Angela Stephens is a Development Outreach and Communications Officer in the Africa Bureau.
In South Sudan, farmers, researchers, and the private sector are coming together with the help of USAID to showcase the new nation’s agricultural potential.
On November 9 to 12, USAID supported the first agricultural trade fair in Juba, South Sudan. National and international entrepreneurs came to learn about opportunities in agriculture, fisheries, livestock, and forestry. Farmers from 10 different states showcased their products, including items such as cassava, bamboo, flowers, beeswax, gum arabic, fruit, vegetables, and dried fish. Among displays of tractors and farm equipment, students learned about the agricultural industry and experts demonstrated planting and irrigation techniques at interactive exhibits.
“Agriculture affects every citizen of South Sudan, a nation in which more than 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and forestry for their livelihood,” said USAID Deputy Mission Director Peter Natiello at the opening of the fair.
Republic of South Sudan Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny welcomed farmers and exhibitors who came from across South Sudan and the region to attend the fair. As an example of South Sudan’s enormous potential, Vice President Machar described how rich Western Equatoria state is in its agricultural production, including mangoes and pineapple, but farmers face challenges in bringing their goods to market. “This is where we need investors to come in who can buy products and preserve them, either process it locally, can it, or dry it, and then send it to the areas that do not produce these products,” he said.
USAID is working with the Government of South Sudan to help the new nation tap its great agricultural potential and reach its goal of becoming food secure, including by improving agricultural productivity and strengthening the capacity of the private and public sectors to support market-led agriculture; by helping to develop a commercial domestic seed and fertilizer industry; and by investing in infrastructure, including roads that will help farmers access markets for their products.
This blog can be found at: http://blog.usaid.gov/2011/11/usaid-supports-south-sudan’s-first-agricultural-trade-fair/#more-9109