Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security

Main crops grown in South Sudan


Most parts of South Sudan are potentials for cereal grains production. This is largely because these areas area:

  • Rich alluvial soil and arable land along the Flood Plains, Iron Stone Plateau and the Green Belt agro-ecological zones.
  • High solar radiation, with an average of over 10 hours of sunlight per day.
  • Ample supply of water through rainfall and extensive river system that is suitable for irrigation.


Maize, which is the main food for a great number of South Sudan’s population, grows well in most part of the country, including:

  • Three states of the Equatoria region.
  • The eastern part of Upper Nile state along Ethopia border.
  • The high lands of Jonglei State.
  • Lakes state
  • Unity State.


Sorghum is an important food stable crop cultivated in all states of South Sudan under subsistence rainfall. The crop is also cultivated under mechanized rain fed and irrigated system in the northern counties of Upper Nile state. Other states in the country started adapting mechanization in their stats since 2005.

Sorghum grows well under the following conditions:

  • Shallow and heavy clay soils, well-drained fertile soil.
  • Medium to good and fairly stable rainfall pattern during the growing season
  • A temperature of 27°C to 30 °C for optimum growth.

Opportunities for sorghum investment are available in the following areas:

  • Northern counties of Upper Nile state.
  • Aliab in Yoril and Amethual, Lakes state.
  • Jebel Lado, Central Equatoria state.
  • Kapoeta, Eastern Equatoria state.


Rice is a stable food crop that is produced in flood plain areas of South Sudan.

Two varieties have demonstrated a success in the past, namely:

  • Wet land rice (Paddy variety): This variety are successful under the climate of Northern Bahr el Gazal, Jonglei and Upper Nile states.
  • Upland rice: This variety grows well in the areas of green belt (Yambio, Tombora, Maridi and Yei).
  • Other potential areas for rice production in the country include Unity and Lakes states.


  • Millet is a staple food crop cultivated in areas with low rainfall, particularly, the states of Warrap, and Northern, Western Bahr el Gazal, Unity and Northern part of Upper Nile.
  • The crop grows well in sandy and alluvial soil and moderate – temperature


Wheat is a grain crop that requires cold temperature; as such, its production is not common in most parts in the country. South Sudan is currently a net wheat and wheat flour importer.  

Some varieties of wheat crop have been tried in the past certain parts of the country, including:

  • Renk County, Upper Nile state under irrigation.
  • High land of Nagichot in Eastern Equatoria
  • Luri in Central Equatoria

Oil Seed Crops

Oilseed crops are set to play an important role in the South Sudanese economy because of their potential to open up employment opportunities, provide raw materials for industries and generate revenue and foreign currency for the country.

Thus, the Government is particularly keen to attract investors to help revive the old oilseed plantations and mills in Nzara and Yirol.

Oil crops grow well in areas along rivers in the northern and central part of country. They can also be produced in areas of the Green Belt with:

  • Well drained soils
  • Long sunshine hours
  • Sufficient water supply

The states of Upper Nile and Lakes, in addition to the areas of the Green Belt are potential investment areas for oil crops, particularly oil palm, groundnut and sesame.

Palm oil

  • Palm oil is a high value product in the world, the supply of which is now dominated by Indonesia;
  • The crop was introduced into the area in the 1940s, probably by Belgium colonial administrators from the Congo.
  • The tree grows extremely well in the Green Belt of Central and Western Equatoria States.


Cotton is another oil seed cash crop that has a great potential. Its production was introduced into the country in the 1940s during the colonial period.
Cotton is a labor intensive crop that grows well under:

  • Moderate temperature.
  • Well drained soil.

The potential states for cotton investment included:

  • Areas of the Green Belt in the three states of Equatoria.
  • Areas of greater Upper Nile states.
  • Some parts of the Bahar el Gazal states.



Beans are important crops of nutritional value that are grown under different climatic conditions. Currently, beans are grown in South Sudan under subsistence farming.

The most important varieties cultivated locally include soybean, cowpeas, white beans and green beans.

Potential for the crop exists in the areas of:

  • The Green Belt of the three states of Equatoria.
  • Greater Upper Nile states.
  • Greater Bhar el Gazal states.
Beans in Green Belt

Cash Crops

Coffee, tea and tobacco are important cash crops that grow well in areas of the Green Belt with abundant rainfall, moderate cool temperature and good soil drainage.

  • Coffee and tea were introduced to the region in the 1970s and developed at smallholder farmers’ level.
  • Two pilot projects where establish at that time, one in Upper Talanga in Eastern Equatoria State and the other in Iwatoka, Yei County, Central Equatoria State.
  • Other potential areas include the areas within the Green Belt in Acholiland.
High Fruiting Coffee Tree in Acholi Hills


Tobacco is another cash crop that suites the environment of the Green Belt, particularly, in Yei, Kajo-Keji, Maridi and Magwi.


While vast areas of South Sudan are suitable for sugarcane, two sites at Melut in northern Upper Nile State and Mongalla in Central Equatoria State, are identified as being most suitable for sugar cane plantations and sugar production due to:

  • Rich alluvial plain at the confluence of the Nile and its tributaries.

Tuber Crops:

Ecologically, South Sudan climates are suitable for growing different types of tuber crops. The most important tuber crops grown under rain fed in green belt zones include: cassava, Irish potatoes and sweet potatoes.


Cassava is an important food security crop for the majority of equatorial people.
The crop grows well in Green Belt areas where temperature and soil are suitable.

The potential for production of the crop on commercial basis are available in the areas of;

  • The three states of Equatoria
  • Some parts of grater Bahr el Gazal states.


Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are another important tuber crop of high value. The crop is cultivated intensively under the climate of:

  • Green Belt
  • Some part of greater Bahr el gazal and Upper Nile and Jonglei


Irish potatoes

Opportunities are available for local and foreign investment in the production of Irish potatoes in:

  • Upper Talanga in the Eastern Equatoria State.
Microplants at a more advanced growing stage in polytunnel

Horticultural Crops:

Given the environment South Sudan, horticulture of high value can be produced in almost all states of South Sudan. Such opportunities are found in the following subsector:



Known as ladyfinger, it is cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas. It requires warm temperate regions. The majority of the population in the country consumes the crop.

Fruit trees

Fruit production and processing are important sub-sectors that has a potential to boost South Sudan’s economy. These can be grown extensively in all states of South Sudan because of the suitable climate. Thus, there are opportunities for domestic and foreign investment in the areas of the Green Belt, greater Bhar el Gazal and greater Upper Nile states.

Forests and Timber

South Sudan offers opportunities for investment in sustainable forestry and forest products because of:

  • Favorable conditions for tree plantation.
  • Government Strategy to promote investment in Forestry through encourage partnership with the private sector and provision of forest concessions guided by effective regulatory mechanism at government different levels.
Gum Acacia

Gum acacia (Arabic) is an economic tree that grows well in seven states of the country. Investment potential are available in the states of greater Upper Nile and the Bhar el Gazal states, particularly in areas along the Sudan-South Sudan. People in these areas have long experience in the production and processing of Gum Arabic. Thus, South Sudan has the potential to become a major exporter of Gum Arabic to the international market.