Juba — President of the Republic H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit has urged South Sudanese to engage in productive work other than depending on few working relatives.
President Kiir was speaking at the launch of the second annual agricultural trade fair and conference at Nyakuron cultural centre in Juba on yesterday. The four day fair is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources and held under the theme "Food security is the other side of human security".
President Kiir said there was what he termed as a "dangerous scenario" of people moving to urban areas disregarding the potential income generating activities like farming. "If you go to one minister's house today, you will be surprised by the number of relatives living in his/her house. We must fight this dependency syndrome and tell our people to work and become self reliant", he said.
The head of state noted that independence of the country should be translated into the ability of the population to feed itself and meet other demands than relying on imported food. He expressed hope that South Sudan would be Africa's food basket owing to the fertile agricultural land, favorable climate and abundant water bodies including the River Nile which is suitable for promoting food production, animal rearing and fishing.
Impressed by the quality and varieties of the agricultural produced at the trade fair stands, President Kiir said there was no reason why communities should remain hungry. "There is no reason why we should have malnourished children when we have more than eleven million herds of cattle in the country", he said.
He however decried the habit of cattle raiding that lead to insecurity in some part of the country. He cautioned pastoralist communities to desist from the act if they are to live without fear of being attacked, killed or their animals being stolen.
President Kiir told them to discard the traditional belief of keeping animals for pride and marriage instead of embracing beef and dairy production to earn income for self sustainability and development. The President reiterated commitment by his government to transform the country's economy through agriculture adding that oil was not a lasting resource.
According to him, about 48 percent of the population in South Sudan is food insecure despite the fact that 83 percent of the citizens live in rural areas but with less agricultural activities. He expressed optimism that the country would be food secure by 2014 and urged investors to focus on increased food production and value addition.