South Sudan: Climate change slow fight against hunger

JUBASouth Sudan (Xinhua) — The South Sudanese government said Thursday that its efforts to tackle alarming food shortage have been hindered by insecurity and unfavorable climatic conditions.

Minister of Livestock and Fisheries James Janga Duku said in Juba that insecurity coupled with floods in the northern parts of South Sudan and drought in the Equatoria region have devastated agriculture and left farmers vulnerable to starvation.

“The northern part of our country is flooded, agriculture is stagnated and nothing good is taking place there; even animals are not surviving,” Duku said.

Duku appealed to development partners to support the government in developing the largely untapped livestock and fisheries industries to help diversify the country’s oil-dependent economy.

He further advised farmers to acquire modern method of farming such as irrigation to fight droughts.

Serge Tissot, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Representative in South Sudan, called for collective efforts between government and UN agencies to address climate change in the context of agriculture development, adding that robust efforts are needed to combat natural shocks such as droughts and floods.

According to data from the ministry of agriculture and food security, the country has about 30 million hectares suitable for farming of a variety of food and cash crops, yet only 5 percent is under cultivation.

Nearly 5 million people in South Sudan are currently facing an acute humanitarian crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity due to an on-going conflict and are in urgent need of live saving assistance, according to the figures.

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