February 3, 2017 (YAMBIO) – Over 1,500 farmers in Gbudue, one of South Sudan’s newly-created states have acquired new skills during a training in seed production.
- South Sudan agriculture (Getty)
Global Agriculture Innovation and Solutions (GAIS) conducted the training, which aimed increasing crop production in the state.
In an interview with Sudan Tribune, GAIS’s chief operating officer, Charu Chandra said they intend to train farmers across the state and impart skills on raising sorghum, maize and groundnuts seeds.
"The project is expected to establish 15 demonstration farms in different areas in the state so that farmers could come to and learn," he said.
Charu said they intend to come up with a new strategy called “family level learning institution” where grass root farms is going to be opened in various places closer to women who are targeted in the project to come and learn new skills on farming.
“We are coming with a new strategy called family level learning institution to enable women go and learn new skills on farming close to their homes in the rural area," said Charu.
"The youth will also be training in a youth entrepreneurship how to take agriculture into business so that it can be the source of livelihood for the youth. This also will create job for youth to keep busy cultivating and produce enough food for consumption and also for sale," he added.
Last year, over 200 tons of maize were produced as part of the project, with the involvement of over 300 three farmers who opened at least 25 demonstration farms.
Charu further said GAIS was supporting farmers by providing them foundation seeds from National Agriculture Research Organization Uganda (NAROU) to be distributed to farmers and trained them on how they could plant it and take good care of it.
The organization also trained farmers who are not under the strict training of GAIS on improved seeds, pre-harvest management as well as post-harvest management
South Sudan, for instance, has a wealth of untapped agricultural assets. With 30 million hectares of arable land, across six agro-ecological zones, South Sudan is capable of producing an array of agricultural products, from cereals to oil seeds, horticulture, and specialty products such as Shea butter and Gum Arabic.
But despite the huge agricultural potential it possesses, only about 5 percent of the country’s land is cultivated. South Sudan also offers abundant water resources in the Nile basin, and forestry assets are plentiful, with tens of thousands of hectares of teak and other high-value hardwoods available for sustainable harvesting.
Last year, less than 5% of the national budget allocated for agriculture, with priority given to national security and road infrastructure. This is despite the fact that South Sudan has potentials of feeding the entire region.