For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C.- The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and the International Fertilizer Development Center, today signed a communiqué declaring "to support the Government of Southern Sudan in its efforts to transform farms into businesses." Most southern Sudanese rely on agriculture for their livelihood. The vast majority are subsistence farmers.
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah signed the communiqué on behalf of USAID. He said that the U.S. Government "is prepared to invest hundreds of millions of dollars" in the partnership, to help end poverty and hunger in Sudan, including through improving agricultural yields. Yields are particularly low in southern Sudan, at 0.3 metric tons per hectare, and southern Sudanese farmers lose up to one-third of their crop in storage.
The signatories pledged "to work together in developing a commercial agriculture sector by increasing agricultural productivity, supporting agribusinesses, and improving agricultural research and technology."
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Anne Itto represented the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) at the event. She mentioned during her remarks that southern Sudan has enormous potential for agricultural development-with more than 640,000 square kilometers of land, only four percent is now farmed.
The new partnership seeks to help develop southern Sudan's commercial agriculture sector by increasing agricultural productivity, supporting agribusinesses, and improving agricultural research and technology through:
- Expanded use of quality seed and integrated soil fertility management
- Development and expansion of an agro-dealer network
- Revitalization of local agricultural training and research centers
- Development of policies and regulations that support business development, sound regulatory practices, and innovation
- Development of institutions that promote and support market infrastructure and information systems
- Increasing farmers' and entrepreneurs' access to finance.
"Any effort to transform agriculture has to be comprehensive," Shah said. "The days of doing a small demonstration project in one part of a county and calling that agricultural development must be over," he added, a remark that elicited applause from some 100 people gathered at the commercial Rajaf Farm outside Juba for the event.
USAID is providing a wide array of assistance to support private sector development in southern Sudan, including investment in critical infrastructure; support to the agriculture sector; assistance to the GOSS Land Commission on a land policy for southern Sudan; helping the GOSS to streamline and harmonize taxation policies; assisting the Bank of Southern Sudan to develop banking operations and supervision responsibilities; and helping the GOSS Ministry of Investment to market and attract private capital and investors in key sectors.
For more information about USAID, visit www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: May 31, 2012