Adjumani: refugees to fight food insecurity, malnutrition

Adjumani I Several implementing partners are supporting the refugees to adapt to the impacts of climate change to fight food insecurity and malnutrition. They are using locally available materials.

Mr Simon Shoro, a refugee from South Sudan living in Maaji II refugee settlement for more than 6 years is responding quickly by planting early maturing crops as well as using grass to mulch the small gardens.

He said to address the challenges of the reduction in the food ratio; he has been renting gardens from the host community at the cost of shs.100, 000 each for the last six years.

“I have been planting cabbages, tomatoes, eggplants, and onions. I practice mulching, during the dry season I irrigate my vegetables and during the rainy season I ensure the gardens have drainage to allow water flow out,” Shoro said.

“When the food ratio was reduced, I kept feeding my family because I had vegetables from my garden and sold part of them to pay school fees for my children,” he added.

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Ms. Marcelina Ojjaba is a refugee at Pagirinya refugee settlement, Block C, Custer 15. She said that since the World Food Program (WFP) reduced the food ratio, she has been forced to have one meal a day.

“I now supplement my food by digging in my small plot of 30 by 30 where I plant okra, cabbage, eggplant, and cowpeas, among others.

She lauded Action Against Hunger for supporting them to acquire land for agriculture and also providing them with seeds to cultivate. This, she said, has helped them to fight hunger in their families.

The Agricultural Officer of Dzaipi sub-country in Adjumani Mr Vuciri James Logwenya, said that refugees need to be sensitized on mindset change to stop looking at relief food only. To become self-reliant, he asked for cooperation with the host community and urged them to give refugees land to cultivate crops that would help them to end hunger.

He adds that the level of food production in the district is low which is affected by the recent floods and climate change issues, resulting in food insecurity among both the hosts and the refugees.

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‘’We need to engage them to produce the crop variety which is short maturing and nitrates so that the little you have can be able to have enough food for yourself. We need to engage them in this Climate-smart Agriculture where production continues whether it’s dry, whether it’s the wet season, that is why we are promoting it so much climate smart Agriculture,’’ Mr Logwenya said.

He adds that they are also looking at the level of vegetable food production which helps a lot in reducing malnutrition among the communities in the district.

Mr Titus Jogo, the refugee desk officer of Adjumani commended the nationals for accepting to share land with refugees.

“My only appeal is for the refugees to take advantage of the land offered by the nationals if they are to end hunger,” Jogo stated.

Action Against Hunger (ACF) is implementing a five-year project called the Right to Grow, a Consortium Project funded by the Dutch Government to reduce undernutrition in Uganda, especially child stunting.

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According to Ms Mariam Akiror, the Advocacy and Strategic Partnership Coordinator for Action Against Hunger, the Right to Grow Project has since 2022 been implementing an Advocacy Campaign on Communal Production, Consumption and Marketing of Nutritious Food Crops for Improved Health, Nutrition, Livelihoods, Self-Reliance and Resilience in Adjumani and Yumbe Districts.

“This Campaign is also facilitating access to additional land for Agricultural Production for Refugees and Host Communities as well as promoting cohesion between Refugees and Host Communities, we are also promoting climate change adaption,” she said.

Under the Right to Grow, landlords from the two sub-counties of Dzaipi and Ukusijoni have donated more than 2,000 acres of land to both the refugees and host communities.

By Babra Anyait & Marko Taibot

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