National, News

Irish delegates wrapped up Juba trip

By William Madouk


Irish Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue wrapped up his international development mission to the Horn of Africa in South Sudan as Ireland prepares funds to cushion the needy.

According to a statement seen by this outlet, Mr. McConalogue’s visit was to engage with the World Food Programme (WFP), as Ireland prepares for a new Strategic Partnership Agreement with WFP for 2025 to 2027.

In its short 12-year history, South Sudan has been plagued by conflict and devastating weather events.

Based on WFP, humanitarian assistance is required by 75% of its population, of which some 87% rely on agriculture, livestock, and forestry.

“This has been exacerbated by the arrival of over 600,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in Sudan,” it adds.

Minister McConalogue said he was proud to be the first Cabinet Minister from Ireland to visit South Sudan to see how funding provided by his department is supporting the communities.

“The people here in South Sudan are predominantly pastoralists who rely on agriculture to feed their families and for their income,” he said.

Ireland’s support to South Sudan is through the Government of Ireland’s International Development Programme which includes partnerships with NGOs and multilateral agencies such as WFP and FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization).

While reflecting on his visit to farm projects in Warrap State, South Sudan, McConalogue stated “The stark realities of farming was evident speaking with the community of farmers at Molboor cattle camp in Juba.”

“Disease, low productivity and traditional practices are impacting negatively on their ability to support themselves. WFP South Sudan, under the leadership of Country Director, and Donegal native, Mary Ellen McGroarty, are supporting farmers to diversify their systems,” he noted.

According to him, it was a privilege to speak to farmers, particularly women farmers, in Alek who with support from WFP are growing vegetables all year round with the use of purpose-built ponds and climate-resistant crops such as cassava.

Minister McConalogue also met with NGOs and UN representatives strengthening relations that began with South Sudan’s independence in 2011.

“Practically all the Irish NGOs are present in the Horn of Africa and I met with representatives in all three countries,” he stated. “This is one of the most dangerous places in the world for humanitarian workers to work in and I want to recognize them and thank them for the work they are doing.”

Mr. McConalogue started his trip in Kenya, where he announced a global funding commitment of €105m to WFP from Ireland for the period 2025 to 2027, a 40 per cent increase on the previous three-year period.

The funding will be provided by the Minister’s Department which is the lead for Ireland’s engagement with the WFP.

On the Ethiopian leg of his visit, the Minister earmarked € 30 million of the new funding commitment specifically for the Horn of Africa, a region of extreme need because of drought, conflict, and the ongoing impacts of climate change.

He visited WFP operations in the Afar region in North Eastern Ethiopia.

Ireland via its Embassies in Ethiopia and Kenya continue to provide significant funding to countries in the Horn of Africa, to meet myriad development and humanitarian challenges.

Total ODA funding to countries in the Horn (Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea, and Kenya) amounted to €102.8 million in 2022.

Also, the Department of Foreign Affairs is a significant donor to the World Food Programme – In 2023 funding from DFA to WFP totaled €12.8 million.


Comments are closed.