Fifteen tractors arrive in Abyei

Farmers in the disputed Abyei area are demanding that they should be allowed to control the use of 15 new tractors that have arrived in Abyei from South Sudan.

They say each vehicle should be assigned to a different area, where farmers instead of the Agriculture Ministry could decide how it is used.

A farmer from Agach, Meyin Monychekon, said a group of farmers could club together to pay the Ministry to supply a driver. He said vehicles operated by the Ministry often stood idle because they were not repaired, or lacked parts.

Farmers believe they can manage the tractors more effectively. A farmer in Wunpeth, Alor Bagat Alor, said the AAA did not maintain vehicles well, and they spent a lot of time broken down when they should be helping farmers till their land.

A farmer in Luod-Agok, Arop Deng Kuol, wanted the tractors to be managed by a joint committee of farmers and AAA officials.

But the AAA’s minister of agriculture, Atem Nyok, said the management of tractors was the responsibility of his department – and not the farmers.

Atem said it would be helpful if farmers formed a committee in each area so that the Ministry could co- operate with them in working out where the tractors were most needed.

He said that, previously, the AAA did not charge farmers to use tractors. When the vehicles broke down, there was no money to repair them.

Atem said only 10 of the 15 tractors would be used for the forthcoming rainy season. He urged groups of farmers to get their requests to the Ministry as soon as possible.

Some of the 1000 tractors purportedly bought by President Salva Kiir last year have been arriving in various of parts of South Sudan this month.

The tractors arrived in Abyei before the latest controversy over South Sudan’s sacked foreign affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin regarding his statement over the status of Abyei, which is disputed between Sudan and South Sudan.

Reporting by Abyei Today

File photo: Tractors said to be donated by Salva Kiir in Wau, South Sudan

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