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- Category: Latest (South) Sudan News From Various Sources
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The birds ate the sorghum. The farmers didn’t know how to fix the tractors.
But four years after a group of Londoners started mechanizing farming in South Sudan, successful harvests are coming, and not just in crops.
True, good corn yields are expected this November, said Dave Tennant, founder of CEDASS (Canadian Economic Development Assistance for Southern Sudan).
But he’s just as excited about the fact one part of the farm developed and maintained by Canadian volunteers is being taken over by some of the Southern Sudanese.
“It is a huge breakthrough. It doesn’t sound like much, but we had one of the villages take over one of the fields. That is exactly what we want. They took over the field to grow their own crop.”
Equally encouraging, 10 young men have volunteered to take six months of agricultural training, in tractor repair for example, to help keep the crops coming.
“One of the reasons that we had an 85% failure rate in the first year of tractors going in was because nobody was maintaining them,” Tennant said.
“These people are coming and being trained and they are not asking for payment because they see the future. It’s a small thing to London, Ontario, Canada, but to us over there, who measure our failures in feet and our successes in inches, it’s a huge step forward.”
CEDASS celebrated its successes and raised money for its agriculture projects Saturday at a fundraising dinner featuring Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
MacKay told more than 100 supporters that the London non-profit group was helping a country that desperately needs a certain kind of aid.
“It needs Canada perhaps more than any other other (country) on the planet,” MacKay said.
“This is a country that has been among the poorest on the planet, most affected by child mortality, by disease, by famine, by all accounts a country that is so much in need of our support.”
CEDASS offers hope in the only way that can work, by working with the South Sudanese, MacKay said.
“Beyond the physical or tangible contributions, it is your willingness to listen. It is the attitude that is brought to attacking these issues, a genuine partnership.”
CEDASS, he said, “feeds into the hope of a nation that has a hard history made harder by the recent downturn in the world economy.”
Money raised at the $150-a-plate dinner at the Hellenic Centre on Southdale Rd. goes to the Jebel Lado Farm Project, which is providing equipment and training to help mechanize and modernize agriculture.
The ultimate aim is to help South Sudan, dependent on imported grain, become self-sufficient in food production.
CEDASS originally helped plant sorghum, but it was too tempting to the birds, so it focuses on corn and soybean now, Tennant said.
After decades of civil war, South Sudan became a new nation in July 2011. But the country remains beset by tribal conflict and problems within the government.
“South Sudan’s issues now are internal, not external,” said Tennant, who has visited the country 15 times.
“They can’t build their nation on the back of donor support. They have to take the initiative and that is going to be their biggest challenge.”
Newer news items:
- Al-Degair Calls on SPLM-N to Cut Ties with South Sudan - Sudan Vision - 17/09/2012
- South Sudan boat sinking toll rises to 40 - News24 - 17/09/2012
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- South Sudanese bear 'invisible scars' - News24 - 17/09/2012
- Scenes from Yida refugee camp in South Sudan - NBCNews.com (blog) - 17/09/2012
Older news items:
- South Sudan army sinks its own boat, killing 10 - CBS News - 16/09/2012
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- South Sudan army sinks its own boat, killing 10 - The Seattle Times - 16/09/2012
- South Sudanese military sinks its own boat, killing 10 soldiers and leaving ... - Washington Post - 16/09/2012
- South Sudan army sinks its own boat, killing 10 - The Associated Press - 16/09/2012
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