Farmers attend ox-plow training in Aweil
About 600 farmers in Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal State are undergoing three-week oxen plow training aimed at improving their skills to increase yields and fight poverty in Aweil Centre and Aweil South Counties.
The state's agriculture ministry, in collaboration with a civil society organization, Agriculture Transforming and Rural Development (ATAD), started the capacity building last week and will conclude on 21 April.
Akuei Door, the Executive Director for ATAD, said his organization is currently training six hundred beneficiaries in Aweil South and Aweil Center Counties.
“This training was initiated by the ministry of agriculture to boost agriculture productivity and to reduce hunger. We, ATAD, came in to support this training by transferring the skills to the farmers so that they acquire the skills through oxen plow training, then they will apply the skills on their farms,’’ Door said.
Martin Chan Majok, a trainee from Aweil South County, appreciated the program and called for intensive preparations before the rains begin.
“The oxen training is very good indeed. If you have a cow and you never want to train it, you will not gain anything and if you train it, your farm will get cultivated easily. We have just started the training on Saturday and resumed today (Monday) and the cows are accepting the training now. We are calling for the urgent conclusion of the training ahead of the rainy season so that the oxen may perform better,’’ Chan said.
Another beneficiary in Aweil Center County, Bulis Akook Anyar, said it was difficult for him to cultivate enough land manually.
“I hope the training will make a great change in the area because the oxen plow brings a lot of production. A person can now cultivate even 10 hectares compared to manual cultivation. I hope this agricultural season will produce much and will compensate me with good harvests,” Akook said.
Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal State’s agriculture ministry says it decided to empower the local farmers after partners like the Center for Emergency Development Support (CEDS) pulled out and left farming groups powerless. The ministry has also said it appealed to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme to support the farmers across the state.
“Yes, the initiative is from the ministry of agriculture because there are needs and the organization which was working on this has pulled out. We agreed with volunteer trainers to carry out capacity building and training is free and we don’t pay the farmers. What happens is this farmer may come with his ox and join the training,’’ said Beda Diing William, Director General for Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal State’s agriculture ministry.