Gov’t, ITC team up to promote fruits, vegetable growth

Fruits and vegetables being sold at Konyokonyo Freedom market. Courtesy PhotoFruits and vegetables being sold at Konyokonyo Freedom market. Courtesy Photo

The government and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have teamed up to promote the production of fruits and vegetables to increase the country’s agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

On Monday, the ministry of trade and industry, with support from the ICT, launched its first development strategy for the fruit and vegetable industry as an alternative to strengthening the country’s economy, particularly in the agricultural sector.

The goal of the initiative is to give micro, small, and medium-sized businesses in the value chains of fruits and vegetables the opportunity to quickly gain economic and employment success.

Speaking at the launch, the First Undersecretary of Trade and Industry, Ocum Genes Karlo, said the approach will enable the country to catch up with its competitors and profit from regional trade integration.

He said the launch will allow the country to exercise the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

“The strategy will ultimately foster resilient and sustainable food systems, inclusive growth, and job creation,” said Karlo.

South Sudan still imports the majority of its fruits and vegetables from nearby nations like Kenya and Uganda, despite having fertile soil and a large amount of land for farming.

However, the Undersecretary said, with the strategic plan in place, the nation would be able to advance in its industry and strive to export its goods abroad.

Meanwhile, Darius Kurek, Senior Officer for Export Strategy at the ICT, stated that the strategy would provide opportunities to invest in much-needed priority projects that would form the foundation of South Sudan’s agricultural development.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) provided technical assistance in designing the strategy as part of its Jobs Creation and Trade Development Project, an EU-funded project.

The Strategy builds on the ongoing initiatives in the areas of private-sector development, regional integration, investment and economic empowerment of youth.

To ensure prompt implementation of activities, whether, by the public sector, the commercial sector, or international development agencies, it is also accompanied by an attempt to create the appropriate implementation roles among key players early on.

The main result of this strategy is an approved, complete document with a five-year action plan that is well thought out and includes frameworks for implementation management.

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