Western Bahr el Ghazal Marks World Food Day

The South Sudan Minister of Agriculture Dr Betty Achan Ogwaro joined farmers in celebrating the first World Food Day in Western Bahr el Ghazal State Capital, Wau.

Western Bahr el Ghazal Marks World Food Day
Farmers display agricultural produce in Wau during a trade fair to mark the World Food Day 2012. [Gurtong | James Deng Dimo]

By James Deng Dimo

WAU, 17 October 2012[Gurtong] - Under the theme "Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world", the day was also recognized as an Agriculture Trade Fair show which involved the state local famers from three counties in the state showcasing their agricultural products.

The products displayed included maize, groundnuts, bananas, cassava, sorghum, dura, pumpkin, okra and Lulu oil from Mapel.

The minister said that plans are in place to provide eligible famers with tractors on a credit instalments system to speed up with the agriculture activities

We are very delighted to tell you that our country South Sudan will not continue depending on food export from our neighbouring countries but we need to produce our own foods,” she said.

She urged the farmers whose farms have been affected by the heavy rains not to give up production next season and urged the government of South Sudan to use oil revenues for developing the agricultural sector in the country.

While speaking during the occasion, the state Minister for Agriculture Lilian Valentino Rizik said that her ministry is glad that the counties operating within the town are moving out their headquarters as part of extending agriculture service to the people.

South Sudan National Bureau of statistic shows that 4 million South Sudanese live below the poverty line which means that 51 percent of the population live on less than a dollar a day.

“This statistic says a lot about the importance of moving town to villages and this is what we are doing as the government by moving counties outside of the town to enable our people to get services,” said Rizik.

Rizik said the improvement of livelihood through agricultural activities is the first priority to increase and modernise agriculture.

The WFP Deputy Country Director Stephen Kearney said time is ripe for South Sudan to reassess its role and to be prepared to use the appropriate tools to address the root causes of food insecurity and not be reliant on general food distribution.

He however added that this does not mean that we stop unconditional support to the most vulnerable groups but it does mean we look to working with communities to build resilience and long term food security from within.

The Celebration was officially organized by the state Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Irrigation and was graced the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Country Director Suzan Lautze, state governor Rizik Zackaria Hassan, state Assembly Speaker Andrea Mayar Acho and state cabinet ministers.

World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.

The day is celebrated widely by many other organisations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme.

The World Food Day theme for 2012 was "Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world".

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