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District leaders commit to lobby for more land for refugees in Adjumani

(Last Updated On: 2 October 2023)

Adjumani | District leaders in Adjumani have committed to soliciting more land for agriculture production to support refugees.

The commitment by the leaders follows the continued outcry by refugees from Pagirinya and Maaji refugee settlements in Adjumani district.

The leaders made the commitments during a round table strategic dialogue on ‘the impact of climate change and limited access to land for agriculture production on food and nutrition security in humanitarian and development response’. The dialogue was held at the district headquarters in Adjumani, last week. 

During the same roundtable meeting, it was revealed that last year, Action Against Hunger (ACF) in collaboration with Adjumani local government through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), signed a memorandum of understanding with landlords and acquired more than 2000 acres of land. 

However, the meeting was told that the refugees and members of the community did not utilise the land fully.

According to Richard Maku, the refugee welfare councillor one Pagirinya’s block D with 7 clusters, apart from the reduction in the food ratio, more refugees are facing climate-induced hunger, saying there is a need to avail more land for refugees to spur the growing of food crops.

“We need more land, our refugees have demonstrated through the Optimum Land Use Model (OLUM). This is where they allocated a plot of 30 x 30 metres for backyard gardening that was implemented by Action Against Hunger (ACF) and targeting pregnant mothers who were in groups. When there is land, they can grow their food. This has helped many women grow their own food,” Maku said.

Maku added: “Currently, some of the refugees rent land from the community from shs 70,000 to shs 200,000 per acre. Now the Right to Grow project which is also being implemented by ACF, has helped many of our refugees to access land, but still, this land is not enough for all the refugees in the nineteen refugee settlements to benefit from.”

Also read: Over 1,500 refugees and hosts reap big from irrigation projects in Adjumani

Moses Lukwago, the West Nile Regional programme coordinator of Action Against Hunger said that the project supports livelihood and food security within Adjumani by ensuring that refugees and the host community can be self-reliant and respond to the stroke and ensure better resilience in the region.

“We are helping them with opening land and supporting them with agricultural inputs like seeds and other needs, then we tailor and support them with other technical advisory services, our officers are on the ground all the time to ensure that they give them services and support them to adopt the recommended agronomic practice. 

“We are doing all these to ensure that the beneficences can have food to utilise within the home like to consume but also have enough suppliers for sale. Once they sell this food, they will be in a position to get the basic s needs that food cannot be in position to support,” he added. 

Richard Wambi, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Adjumani, noted that the district is still committed to securing more land for refugees to enhance food production.

“We are willing to support ourselves, but we should strengthen communication, we should not wait when close to shs. 20 million has been spent to open land and the land is not utilised,” Wambi said.

Also read: Akokoro residents accuse NFA and want Maruzi forest boundaries opened

Sentamu John Bosco, the deputy Refugee Desk Officer of Adjumani was saddened to learn that last year through the German Federal Foreign Office funding (GFFO) project that is being implemented, the community offered more than 2000 acres of land but only 600 acres have been utilised.

“As OPM we are cognisant of the dwindling donor funds, we are seriously looking for land to help refugees become self-reliant and resilient refugee communities which can withstand the donor fatigue, we are going to work with the district leaders to ensure that this land is utilised and even look for more land,” Sentamu said.

Multi-sectoral humanitarian response to the deteriorating nutrition situation, focusing on severely affected crisis contexts in sub-Saharan Africa that was implemented by ACF is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office Funding from 2021 and will end in 2024.

Reporting by Marko Taibot & Babra Anyait.

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