By Ephraim Modi D.S
The Minister of Roads and Bridges Simon Mijok Mijak said the huge cattle population in South Sudan which surpasses that of human beings in the country will one day find a potential market in China for their byproducts if exported.
Minister Mijak who was speaking in Juba yesterday at the opening of a 14 days seminar on roads and bridges construction for South Sudanese engineers’, said South Sudan will one day export cattle’ byproducts to the People’s Republic of China given the high population of cattle in the country.
He made his statement during an opening ceremony of a seminar on roads and bridges construction and, maintenance organized by Chinese Embassy in Juba and Beijing Jiaotong University.
“I always chat with my Chinese friends here in South Sudan that one day we will see cargo planes flying from Juba to Beijing with fresh meat because the population of cattle is more than the population of Human (People),” he said.
Mijak also said South Sudan has the longest river in the world which is River Nile and wildlife resources as the largest game reserve in Africa.
South Sudan has an estimated 11.7 million cattle, 12.4 million goats and 12.1 million sheep in a country of around 13 million people, according to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism, Animal Resources and Fisheries as of 2014.
The livestock population of South Sudan is estimated to an asset value of 2.2 billion dollars, the highest per capita holding in Africa.
In South Sudan, cattle are viewed as a source of wealth where pastoralists can’t even sell one for money and to send children to school or slaughter one for meat. The country import meat mainly from the neighboring Uganda and Kenya.
Many communities in South Sudan acquire and use the cattle to pay bride wealth to seal an agreement between bride and the groom family and as compensation in cases of a murder or adultery.
According to the African Development Bank, 80 percent of people in the country live in rural areas and rely on agriculture, forestry and fisheries for their wellbeing.