South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Saturday repeated his call on household farmers and idle people to engage in agricultural activities to improve their livelihoods.
Kiir said during a visit to his farms in Luri Payam, West of the capital Juba on Saturday, that agriculture is an important tool to eradicate poverty and dependence in the country.
Speaking to the media, the Head-of-State commended those whom he said have responded to his call by engaging in agriculture and other productive activities.
“If we all do this work, this step will increase production and we will stop complaining about hunger. You can plant a small area in front of your house as you can see behind me,” he said pointing to a vast area of rice plantation.
“Rice plantation is only cultivated in waterlogged areas, but we succeeded here. Therefore, I ask anyone to try to transplant in his place and for himself.”
It is not the first time for President Kiir to urge the public to engage in agriculture and other productive businesses across the country.
But, farmers complain about several factors hindering their activities such as insecurities and the influx of cattle in farming lands, especially in Equatoria region.
Farmers in Eastern Equatoria State and Renk County of Upper Nile State, also reported the challenges of pests destroying crops as well as the lack of market for agricultural products.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, up to 95 percent of South Sudanese rely on farming, herding, or fishing.
However, agriculture in the country is largely at subsistence level, with crop yields being very low due to use of poor quality seeds, tools and agronomic practices.
Factors such as the civil war and natural disasters have disrupted development of the sector, and resulted in rippling effect that has the potential to harm the overall economy.