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Sudan’s referendum without food security is meaningless - Itto

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By Julius N. Uma

September 7, 2010 (MOROBO) - As Southern Sudan prepares for conduct of a referendum on self-determination, a senior government official has warned that success in favor of either unity or separation will be meaningless unless the need to achieve food security is handled with seriousness.

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Dr. Ann Itto cutting a rope, marking the inauguration of project (ST)

Dr. Ann Itto Leonardo, the Agriculture and Forestry Minister in the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) made these remarks on Monday while leading a team that visited several World Bank-funded projects in Morobo County, Central Equatoria State. Morobo is located about 30 miles east of Yei River County.

The team, which included Joachim von Amsberg, the World Bank Vice President for Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) and Lise Grande, the UN Deputy Resident Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs, visited Yei County-based Crop Training Center. They also visited two Food Crisis Response Projects funded by the Bank in Morobo under the emergency food crisis response.

The three-year project, earmarked to the tune of $85 million is currently being implemented by Action Africa Help (AAH) in Morobo and Yambio, Western Equatoria state capital.

“Much as we talk about success in the forthcoming referendum either in favor of separation or unity, let’s not ignore aspects of food security for our people. For a democratic government to function properly, food security remains an essential element,” Dr. Itto said.

An estimated nearly 80 percent of the population in the semi-autonomous region still depends on agriculture, which currently forms the main source of livelihood in rural settings.

The government, the Minister noted, had embarked on an 18-month agricultural programme aimed at increasing productivity, through provision of improved seed varieties, infrastructural development and emphasis on modern farming techniques as opposed to use of rudimentary equipments.

“We need to change the current dependency syndrome of over relying on food imported from neighboring Uganda, Kenya and others. The government remains committed towards reversing these trends for the benefit of our people,” Dr. Itto, also SPLM Deputy Secretary General for Southern Sector.

According to the Agriculture Minister, increasing agricultural productivity will further involve taking consideration the amount in metric tons of food produced by each household actively in agricultural activities.

“During the war, each household used to produce about 7.8 metric tons of food. After the war, this has dropped to just 1.5 metric tons per household involved in agriculture,” she said, adding that, “We need more youth involvement in agricultural activities”.

On his part, Amsberg, lauded the southern government for its positive post-war recovery progress, but said more emphasis should be put on developing skills that will improve the agricultural sector.

“The World Bank can be helpful in supporting development initiatives that focuses on skills development and community empowerment. There must also be government support through creating a stable political environment,” the World Bank OPCS Vice President said.

Another World Bank-funded project, estimated at $42.29 million is currently being implemented by the Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) to support agricultural and forestry development in the 5 states of Jonglei, Upper Nile, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria and Unity.

Southern Sudan, despite its current dependency on food produced from the neighboring countries, has promising production in its arable agricultural land, which has not yet been utilized due to factors of insecurity and lack of sufficient funding in this field.

(ST)

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  • 8 September 2010 06:32, by thokpiny de Deng de Thokpiny

    Food is a very important weapon better than a missile.Should the Northern decide for the worst and resort to war,we in the South will not afford the battle simply due to hunger .it will take us to the enemy and the region will plunge into dark age again.I advise our leaders in Juba to think well of how to deal with this public worry rather than to think of how to embezzle developmental funds for their children to study in Kenya and Uganda .Because even if their children earn PhDs where will they work if the nation fall?

    repondre message

    • 8 September 2010 06:46, by Gatwech

      Bravo Iron Lady, Dr. Ann Itto,

      I hope you will fulfil the prophecy of Ngundeng Bong by turning the South into sweet green field and basket of fruits to feed the rest of Africa.

      I congratulate you, Madam.

      repondre message

      • 8 September 2010 07:02, by Ahmed Chol

        What does the cutting of all these ropes symbolize? Waste of time. Get to real work folk.

        Ahmed Chol, the future commander of Anya-nya III

        repondre message

      • 8 September 2010 07:04, by mayom maboung marek

        ADr Ann Ito is has and is alway active to alert the world that there is need of Security,Road Networks and others good things for us,and now food. that is how the thing goes, keep going on that good track and God will bless you.

        Cheer!!
        mayom mabuong marek

        repondre message

      • 8 September 2010 09:59, by Aarai Baka

        Gatwech

        stop preaching ur that ngundeng. if ngundeng was fulyl prophecy as u claim it, how come Riak defecte to north in 1991 and didnt told riak to stop going to north because South will rule by him in future? stop baseless ngundeng prophecy. ngundeng is base on looting on some others tribes properties.

        repondre message

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