JUBA, South Sudan

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has provided a grant of $14 million to South Sudan for boosting agriculture and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil.

During the MoU signing ceremony on Wednesday, AfDB representative Benedict Sorie Kanu said the grant will support the Agricultural Markets, Value Addition and Trade Development (AMVAT) project by the UN Food Agricultural Organization.

It aims at enhancing agricultural productivity, and boosting marketing and trade of agricultural products in the North African country.

Kanu said South Sudan spends millions of dollars annually to import food, which will change through AMVAT. “Yes, we know that there are challenges that hinder agriculture and agricultural business, but they can be overcome… where there is a will there is a way,” he said.

The AfDB country manager said there is a need to organize small rural farmers, returnees, displaced people and ex-combatants, offer them support ranging from extension services, improved seeds and equipment to ensure they process their agricultural products.

Minister of Agriculture Josephine Joseph Lagu applauded the AfDB support, and urged the citizens to till the land to boost food security instead of depending on imported food from neighboring countries.

South Sudan largely depends on profits from oil to finance its annual fiscal expenditures. But the current volatile global oil market, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, has led the crude price to plummet, leading to a fall in income.

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