OpEd, Politics

Agriculture is South Sudan’s only path out of Poverty

Chol John Majok

This country has come a long way, and despite what it has gone through, there is still a chance if we try. This is to say that agriculture is the only lifeboat that we can use to solve hunger and poverty as well. On the same note, we cannot fight poverty without first dealing with hunger.

It is not an easy fight, but through agriculture and the empowerment of small-scale farmers, the dream can be easily achieved.

Many smallholders in South Sudan rely heavily on rain-fed, low-input subsistence farming to meet their food needs. Yet for most rural South Sudanese households, subsistence agriculture cannot consistently produce enough food to ward off hunger. Nor can they rely on the country’s weak markets to buy additional food they may require or to profitably sell their agricultural products throughout the year.

Government policies have long prioritized agricultural production among marginal farmers for food security rather than broader policies of economic diversification, market expansion, and growth.

There is a need to identify crucial changes that could improve food security and, in the long term, facilitate agricultural transformation. There is also a need to propose policy solutions for the country’s persistent food insecurity and for agricultural transformation that could drive long-term economic growth. The policymakers, development specialists, and others concerned with how South Sudan must put on its big shoes and make a way for successful agriculture in the country

It is obvious that overall economic growth in most developing countries largely depends on agricultural growth. But agriculture remains a component of general economic development. While many nonagricultural industries are based on agricultural raw materials, which include food products, most resources used in agriculture are non-transferable to other types of production.

But it is the efficiency and magnitude of growth in agricultural production that determine the extent to which agriculture supports the development of other sectors of the economy. On the other hand, capital from agriculture may be used for education, industrialization, and services, which result in rising incomes and demand for food and agricultural products.

These, in turn, result in rising farm incomes and improvements in rural standards of living and welfare. Overall economic development, therefore, includes not only industrial development but also rural development, which in turn promotes agricultural growth. Poverty and hunger can only be eradicated through agriculture.

The author can be reached via Tel: 0922644594.


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