South Sudan: Kiir Says He Will Fight Against Poverty in South Sudan

Juba — South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit, has reiterated his government's commitment to fight against poverty which he said has inflicted on the bulk of the populations across his new country for many years.

Kiir was addressing the launching of a conference on agriculture and food security on Tuesday at Nyakuron Culture Centre in Juba when he revealed that 48% of his country's population is food insecure.

The situation inflicts a heavy toll on 86% of the country's population which lives in rural setups, he said, urging the communities to specialize in farming activities through the support by programmes of the government.

80% of South Sudan is arable land suitable for agriculture but only 4% of the land is cultivated for agriculture, according to the official statistics.

He also called on the cattle herding communities not to use the 11 million heads of cattle in the country only for prestige but to also introduce them in commercial activities and promote fishery as well.

The President appealed to those who want to invest in agriculture to do so and help change the poverty situation in his country by 2014.

Corruption in the government also prevents progress in the development of the new nation and the president has always reiterated his zero tolerance policy on the disease which harms the future of the country.

Hangovers from the past differences also contribute to the lack of the badly needed unified front as comrades in order to collectively chart the nation's future in peace and harmony.

President Kiir also told the conference on Tuesday that the populations including the leaders are mentally traumatized by the decades of war and are in need of counselling in order to progress.

"Even me I need people to come around me and talk to me," he said, in a direct reference to the trauma.

On Saturday last week, Kiir's deputy, Riek Machar, also told a preparatory meeting for a reconciliation conference scheduled for April 2013 that the nation was still in trauma due to its violent past and in need of healing through a national reconciliation process.

"South Sudan has gone through a violent past which has caused mental barriers with some still fighting wars in their minds," he told the preparatory meeting in the Council of Ministers hall on Saturday, adding that "the country should reconcile with its own past."

"People should accept the past even if not necessarily forgetting it and come to terms with it," he further advised.

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