Police learning to farm in Eastern Equatoria
31 August 2013- To increase food supplies in Eastern Equatoria, UN Police (UNPOL) and South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) officers today kicked off a yam-planting project near the state capital Torit.
"This is a way of showing the community that if we work, we can produce our own food," the state's police commissioner, Maj. Gen. Henry Danima Odu, said as he planted the first seed. "It is all part of the government's food security drive."
The commissioner planted the first set of at least forty tubers of yam crop on a one-acre demonstration farm at Katire Payam, 45 kilometers south of Torit.
"We are starting with yam because it is new to this area and so we want to try it and see (how it works out), but we are going to grow vegetables and grains," said. Maj. Gen Odu.
UNPOL State Advisor Okon Asuquo said the project would bring enormous benefits for the community. "The harvest (will) be ploughed back into the community so that they can sustain this initiative and take it on (to) a larger scale," he said.
Officials from the state's Ministry of Agriculture pledged to provide technical support to ensure its success.
In a similar project, UNMISS Civil Affairs in the state is preparing for harvest of a ten-acre maize crop which they planted with residents of Tirrangore locality, near Torit.
"The project (aimed) to promote community livelihoods as a peacebuilding mechanism, while the people also learnt new farming techniques," said Civil Affairs team leader Julius Fondong.
He added that the community would decide what to do with income earned from selling the maize.
"We have never sown maize in this area," said Faisal Alphonse, the local chief. "We have learnt a lot from this and I will copy this example and encourage my people to have their own farms."