South Sudan minister complains of low budget for agriculture

Minister of Agriculture Beda Machar has expressed disappointment with the lack of budget allocated for agriculture in the 2016 national budget, saying the government has shown “no commitment” toward diversifying the economy.

The minister is warning that 2016 will be an extremely hard year for the livestock sector because the national budget did not allocate sufficient resources for growth.

“The parliament has never allocated a significant budget to the Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock. The total budget for agriculture has always fallen below the 10 percent threshold as agreed in the Maputo Declaration for a second successive financial year, where countries, agreed to devote at least 10 per cent of their national budget to agriculture.”

“I don’t think that has been a practical and workable policy framework that seriously addresses the issue of economic diversification. Repeatedly and consistently, we allocate less and less to agriculture. You can’t diversify the economy without addressing agriculture,” said Machar during an interview on Monday.

“There is absolutely no commitment. We are committed to other things other than what really matters to improve the lives of our people. Between 70 to 80 per cent of our people live in rural areas and we don’t even respect them enough to commit resources commensurate with their status as a segment of the population.”

He added that the 2016 national budget has effectively been halved owing to the oil price depreciation globally.