IPS – Forcing South Sudan’s Idle Youth into Farming | Inter Press Service
Police in South Sudan have begun press-ganging every “idle” youth
they can find to provide labour on police farms. The State Police
Commissioner in Northern Bahr al Gazal state says young men cannot be
left to drink tea and play cards all day while food insecurity threatens
“Anyone who does not want to cultivate will be captured and brought
to plant for us. Whether you are a soldier, or a policeman, or a member
of the prison service … if you choose to put on your best clothes to
come and loiter in town, we shall take you to work for us. Whether you
want it or not,” State Police Commissioner Akot Deng Akot told IPS.
A staggering 4.7 million South Sudanese – almost half the population – are food insecure, according to the United Nations.
“One million of these people are severely food insecure meaning they
can only afford to eat one meal once in two or three days, while the
other 3.7 million people are moderately food insecure meaning they can
at least afford to eat a meal per day,” the U.N.’s Humanitarian
Coordinator in South Sudan, Lise Grande, told IPS in an earlier
The countrywide food insecurity is being blamed on a number of
factors, including a cereal deficit. According to the U.N. the deficit
doubled from 200,000 metric tonnes in 2011 to 470,000 this year. In
addition, high fuel prices and a weakening local currency have
contributed to the situation.
Central Equatoria state’s Agriculture Minister Michael Roberto Kenyi
told IPS that the policy of giving civil servants days off was making a
difference and that civil servants had to lead by example.
“Leadership in the past used to be that you should have a house, a
garden and a granary. A leader must have these things to be considered a
leader. As a civil servant, you need to be exemplary to the community
and you cannot be exemplary when your granary is empty,” ..He said that an assessment would be done by the state after the December harvest.
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