National, News

Parliament pursues National agricultural projects for economic recovery

By Philip Buda Ladu


National Legislative Assembly has embarked on feasibility studies of dormant national agricultural schemes, to restore food security and tame economic crises.

The Assembly specialized committee for agriculture and food security, on Monday, submitted a fact-finding report to the August House for deliberation and adoption.

Chaired by Hon. Dr. Ghada James Kila, the committee in May, went for an oversight visit sponsored by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO).

Mission of the visit was to assess the national agricultural schemes in Aweil, Renk, and Melut counties respectively and gather facts to pave the way for the national ministry of agriculture and food security to set policies, plans, and laws to govern agricultural activities in South Sudan.

Aweil Rice Scheme in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, which is under rehabilitation with support from UNFAO, was one of schemes under the national agricultural projects.

Melut Agricultural Scheme, which lays redundant, and Renk Agricultural Scheme, a partial operational, in Upper Nile State, are other projects.

However, the committee managed to collect sufficient facts, identify challenges facing these national projects, and made some recommendations for their improvement.

Key challenges identified during the visit to the three sites include lack of national funding, insufficiency of water control mechanisms, lack of spare parts, expensive fuel and lubricants, aging staff, lack of vibrant and qualified workforce.

Others include the existence of old rice seeds, significant oil pollution from the moisture of crude oil and water in the Melut Scheme, and inadequate market outlets for farm produce, to mention but a few.


The Aweil Rice Scheme, established during the colonial era since 1944, exhibits huge potential for sustainable rice production and productivity in the country, not only to meet our domestic rice requirement but also for export.

According to the committee, the country only needs to recognize the potential and adequately invest resources in the Aweil Rice Scheme for greater socio-economic benefit to the country and its people.

Renk Agricultural Scheme, founded in the early 1960s in Renk County, Upper Nile State, is one of the most significant potential farming areas that could serve as a breadbasket for South Sudan.

Annually, the Renk Agriculture Scheme produces an estimated yield of 500,000 metric tons of groundnuts and sesame, but 80% is exported to Sudan and 20% is consumed locally.

Like all other national agricultural schemes, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, highly requested to establish competent management teams that would efficiently set up scheme administration, undertake the write-up of work plans, and secure budget allocation and disbursement to operate the national agricultural projects.

The Melut Sugar Scheme, established in the early 1970s by the then Sudanese government, is currently not functional as the project was suspended during the SPLA/M war of liberation. The project was then shifted to the Kenena Suga Scheme in Sudan.

Following the field visit, the committee listed a number of recommendations that the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to take up and incorporate into their policy frameworks for implementation.

Among the key recommendations are that gov’t government should initiate and intensify financing of the Aweil Rice Scheme, and the and the National Ministry of Agriculture should solicit a public-private partnership (PPP) with reliable funding and relevant technology to boost rice production and productivity.

Furthermore, the committee recommends the procurement and development of relevant machinery and equipment for mechanization, human resource training for the rice scheme, integrating Chapter 1 budget for the Aweil rice scheme under the nominal roll of the national ministry of agriculture, and introducing crop diversification.

Also, the national government is urged to initiate a comprehensive feasibility study to determine the suitability of the schemes or identify other locations for the provision of credits, especially by the Agricultural Bank of South Sudan and the Cooperative Bank. The Ministry of Agriculture should timely provide agricultural inputs, these recommendations among many others.

Meanwhile, after thorough deliberations from members, the Speaker of the August House, Rt. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, ruled the debate as the house adopted and passed the committee’s reports on the oversight visit to the Aweil, Renk, and Melut National Agricultural Schemes with all the recommendations.

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