Western Equatoria farmers trained in crop management
27 April 2012 - To boost food productivity in Western Equatoria, the state Ministry of Agriculture conducted a one-day crop management workshop today in the capital Yambio.
The ministry provided four agricultural experts to train the 24 farmers from Nzara and Yambio counties who attended the workshop, which was organized and funded by UNMISS Public Information Office (PIO).
"Although we have fertile and rich land, we are still suffering from food insecurity due to lack of know-how and ignorance on the field," Ministry Director General Marcelo Constantino said in opening remarks.
"This is one of the most important trainings we have in the state, and the first of its kind to specifically target farmers, who really need such kind of training to increase their productivity," the director general added.
Participants were trained in crop management as well as pest and insect control strategies.
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative Louise Banare said the training would provide farmers with basic techniques in tackling challenges related to food security.
"This training will definitely improve on farmers' knowledge and their ability to increase production and hence improve their livelihoods," Mr. Banare said.
Abisai Yapeta from the agriculture ministry said participants would gain practical farming skills, which would boost food productivity in their fields.
Closing the event, UNMISS Western Equatoria State Coordinator Miriam Ghalmi said the state was naturally rich and fertile, stressing that it must claim its identity as the bread basket of South Sudan.
There could be no peace without development, she said, noting that agriculture was a strong element for peace.
Wiliam Andrew, a farmer from Yambio County, said the training on pest and insect control had been of great benefit for him.
"Pests and insects (have) destroyed our crops for a long time," he said. "Today I acquired enough knowledge (on) how to protect my farm from them."
Kari Paul from Nzara County requested more training on like topics.
Peyman Pejman, head of UNMISS PIO Community Outreach, said his unit planned to organize similar workshops across the state on a monthly basis.