Why South Sudan needs to focus on Agriculture than the coveted black gold

South Sudan gained its independence on July 9, 2011, making it the youngest nation in the world. Having just gained its independence, South Sudan fell prey to hungry leaders who were not ready to share or relinquish power. This resulted in civil war that led many citizens of this young nation to seek refuge in the neighboring countries of Kenya and Uganda.

Unfortunately, even though peace has somewhat been restored, many are still fearful and have opted to continue staying away from South Sudan. This young nation is missing out on the potential of the energetic young population. It is losing people who would have invested their energy to food production. About 70%-80% of land in South Sudan is arable. This is against Kenya’s 15%. South Sudan is currently only utilizing about 5% of the agricultural land for subsistence farming. Despite the big difference in the available land for agriculture between South Sudan and Kenya, the latter is exporting food to the former.

Agricultural development puts money in the hands of the citizens

Agri-business means direct trading of produce for money, oil is more involving. South Sudan experienced food crisis in mid-2017 but things are yet to improve. It is time for the government to seek ways of diversifying the economy and putting money in the hands of the citizens. This will encourage hard work and innovation. For the economy of South Sudan to grow, there needs to be a starting point. Agribusiness is that point.

Agribusiness will improve the purchasing power of the population

Agribusiness, if given the opportunity, will spur the development of other sectors of the economy. The South Sudan government is currently relying on aid and income from oil. It is barely collecting taxes. This is one of the major reasons why this country has not seen much development since its independence, irrespective of the civil war that erupted in 2013. A large population of educated South Sudanese nationals are working in other countries, contributing to other economies yet they could do the same for South Sudan. One way in which South Sudan can use its resources to boost its economy while at the same time improve food security is by diversifying. Agribusiness would be a great place to start.

Agribusiness will lead to the introduction of improved seeds and breeds of livestock

Culturally, livestock is very important to the people of South Sudan. Unfortunately, as things stand now, the breeds of livestock are still of poor quality. However, this has not altered the appreciation and value the local communities have for their livestock. One of the reasons why there is poor production of crops is the absence of improved seeds. It is unfortunate that the neighboring countries are embracing innovation and are seeing improved yield from the seeds used, yet South Sudan is yet to realize the potential agribusiness will have. With the quality of agricultural land South Sudan has, the potential is limitless.