JUBA, South Sudan

The president of South Sudan on Friday said the country’s military would be deployed during peacetime to help in efforts to develop agriculture and fight chronic hunger and famine.

“We must end for once the annual threat of famine and hunger in South Sudan and give the World Food Program (WFP) and organizations alike a break. We must begin to take responsibility for feeding our people from our land,” said Salva Kiir.

“We have no excuse to allow the world to feed our people indefinitely. The time has come now to end this and to use our military for peacetime purposes such as food production and road construction. I want the Ministry of Agriculture to activate the agriculture master plan and make food security a reality and collaborate with the Ministry of Defense on this initiative,” added Kiir.

He underlined that the nation’s ability to achieving food security would depend on ending all forms of violence including communal and political clashes.

“Enough is enough, the peace we must pursue at all costs and to silence all the guns as this is the demand of our people, the order of the African Union and the world.”

While the threat of hunger poses a major threat to the world’s youngest nation, the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as an even more urgent risk, Kiir added.

The landlocked East-Central African country suffers a famine season every year from May to July.

Some 6.5 million people — more than half the population — face hunger in the country every year.

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