South Sudan agriculture is hit hard from Climate change

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) — South Sudan’s agriculture and wildlife is reeling from effects of unmitigated climate change, as food insecurity, poaching persists amid deforestation, a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) official said on Monday.

UNEP Country Director Arshad Khan told Xinhua in an interview in Juba on Monday that the war-torn country’s over-reliance on rain fed agriculture amid massive deforestation persistently contributes to food insecurity due to crop yield failure annually.

“Agriculture is the main source of food to almost 90 percent of the people in rural areas. So any change in weather patterns affects the yield of crops,” he said.

He added that food security is a major issue which, if not paid attention, could have major consequence in the country.

Khan revealed that deforestation in South Sudan was at 33 percent on average, making it one of the highest in the world.

The UN agency estimates that more than 5 million people face risk of starvation in the aftermath of renewed fighting in July 8-11, between the two warring parties that signed the fragile peace agreement in August 2015 to end more than two years of conflict.

The insecurity in the country has disrupted farming meaning the government’s plan to increase food production from 1.5 million tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes remains a dream.

Khan also noted that climate change is causing wild life like the giraffe, buffalo, rhino and zebra to migrate across to Ethiopia and Kenya due to food and water shortage in the dry season.

“When there is change in weather patterns most wild life like giraffes, buffaloes depend on grass. If you don’t have enough water for them they will die faster. The other option is for them to migrate to other places,” he disclosed.

Elephants in South Sudan are nearing extinction due to poaching from 100,000 to now 2,500 elephants, according to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species and Fauna (CITES).

He said the country could fetch more than 100,000 tons of fish in its wetlands per year that would generate revenue, but warned that awareness and modern fishing methods are needed to develop the sector.

Khan also advised that the country should seek for alternative sources of energy like solar to discourage charcoal burning and also allocate more resources to wild life conservation.

“South Sudan’s deforestation is one of the highest in the world and if it continues there will be no forests in this country,” he said.

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