South Sudan Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

The White Nile River with its numerous tributaries is the lifeblood of South Sudan. In combination with fertile soil, the river water provides the country with good opportunities to develop the agricultural sector in the long term. Today, however, the vast majority of livestock care and cultivation lives for their own use. The most common food crops are millet, corn, rice, cassava and peanuts. However, it is the livestock herds that matter most to most South Sudanese.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of South Sudan. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

Over half the land area consists of potentially good agricultural land that could be cultivated. Among the many crops grown are cotton, wheat, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, sesame seeds and fruits such as pineapple, mango, banana and papaya.

However, among the two large peoples groups Dinka and Nuer, as well as among other peoples, livestock farming has a significantly higher status than cultivation. Livestock is a means of payment and a measure of wealth and prestige. Livestock raids between people groups and clans are a recurring torment. At the same time, Arab cattle nomads north of the border have, according to old custom, the right to drive their animals south during the dry season, into the pasture lands of the Dinka people. For South Sudan defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.

A 1959 agreement regulates how Nile water is distributed between Sudan and Egypt. However, as early as the 1970s, Sudan utilized its entire quota. In 1978, Sudan and Egypt began to build the 36-mile Jonglei Canal to speed up the White Nile’s run through the Suds, where more than half of the river water evaporates. However, environmental problems, protests from residents around the swamp and sabotage during the run-up to the war that broke out in 1983 meant that the building had to be canceled.

Despite good conditions for agriculture, perhaps about a quarter of the population suffers from food shortages. The reason is that the already limited agricultural production almost collapsed during the civil war in 2013-2015, when large sections of the rural population were forced to leave their fields and flee the fighting. In many places, the land has also been mined since previous wars against northern Sudan, which meant that the farmers could not return to their farms. Large mined areas have been redeveloped, but armed groups are suspected of laying out new mines during the ongoing fighting in recent years. In July 2014, the UN Security Council warned of “the catastrophic food shortage” in South Sudan and called it the world’s worst.

Almost one third of the land area is covered by forest. In the forests of the south there are hardwoods such as teak, mahogany and true, a type of acacia tree that secretes rubber arabic, which is an important ingredient in soft drinks and sweets.

Fishing in the Nile and its tributaries, as well as in Suddträsken, is of great importance to the local population.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

11.4 percent (2016)

  • Offers how the 3-letter acronym of SSPS stands for the state of South Sudan in geography.



Decree is issued in 28 states

By decree Kiir drives through that the ten states have been dissolved and that 28 new states have been formed. He appoints governors for all 28 states. Seven of the ten former governors are allowed to retain their duties, but in new states.

The UN force is reinforced

The UN Security Council approves the extension of UNMISS by 1,100 soldiers and the mandate of the force is extended until 31 July 2016.


Thousands of new child soldiers

According to the UN agency Unicef, up to 16,000 children have been forced to take up arms in the army and rebel groups since the beginning of the year.

Joint Defense Force for Juba

The government and the rebels agree to form a joint defense force for Juba. Just over two-thirds of the 4,830 soldiers will be taken out of the army, the rest from the rebel side.


Call for imminent famine

The United Nations Agricultural Organization (FAO) warns that famine is imminent in several war-affected areas. An association of more than 300 aid organizations warns in a call that the humanitarian situation is deteriorating and that they have been forced to withdraw from parts of Unity due to ongoing fighting. The war must now also have spread to southern South Sudan where it has been relatively quiet so far.

South Sudan gets 28 states

President Kiir orders that the number of states be increased from 10 to 28. The purpose is to “transfer more power to the people”, according to Kiir. The rebels see the decision as a shock to the peace treaty, which stipulates how power should be distributed between the government and the rebels in the existing ten states. The US and the EU also condemn Kiir’s statements.


Crimes against the ceasefire lead to new refugee flows

The UN confirms that the parties are violating the ceasefire and that at least 18,000 people have fled their homes since the agreement was signed. According to the UN, conditions for the civilian population have continued to deteriorate during the formal ceasefire.


Strong doubts about the agreement

The government presents such a long list of reservations to the agreement that doubts are raised as to whether it should be possible. The government describes the agreement as a “humiliation” and a “reward for the rebels”. Among other things, the government criticizes the decision to have the rebels appoint governors in the most important oil states. The government also believes that the state is deprived of part of its sovereignty by now overseeing the peace process by an international force that reports to the international community.

War crimes should be investigated

A Truth, Reconciliation and Healing Commission shall be appointed to investigate all human rights violations committed during the war. A special court will be established in collaboration with the AU to investigate cases that could possibly be classified as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Persons suspected of such crimes may not be included in the transitional government.

The division of power is clarified

The current SPLM government receives 53 percent of the ministerial posts at the national level and the rebels receive 33 percent. Other parties receive remaining government assignments. In seven of the country’s ten states, the SPLM government receives 85 percent of the ministerial posts, while in the three most war-torn states of Jonglei, Unity and the Upper Nile, the government receives 46 percent and the rebels receive 40 percent. In Unity and the Upper Nile, the rebels may appoint governors.

Transitional government should be formed

A sensitive point for President Kiir is that the peace agreement stipulates that the rebels should appoint a “first vice president,” which likely means Machar gets back the post he was dismissed from in 2013. A provisional unity government will take office after 90 days and lead the country for 30 months. 60 days before the transitional government resigns, general elections must be held, ie in early 2018.

