Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched Uganda’s first commercial farm for refugees and host communities in Adjumani district.
A resident of the same area, Piros Santos Erwaga last June offered 2000 acres of land to UNHCR in Piroa, Aliwala village in Mungula parish, Ititrikwa sub county for the project.
The ceremony held today was graced by the First Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali who was accompanied by several other dignitaries and officials from humanitarian aid agencies operating in Uganda.
Felista Nebril, the UNHCR representative for Adjumani district said that the farm was established to facilitate the plantation of varieties of crops by refugees in Adjumani district and their host communities.
She explained that the initiative seeks to increase food security, household income among refugees and host communities, enhance farming as well as give a chance among refugees to become self-reliant.
Nebril explained that UNHCR will closely work with other aid agencies and the Adjumani district local government to manage the farm and seek markets for its products. She noted that in the first phase, UNHCR will open up 380 acres of the land for the different crop varieties.
Titus Jogo, the refugee desk officer for Adjumani and Lamwo districts explained that the refugees and the host communities will be constituted into groups and provided with approximate chunks of land and crops to grow as well as provision of expertise guidance.
He added that through the joint venture, there will also be peaceful coexistence between refugees and the host communities, something that will prevent violence.
There are approximately 240,000 refugees and 30,000 host communities in Adjumani district.
James Leku, the Adjumani district chairperson is optimistic that the farm will also be used as the district’s demonstration farm since it will have a provision for sprinkler irrigation among other agricultural mechanization and technologies.
Muhammed Mungu, the Adjumani district refugees farmers representative applauded the idea noting that it will increase income and diet among refugees at this time when financial and food rations to refugees have been cut.
He called upon the refugees and the host communities to actively participate in the farming processes for a stable household income and food supply.
Speaking during the launch, Piros Santos Erwaga and his wife Rose Erwaga disclosed that they freely offered the land to be used for seven years out of good will and the love for humanity.
First Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali who graced the occasion appealed for more assistance to the refugees and their host communities.
The farm is geographically located about 15 kilometers away from Zoka Tropical Rainforest and stretches along the Mungula water stream bordering Amuru district.