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South Sudanese youths empower themselves through food production

South Sudan

On a seven-acre plot at the Hanbit Agriculture Research Centre, in Bor, South Sudan, young farmers are learning new skills meant to equip them to run a profitable farm business.

The three-month course is being offered at a vocational centre supported by Korean peacekeepers.

With the ongoing rainy season, the students have been able to witness their crops grow healthy and have even harvested some produce.

It is something good, because the knowledge that we have acquired here, we are going to do it there in the community.

Peter Mathiei, is one of the students enrolled in the program.

“It is something good, because the knowledge that we have acquired here, we are going to do it there in the community because when we will be delivered here [graduate from here], we are going to open up our farms,” he said.

The students are trained on how to grow a variety of crops, including maize, celery, and cucumbers, among others.

The young East African country won independence from Sudan in 2011 but in December 2013, slid into civil war after a dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

“Conflict only brought poverty, but agriculture can bring welfare of the people. And also the current situation is different from the time of conflict. You can see that the communities are now working together here in Hanbit ,” said Manyok Abraham, an instructor, at the centre.

Students learn technologies like irrigation that enable them to store and use rainwater to cultivate crops. They also learn to set up greenhouses and use them to grow crops.

Earlier this month, Kiir granted an amnesty to rebels including Machar after a series of failed peace deals and broken ceasefires – and there have been no reports of major fighting since.

The ethnically charged violence has killed tens of thousands of people and forced nearly four million to flee their homes, according to U.N. figures.

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