March 12, 2012, JUBA, South Sudan – After years of technological isolation due to protracted war, the world’s newest nation prepares to transform its agricultural production from subsistence farming to commercial production by embracing the use of quality agricultural inputs with support of the U.S. Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
On March 11, South Sudan received its first-ever consignment of fertilizers, imported from Kenya and purchased with support from USAID through a new project – Seeds for Development – which is jointly implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA ).
The use of agro-inputs is in line with new government policies aimed at increasing food production. This is the first time in the history of the southern Sudan region that farmers will be exposed to mineral fertilizers and hybrid seeds following the drafting of new government policies to increase agricultural production and productivity.
The fertilizer consignment, worth US $17,000, comprises 6.0 metric tons (mt) of diammonium phosphate (DAP) for planting and 6.0 mt of urea for top dressing.
This consignment is designated for demonstrating the new technology to about 6,000 smallholder farmers in South Sudan’s “greenbelt,” which transverses the three states of Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria. Hybrid maize seed, selected from evaluation trials conducted in the Equatoria states by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry researchers with support from AGRA, will be used. The demo trials will be conducted in collaboration with the USAID-supported Food, Agribusiness and Rural Markets (FARM) project.
About 85 percent of South Sudan’s population relies on agriculture for their livelihood. However, most of the country’s farmers use traditional farming methods, which barely meet their daily household consumption needs. The country imports a large portion of its food from Uganda and Kenya in order to keep up with the rapidly growing national food demand.
United States Embassy Juba