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Jonglei minister denies state negligence over food shortages

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September 30, 2011 (KAMPALA) – Jonglei state has not contributed to the current food shortages the state minister of Agriculture and forestry, Mayen Ngor Atem, told to the Sudan Tribune from Bor on Friday.

Atem attributed this year’s low food production to floods that he says had engulfed the entire state. Jonglei has not neglected agricultural lands and has rendered assistance to farmers over the last year, the minister said.

South Sudan’s parliament heard on Wednesday from the federal minister of Agriculture and Forestry that 1.3 million people, mainly from Jonglei and Upper Nile states, are at the close to starvation due to insufficient harvests and hiking prices of food in the new country.

South Sudan became independent in July as part of a 2005 peace deal.

Asked whether Jonglei state neglected suitable areas that could have helped in increasing food production this year, minister Atem said his ministry distributed enough tools to peasant farmers.

“No. No. No. There is no neglecting,” minister Mayen said. “All areas received seeds and tools” he said.

“The issue this year is that the onset of rain was late, there was moisture deficit and then [late] heavy rains [caused] flooding and the whole state is now flooded,” he added.

Presenting a report on the food shortages to lawmakers in South Sudan capital, Juba, Betty Achan Ogwaro, the South Sudan minister of Agriculture and Forestry said the blockage of north—south Sudan border has played a role in this year’s food scarcity.

In Jonglei state like Upper Nile has a poor road network that impedes government responses to tribal clashes is also preventing the supply of items to most affected areas, Minister Atem. South Sudanese returnees from north Sudan in the build-up to 9 July independence returned after the cultivation period had elapsed, he added.

The minister said the government intended to construct roads, install flood control measures, ensure security in the state and intensifying campaigns to encourage farming activities in the largely pastoralist communities of the state.

Deadly cattle raids are common in Jonglei state and government efforts to curve the practice have not succeeded. The state minister said that now South Sudan is an independence country it has an obligation to protect civilians.

Atem said Juba is doing its best to quell insecurity in Jonglei but declined to provide details.

(ST)

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  • 1 October 2011 14:21

    Yes mr Atem. i can not blame you ,if your family is not starving in east Africa, then how will you know, others are suffering from starvation down there in rural areas.i know your denial will be justify by the creator who creat both ,the sufferers and the none sufferers.
    Alier42.

    repondre message

  • 1 October 2011 21:33, by Jacob Dior Macueng

    Dear Southerners,
    The issue of food shortages should not be put as oneself blame,it is almost ten states of South Sudan which is witnessing the same thing,i agreed on two statements from the minister,1-the rains came late this year in some of the states that always produce good food.2-the issue of insecurity made it worse to all the citizens of this country,
    now building a nation needs alot from u

    repondre message

  • 2 October 2011 03:57, by Anyangaliec

    I urges you all, to stop going back and forth blaming each other for the status quo, and get down to the real business of solving it since it had already happened. In my opinion, Juba and Jonglei state government must joins hands together for the sake of us the ordinary people if they do really mean business in their quest to win the fight against all these problems.

    repondre message

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