Government Approves SSP 226M To Buy 12,600 Metric Tons Of Sorghum From Renk
South Sudan government on Friday said it is putting SSP226 million to buy 12,600 metric tons of sorghum from Renk Town of Eastern Nile State for distribution in the country to quell the looming hunger situation.
A farmer looks at a sprig of sorghum, called dura in South Sudan. [Photo| Mugume Davis Rwakaringi(VOA)]
By Jok P Mayom
JUBA, 11 April 2016 [Gurtong]: Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, government spokesperson also Minister of Information told reporters after the cabinet weekly meeting No. 10/2016 on Friday that the government has laid strategies to overcome the hunger situation.
Makuei said the move comes following a report presented by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hon. Awut Achuil prompting the cabinet to adapt the report.
“The government has approved the plan as presented by the Minister. It is planning to buy 12,600 metric tons of Dura from Renk. This will be transported; some of this will be airlifted while others will be transported by land or river so that they are distributed to the people of South Sudan all over” said Hon. Makuei.
He admitted that the hunger situation is worsening but clarified that the country is only facing what he called hunger gap and not famine.
“There is a different between a famine and hunger gap. Ours we have not reached that stage of a famine but we are at the stage of hunger – there is hunger gap – there is food security gap. That gap is what we called the hunger gap” Makuei explained.
“In fact the hunger situation is serious and we need to take real action so that we can address it. We are putting in a sum of about 226 million SSP” Makuei said.
He further said, “The Ministry of Agriculture, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and the Ministry of Finance have been directed to come up with a comprehensive plan that will enable us to address the current situation up to the next harvest in this year.”
Renk Town, a County located in the defunct Upper Nile State, now an Eastern Nile State County is at the border in the North-Eastern part of South Sudan, bordering the International border with the Republic of Sudan.
It’s blessed with a fertile alluvial soil, a strategic town in South Sudan with one of the largest farming scheme where sorghum locally known as ‘Dura’ is grown in plenty. Renk also grows ‘the Gum Arabic’ serving as one of the cash crop of South Sudan.
The more than 2 years of conflict in South Sudan has placed the country at the stake of food insecurity making many people fleeing the country to Sudan and refugee camps to seek food aid.
The United Nation Agencies, in February this year warned of the food insecurity in the country arguing that as 2.8 million people –nearly 25 percent of the country’s population – remain in urgent need of food assistance, and at least 40,000 people are on the brink of catastrophe.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) stressed that these numbers are particularly worrisome because they show an increase in hunger during the post-harvest period – a time when the country is traditionally most food secure.