Huge harvests excite farmers in S. Sudan’s Jonglei state

September 28, 2015 (BOR) – Hundreds of farmers in South Sudan’s Jonglei state have started harvesting, despite the three-month drought that had threatened crop production.

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Abraham Mayom Lual, who leads the 51 farmers, preparing his field for cultivation in Bor, in June 2015 (ST photo)

Paul Angeth, a farmer who owns a seven fedan farm, partitioned it for crops such as maize, sorghum and groundnuts, with the largest part of his farm allocated for sorghum.

A commercial farmer, Angeth is currently the leading seed multiplier in Bor, supplying other farmers with good qualify seeds of different varieties at affordable prices.

However, although Angeth did not cultivate enough land this year due to drought, the renowned farmer is hopeful that quantity of his crops would not enable him incur loses.

“A farm that doesn’t sell cannot certainly grow. I am not just a farmer who consumes what he produces. I sell to the market either as seeds or food. So I produce quantities of quality sorghum and maize for the public to supply ustomers, he told Sudan Tribune.

“This year, I cultivated only seven fedan because there was drought. Two, I did not get a tractor on time. But I hired a local laborers to do the job for me at certan stages before it became too late. There was no enough rains for planting between May and July upto first week of July. Only light showers which we used for planting. Today, if you look at my sorghum crop, you cannot belief that there was actually drought here. Good quality”, explained Angeth as he toured around his farm at Mol-door village near Bor town.

The farmer said he never returned to his 24 fedan farm, which he vacated in December 2013 due to the crisis. Angeth once benefited from the Norwegian People Aid (NPA) funding, with which he used to expand is commercial farming business.

During the country’s crisis, he lost all that he had, so he was forced to start from scratch.

Angeth also registered under the Catholic Relief Service after being advised by extension agents from the agriculture minister. He received seeds and tools in 2014 and was one of the leading seed suppliers in Bor a year later, having sold over 20 bags of seeds.

Ayen Khor, a 43-year old mother of six, from the same village said she would soon harvest what she expected to see in the next four months of the year.

“I have a small land. I also planted late and so my crops we not affected by drought so much. The problem is that I will harvest late and that means birds pests would destroy my crop in mid October, that is the only worry”, Khor told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

Several farmers in Makol-cuei village complained of birds destroying planted food crops.

With only a quarter of the state population engaged in agricultural activities, there are fears the level of food security could be far below 20% as the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) plans to reduce this year’s unconditional food supply to 30%.