Girls are key to food security in poor countries, says report

Adolescent girls and women are fundamental to unlocking the full potential of agricultural development and feeding the world, according to Chicago think-tank. For instance, in a dusty field in Kitui, eastern Kenya, farmers are being taught how to construct small, semi-circular barriers of earth that control the flow of water, slowing its run-off. Moreover, most of these smallholder farmers are women, which is common in Kenya and South Sudan. The report goes into some of the important cultural barriers girls and women face – marital and inheritance laws that often exclude them from inheriting or securing access to land and other assets critical to increasing productivity, despite their role in the agricultural sector. Read more here.


Where to now for the youth who led South Sudan’s struggle?

The youth of South Sudan played a major role in the independence struggle, bringing new technology and modern ideas to rally support for succession. Yet these same young people now face huge difficulties that are obstructing their participation in constructing their new country – lack of education and job opportunities among them. Maddy Halyard, an intern with Idasa’s States in Transition Observatory, warns this could threaten peaceful and sustainable development. Read more here.

South Sudan’s vast agricultural sector potential untapped

The agricultural sector in the independent South Sudan has more potential than the much fancied oil, gas and minerals. However, agriculture has not received the deserved attention from both locals and foreign investors compared to the other three. Compared to Kenya where only a third of the land is arable, Southern Sudan has 80 % arable land. The South Sudan Minister for Agriculture, Dr Itto, believes that priorities will change to give more focus to agriculture. In the last six years of interim period, lack of feeding roads to rural areas, storage system and other infrastructure, in addition to climate change, are the key factors that have worked against agriculture. Read more here.
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Conflict in Southern Sudan could harm food security

The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation and World Food Programme warn that recent gains in food security in Sudan could be reversed by increasing food prices and an escalation of localised conflict. The agencies say food security in the region largely depends on the post-independence referendum period and the number of people returning to the South. Risk factors include increasing food prices due to reduced trade flows and increased demand from returnees. However, agriculture is expected to be important for southern Sudan’s development and economy. Read more here.

Rising global interest in farmland: Can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits?

The 2007-2008 relatively high and volatile food prices reminded many import-dependent countries of their vulnerability to food insecurity and promoted them to seek opportunities to secure food supplies overseas. About 70% of demand for land acquisition has been in Africa, and countries such as Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sudan have transferred millions of hectares to investors in recent years. The lack of reliable information has made it difficult to measure the impacts of this. Read more here.