Photos: Kiir's tractors not ready for planting season in 'Jubek state'
JUBA (1 May.)
The 35 tractors President Salva Kiir reportedly donated to the government of the proposed Jubek State in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria likely won’t be used for a second year in a row owing to lack of fuel, spare parts, and seed.
Jubek minister of agriculture Rose Likiso said fifteen of the tractors will be used in the Jebel Ladu scheme, while each of seven counties will receive one tractor, four for the agriculture ministry. One more will go to the ministry of animal resources while the last will go to the directorate of cooperatives and rural development.
Likisio said the government should set an example by cultivating land with its tractors, and urged the national government to ensure movement of cattle through agricultural areas is controlled.
Likisio was speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiling the 35 tractors, some of 1000 tractors which Kiir said he donated to the states more than a year ago.
A technician with the agriculture ministry said 29 operators have been trained in the use of the tractors. However, the technician, named Drali, said the tractors are missing ploughs.
He said the only accessories provided are disk harrows. “The disk harrow is the secondary tillage machine; we should have had the primary tillage machine which is the plough,” Drali said.
He added that the tractors have sat idle for more than a year and all the batteries are drained. Drali noted that the government informed them that missing parts are still on consignment and will soon arrive.
Ambassador John Duku said there is no fuel for the tractors nor seed for planting.
“We are now going to the end of April and there is no fuel in the fuel stations, so we are going to park these tractors and it will not be used for cultivation,” he said.
“The new government that is formed if we need to change the economy of this country we need to stock diesel for the tractors as first step. Secondly, the seed are not there. What we have here in Juba has expired. I tried to buy here in the shops, you go and plant they will not germinate,” he said.
He urged the government to look in to these problems.