The African Development Bank (AfDB) has delivered a grant of $14 million to South Sudan to boost agriculture and reduce dependence on oil.
During the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony on Wednesday, the African Development Bank representative, Benedict Sorie Kanu said the grant will support the Agricultural Markets, Value Addition and Trade Development (AMVAT) project by the United Nations Food Agricultural Organization (FAO).
This will enhance agricultural productivity, and boost marketing and trade of agricultural products in the North African country.
Kanu disclosed that South Sudan spends millions of dollars annually to import food, which will change through AMVAT.
He further said: “Yes, we know that there are challenges that hinder agriculture and agricultural business, but they can be overcome as where there is a will, there is a way.”
The AfDB country manager Dr Abdul Kamara 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.
South Sudan’s Minister of Agriculture Josephine Joseph Lagu commended the AfDB support and urged the citizens to cultivate the land to boost food security instead of depending on imported food from neighboring countries.
The North African country 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 plunge, leading to a fall in income.