Submitted by Angela Stephens
Despite enormous potential for southern Sudan’s agriculture sector, decades of conflict and the legacies of war—including poor transport, limited storage capacity and processing facilities, and a poor investment climate—have hindered agriculture development. As a result, most southern Sudanese farmers produce for subsistence rather than profit, and consumers suffer from high prices of food products, many of which are imported from neighboring countries.
USAID and the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan hosted a conference in Nairobi August 24-25 with the Government of Southern Sudan to address these challenges and revitalize agriculture in southern Sudan, with the goal of improving food security and economic growth for the people of the region.
At the conference, USAID and the Government of Southern Sudan launched an Agriculture Innovation Fund designed to finance public-private sector partnerships promoting new approaches to agricultural development in southern Sudan. USAID also described its plans to establish a United States-Southern Sudan Agriculture Advisory Council composed of agriculture experts from the two governments, and from universities in the United States and southern Sudan, to provide expert advice to the governments on the design and assessment of agriculture development programs in the region. In addition, USAID is working to establish partnerships on agriculture education between Juba University, Catholic University of Sudan, John Garang University, and leading U.S. educational institutions.
Howard G. Buffett, President of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, participated in a panel on private sector partnerships and pledged support for a seeds program with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.