I am Isaac Woja from South Sudan.
I love farming because it gives me some pride in seeing that people get satisfied and become happy of my work. This is what motivates me more than the monetary benefits. My experience as a youth farmer in South Sudan is both bitter and sweet. Bitter in that there are huge challenges for one to succeed in farming as a business. There is poor technology right from the varieties, and execution of the production processes which are commonly done manually. The infrastructure in terms of roads and telecommunication network is poor across the country, making it difficult to access the market or even inputs. Of course the wars that have caused massive displacements making it insecure to access some of the potential production sites. Nontheless the sweet version is that, there are huge resources to tap in and make money out of it; land is available in plenty, the market once accessed is too big to satisfy.
My major achievements are that I have pioneered hydroponic fodder for feeding improved breeds of pigs (landraces, Largewhite, camborough and duroc). Now planning to establish a better unit for production of the fodder and also import wheat, being the best compared to maize and sorghum. I have also succeeded in drip irrigation for dry season vegetable production both in a greenhouse and in the open. I did it during the last dry season and am now strategising for the coming season (Dec - April) for the Juba market when vegetables will be fewer in the market.
If given a chance, I would ask these;
a) How would you bring on board youths that are jobless and are more interested in work that pays them instantly, not like farming that takes months. For example they are more interested in charcoal burning.
b) How would you change the minds of armed youths into farming as a business instead of robberies or raiding livestock
c) In a country like south Sudan where telecommunication and internet is yet underdeveloped, how would you still make good use of the limited available resources
d) How would you make employment through farming as a business sustainable in the rural areas where there are poor infrastructure and lack of financial credit services for financing production activities.