Peace agreement is reached despite doubtful president

After severe pressure from the outside world, and with several objections, President Kiir finally signs a peace agreement, which Machar also signs. In particular, the President objects to Juba becoming a demilitarized zone and having to consult with the Vice President on important political issues. According to the agreement, a “permanent cease-fire” will take effect within three days. The government and the rebels are given 30 days to withdraw their soldiers to the barracks and lock in their weapons. Foreign forces (mainly Ugandan troops on the government side) must leave the country within 45 days. Militants from, for example, Darfur and the Nuba Mountains in Sudan are to be disarmed and sent home. No soldiers may be closer to Juba than 25 kilometers. The capital is to be protected by the presidential guard, the police and special guards.


UN base is fired

Rebels shoot a UN depot where around 30,000 civilians sought protection. A man is killed and six are injured. According to the UN force Unmiss, the attack could be classified as a war crime. The UN states that the force now houses over 150,000 civilians at its facilities.

The UN sanctions against more commanders

The UN General Assembly imposes sanctions on three commanders of the government army and just as many from the rebel forces. Their financial assets abroad are frozen and they are forbidden to leave the country.


Pagan Amum again becomes SPLM’s Secretary General

SPLM’s dismissed Secretary-General retains his post. President Kiir’s decision to dismiss Amum and the then Vice President Riek Machar contributed greatly to triggering the civil war (see July 2013).

Severe child abuse

The UN Children’s Fund accuses the government army of killing at least 129 children during an offensive in May 2014. Survivors must have told how boys were castrated and left to bleed, while girls as young as eight were raped and killed. Some children must have been thrown into burning buildings. Igad observers say the warring parties robbed 1,000 children in June alone to use them as soldiers.

Kiir is accused of complicating the relief work

The head of the UN peacekeeping efforts accuses President Kiir of making the work of protecting civilians more difficult by countering UN UNMIS’s work. He says that Kiir has refused to let the UN requisition attack helicopters and unmanned reconnaissance planes (drones) and stated that UN personnel taking photographs should be considered spies.

Nearly five million go hungry

The number of inhabitants threatened with severe food shortages has now increased from 2.5 million at the beginning of 2015 to 4.6 million, ie more than one third of the population.

UN envoy expelled

The government decides, without further justification, to expel UN official Toby Lanzer who is responsible for coordinating the World Organization’s aid work in the country.


Igad: “Serious Human Rights Crimes”

Over half the country’s population of nearly 12 million is in need of some kind of help for its survival, according to the UN. Around 2.5 million South Sudanese have acute food shortages. UN staff and diplomats inside South Sudan report on how girls are being raped, housing estates are burned down and boys as young as 10 are robbed as soldiers. The regional cooperation organization Igad accuses the government army of “serious human rights crimes”.

Battle and humanitarian crisis in Unity

Fighting in various parts of the state of Unity forces up to 100,000 people to flee, according to the UN. Several aid and aid organizations must evacuate foreign personnel or cancel their operations in Unity, where the UN warns that over 300,000 civilians are left without much-needed assistance.


Opposition leaders are removed

Peter Mayen Majongdit, chairman of the newly formed Liberal People’s Party (PLP), is being removed from his home by unknown men. This happens after he said in a newspaper that the government should take back the four billion dollars he claims that high-ranking politicians embraced, rather than taking new foreign loans.


President Kiir’s mandate is extended

Parliament extends Kiir’s mandate for three years to 2018 as a direct result of the breakdown of peace talks.

The UN is proposed to administer South Sudan

In a previously kept secret report from the AU, it is proposed that South Sudan be placed under international administration with UN mandate and that Kiir and Machar be banned from politics. The report also criticized other African states and Western countries such as the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States for contributing to the drafting peace agreement that in 2005 set the stage for the war between North and South Sudan. According to the report, the peace agreement led to the handover of power in the new South Sudan directly to military leaders who lacked political opposition.

The UN is preparing sanctions

Negotiations for a transitional government are slow as the parties cannot agree on how power should be distributed. Both Kiir and Machar receive stinging personal criticism from Igad and the UN for their unwillingness to put the people’s well before their own dealings. The UN Security Council votes unanimously to prepare sanctions against those who stand in the way of an end to the civil war. A committee shall propose persons or organizations to be punished with travel bans, frozen assets or prohibited from buying weapons.


Forbidden to interview rebels

The government of Juba prohibits the media from publishing interviews with rebels.

Ugandan soldiers stay

The governments of South Sudan and Uganda agree that the Ugandan soldiers who support the government army will stay in South Sudan for at least four more months. Despite the ceasefire, the fighting continues.

General elections are postponed until 2018

Reports indicate that a seventh ceasefire agreement has been signed by Kiir and Machar. The parties have also agreed that a provisional unity government should be appointed at the latest on South Sudan’s four-year anniversary on July 9. The interim government will rule the country for 30 months and Kiir will remain president for the time being. The general elections announced until June 30 are postponed until after the 30-month period, ie until January 2018.


Hundreds of child soldiers are released – thousands left in battle

The Rebels release 280 child soldiers, some as young as eleven. Around 3,000 children have been promised not to release military service, but a total of about 12,000 children are estimated to have been recruited into armed forces in 2014.

General elections are announced

Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on June 30, the Election Commission announces. However, President Kiir has previously recommended that the elections be postponed because of the civil war. Even the country’s small political opposition says it will be impossible to hold free and fair elections and question whether South Sudan can afford this. According to the transitional constitution, a census must be carried out before the election, which can hardly be eliminated.

South Sudan Agriculture and Fishing