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Agribusiness is it. South Sudan c/ USAID.

We read about the North bombing the South, massive numbers of IDPs, violent clashes between cattle rustling clans leaving many dead.  Certainly, this is the reality for many in South Sudan, but there are other things going on as well.

On 12 November 2011, I saw this in Juba, South Sudan.  It was a pleasant surprise.  In a country and region heavily dominated by talk of food aid and handouts here was something a little new.  It was all about growing, buying and selling food.

Juba Roundabout - AgFairSouthSudan.org

The US Taxpayer at work: Good News For South Sudan

Gear - agribusiness.

A real local grower.

The above picture is a bit dark but its a grower from one of the toughest places in South Sudan – Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.

Shame was he had no brochure or business card, but he heralded from along the north eastern border close to Darfur, and was clearly a savvy chap who was up to alot of “growing”.

Markets where? Demand – side where?  Good questions.  He needed help finding buyers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Nathan Yaffe says:

    Edward,

    Great to see this update – I’m excited to read more.

    I have some questions that I would love to hear more about as you find out, if you haven’t already.

    When I was in Ethiopia doing ag research, the only operations that had large machinery like that pictured above were the ‘commercial’ farms (>90% of commercial farmland in Ethiopia is owned by the foreign investors of ‘land grab’ infamy). I couldn’t immediately tell from the Ag Fair link whether this fair primarily engaged smallholders or large, commercial farmers. My suspicion is that it’s the latter: as this Oakland Institute report details, more than 1 million hectares of farmland in Sudan has already gone to foreign investment, and that was in early 2010: http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/misinvestment_web.pdf

    [I know you have the local grower pictured there, but local growers (in Ethiopia) usually work as farm managers on foreign-owned, commercial farms.]

    So, I’m wondering what the division of foreign aid (e.g. USAID investment) and market activity is, between foreign-owned commercial farms and local smallholders? If it’s skewed toward commercial, foreign operations, it at least needs to be an open question whether increasing activity involving them is positive or negative…

    Just some thoughts to hopefully spur further exploration!

    -Nathan

  2. Edward Rees says:

    Land grabs? Perhaps. Industrialisation? Perhaps. An agrarian revolution? Maybe. What is for certain is that the South Sudanese need something and FDI is good news. As long as its done with equity.


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