South Sudan, Japan sign project to boost food security

South Sudan, Japan sign project to boost food security

The government, through the ministry of agriculture and food security, yesterday teamed up with the Japan International Cooperation Development Agency (JICA) to launch a project aimed at boosting food security in the country.

The project will be implemented by the government of Central Equatoria State as a pilot to be extended to other states across the country.

It will cover areas of  Rejaf, Luri, Ladu, and Kondokoro payams, where the farmers will be supported to grow vegetables, engage in poultry farming, mushroom production, horticulture, and aquaculture.

According to Dr John Kanisio, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, it is the primary responsibility of the state government to implement the projects.

He described the project as timely due to the prevailing little peace in most parts of the country.

Dr Kanisio was speaking during the signing of the project for the revitalisation and promotion of agriculture for food security and livelihood improvement in partnership with JICA yesterday.

“This project is going to address the issues of food security and productivity as the government has included the Comprehensive Agriculture Master Plan in our strategic plan and will be considered for budget,” Kanisio said.

“I know the project will be rolled out in other states because it will improve food security. Before that, we need to make sure that it succeeds in Central Equatoria State as the area of demonstration, ” he added.

The representative from the ministry of livestock and fisheries, Augustino Atillio, said it is the responsibility of the national government to mobilise the resources and support the state government.

“The practice of agriculture needs to be transformed. Food systems need to be developed to transform agriculture because the demand for people’s agriculture products is increasing, ” he said.

A representative from the State Ministry of Animal Resources, Fisheries, Tourism and Hotel Management, Central Equatoria State, John Tombe Vincent  said Central Equatoria State would spearhead the implementation of the projects, including the Comprehensive Agriculture Master Plan [CAMP].

He said they needed to promote the project for better yields, adding the impact would be reflected in the markets within Juba.

“Production is very important, though we are not taking [it] seriously. There is a need to provide a budget for it. We cannot rely on donors because people need to eat,” he said.

John Lomeri, First Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment, and Forestry of Central Equatoria State, said it has been very difficult for the government to pursue agriculture due to many factors, including war and COVID-19.

“There is a lack of funds for the development of agriculture that only stands at two per cent. We hope that this project will improve agriculture production and the livelihood of the people,” he said.

He said the agricultural extension workers at the bomas [villages] and payams levels need to be motivated so that they can be able to do the job.

The chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Sagara Fuyuki, said the agency was ready to support and promote food security and industrial development in the country.

“Through this new project JICA will directly work with the state ministries under close cooperation with the national comprehensive agriculture master plan and irrigation development master plan line ministries to boost agriculture production,” Fuyuki said.