Last Updated on: 13th September 2023, 06:26 am
Adjumani | At least 1,600 small-scale farmers in Adjumani district are now benefiting from irrigation projects that were established by GIZ with funding from the German Cooperation.
The irrigation projects were established under the Supporting Refugees and Host Communities in Northern Uganda to increase their income from small-scale commercial agriculture production.
Vuozo farmers group in Kolokolu village, Ayiri parish Ukusijoni sub-county is benefiting from one of the irrigation projects.
Joseph Taban, a refugee, who came to Uganda in 2016 due to the war in South Sudan and settled in Maaji Three refugee settlement is one of the beneficiaries of the irrigation project.
Taban said because of his good connections with people, he joined Vuozo farmers group in 2019.
He also said when he joined the group he learnt a lot of skills in savings, and vegetable growing which has helped him survive very well even when the food ratio was reduced by UNHCR and the World Food Program (WFP)
“With this irrigation, as long as I can work hard to grow vegetables, I am assured of my children’s school fees, I am also helping to train my fellow refugees on how to grow vegetables,” Taban told this digital publication.
The farmer also appealed to the authorities to consider allocating more land for the refugees, arguing some of the refugees can get land from the hosts due to their relationships.
Christine Meliku Alule said they started the group in 2019 and that the first support she got was rice seeds, later in 2020 she was given two goats and now her two goats have increased to 8 goats. She is able to pay her children’s school fees.
Christine revealed that she is determined to earn more from the irrigation, observing that they were growing vegetables on a small scale at an individual level but with little success.
“Our only prayer is for the government to open for us our road for easy access to the markets. Right now it is the vendors who come to buy from us, but we want to go to better markets,” Meliku said.
Francis Tabi, a member of the same group say for many years they have been in distress in their attempts to grow vegetables since there has been too much sunshine.
“With this irrigation, my target is to raise shs10million this year. We are now going to plant vegetables throughout the year, I have been growing vegetables ever since but rain has been my biggest challenge. Our target is to ensure we supply Adjumani district since Adjumani district is supplied by outsiders,” Tabi promised.
Meanwhile, James Ayiga, the chairperson of the group said they are working as a group but also say individual members practice at their homes.
The group has only six men and nineteen women, both refugees and nationals.
Before the irrigation, the group was only engaged in saving money, but now after getting the irrigation, they have started growing vegetables.
“We have also been planting rice, beans, cassava and sim-sim, I benefited a lot from the rice and cassava that I have grown with the support of GIZ, We have been suffering the effects of climate change because at the beginning of the year, we face drought and when the year is ending we experience floods,” Ayiga explained.
The group has two acres of land but the group is planning to expand to 6 acres and they are appealing to the lower local government and the district to help them open their roads so that they will be able to transport their produce to the market.
Kennedy Atama, the National Expert in Economic Development said under the RISE: Supporting refugees and host communities in Northern Uganda, GIZ established three irrigation schemes in Adjumani and has been supporting 65 groups of farmers of 25 people each.
“The irrigation schemes are in Maaji refugee settlement, Mungula refugee settlement and Boroli refugee settlement with each of the irrigation schemes costing close to Shs 100million,” Atama said.
Dominic Arambe is the LC3 chairperson of Ukusijoni sub-county. He has announced plans to work on some of the roads, saying they are under procurement.
Once the process is completed the roads will be worked, according to him.
“We are aware of the challenges the farmers are facing, but we shall soon address these challenges under the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) and other government programs,” Arambe added.
Background of the project
The project was launched in October 2018 and ended on July 1, 2023. It helps improve the livelihoods of refugees and host communities in selected districts in Northern Uganda.
In line with Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) objectives, resilience and self-reliance are therefore promoted.