29th September 2020
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Kiir advises citizens to prioritize agriculture

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Monday, December 30, 2019

Kiir at his Luri farm on Dec 29, 2019. Credit: PPU.

President Salva Kiir has advised South Sudanese to engage in agriculture to prevent poverty and help recover the country’s economy.

“People who are not doing anything in agriculture should also do it,” Kiir said on Sunday while witnessing this year’s  harvest from his farm in Luri county of Jubek state.

He was accompanied by the First Lady Mary Ayen Mayardit and First Vice President Taban Deng Gai to what they called launch of the harvest season.

“If I can do this with my other colleagues like Taban, why would anybody else not do it? We want everybody to embark on agriculture,” Kiir added.

In September, the government and three UN agencies warned that more than half of the population in South Sudan were food insecure due to insecurity that forced many to internally displaced peoples camps without livelihoods.

Since 2005, aagriculture was severely neglected despite the huge agricultural potential South Sudan has. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture organization, only about 5% of South Sudan is cultivated due to the civil war that started in 2013, and inadequate investment in the agriculture sector.

In 2015, President Kiir donated 1,000 tractors to the states to implement his pledges of improving and boosting food security but many of the tractors were reportedly personalized by state governors and government officials.

Speaking on investment, Kiir stated that money generated from crude oil will be used for agriculture instead of just being “consumed.”

“We want to use the oil money in the agriculture so that we produce enough food for the people of South Sudan and surplus can go to the market,” he said.

“This is the only thing that can do to come out of this poverty. The oil money should not be consumed just without anything being done with it. It is just to use the oil money in agriculture, so that agriculture benefits people,” Kiir added.

South Sudan largely depends on its oil sector to generate the country’s Gross Domestic Product, but Kiir’s government has often come under criticism for misusing money generated from the oil sector.

In 2018, a report by The Sentry says the government was using the country’s oil money to fund the civil war instead of funding developmental activities.

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