Juba — Statistics on the wealth of livestock per capita in South Sudan has indicated that the region is leading the world in the underutilized economic sector.
With the population of 8.2 million people according to the 2008 disputed population census, South Sudan has over 31 million heads of cattle, sheep and goats, making it a world leading nation when the animal wealth is calculated per capita.
Botswana used to take lead in the livestock wealth per capita before the latest revelation which has put South Sudan on the lead.
The statistics which was revealed on Wednesday by the Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries, Martin Elia Lomoro, also indicated that the huge livestock wealth has not been utilized or introduced into the economic development of the country which would have contributed to generating non-oil revenues.
Despite the over 31 million cattle, sheep and goats, South Sudan continues to import most of the meat from the neighbouring countries to feed its population, losing hundreds of millions of dollars every year without exports in return.
The economic cluster meeting on Wednesday chaired by the Vice-President Riek Machar discussed some of the main challenges facing the livestock industry. These include the traditional mindset of the cattle keepers which only values cattle for marriages and prestige.
The meeting discussed the need to change the mindset and persuade the cattle keepers to commercialize the commodity by bringing the cattle to the markets and benefit from their other economic values.
There are also trans-boundary animal diseases which should be controlled in the ten states of the region, according to the minister, by designing mechanisms to make sure that the animals are routinely vaccinated in order to maintain their good health, produce quality meat and dairy products.
South Sudan has been dependent on the oil revenues by 98% of its annual budget for the last eight years despite the huge potential from the non-oil resources.