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In Search of Food and Peace in South Sudan

July 15, 2013 by

Farmer Mary Ngok, 31, receives sorghum, oil, and lentils in exchange for road construction work completed as part of the Catholic Relief Services-led Jonglei Food Security Program, in Jonglei, South Sudan. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/CRS

Farmer Mary Ngok, 31, receives sorghum, oil and lentils in exchange for road construction work completed as part of the Catholic Relief Services-led Jonglei Food Security Program, in Jonglei, South Sudan. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/CRS

Two years after gaining independence, South Sudan continues to face hunger. Author William Lambers writes about a Catholic Relief Services program that addresses this problem.  Excerpts from his article on Think Africa Press:

When Gabriel Gai, a South Sudanese minister, visited Uror County this March, he was there to appeal for peace. There had been numerous incidents of violence and cattle raiding in the region recently, problems that have been ongoing in Jonglei state for many years. But when Gai asked the people to put down their weapons and live peacefully, the community responded by asking him for food.

Amidst the sustained conflicts in South Sudan – those with Sudan as well internal battles between competing tribes – hunger has ravaged local communities. This cycle of hunger, poverty and violence holds South Sudan back, particularly Jonglei, its largest – and perhaps its most unstable – state….

Food aid may help alleviate this problem in the short-term, but the long-term answer lies in producing food locally, unleashing the potential of the country’s farmlands, and finding ways in which local citizens can ensure food security themselves….

One group hoping to facilitate a move towards self-sustained food security in Jonglei is Catholic Relief Services (CRS) which, with the help of US government funding, is attempting to help small farmers through “the process of moving from subsistence farming to harvesting for market”.

Read the full article on Think Africa Press.

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