from neighboring countries.