Poor roads, highway ambushes factor to foreign dependency

David Otto, Magwi County Commissioner-Photo Bida Elly

By Bida Elly David

The commissioner of Magwi County has reiterated that the Country’s dependency on foreign imports is on the rise because infrastructure and security of traders have not been prioritized, thus affecting production.

This came following the visit of the high UNHCR and government delegation to interact with the returnees’ populations in Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria State which is one of the potential food baskets in the region.  

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, David Otto Remson, Magwi County commissioner said that commercial goods for exports are hanging and spoiling in their warehouses following deadly highway ambushes against traders as well as poor road infrastructure making it difficult for farm produce to reach markets at rural level and the capital Juba.

“The biggest problem is the access of roads to the markets in all the Payams. Magwi County is a green belt area and it is more productive in agriculture that provides and produces enough food in the Country,” he said.

“Magwi County is the one supplying Juba with food currently. We have a lot of food that is getting rotten in the stores. We have number of cooperative stores that are having food rotten,” he cited.

The commissioner disclosed that eight tones of grains were formerly destroyed in Magwi commercials stores due to lack of access to the markets and poor roads infrastructure to transport them to the common market in Juba and other parts of the Country.

David stated that most of the traders in the County have severally reported cases of road ambushes by crooks and other unknown gunmen making it difficult to reach their commercial produce to the market.

“Now my traders cannot access Magwi-Juba Road directly. They have to first go to Torit and from there to Juba. The road from Torit to Juba is far away. The nature of the roads cannot allow the tracks that they are using, it takes time to reach, for example fresh maize, fresh cassava, sweet potatoes that need to reach the market as quick as possible,” he noted.

He further revealed that lack of agricultural tools has been some of the challenges that hindered farming in some areas saying that government and development organizations need to extend their support through provision of the tools to boost farming.

“Some of the farmers in the County have complained of storage skills. They need to be trained on how to get from smaller scale into large scale. My farmers most of the times use hand hoes during farming. If they are given the opportunity of modern farming using the tractors, they will bring a lot of food in the market,” he said.

Otto emphasized the need for the establishment of health sectors in the County since the local population increases day by day.

In a separate news development, Commissioner David Otto pointed out that the education sector in his County has been doing well but teachers have manifested concerns over delayed salaries and lack of motivation through incentives to boost their teaching moral.

“Teachers need to be smart. The money they get cannot help them buy clothes to look smart in order to give their own experience to the learners. Learning starts with a teacher and if they are not motivated, they will not deliver and learners will be affected,” he underlined.

Otto also pointed out that greater number of people who fled to refugee camps seeking for refuge had started returning back home.

He said fifteen thousand (15,000) returnees have so far come back to Magwi and currently are embarking on their farming activities for both commercial and subsistence use.

He applauded the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for having helped the County with all the necessary support to ensure that the locals come back home.

He finally called on the government to speedily improve road infrastructure across the Country to enable goods and passengers move freely without blockages.

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