JUBA, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan is implementing 28 livestock development projects in a bid to boost quality of the country's untapped livestock resources and begin export by 2040, a senior government official said.
James Janga Duku, Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Resources told Xinhua on Monday that his ministry would invest at least 12.5 million U.S. dollars on development of livestock infrastructure such as slaughter houses, laboratories and disease control programs, among others.
Duku said South Sudan is home to 12 million cattle and over 28 million goats and sheep, but it cannot export its livestock due to threats posed by diseases such as the deadly Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Rift Valley fever.
"We have developed a plan that by 2040, we should be able to be confident that South Sudan will export if we can implement the programs," Duku told Xinhua after opening a four-day animal health workshop in Juba.
He added resources from the livestock sector would reduce the country's dependence on oil revenue and boost prospects of economic recovery.
"We are still pinned to the oil which is our only source of revenue but we want to push ourselves into livestock to diversify the economy," he said.
Duku said the government is working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to develop disease control strategies to enable the nation tackle its current animal health crisis and strengthen efforts to join the global trade on meat and livestock products.
"If we don't eradicate the diseases threatening us at the moment, they will become endemic and then they will render us impotent from our plan to export livestock and livestock products," Duku said.
Abdal Monium Osman, FAO senior program officer in South Sudan said the UN agriculture agency would support South Sudan in the quest to improve its livestock sector.
"FAO has different interventions and long term strategy to support the livestock sector in South Sudan, not just animal health but in other aspects of livestock production including education and milk production," Osman said.