South Korean peacekeepers partner with Dr John Garang Memorial University on pilot rice cultivation programme in Bor
JONGLEI – In South Sudan, agriculture is a key means of livelihood.
But for farmers and consumers to benefit from stable harvests, many factors need to be aligned starting with durable peace, stability, and, not to mention, knowledge about advanced farming practices given the conflict landscape and climate change in the world’s newest nation.
In Jonglei, one of South Sudan’s most food insecure states, academics at the Dr John Garang Memorial University recently partnered with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) pilot programme geared to boost higher yields of rice and, consequently, more economic benefits for rice farmers.
While the project will be administered by South Korean peacekeepers, it was initiated by the government of the Republic of South Korea and is anticipated to run for eight months.
“Increasing yields through advanced farming techniques not only guarantees food security, but also provides South Sudanese with employment opportunities, especially youth. Such engagement helps deter violence and allows young people to spend their time productively,” said Professor Abraham Matoch Dhal, Vice Chancellor of the University.
Peacekeepers from the Republic of Korea presented on ways of producing and cultivating rice, using scientific guidelines, and determining the types of rice compatible with different soil types. Their audience— - Jonglei authorities as well as University staff and students—commended the scientific approach adopted by the Blue Helmets, specially easy-to-apply tips and tricks to boost agricultural productivity.
“The success of this project will not only help our people become less reliant on humanitarian food assistance but will also help build a peaceful environment that, ultimately, will result in development and youth employment,” stated John Samuel Manyuon, Acting Governor of Jonglei State.
These sentiments were echoed by Geetha Pious, the Head of the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Bor.
“This initiative aims to empower youth across Jonglei and also enable numerous farming households to become more financially viable. We hope it will have a transformative impact on the lives of community members,” explained Pious.
The event was attended by the Chairperson of the National Defense Commission of the Korean Parliament, Congressman Ki-Ho-Han who praised peacekeepers for their contribution to building local capacities.
“The Republic of South Korea hopes that this pilot project will become a symbol of peace, prosperity, and a promising future for all South Sudanese,” stated Congressman Han.
As South Sudan strives to complete its democratic transition, such initiatives have the potential to make a significant positive impact on communities.