JUBA, (Xinhua) --
South Sudan and the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO) have agreed to jointly
implement a project worth 500,000 U.S. dollars aimed at
promoting collaboration in small-scale agriculture and
agro-processing, a senior government official said on Monday.
Minister of Trade
and Investment Moses Hassan Tiel said the partnership seeks to
strengthen food security through advancement of small scale
farming, agro-processing and product certification in the
conflict-hit East African nation.
“We are working
together with UNIDO to develop policy documents to help us with
quality assurance and certification for agricultural products
produced here in South Sudan. We are working hard to make sure
that agriculture products are processed here in South Sudan to
boost agriculture and our economy,” Tiel said
He said the new
project would prioritize improvement of honey products, fruits
such as mangoes and pineapples and Gum Arabic in order to
diversify the economy of the oil-reliant country.
Tiel said South
Sudan’s first honey export to Japan and Kenya last year ignited
the hopes of scale farmers to engage in commercial agriculture.
The world’s youngest
country is blessed with enormous agricultural wealth that
remains untapped due to years of conflict, lack of land policies
and poor infrastructure.
According to data
from the Ministry of Food Security and Agriculture, 648,000
square kilometers of the African country is arable, home to 11.7
million heads of cattle and is also capable of producing 400
tons of fish annually from its vast Swamps and the River Nile.
Despite the huge
opportunities, last week the UN declared famine in parts of
The UN said the
disaster is man-made after the world’s newest country plunged
into civil war in 2013 following a political rift between
President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
Tiel said the
government seeks to support small scale farmers with necessary
skills to help boost food production.
“It is now a
priority that we encourage our small scale farmers to grow much
so that we restore food security in South Sudan and also level
the trade balance because currently we import most of our food
products including vegetables,” he said.