A Food and Agriculture Policy Framework for the World’s Newest Country

A task force from the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and a team from FAO have been working on a food and agricultural development policy. A consultation workshop to discuss and refine the draft policy was held in Juba from the 20 to 22 September 2011. Focus on Agricultural Development in Southern Sudan

The world’s newest country has huge land resources with a great potential to produce food to meet its needs, and that of neighboring countries. However, currently most of the food sold in the market in Southern Sudan is imported and a significant proportion of food insecure people rely on imported food aid.

Thus one of the objectives of the policy is to provide a solid policy framework for agricultural development including policies for:

  • production support services– with a special look at how the private sector can be harnessed to provide various services including input delivery and mechanization;
  • expanding agricultural markets, value chain development and finance – with a special emphasis on agribusiness development; and
  • Interrelationships between food security, social development and climate change.

Other issues to be examined include:

  • policy coordination; and
  • monitoring and evaluation of progress made.

Consultation Workshop: A Food and Agriculture Policy Framework for Southern Sudan

The main objective of the workshop was to bring together a wide group of stakeholders to discuss and refine the draft food security policy document. Strategies for implementing the policy, as well as budget issues, were also discussed.

The consultation was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development of the Republic of South Sudan with support from Sudan Institutional Capacity Programme: Food Security Information for Action (SIFSIA). Participants included staff from the National Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development, the State Ministries of Agriculture, FAO, EU, USAID and NGOs.

The workshop was officially opened by Mr. Beda Machar, the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development.

Mr Mulat Demeke from the EC FAO Programme, gave an overview of the draft food security which was prepared earlier after consultations with government officials, technical experts, farmers, traders, etc. The task force presented detailed presentations on specific areas of the policy. This led to lively debates, which were further commented on by small working groups in the later stage of the workshops.

Delegates from Southern Sudan’s ten states discussed how the policy could be implemented in their states and what was the best way of coordinating with the central government.

Next Steps

The draft policy will be revised based on recommendations and comments from the consultation. It will be then presented to the Council of Ministers of Southern Sudan.

If approved, it will become the official policy document for guiding agricultural development in the country. Each state will develop strategies and investment programs to implement the overall policy in their areas.